Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Ex-Fiancé Wants Me Back, But Now I’m Falling for Someone Else”

About six months ago, my boyfriend of four years and I got engaged. I was over the moon and completely excited to marry him (I’m 28 and a lot of my close girl friends have recently gotten engaged/married). We were planning on having a wedding around the end of this year. He had just gotten an amazing job offer two hours away and I was looking forward to moving in with him at his new place and excited to start a life with him. Two months after we were engaged, he abruptly called it off. His reasons were that getting a new job, moving to a new city and planning a wedding were taking too much of a toll on him and he needed to be single to sort his life out.

I was crushed. I coped by hanging around friends and family. A couple weeks after we broke up, my co-worker asked me out. I was hesitant since he was a few years younger and I’d pretty much friend-zoned him and all the other guys I work with. We went out on a few dates and I found out that he’s really mature for his age, very sincere and sweet (he told me he’s had the hugest crush on me for a while). Since I had just gotten out of a serious relationship, I was really uncertain to start something so fast since I wasn’t over my ex. I was upfront with him and told him I liked him but wasn’t ready and, if he wanted to date me, he’d have to wait and take it slow. We started to hang out here and there after work for happy hour and occasionally on the weekends. In the meantime, my ex started to text me about how much he missed me, realized his mistake and wanted to get back together again. My birthday was in June and both my co-worker and my ex sent me flowers at my work!

I’m not big on dating two guys at once so this whole thing was a little overwhelming. On one hand, I really missed my ex and all the hopes and dreams we had shared for so long and, on the other hand, I was enjoying the time I spent with this co-worker. I made a list of all the pros and cons from each guy, and I ultimately chose my ex. When it came down to it, they were both great guys but, since my co-worker is younger, he isn’t as financially secure and I don’t know how long it would take for him to make the kind of commitment my ex was prepared to make. I know this may sound silly, but I do want to have kids in the next few years since I’m in my late 20s and that was also one of the others reasons why I picked my ex.

After I made my decision, I went over to my co-worker’s place to tell him I was planning on working things out with ex. He was sad and told me he kinda expected it and understood my choice. As he was getting ready to walk me out, he gave me a kiss! It was our first kiss and I felt butterflies in my stomach. It was probably one of the best kisses I’ve had in a while, and now I’m completely torn on what to do. Since I had made my decision already, I decided to stick with it. Currently, I’m back together with my boyfriend/fiance; he just got a nice bonus from work and wants to take me ring shopping to buy me a new engagement ring. As much as I still want that life I had previously envisioned with him, I do feel sort of disconnected to him. I can’t help but think about my co-worker, and it’s driving me crazy. How can I get him out of my mind? Is my feeling this way a sign that I shouldn’t marry my fiancé whom I was completely in love with before I started having feelings for my co-worker? My fiancé is completely remorseful for breaking things off with me in the first place, and I see that he’s really trying to make things work with us. I haven’t talked to my co-worker much since I ended things with him a month ago, but he did write me a beautiful letter confessing his love for me, and I think I’m starting to fall for him. — Torn Between Two Guys

If you could move on from your boyfriend of four years so quickly that you had to make a “pros and cons” list to help you decide between him and some dude you’d never even kissed before, you weren’t and are not “completely in love” with the guy. If your fiancé’s biggest selling points — at least the biggest selling points that you include in this letter — are that he makes good money, just got a bonus, and can now afford to buy you a NEW ring (what was wrong with the old one, I wonder?) and give you the kind of future you dream of, then you aren’t truly in love with him. And if the deciding factor between the two guys, one of whom you dated for four years and were engaged to and one you’d never kissed before, was who earned more, then you honestly don’t sound anywhere near ready for marriage. And when you follow up your statement, “I was over the moon and completely excited to marry him,” with “I’m 28 and a lot of my close girl friends have recently gotten engaged/married,” it seems obvious that it isn’t the man you were excited about but the event — a wedding! — and the idea of playing house with someone who just got “an amazing job offer” and seems destined to be a great provider.

