Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Should I Bunk With My Ex?”

I’m faced with a dilemma that I’m not sure how to handle. I’m invited to a wedding of a very close college friend in August. The wedding promises to be great fun — it’s at an old scout camp in the woods (think outdoor ceremony, bonfires, s’mores, etc), with the younger generation of guests all staying in huge old scouting cabins, 8-12 beds to a cabin (which might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think sounds like fun and fits the bride and groom to a T). The plan was originally that my best friends from college (all female) and I would be sharing the cabin together, along with our dates. I was (and am) completely comfortable with those sleeping arrangements and was looking forward to it. Well, a few of the crew won’t be bringing dates, so the cabin isn’t full, and another (male) friend from college asked if he can bunk with us. Thing is, he’s my ex from high school. We dated almost 10 years ago and, while we ended with hard feelings, we have since forged a comfortable friendship with little awkwardness and see each other maybe twice a year for a meal or coffee. He’s really good friends with all of the girls in the cabin, even closer to one of them than I am. I didn’t think it would bother me, but I find myself feeling awkward sharing a cabin with him, especially since my current partner of three years (we live together and are very serious) will be there as well.

The other girls in the cabin are deferring to me on this one, which I appreciate. I value his friendship and don’t want to hurt him or be mean, especially since our cabin might be the only one of folks from our college days, so his alternative might be bunking with complete strangers, but I am finding myself feeling surprisingly weird about the idea of sleeping in the same big room as him. My current partner isn’t jealous at all (especially since it’s been 10 years) and is deferring to me on this. Is there some way to make this less awkward or do I just remind myself that it’s been a long time, we’re friends now, and so sharing a room
with him is just like sharing it with any other male friend? — To Share or Not to Share

Since you were on the original invite list to stay in the cabin and this old high school boyfriend wasn’t so much invited as he simply asked if he could stay there, and since everyone seems to be deferring to you on this, you get to make the call. If sleeping in the same room as an ex from ten years back along with a bunch of girlfriends, their dates, and your boyfriend, wigs you out, you could consider perhaps sleeping in another room of the cabin (sleeping bags or an air mattress in the common area), pitching a tent outdoors, or simply staying elsewhere — a nearby motel or hotel. Another option, of course, is to let your friends, who have deferred to you, know you aren’t comfortable with your ex sharing a sleeping space with you and you’d like him to stay somewhere else. Realize, though, that if you choose this option you will likely piss some people off, not least of whom is the ex in question, with whom you say you’ve forged a comfortable friendship. But maybe that’s preferable to you than the awkwardness you’d feel in bunking next to him. Then again, maybe it won’t be as awkward as you think. It’s been ten years, after all. You were kids when you dated. And it’s not like you’ll be sharing a room with just him and your boyfriend. There will be 12 of you. Can’t you just sleep on opposite sides of the room and pretend he isn’t even there?

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

38 comments… add one
  • avatar

    emjay August 1, 2011, 7:34 am

    I belive the LW is stressing this small thing into something bigger. I’m not being mean, but she is kinda making a mountain outta a molehill. I really don’t think its a big deal because she is friends with the guy and her BF is comfortable with it too.

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      Starfish13 August 1, 2011, 11:24 am

      Though I don’t disagree, your phrasing “not being mean” isn’t really for you to decide. It is highly subjective weather some is mean or not.

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        Francine August 1, 2011, 4:41 pm

        I have to agree with you, Starfish. I really can’t stand it when people say things like “Not to be mean but…” or ” I’m not being mean.” If you’re about to say something that you feel needs such a disclaimer then chances are you do feel what you’re saying actually could be mean.

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      • becboo84

        BecBoo84 August 2, 2011, 4:41 pm

        Generally, I agree with you, but in this case, I think that preface was justified.

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  • avatar

    Callifax August 1, 2011, 7:53 am

    Sometimes, I’ll pysch myself out about something that’s not really a big deal by overthinking it. For example, my boyfriend’s ex from five years ago is going to be catering a party at our house. I initially didn’t mind at all, but then I got to thinking: “Wait? SHOULD I mind? Am I supposed to be bothered? Maybe I should be more upset about this.” Once I started to really dwell on it, it began to upset me. I completely, in my head, blew something totally innocuous out of proportion by overthinking it.

