Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Don’t Want to Spend a Whole Weekend with my Ex”

In July my best friend will be getting married and I’ve been so excited about it. But then I learned that my ex-boyfriend will also be attending the wedding. We broke up over two years ago and I haven’t seen him since. Our relationship ended HORRIBLY. He accused me of things I didn’t commit and broke it off with me before allowing me to even plead my case. I’m not the kinda girl to go running after a guy when they’ve treated me in such a disgusting manner, so when he called it quits I didn’t argue or plead with him, etc. I MOA’d!!

But after not seeing him for two years, to suddenly spend a whole weekend with him is going to be torturous! I’m hopeless at hiding my feelings (I may feel the need to kick him in the balls) but I really don’t want my best friend’s wedding to be tainted because of my feelings towards this a**hole. What can I do?! Help me please! — Anxious Wedding Guest


I get that it can be awkward — and yes, painful — to run into a former flame, especially when the relationship ended badly. It can be especially awkward when that run-in is at a wedding, of all places, where love and romance is being celebrated, and the last time you saw each other was when he was breaking your heart. But that said, I’m not sure why you two being guests at the same wedding means you have to “spend a whole weekend” together. If it’s a destination wedding, that’s one thing and does make it a little trickier to avoid him, but surely there will be other people around to buffer you from each other, right? I mean, I’ve been to family reunions of less than 20 people and managed not to exchange more than a “hello” with relatives I’m not terribly fond of. Why couldn’t you do the same with this ex?

But, if you’re really wracked with anxiety over the whole thing and are worried this run-in with your ex has potential to taint your best friend’s wedding, why don’t you reach out to your ex before you have to see him again for the first time in two years? You know, break the ice a little. Send him an email saying you heard he was going to the wedding, and let him know you’re going to be there, too, and you hope you’ll both have a wonderful weekend, that he’ll feel welcome to say “hello” to you when he sees you, and that you’re both looking forward to making your friends’ special occasion a memorable one.

And then suck it up, act like an adult, and realize this particular day isn’t about you. Yes, it will probably suck a little to see your ex, but get over it. Drink a little champagne if it will help you relax. Hang out with some other friends who will help distract you. Excuse yourself to the ladies room or to mingle with other guests if you find yourself uncomfortably close to him. And, above all, focus on why you’re there in the first place: to celebrate the love and union of your best friend and her fiancé. What happened with you and your ex was over two years ago and it doesn’t have any place at this wedding, so be a grown-up about it and leave your issues at the door. It really is as simple as that.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

49 comments… add one
  • avatar

    MsMisery May 31, 2011, 3:12 pm

    Surely if this is your best friend’s wedding, you can talk to her about your feelings (unless she’s in full-tilt bridezilla mode). Just let her know that you’re not that crazy about Mr. Terrible’s presence (but that you’re NOT asking her to fix it!). Make sure you two aren’t seated together at the reception for gods’ sakes. Ask if there will be stuff you can do all weekend and people you can hang with that can hopefully provide a distraction. But in any case, he’ll be there, and your friend can’t plan this around you. Be the better person. If he acts assy, everyone will see it.

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    • avatar

      spaceboy761 May 31, 2011, 3:18 pm

      ‘Assy’ is one of the greatest adjectives ever conceived.

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    Bethany May 31, 2011, 3:16 pm

    I agree with Wendy, however, you should have a friend watching you to make sure you dont’ have too much to drink… That could also make things very interesting, and NOT in a good way!!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy May 31, 2011, 3:24 pm

      Yes, good point.

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    • avatar

      TMSC May 31, 2011, 4:04 pm

      I will take this one step further and ask if you have a friend (not the bride) that will be at the wedding, someone you can trust to help you through it? If there is someone willing to be your “buddy”…someone that can help you monitor your feelings and even give you a signal if it seems you are about ready to maker good on that “kick in the balls”. Someone to help you calm down and even be a buffer for your ex…that way you have someone watching out for you, someone on your side and ready to run interference…

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  • avatar

    SGMcG May 31, 2011, 3:37 pm

    It would be one thing if the ex in question was the groom at the wedding, yet he is a fellow guest – like yourself. He should be acting on good behavior instead of the asshat who judged and dumped, as should you – the dumped accused innocent. After all, it’s been two years and you should have LONG MOA’d from any feelings for him, including resentment.