That you’re seriously second guessing your decision to marry this guy simply because your co-worker’s kiss left you all tingly inside is just one of many red flags here. You aren’t ready for a commitment — with either of these men. You want the flowers on your birthday and professions of love and tingly kisses and shiny jewelry, and that’s FINE. But don’t lie to yourself and don’t lie to a man who’s ready to plunk down who knows how much money on a new engagement ring by pretending you’re interested in anything deeper right now. If you were, you wouldn’t be choosing a potential husband with a pros and cons list.

Tell your fiancé you have too many doubts to commit to an engagement right now. Tell him you can’t even commit to a monogamous relationship and you can’t promise if you ever will with him. If he decides he still wants to date you given that information, fine, but you owe it to him and yourself to be honest. And since you can’t get your co-worker — or that kiss — out of your head, kiss him again. And again. And again. Why not? You’re young and unmarried. You’re newly single after leaving a 4-year relationship that supposedly broke your heart. So, enjoy yourself now. And when you’re ready for more than flowers on your birthday and professions of love from guys you barely know, and when, instead, the thought of living the rest of your life without the man you love is like imagining your life without legs to walk on or air to breathe, then you’ll know you’ve found the right person. You’ll know you’re closer to ready when the idea of using a pros and cons list to pick a boyfriend is as ludicrous as choosing a husband based on the size of his last bonus. Until then, enjoy the single life and don’t rush to marriage just because your friends are tying the knot.

*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 and ‘like’ me on Facebook.

109 comments… add one
  • katie August 6, 2012, 9:13 am

    WWS. totally. completely, totally, all the way.

    as a throw back to RR (we miss you!! come back!!), when there is two guys, the answer is always no guys. always, always, always.

    and please, please take what wendy said to heart about wanting a marriage, not a wedding… i could not believe you added in how all your friends are engaged/married as why you were excited- that just screams immaturity and insecurity.

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    • oldie August 6, 2012, 9:30 am

      The co-worker could well be a guy worth exploring further. I read nothing to suggest he is part of no guy. LW is too early in her almost-non-relationship with him to make any decision with him beyond he is an interesting guy to continue dating. To have thought of him as a possible marriage partner with this little experience together is beyond silly.

      Breaking up again with the Ex seems a no-brainer. Neither seems all that into the other. LW has fallen in love with marriage, kids, and somebody to buy her a house and support the little family she is imagining. Wendy is right, when it is such a close call that you have to make a list comparing the advantages of the guy you plan to marry and a guy you’ve barely met, and it is financial considerations that tip the balance, then you really shouldn’t even consider marriage — unless all you seek is a provider.

      The Ex seemed to have gotten fascinated with the concept of himself as the money-to-spend new stud in his new city and found LW an unpleasant encumberment. He wouldn’t think like that if he loved her enough to marry her. Now, his life in the new city isn’t as wild and happy as he imagined, he’s lonely and bored, and he wants his security blanket back.

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      • katie August 6, 2012, 9:40 am

        i agree that the new guy doesnt have any points against him, atleast not in the way that the ex does, but i am of the thought, as i know that RR is, that if you cannot pick between two guys (and you are down to making a pro/con lists- is anyone reminded of Friends?? haha), the answer is no guys- no matter what pro’s and con’s either of them have- because you are not ready for a relationship. so you pick no guys and focus on yourself.

        but on the whole, i do agree with you.

    • katie August 6, 2012, 11:34 am

      ah! this also reminds me of a letter a while ago. it was about a lady who was considering marrying a man who was great “on paper” but she didnt feel like she had a real connection with him- and she was considering it just because she wanted the marriage and kids.

      i was called out as being mean to her, and i was just kind of not explaining myself well… but i was being kind of mean.

      anyway, she wrote in an update saying that she decided not to be with the guy- and it was a huge relief to her. she realized that the real connection, the real part of a marriage IS actually more important then the rest of it- including kids. i think she had met someone she really liked, too, if i remember right.

      i wish i could find that letter and update.. you need to read it, LW.

