Sometimes when you try to be friends with an ex, that actually happens. You’ve moved on so you’re cool with him dating again, but when you get an invite to his wedding, things get a bit more real. Suddenly you can’t help but wonder if it’d be you he proposed to if the circumstances had been different. Here’s how to cope, especially if you’re currently single.
Figure out whether or not the invite is legit. Weddings are expensive so it’d be super unlikely for him to invite you if the two of you absolutely hated each other. If he was a manipulative guy, the invite could just be a way to rub it in your face that he moved on. But if things were generally copacetic, or perhaps your families were close, then assume you’re actually on the guest list.
Take some time to think about how you feel. Be honest, will this be weird for you? If your breakup is still fresh and he proposed to someone new almost immediately, this wedding will probably be hard for you to handle. It’s totally OK to decline but it’s not OK to go to the wedding and make it about you and your past relationship. Weigh your decision carefully.
Don’t use this to lament about “what could have been.” You broke up for a reason, even if that reason seems a little fuzzy right now. At this point, you need to come to terms with the fact that he’s moved on. Don’t be Julia Roberts in My Best Friend’s Wedding and try to romanticize something that never actually was. She might have been America’s sweetheart back in the ’90s but she was a villain in that film.
Make sure you don’t go on Facebook to tear down the bride. Everyone’s going to have judgments of your ex’s latest relationship, but don’t try to tear her down to help build yourself up. Saying stuff like, “Mark always preferred blondes” when she’s a brunette just come across as catty. Unless this girl was responsible for breaking up your relationship, she’s an innocent bystander. It’s your job to be a big person and realize that if your ex was a good guy, he probably chose well.
If you say no, make sure to RSVP with well-wishes. You obviously had some impact on his life, so much that he wanted you to be there for his big day. The least you can do is shoot off a “congrats, but I have to decline” before the RSVP date. Consider that to be a total closure of your relationship.
If you say yes, don’t wear white. It should go without saying but the bride and groom probably spent a big chunk of cash on this wedding. Don’t try to outshine her on her big day, even if it’s tempting. Of course you’ll want to look your best, but just make sure you’re up-to-date on fashion etiquette. Anything too revealing may also send off a bad message.
Try to bring someone you’ll have fun with. If you get a plus-one, you should use it. If you’re single and want to bring a fun guy friend to help liven the occasion, even better. Doing so will take your mind off of any sad thoughts and will make you feel less alone. Plus, you’ll have someone to dance with at the reception.
Don’t introduce yourself as the groom’s ex. If someone asks how you know the happy couple, just say you’re a friend of the groom. If the two of you dated for some time, a lot of people may already know about you and downplaying it for the sake of politeness will make everyone feel a lot more comfortable. Saying “friend” will also show there’s no bad blood between you and his new wife.
Try not to get too drunk. Just a reminder that alcohol, especially wine, seems to make people a little more emotional and hard liquor, like the stuff that’s in that rum and coke, may make you say things you don’t want to say. You need to be at the top of your game here. Treat this the way you would a work day and if things are brutal, call up some close friends and see if you can plan an emergency booze-filled girls night when you’re back at home.
Remember that you can leave at any time. Sometimes we go into a situation thinking we’ll be cool with it and suddenly everything hits like an earthquake. If you’ve made it through the ceremony but realize your tears of happiness are actually tears of regret sometime during the reception, the best thing to do is excuse yourself. If you feel bad about ditching before dinner, maybe take a temporary breather in the bathroom to text your best friend. She’ll talk you down, and give you the confidence you need to finish the night.
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