    Personally, I wouldn’t even make small talk before the wedding. Rather, I would use that anxiety as a source of strength to tap into. I would walk into that church/reception with an attitude of “SO. OVER. YOU.” I’d be smiling, happy, greeting him and starting introductions to your respective dates (if the bride has given you and him +1s). LW, even though it would be torturous to see your ex for the first time after a horrible breakup, you should act as though you couldn’t care less about being separated, let alone his being there, and party hard with dignity and showering appropriate affection on your best friend’s special day. By doing this, I would imagine seeing you so happy without him would drive your ex completely nuts – and isn’t THAT the best revenge?

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    • avatar

      justpeachy May 31, 2011, 4:08 pm

      I agree with most of what you said, except for the fact that she should be over her resentment. It’d probably be healthy if she was, but, man, when someone screws you over or just makes you feel horrible, it can be the most difficult thing in the world to get over. I think that’s why high school reunions are so tense for so many people. It’s just being trapped in a ballroom in a hotel with all the people from, five, ten, twenty years ago that made you doubt everything about yourself.

      My advice would be to not reach out to him in advance. You may be able to avoid him the whole weekend, so you might as well try. And bring a female friend as a date. Someone to default dance with, someone who can pull you aside if the ex starts circling, someone who knows and understands how tough the weekend will be on you.

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      • avatar

        Rachel May 31, 2011, 5:34 pm

        Agreed. I still get angry thinking about my ex of over 3 years ago. It’s not that I have any feelings left towards him – but it makes me sick to think of the things that I let him get away with and the disrespect he showed me. Not sure how I’d react if I saw him.

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        ele4phant May 31, 2011, 6:03 pm

        I agree in that when someone hurts you, it can be harder to let that hurt go than moving on from the actual relationship. But you know what? Life is short. I had to make real effort to let go of anger I felt towards an ex (and some his friends who said some pretty awful things), but I didn’t want to carry any resentments. Really, I would have been the only one to feel the effect of hanging onto that anger.

        It would be strange to run into him, and I wouldn’t be jumping at the bit to reestablish a strong friendship, but it isn’t worth my time to harbor resentments. She should go to the wedding and not worry about what he’s going to do. If he’s still a jerk, well good on her for getting away from that mess.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom May 31, 2011, 4:13 pm

      Yes! Walk in with your head held high, your back straight and a strong step. You’re on the top of the world and if/when you bump into him say hello and just keep going. Hardly notice him and have an obviously good time.

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  • avatar

    Callifax May 31, 2011, 3:43 pm

    I can understand your pain – I still dread the idea of running into my ex on the college campus we share every time I go for a meeting with my major professor. But Wendy has the right idea here. You just have to suck it up and be the bigger person and avoid being around him as much as you can. We all make sacrifices for the ones we love, and putting up with this tool for a few days is your sacrifice to your friend on her wedding day.

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  • becboo84

    BecBoo84 May 31, 2011, 3:44 pm

    Why is an ex-boyfriend who treated you so horribly invited to your best friend’s wedding?

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      TheGirl May 31, 2011, 3:52 pm

      Friends with the groom? That could even be how they met.

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    • avatar

      LTC039 May 31, 2011, 3:59 pm

      My ex is invited to my friend’s wedding, he was her fiancee’s roommate in college, but they met through me. I’m her bridesmaid. Luckily things were sorted out b/w us long ago & we’re able to be civil/borderline friendly with each other. It happens.

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    • becboo84

      BecBoo84 May 31, 2011, 4:51 pm

      I agree with all of that, but if he really treated her so “horribly and accused her of things she didn’t commit,” it seems odd that he’d still be friendly with her bff. If he’s friends with the fiance, it seems like he could say something along with lines of, “Dude we really want you to be there celebrating with us on our big day. However, we really don’t want ‘Mary’ to feel uncomfortable because of how your break up went down. You were kind of a punk, so do you think you could reach out to her just so it’s not awkward?”