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  • MMcG August 6, 2012, 9:14 am

    WWS x 1000

    And since I don’t have anything else nice to say about the LW, based on the information provided, I won’t say anything at all 🙂

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  • Just Max August 6, 2012, 9:23 am

    And this is why I looooove Wendy! 🙂

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  • Emily August 6, 2012, 9:27 am

    LW, I agree with Wendy but there a couple things I’d like to point out: you and your now ex-fiance created a dream together. You spent a significant 4 years together, then he proposed to you only to renege the proposal due to so many changes in his life. He does not sound very mature and that would make it hard for anyone to trust his word in the future. What can he do/is he doing to rebuild that trust he lost with you?

    While I can understand that your ex-fiance’s better finances is an appealing “pro” to have, I agree with Wendy that using this as a deciding factor is short-sighted. As the song goes, “You may be king, you may possess the world and it’s gold. But gold will never buy you happiness when you’re growing old.” I would be far more concerned about their money management than base salaries as that is more indicative of long term financial health. That is beside the point though.

    Johnny Depp has been quoted as saying, “If you fall in love with two people, pick the first because you wouldn’t have fallen for the second if you were truly in love with the first.” When I read your rather long letter I hear a young (as in immature) woman who is unsure of what she really wants. You built a dream and shared intimacies with a guy for 4 years who proposed to you only to take that back then acknowledge later that he made a big mistake–that would confuse anyone. If you’re going to make a list, start making a list of what your priorities and values are for yourself. What are some actions that would demonstrate that someone shares those values?

    You have the rest of your life to get married. I am a big proponent of marriage but are you really ready to work on a lifelong commitment to someone when you’re still torn between two men? What are some commitments you can make to yourself? What are some things that will make you happy? A wedding is a ceremony. It’s just one day. It is so easy to get caught up in the pageantry of the wedding, the white dress, the cake, place settings, and the idea of two becoming one but the real work is what goes on between the couple getting married. Making a marriage work takes far more effort than planning a wedding. Have you considered going to a therapist for a checkup? Sometimes talking about ourselves to an objective, trained third party can help us see ourselves in a different, it can help us understand what we really want, and need. For the time being, just focus on you. Do something you have always wanted to do but never had the courage to do. Start living in the present and see where it takes you. Be honest with yourself, your ex-fiance, and your co-worker about what you are and are not ready for. In the long run it will work out but you have some work to do on yourself. Good luck!

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    • kerrycontrary August 6, 2012, 9:33 am

      Yeh, I don’t know how you can go back to someone after they dump you because they had “too much going on in their life.” I mean usually your partner is your source of comfort and the one constant thing that is always there during times of change and turmoil. During times of change and when I have to uproot my life the last thing I want to lose is my boyfriend. How do you go back to someone after that? How do you trust they will never do it again? I’m not bashing the LW, I’m more just wondering how people do it.

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      • katie August 6, 2012, 9:37 am

        i feel the same way- your boyfriend, especially once you get to the point where you are to be married, should be your rock. they should be, as wendy put it, your legs to walk on and your air to breathe *especially* during those hard, stressful times of change. those hard times bring you closer together anyway- they will show you what you can accomplish as a team, as a the partnership that you are or have already created…

        “i have too much going on in my life” seems like “i dont want to marry you” in this situation.

      • spark_plug August 6, 2012, 10:30 am

        Yes! I was reading this letter and my response was.. ‘really?!!’ The LW’s fiance broke up with her after 4 years because he was moving for a new job two hours away and the stress of moving and starting a new job made him question a 4 year relationship and an engagement.. and her response to this is ‘but he’s sorry and has been trying to make it up to me?’ I feel like this marriage is a recipe for disaster.