    I wonder if that’s what’s going on here. I mean, you’re friends with the ex. You’ll be in a cabin with at least ten other people. Your boyfriend doesn’t mind, nor do your friends. And you’ll be staying there after a WEDDING, where people are likely going to be too busy partying and celebrating to worry over sleeping arrangements. In reality, it’s a very small issue that probably shouldn’t cause you too much stress. But I wonder if having time to dwell on it and think about how it could be weird has turned it into a mountain out of a molehill. I’d give it some thought but unless it really, truly, honestly upsets you – like, to the point that it’ll ruin your time at the wedding – I’d just suck it up and let him stay. It’s just one night and you’ll have a cabin full of people as a buffer. Just avoid sleeping in the cot/bunk right next to him and I’m sure it’ll be totally fine.

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      MsMisery August 1, 2011, 10:53 am

      Really. Sounds like they’re only going to be in the bunk house to sleep and pee (maybe shower- I never went to camp, so I dunno if this place has separate showering facilities).

      I know I wouldn’t want to bunk with MY ex, but that’s because he’s a Supreme Dick Drip. If you have no current hard feelings towards your ex, then don’t CREATE any.

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary August 1, 2011, 8:45 am

    I understand where the LW is coming from in that it COULD be awkward, but I think that the LW could suck it up for a night or two. As long as you know you two (you and your ex) aren’t going to get into some huge blow out fight or he’s going to bring up something really awkward from your past (aka: remember that time we had sex while your parents were home?), it should be a bearable situation.

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  • avatar

    JennyTalia August 1, 2011, 8:52 am

    I think the LW should get over it, how long are they really going to spend sleeping in the cabin anyway?

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    Mainer August 1, 2011, 9:17 am

    I think you need to be a little more confident in your present situation, your boyfriend certainly sounds like he is. One of the things that would make it awkward for me would be that I was worried my partner felt uncomfortable sleeping in the same room as someone else I have slept with. That doesn’t appear to be the case here. He obviously knows it is your ex, yet he is still cool with everything. I’m not sure how else it could be awkward? Do you think your ex will feel uncomfortable knowing you are sleeping with another guy? If he was, I feel he wouldn’t have asked to bunk in that cabin in the first place. Will you feel weird seeing him sleep with another girl (assuming he has a date)? It sounds like you are very happy and comfortable in your current relationship. Trust that and tell yourself nothing else really matters. Because really, it doesn’t. If you want to value your ex’s friendship, as you mention in your letter, then you need to start treating it like a friendship. Nothing more, nothing less.

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    • Budj

      Budjer August 1, 2011, 9:41 am

      ding ding.

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  • avatar

    Bethany August 1, 2011, 9:21 am

    Since you’ll really only be staying there after the wedding (and not like a long weekend of friendly bonding), I don’t think it’s that big of a deal and you should suck it up. People will go to bed at different times- some will stay up at the bon fire till 3 am, some people will crash as soon as you guys get to the cabin. Pick a bunk that’s not right next to his and I guarantee you’ll be fine! Just be careful about how much you drink at ther wedding as to avoid any “drunk drama”

    Oh, and that wedding sounds AWESOME! Have fun!

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  • avatar

    El August 1, 2011, 9:26 am

    LW, take a second and see things from his point of view.

    How would you feel if you were banished from a cabin full of your close friends at a wedding, and sent to bunk with complete strangers because some ex from a decade ago still has some weird hang-up about you?

    High school was a long time ago. Move on. If you still feel awkward, please take the incentive to remove yourself from the cabin instead of kicking someone else out. There’s no use in making it awkward for everyone.

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    • avatar

      stina August 2, 2011, 5:54 pm

      That’s exactly what I was thinking

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    bluesunday August 1, 2011, 9:30 am

    This wedding seems so creative and fun!

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    Jena August 1, 2011, 10:03 am

    Um, all due respect — the two of you broke up TEN years ago. But it sounds like you’re not really over it if there are *any* weird feelings over sharing a cabin with, like, 20 other people. If you guys can’t be in the same HOUSE together with several handfuls of people as buffers, there’s another issue entirely.

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  • avatar

    Jshizzle August 1, 2011, 10:10 am

    Might be slightly awkward, but if you’re friends and it was 10 years ago, and you have your partner as well as a bunch of other people there, and it’s only a night or two…not such a big deal.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie August 1, 2011, 9:16 am

    This is awkward for sure but the event is her girlfriends wedding and to put any drama on it is impolite. Wendy made some suggestions that would take the edge off of it. Sleeping in the open doesn’t appeal to me but if your OK with it who’s to say it’s not. To simply buck up and endure for a couple of nights seems reasonable. Some straight to the point conversation with her current boyfriend might bring out protective behavior in him and shield her from the barbs if any are deployed.

    As a matter of priorities it’s the bride’s day and being supportive of her should be her highest one. Number 2 is to have some fun being with old friends. Weddings are happy occasions and should be the source of wonderful memories. To apply otherwise is cutting yourself short. Please set aside your tension and allow all the joy to make the event a treasured memory for yourself and everyone else.