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph May 31, 2011, 5:01 pm

        Ah, but there are 3 sides to every story, and we only have the one. Maybe the LW wasn’t a picture perfect gf. Maybe the guy wasn’t a total demon. Maybe the friend was friends with them both, maybe she was a mutual friend who hooked them up in the first place, maybe to preserve all the friendships she decided to stay neutral.

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      • avatar

        emjay May 31, 2011, 6:51 pm

        Sorry I thumbed you down I meant to thumbs up. I agree there are three sides to every story: his, hers, and the truth

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      • avatar

        emjay May 31, 2011, 7:04 pm

        Oh! I guess it did go thru as a thumbs up! Ok!

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  • avatar

    Emsz May 31, 2011, 3:56 pm

    Why is the answer never as simple as the title to the post? 😛
    I saw the title, and then thought: ‘Well, don’t then.’ Alas, life is always more complicated 🙁

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  • avatar

    LTC039 May 31, 2011, 3:57 pm

    I agree with Wendy’s last paragraph. Suck it up. It SUCKS, it really does, but as she said, the day isn’t about you & I’m pretty sure they’ll be enough people at the wedding to provide a buffer.
    I know this is a hot topic in the wedding world but you didn’t specify if you’re bringing a “plus one,”that’s an excellent buffer. If you’re truly over him, then you won’t feel too much when you see him. It happened to me. Hopefully he’s not that big a douche-bag where he’ll cause a scene while under the influence…

    Oh another thing, again if he’s that big of an ass, don’t give him the satisfaction of thinking you’re getting all worked up over seeing him. I wouldn’t contact him. (Again, only if he’s a real tool)

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  • avatar

    Amber May 31, 2011, 4:01 pm

    Okay ummm…why on earth would the LW’s “Best friend” invite her ex boyfriend to her wedding?

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      sarolabelle May 31, 2011, 5:55 pm

      maybe he is the groom’s brother or cousin

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      • avatar

        Amber May 31, 2011, 11:40 pm

        it sounded like she was kind of suprised that the ex would be at the wedding, so I doubt he was the groom’s family, otherwise she would have assumed he was invited from the beginning.

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    TheGirl May 31, 2011, 4:02 pm

    Who else is going? I would try to enlist another friend to be your accomplice in this – let them know he’s coming and you’re stressed. Ask them for help in keeping busy and away from this guy. There’s definitely no need to bug the bride, other than perhaps to ask that she does not seat you at the same table at the reception. Other than that, I would get an awesome dress, work out, and get my hair done. The more confident you feel, the easier it will be to ignore him and not let yourself get caught up in any drama.

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  • avatar

    mf May 31, 2011, 4:15 pm

    1. Look fabulous. Work out religiously till the wedding, invest in a killer dress, get a facial, etc. etc. etc.

    2. Bring a date or friend if the bride and groom will allow it. (If your “friend” happens to be a Ryan Reynolds look-a-like, then good for you.)

    3. Someone else said it first, but it’s worth repeating: don’t drink too much!

    4. Offer to help the bride with some of her day-of tasks. You won’t have time to stand around and awkwardly chat with the ex if you’re busy handing out programs, helping hang pew bows, or babysitting the flower girl.

    5. Don’t let your douchey ex ruin a perfectly fun wedding for you! Have an amazingly awesome time just to spite him 🙂

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    • avatar

      redessa May 31, 2011, 11:36 pm

      Thumbs up just for mentioning Ryan Reynolds!

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  • avatar

    Sarah May 31, 2011, 4:19 pm

    Look hot and pretend he doesn’t exist. If he does say hello give him the same polite detached smile you would give a third cousin who’s name you don’t remember. Be the most charming, sociable and seductive woman in the room. That way the bride will be relieved you didn’t cause trouble AND the ex will feel like an idiot for dumping you like an ass. Win-win!!