      • katie August 6, 2012, 10:34 am

        yea, honestly, after 4 years, getting engaged and moving 2 hours away (not far, but far enough to be “new”) to to an awesome new job to start off married life seems perfect.

      • bagge72 August 6, 2012, 10:51 am

        Honestly, he must have met some girl at his new work that didn’t workout. You don’t need to be single to get through life (espcially a goodone), they only reason you need to be single when everything in life is going good is to get other girls. I could see dumping her if he felt he was dragging her down, because he was a low life with no job, who ate crack everyday, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. He looked for something better in a new place, and he didn’t find it so he came crawling back, maybe that’s all he needed to see that she was the one for him, but that’s too bad, he should have known that from the start.
        My fiancee, just got a new/better job in the city, and if she came to me, and said that she wanted to dump me because of that, I would walk out and never look, and then try to see all of her friends naked.

      • Will.i.am August 6, 2012, 11:11 am

        In our younger 20’s, I had a friend do something very similar. He was with a girl for a couple of years and she was cheating on him. After they broke, he found out that she was cheating on him with her now fiance. He was hurt and a little embarrassed about the situation. Ultimately, he knew where she worked and liked to eat there often. He ultimately ended up hooking up with a lot of her co-workers and they would go back to work and talk about the good time they had with them the night before. Her job at the restaurant didn’t last much longer after that!

      • Eljay August 6, 2012, 11:20 am

        This is EXACTLY what I was thinking. His lil somn on the side didn’t work out, so now he’s ready to make it work with his “back-up plan.”

    • Lindsay August 6, 2012, 10:06 am

      “You have the rest of your life to get married.”

      Yes! The LW’s reason for not choosing the new guy is that he’s younger and not ready for marriage yet. So what? I’d rather be with the right person and get married a couple years later than just marry the first person who will stand at the altar with me.

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      • bagge72 August 6, 2012, 10:55 am

        Yeah it seems like she would rather have kids now with somebody she likes, than have kids later with somebody she loves.

    • Violet August 6, 2012, 11:04 am

      That quote seems off… should be it be “If you fall in love with two people, choose the second?” 🙂

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      • rangerchic August 6, 2012, 2:26 pm

        I think it should be the second 🙂

        Anyway – this happened to my BIL. He was set to marry someone. Then she went to NYC (on a vacation not to move there) and decided to call it off. A few months later she decided she still wanted to marry him – I knew down deep it wouldn’t last. They married moved to California and about 4 or 5 years later divorced.

        This also happened to my brother where the girl called it off – then came back but I have to say they are still married. So it can always go either way – though I think if someone has doubts more often than not it will eventually lead in divorce. I’m hanging on to hope for my brother!

      • Marcie August 7, 2012, 11:39 am

        This happened to me. My husband (b/f at the time) ended our relationship after almost 2 years while he was going through a job transition, and I was moving home from college. I didn’t hear from him for 11 months and then out of the blue he started texting me again. I was dating someone seriously and had a very hard time figuring out who I should be with. We got back together soon after that and have been happily married for 6 years. Our relationship is much stronger because of our break and we would not have survived without it. I consider it a blessing that I was able to grow, even though I wasn’t totally alone and was actively dating most of the time. I’m not saying it works for everyone. Sometimes you can’t fix what’s broken, but it worked in our favor.

  • kerrycontrary August 6, 2012, 9:30 am

    WWS! And here’s the thing about dating two guys. It’s totally fine when you are casually dating two men that you recently became romantically interested in. You are going on dates with two men, they may be dating other women as well, NBD. It is not OK (at least in my mind) when one of those men is your former fiance that you dated for 4 years already.

    I also agree with Wendy about wanting a wedding and a ring, and not a marriage. I understand it’s hard to watch everyone get engaged when you’ve been with someone for a while. And everyone asks “So when you are you getting married?” (Like you have any control over when he proposes! Hah!). But what are your other reasons for wanting to marry this guy? And wanting to get married in general? While I commend the LW for having a life plan and a timeline, you can’t force this stuff to work just because you want it to.