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    • parton_doll

      parton_doll August 1, 2011, 10:40 am

      What a thoughtful response. I am not the letter writer but I definitely appreciate the insight 🙂

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  • avatar

    Lexington August 1, 2011, 10:54 am

    Get over yourself, let him sleep there, and have fun at the wedding. That is all.

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    LTC039 August 1, 2011, 10:04 am

    I’m not sure what the gravity of your feelings about this situation are, but when you look at the bigger picture, you have, a high school boyfriend you dated 10+ yrs ago, a cabin with 12 people, & a weekend-trip. All in all, it would be unfair of you to ban him from the room just bc you feel uncomfortable. I would suggest that if you felt that uncomfortable, that you make your own arrangements. I get that you’re not 100% ok with it, its understandable to an extent, I just don’t think it’s fair that you don’t allow him to stay. It’s not like you guys just broke up a year ago & the pain is still fresh, it’s been a whole decade. If you’re ok with him enough to meet up with him on an annual basis to catch up, I don’t see what the problem is. I really think you’re over thinking it & when it comes down to it, it won’t be such a big deal.

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  • avatar

    Natasia Rose August 1, 2011, 10:29 am

    I agree with most of the other comments. It was 10 years ago, it might be weird but you can suck it up for a night or two in order to avoid pissing people off or putting your ex turned friend in an awkward position.

    On the upside, it’s so great that the LW has friends who are letting her make the call! That’s really considerate of them.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant August 1, 2011, 12:41 pm

    It could be awkward if you MAKE it awkward. It sounds like everyone around the LW is fine with the situation, so she shouldn’t go and create a problem. Its just a night.

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  • avatar

    Jennifer August 1, 2011, 12:42 pm

    LW, I can understand why you might feel awkward, but like so many have said already, you probably won’t be spending much time in the cabin anyway. I actually went to a wedding very similar to this, at a camp, and everyone bunked together 6+ people to a room. My SO and I shared the room with friends and more people than it was built to hold, but no one seemed to notice. We spent so much time at the wedding festivities partying with everyone and very little time in the room. It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable weddings I’ve ever been to. Everyone came back to the room at different times and fell asleep. By then, when you’re exhausted and buzzed, all that will matter is hitting the pillow, you won’t even notice who’s snoring around you. Plus, if your ex is going solo, he may turn in earlier than you (or long after you if he’s that kinda guy), and you’ll never even have an awkward interaction in the cabin. I really don’t think having your ex of 10 years ago sleeping on the far side of the cabin will matter much after the celebration, as long as you don’t overthink it. It sounds like they have a really fun wedding planned, and you will enjoy it a lot if you just focus on how much fun you could have, and how happy you are for your friend getting married.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark August 1, 2011, 1:10 pm

    Unless there is more to this letter (cue update with additional jaw dropping details) I really don’t see what the big deal is. Its a group cabin. I’s not like it’s just you, your present boyfriend and Mr Ex crashing on the couch in a tiny motel room. I would just –DEAL WITH IT. Especially since you have friendly relations as it is… Don’t create unnecessary drama, be a grown up. It truly sounds like you’ve both been doing just that thus far — civil and friendly coffee and dinners — so now merely continue to do so…

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    • avatar

      Francine August 1, 2011, 5:32 pm

      Totally agree. When I read this letter I thought there HAS to be more to it.

      The obvious, simple no drama/no nonsense solution was to just tell everyone that as much as you think bunking for the night with your old college friends sounds like a lot of fun, the more you think about it you and your boyfriend find the thought of a hotel room alone a bit more appealing. Your discomfort is your problem and there was no need to bring your friends into it.

      Of course, that ship has sailed. You can still do the grown up thing here though and decide whether or not YOU want to stay in the cabin instead of whether or not he can.

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  • avatar

    LeahW. August 1, 2011, 1:24 pm

    LW, you seem to be trying to weigh two options: tell the ex to bunk elsewhere (as your friends and boyfriend have left the decision up to you) or find a way to get comfortable with him staying. I would actually propose a third, and that’s to accept the fact that it might be emotional for you and let him stay anyway.

    You didn’t think that this would bother you and maybe you’re having trouble because you think that it shouldn’t. You give lots of reasons why this should be okay: you’re friends with your ex now, your boyfriend doesn’t mind, you weren’t bothered by the fact that you’d be bunking with other male friends. But the fact is, something about spending the night in the same room with your ex is bothering you anyway, even though you wish it didn’t. I think that when you’re unable to work through your emotions in a rational way it makes the most sense just to accept the fact that people can be irrational sometimes, especially in matters of the heart, and that it’s okay.