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  • avatar

    BoomChakaLaka May 31, 2011, 4:31 pm

    I actually have an interesting twist on this issue: I’m the girlfriend of an attendee who hasn’t seen or talked to his ex in about 2 years. They didn’t end on good terms either because the ex apparently did some borderline cray cray things (hacked into his e-mail, sent messages on his behalf, etc). Interestingly enough, boyfriend said he didn’t care that he would see her at the wedding, although I am a bit worried about the tension it might cause for all of us to be at the wedding.

    So, from my vantage point, I honestly think you should see if you can bring a guest to the wedding, because you don’t know if he’ll have one either. It might be easy to ignore him if he’s not staring you down, but you definitely don’t want to be the one staring him down especially if you don’t have a buddy to be with. Depending on how the friend circle works, you might not be able to get out of sitting with him, but it is definitely worth asking the bride/groom if they can keep that in mind. (I know for a fact that we are sitting with ex-gf…small wedding, all the “friends” are sitting together). Lastly, you don’t even know what his thoughts are about seeing you. He just might not care, which in that case, take “mfs” advice. And don’t forget the stilettos to boot!

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    • avatar

      LTC039 May 31, 2011, 4:39 pm

      If it’s her best friends wedding, there’s a good chance she’ll be in the wedding party. So she may not even have to sit with him…Unless the wedding is really really small & there’s no wedding party…

      Good luck to you!!

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      • avatar

        BoomChakaLaka June 1, 2011, 11:20 am

        Yes, the wedding is small, and the bride chose to only have her sisters in the wedding. The bride has already let my bf and I know that we will all be sitting at the same table. My bf seems not be making a big deal out of it so I guess I will just have to follow suit.

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  • avatar

    Elle May 31, 2011, 3:42 pm

    Over time, I found out that some of my worst fears were unfounded. Things I dreaded would happen, never did. It seems that you have a pretty good reason to think the ex will act out at the wedding. If he has any common decency though, he shouldn’t ruin the wedding of his friends. I think he’ll have other people to interact with, and won’t have much time to spend with you. Don’t let the thought of him ruin the wedding for you. Take the power back!

    And in addition to ask a friend to monitor your alcohol intake, also ask them not to leave you alone with him. If they see him talk to you, ask them to come over and remove you from the conversation.

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  • landygirl

    Landy May 31, 2011, 4:52 pm

    I have nothing to add to Wendy’s advice, but I will commend you LW for seeing the situtation clearly and for not letting the ex make you feel bad about something you didn’t do. So many women would have tried to keep this chump instead of giving him the heave ho the way you did. Seeing how well you handled the break up and the news of the ex’s impending attendance at the wedding, I think you’ll do just fine. Please update us.

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  • avatar

    Dave Jay May 31, 2011, 5:01 pm

    Decide right now that you are going to act 100% maturely and be open to the idea that it could be a fantastic weekend. Maybe your ex BF won’t look twice at you, maybe he has matured and will apologize profusely. You simply don’t know. What you should know is that wasting energy over anxiety in this situation is, well, wasting energy. You are not responsible for anyone’s behaviour but your own, so focus on the things you control and HAVE A GREAT TIME. It’s a WEDDING!!!

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark May 31, 2011, 5:37 pm

    I really don’t see the problem. Go to the wedding. Put on a smile. Say hello to him politely and then simply be too busy to talking to everybody else to give him another moments thought. I mean, it’s been two years. Move on. Grow up. Life isn’t a rainbows and butterflies. Trust me, if this is your biggest crisis then you lead a charmed life.

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  • avatar

    RMM0278 May 31, 2011, 5:50 pm

    I disagree with Wendy’s advice about reaching out to him beforehand. That just may give this whole interaction greater emphasis than is needed. He could not even care at all, which is probably the case since he let her go so easily. Such an email implies something that still lingers between them so much so she’d have to tip him off to her presence in advance. Too complicated for a guy who doesn’t deserve that much attention.

    I wouldn’t reach out to the bride or any other attendee. I’d keep this all to myself and act professional. Go looking great. Have no more than three drinks. Stick close to friends. Keep conversation light and cordial. Don’t engage him in any conversation topic that is beyond: a) the event and/or b) the weather. If he tries to apologize or discuss the relationship, get amnesia and walk away.