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  • Nadine August 6, 2012, 9:52 am

    If you do stick with Old Guy – please please please figure out what he expected when he broke up with you. Did he think his life would be easier? Did he want to be single in his new city? Did he not want to force you to move somewhere? Did he want to try to find someone else in a new city where no one knew him as half a couple?
    Because breaking up with a fiance is a big deal! Aren’t you worried that he might need to be alone at other stressful points in his life? Aren’t you worried that he saw you as an impediment to his new lifestyle, rather than a benefit to it?
    Get a REAL good explanation for this. I’ve been broken up with and taken the guy back, after dire predictions from my friends. It worked out. But so often, it doesnt. You are either a team, or you are not a team.

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    • ktfran August 6, 2012, 10:11 am

      I agree with this Nadine. I didn’t want to weave it in my long response.

      LW – you need answers to some of these questions. I know I would.

      Did he want to try the single life? Did he not like it? Did he decide the grass wasn’t greener? Was he really just overwhelmed? Was he having second thoughts?

      You didn’t mention any of this in your letter. I think it’s important information.

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      • Nadine August 6, 2012, 10:19 am

        Thanks! I have nothing constructive to say about the other stuff – I dont feel qualified to say who she loves – but I think this stuff is very important and could lead to an authentic response.

  • lemongrass August 6, 2012, 9:53 am

    Ack! I think you need some time to yourself without men. Time without flirting or kissing or engagement ring buying. Spend a few months by yourself and get to know yourself. Not to be rude but it doesn’t seem like you have a sense of your own identity if you can move so quickly back and forth.

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  • ktfran August 6, 2012, 9:54 am

    I’m glad Wendy picked up on the same things I noticed in the letter.

    LW, I understand that the fiance threw you a curve ball. I get that. And now he wants to magically take it back. That’s not easy. And I’m sure there are questions on your part. But the things is, your main reason for wanting to marry him now is because he’s financially secure. It should be because you love him. That *should* be the number one reason to get married.

    I get that it might take some time to feel that connection again with him. So, if you want to be with the ex fiance, take some time and rebuild that trust before you get married again. Don’t get engaged. Make sure you really do love him. If not, that’s ok. TIMELINES ARE CRAP. They make people rush into things they normally wouldn’t. And then you’re either unhappily married or divorced.

    Oh, and when I was deciding to call off my wedding, it was super easy to talk about the wedding and the event because that was something I wanted. I wanted to wear the white dress and throw the amazing party. I also had the perfect ring. I mean, it was so gorgeous that people commented on it. Strangers. But when it came down to it, I didn’t want to marry the guy. So, I didn’t. And it was a smart, well thought out decision, because who really wants to get a divorce just so you can have a wedding day?

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  • Leroy August 6, 2012, 10:03 am

    Yours is probably the best alternate explanation. Because at face value, she doesn’t seem to see her ‘fiance’ as much more than a life annuity.

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    • Leroy August 6, 2012, 10:12 am

      opps. That was meant for TaraMonster.

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  • Lindsay August 6, 2012, 10:04 am

    I agree with everything Wendy said, but I’m still wondering what was up with the fiance. He couldn’t handle moving, having a new job and being engaged at the same time? I get that it’s stressful, but it wasn’t enough for him to postpone wedding planning for a few months? The only thing that he thought would help was to break up? IMO, that’s not OK. He can’t just break up with someone every time he has a lot going on in his life. I realize that the main concern here is the LW’s readiness for commitment, but WTF was the fiance thinking? People make mistakes, but I don’t know that I’d be so quick to come back to someone who, at least for a little while, didn’t care whether I was in his life or not.