    My guess is that while you’ve made your peace with the man your ex has become, spending the night nearby is bringing back some of the feelings you had when you both were young and had a difficult breakup. I don’t think you ever really get over your first heartbreak, and it could be that this wedding will bring up some of the hurt feelings you had from that time and you may even mourn the relationship all over again. Not because it’s relevant to your life now, but because it was such an emotional experience when you were young. So, let yourself! And once you do, you’ll be able to go back to being a confident adult with a great relationship and a friendship with this ex. You don’t need to tell your girlfriends, your boyfriend or your ex about your feelings. This is about you making peace with your own past and then moving on.

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  • avatar

    AndreaMarie August 1, 2011, 2:18 pm

    It’s not as if you parted with seriously hard feelings and havent seen each other in 10 years. It seems you have seen him on several other occasions since, for dinners. Were you comfortably able to handle the level of awkwardness in those situations? Also, it’s not as if it is just you and him, sharing double beds in a hotel room. There will be 10+ people in a rather large space. And most importantly you will be there with your partner whom you can spend your time and attention on, and I’m sure could sooth any awkward feelings you might have. Also, it’s not as if it’s an extended stay. It’s one night after a wedding, where most will be experiencing different levels of intoxication and will most likely be passing out hard in their bunks. Chances are you won’t have any interaction with him at all in the cabin.

    I can’t speak for your levels of comfort but I think it would be best for all involved to “suck it up” and just stay for the one night.

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  • avatar

    Francine August 1, 2011, 4:48 pm

    Are you and your friends renting the cabin or is it something that the hosts are paying for? If it’s the latter then is it really your place to decide that one of their guests isn’t welcome to stay there?

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  • avatar

    SweetChild August 1, 2011, 6:20 pm

    First world problems… Get over it, this is a stupid thing to be stressing about. Just sleep on the opposite side of the room with your current bf beside you. Easy.

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  • avatar

    LW August 1, 2011, 6:29 pm

    Letter writer here. Thanks for the people who kindly suggested that I was overthinking and overstressing here. I think that I felt more that I *should* feel awkward about this situation more than I actually felt awkward. (For those who thought that my even asking this question meant that I somehow still had feelings for my ex, very much not the case.) I appreciate the kind reality check that some commenters (and Wendy) offered. I’m not going to stress this one because I somehow feel like I am supposed to feel weird about it. I’m so excited for the wedding and am going to enjoy myself!

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    • avatar

      LW August 1, 2011, 6:33 pm

      Also, just to be clear: I wasn’t really considering asking him to bunk elsewhere. If for some reason I really felt that staying in the same cabin was too awkward, I would have pitched a tent with my boyfriend. But really I was just asking the question I wrote–can I make this situation any less awkward or do I just get over it? I was pretty well decided that we were going to stay in the same cabin, I was just wondering how to best handle the situation. And I think “get over it and don’t overthink it” is the way for me to go.

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      • avatar

        Francine August 1, 2011, 8:28 pm

        Thanks LW. I love when the letter writers check in. I think sometimes we commenters over-think these things too and read more into these letters than there really is. I definitely skimmed over your real question and zoned in on the fact that your friends and bf were deferring to your wishes on whether the ex bunked with you or not. I’ll admit, I have way more fun here when the LWs have at least a touch of insanity. Not your fault you’re sane though. Glad you’re looking forward to the wedding!

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      • avatar

        Jena August 2, 2011, 9:19 am

        I still don’t see how youd even need to worry about “making it less awkward” since it’s not an awkward thing in the first place. Again, you two broked up a DECADE AGO.

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      • avatar

        Jena August 2, 2011, 9:19 am

        *broke

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  • avatar

    Red_Lady August 1, 2011, 7:08 pm

    I just have to say, this wedding sounds AWESOME!!!

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  • katie

    katie August 1, 2011, 8:11 pm

    its only awkward if you make it awkward!

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  • rubyroo

    Ruby August 2, 2011, 8:49 am

    I don’t think it’s up to anyone else to say whether or not the LW is making a big deal out of nothing. If the idea of bunking with an ex makes her uncomfortable, then that’s how she feels!
    However, I think it would be unreasonable to ask the ex to bunk somewhere else since it is HER problem.
    If she doesn’t want to sleep in the same room as the ex, then she needs to find somewhere else to sleep.

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  • avatar

    Something More Than Blah August 2, 2011, 8:47 pm

    Um… get over it. It’s been 10 years. If it’s still an issue, maybe there are underlying feelings for your ex that you are afraid will creep up if put in a semi-intimate situation. If not, grow some lady balls and deal with it.

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