    Above all, be classy. There’s NEVER anything to lose when you act classy and professional. No one will ever give you grief for that.

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    • avatar

      Britannia May 31, 2011, 5:53 pm

      I agree with you 100%. This is how I would handle it. No drama, no problems. If the boyfriend tries to stir it up? Just walk away, compose yourself, and come back. He’ll be the one who looks like an ass, not you.

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    • avatar

      Fairhaired Child June 1, 2011, 12:37 am

      I def. laughed at the line “get amnesia and walk away.”

      but yes, she should just push forward, keep everything light, and keep herself busy.

      I think though she should let SOMEONE know at the wedding (not the bride or anyone in the bridal party but maybe a friend who doesn’t even know the dude/what went down) that she is nervous about seeing him because of bad blood and then they can easily help “rescue” her if he tries to engage her in anything. ie “oh LW i think your car just slide into the lake.. i think we should go check!” – like someone else said above

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  • avatar

    sarolabelle May 31, 2011, 6:03 pm

    My advice is to watch The Wedding Date.

    “He’s gonna be so sorry he lost you, so stop worrying. Forget the past. Forget the pain. And remember what an incredible woman you are. You do that and he’ll realize what he lost.”

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray May 31, 2011, 7:03 pm

      If that’s a quote from the movie, I am definitely not watching it. I just threw up a little in my mouth. Except, ok, yea, that’s a good message. Still.

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        sarolabelle June 1, 2011, 12:56 am

        That’s not the most sappy line in the movie either!

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      Marie May 31, 2011, 8:52 pm

      That’s totally the movie I was thinking of when reading this letter!

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  • avatar

    cdobbs May 31, 2011, 7:33 pm

    i got no advice at all. but i think the LW is hilarious! that is going to be brutal, i feel for ya!

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  • avatar

    Marie May 31, 2011, 8:51 pm

    Just hire some super hot guy to be your fake boyfriend and wear a great dress – what’s the problem?

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    Pinky May 31, 2011, 10:12 pm

    Just for kicks, accidentally trip and spill something really sticky on him. 😉

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    Christina June 1, 2011, 1:00 am

    A guy friend told me once that if a guy is attracted to a girl at one time then he will always be attracted to her. Even if she does stuff that bugs him or she’s a girlfriend that he broke up with earlier. He probably won’t be mean to you at all and will either be polite or stay clear of you. Just enjoy your friend’s day and be satisfied that he’s an asshat bullet that you dodged and he will still be stealing glances to see what he missed. Maybe no ball kicking…it’s a wedding!

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  • avatar

    anna728 June 1, 2011, 4:04 am

    Really doesn’t sound like you’d be spending the weekend with him, unless you are both in the wedding party. Even then, there is so much going on, and so many other people around, I can’t imagine he’d be hard to avoid besides a few possibly awkward hellos.

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  • avatar

    2_J June 1, 2011, 8:15 am

    Everyone has some very great ideas here, i am curious though about something. People do in fact change over time, mostly. There is a slight chance though that the ex boyfriend is still an a**hole, he may or may not know that LW will be there but if he is aware and still a douche, he may go out of his way to make LW feel even more un-comfy and he himself might have more than he should to drink and cause a scene with her and ruffle her feathers, at which point he should be ejected all together from the party, especially if LW has done all that she can to distance herself from him trying not to spoil the brides day.

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  • avatar

    LSD June 1, 2011, 10:27 am

    I am getting ready to go through this situation this summer at my old roommates wedding but instead of an ex I am running into it is a few friends. I have the same fear that you do but I got the best advice recently. I was told to write down all the fears I have about running into these friends and then see where they are coming from. I did this and found that I am more worried about their perseption of me after the event that broke up the friendship, than I am about seeing my friend get married. I will have to remember that this is about the bride and groom and anyone can do anything for just a few hours. I also am bringing my bf as back up so he can help me if I start to freak out.

    Good luck at the wedding. You can do it!

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  • avatar

    Michael April 24, 2014, 12:18 pm

    Even for a man, this is great advice. Men do have these feelings too, they are just harder to understand and make sense of.

    Thanks Wendy.

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