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    • SweetPeaG August 6, 2012, 10:11 am

      Yes, a thousand times. Isn’t your significant other supposed to be the person who helps you through rough times? He clearly isn’t ready for marriage either. He thought he was going to get to the new place/job and have a million new women to bang. Then reality hit and he got lonely, so called up his ex. It’s just silly. The whole thing.

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    • ktfran August 6, 2012, 10:43 am

      I totally get where you’re going with this. I had the exact same thoughts. I mean, did he decide the grass wasn’t greener so he’s settling? That was my first thought.

      Then the LW brought up the timeline and the money issues.

      I can totally see him airing some of his concerns and maybe wanting to push the wedding back, and then the LW flipping out and pressuring him to keep her timeline. Now, that might not be the case. And he is just an ass. But I can see a hundred scenarios playing out in my head and we don’t have enough information.

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      • Tax Geek August 6, 2012, 10:49 am

        Playing a little devil’s advocate: maybe she was turning into a bridezilla and that was freaking him out.

      • ktfran August 6, 2012, 10:55 am

        Right? I was completely on her side until some of the other things she mentioned. Like how she’s choosing the ex because he makes good money and she’s ready to get married NOW.

      • SweetPeaG August 6, 2012, 11:43 am

        Yes, you are right. This definitely could have been something the LW did (such as become a little bit of a bridezilla) to push her guy away. However, whenever someone says they are looking to “try out the single life”, I usually just automatically think they are looking to play the field.

        It is just my observation that these make up/break up things don’t usually work. If he dumped her, it was for a reason that shouldn’t be ignored.

      • ktfran August 6, 2012, 12:09 pm

        Oh, I wholeheartedly agree. That’s why some of the questions Nadine raised are so important. I just don’t fully understand the breaking it off and wanting to get back together on his part from this letter.

        Wouldn’t it be awesome if two from the same party wrote in together with their sides. I think this would be a good one.

  • SweetPeaG August 6, 2012, 10:07 am

    Ugh. Forgive me if I am a jerk today. I’m feeling frustrated.

    But… come on. Look, I know us ladies have these stupid ticking clocks. I get it. And I think there are times when we should really just move things along in that direction when a child is really what we want. There are circumstances. HOWEVER, is a baby ever really worth marrying someone that you are so lackadaisical about? Marriage is real! Marriage is not just about a pretty ring. Marriage is not about a bonus at work. Marriage is not about some stupid wedding. Marriage is not just about having a baby. It is about spending your life with that person. YOUR. LIFE.

    Am I a crazy person? I totally don’t think a baby is worth marrying someone I don’t LOVE. Clearly, she doesn’t really LOVE either of these guys.

    LW, you are being silly. You need to be single for a while. The first guy DUMPED you. The second guy sounded really sweet, but then apparently professed his love after a couple dates and one kiss. He now seems like a weirdo. So, slow the heck down.

    I am having a “I just hate everyone and everything” day today…

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    • katie August 6, 2012, 10:19 am

      you have a great point.

      marriage is about creating a family, sure, but it is a family of two before anything else… who was it that said that on the trying to conceive letter on friday? once you get married, the two of you are family -legally, which i think is particularly important. they get to make medical decisions for you should the worst happen. they are beneficiaries to your insurances and things. you merge finances (usually). before any kids are in the picture, you are already a package. would it be worth it to align yourself with someone else just for the sake of the wedding and a baby? i dunno…

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    • lemongrass August 6, 2012, 10:47 am

      Nah, I agree with you. I said the same thing, just a whole lot more “canadian”

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  • RMM0278 August 6, 2012, 10:08 am

    Speaking as someone who went through this identical scenario…two things.

    1) When someone dumps you, he’s taking every single thing he knows about you — emotions, memories, hopes, dreams, affections, etc. — and essentially saying, “I don’t want this anymore.” Your relationship wasn’t enough for him. Although romcoms unrealistically highlight what happens when a guy loses the one thing he’s always taken for granted, reality isn’t so kind. Do you really want to be with someone who only appreciated what he had once he lost it? Aren’t you wondering why he didn’t value you when he had doubts and all before throwing everything away? If he had doubts, those are fine. He should have aired them and worked through them with you. But completely ending the relationship is something else entirely. That’s being selfish and cowardly. What’s he going to do next time he has doubts? What message is it going to send to him if you take him back?

    2) I took my fiance back after he dumped me weeks before our wedding. He also said he made a mistake and wanted to work things out. He dumped me again soon after.

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    • spark_plug August 6, 2012, 12:23 pm

      I just reread this letter and on the 2nd read, this jumped out to me: When it came down to it, they were both great guys but, since my co-worker is younger, he isn’t as financially secure and I don’t know how long it would take for him to make the kind of commitment my ex was prepared to make.

      Ummm… the ex isn’t ready to make that kind of a commitment. Maybe his bank account his, but he’s not.

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  • Tinywormhole August 6, 2012, 10:09 am

    “I know this may sound silly, but I do want to have kids in the next few years since I’m in my late 20s and that was also one of the others reasons why I picked my ex”……..

    Oh dear. LW, don’t pick a partner based on timing of when you want to have kids. It’s hard not to at this age, I know, but bringing children into a relationship with so many red flags is something you’ll regret later (I’m not saying you’ll regret the children – rather that you prioritized your desire to become a parent over their well being later). It’s really difficult to grow up in a split household even in the best of circumstances, and while no one’s relationship is ever guaranteed it certainly is wise to give your children the best chance for a happy childhood by waiting to have them until you have a truly supportive partner who you’re actually in love with.

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  • Meghan August 6, 2012, 10:10 am

    Can someone please clarify what WWS means? I keep seeing that on here, but as I’m not a regular commenter I think I may be missing something…

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    • Cara August 6, 2012, 10:17 am

      It means What Wendy Said

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    • katie August 6, 2012, 10:21 am

      ….and you can modify it for anyone!! so, WCS, (what cara said), for instance.

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      • Addie Pray August 6, 2012, 10:28 am

        Another favorite is WAPS. I’m just sayin’.

      • katie August 6, 2012, 10:30 am

        i was on a roll with WKS a few weeks ago… it was like everyone was sayin it, for real.

        it was a good week for me. lol

      • bethany August 6, 2012, 10:35 am

        Someone said WBS once, and it made me happy 🙂

      • Addie Pray August 6, 2012, 10:36 am

        It was me. You’re welcome.

      • Addie Pray August 6, 2012, 10:36 am

        Not to burst your bubble but I paid everyone $5 each to do it, through paypal. (I dunno.)

      • katie August 6, 2012, 10:40 am

        thank you!!

        do it again, please. i really enjoy it.

      • Addie Pray August 6, 2012, 10:49 am

        I know, right? All the thumb-ups and camaraderie and support we give/receive here … is actually really awesome! Like, I actively feel better / proud / loved when I get a WAPS. (Is that weird?!)

      • katie August 6, 2012, 12:22 pm


  • Heather August 6, 2012, 10:15 am

    I got married (realizing in hindsight) because I wanted the wedding – the dream – the kids etc. HUGE MISTAKE. Luckily, I got out of it relatively unscathed. Don’t settle. Even when yo don’t realize you’re settling. I think Wendy is spot on with this one.

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    • MJ August 6, 2012, 12:26 pm

      “Don’t settle. Even when you don’t realize you’re settling.”

      I don’t know what that means. If you don’t realize you’re settling, how are you supposed to avoid it? And what is “settling” anyway? If it’s ignoring major red flags, then yeah, don’t do that. If it’s taking that balding short guy because he’s great instead of waiting for Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome, then yeah, settle.

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      • Heather August 7, 2012, 10:07 am

        In my case it was the inkling that something wasn’t right. Red flags most definately. I could see in the faces & attitudes of my friends and family that he wasn’t the right choice. I just chose to ignore it. Anytime you have to justify to yourself or anyone else why you’re with him is very telling.

  • Addie Pray August 6, 2012, 10:18 am

    Ugh, I’m sorry, I hate this letter. I was feeling it until the money talk – now I don’t care. You’re deciding your future, and on your pros and cons list is the coworker’s income v. the bonus your ex-fiance just received? I just can’t wrap my head around your priorities. Worry about your own finances and then let’s talk about these two guys’ personalities, how they treat you, how they treat others, how they make you feel, etc. Your ex dropped you like a hot potato… but whatever, now *he* is ready and just got a bonus, sweet. … My Monday just became bitter.

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    • Temperance August 6, 2012, 10:26 am

      Seriously. While money is important in planning your future … I just can’t with this letter.

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      • Addie Pray August 6, 2012, 10:39 am

        Also, how/why does she know about the ex-fiance’s bonus? Here’s how I picture it: the ex comes crawling back via texts of love (barf, in and of itself) and tries to convince her to take him back with a “plus, I just got a bonus!” I guess he knew it would work. (barf barf).

    • Budj August 6, 2012, 10:56 am

      Yea… maybe this situation is relates to a situation I was in that is too fresh for me, but the two guys indecision makes me want to gag too….

      Do them both a favor and figure your shit out single.

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      • bagge72 August 6, 2012, 11:35 am

        Which guy did you pick?

      • Budj August 6, 2012, 12:11 pm

        I took Iwannatalktosampson’s approach.

      • iwannatalktosampson August 6, 2012, 12:26 pm

        Yesssss! That’s almost as good as an WIWTTSS.

      • bagge72 August 6, 2012, 1:03 pm

        Nice! I hope you got lots of good things!

    • Leroy August 6, 2012, 12:58 pm

      That’s why I wonder whether TaraMonster is onto something – that the LW is reeling, and a little beside herself, trying to salvage a bad situation. Because it’s strange that she could read what she’d written and not recognize how it comes off.

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    • Caris August 7, 2012, 9:02 am


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  • FireStar August 6, 2012, 10:23 am

    If your fiancé lost his job tomorrow and the bonus couldn’t go towards a pretty ring – would you still want to marry him in a heartbeat? Is this the person that you can happily meet all of life’s challenges with? Because no life is perfect and all lives have hardship at some point. A beautiful house with a white picket fence will feel like a prison if you are not with the right man.
    To be frank, your relationship with your fiancé doesn’t seem strong – he can end it all because he got a job and moved? You are torn over a kiss from someone you are just getting to know? If you would want to build a life with him regardless of his income potential, then shelve the engagement and take the time you both need to figure out what type of future you want with each other. If you really do want to be together then build back the trust and confidence in your relationship both of you will need to make it a success. If the thought of your fiancé losing his job is enough to make you pause – then he isn’t he man for you and you are not the girl for him. Finances are important in a marriage – but money will come and go during a marriage – you have to want the man infinitely more than you want what he can provide.

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  • Cara August 6, 2012, 10:25 am

    This letter does sound really shallow, but then, if you don´t have problems, you create some, don´t you?

    I feel like if she had a serious problem, she wouldn´t get so hung up about this.

    Anyway, I just worked for 29 days straight and this is only my second day off. Yesterday I slept the whole day and now I´ll go shopping and then I´ll drink. A lot. While everyone else has to work. Mwahahah!

    YAY Monday!

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  • Temperance August 6, 2012, 10:25 am

    LW, you need to step away from all the men for a while and figure out what you want. Your ex left you for a really stupid reason – I mean, COME ON, you were going to be married, and he couldn’t handle an LDR for a few months? Red flag.

    You said you got butterflies from another dude kissing you? BUTTERFLIES? Are you 16 and an extra on Dawson’s Creek?

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    • oldie August 6, 2012, 11:32 am

      It’s worse than that. “One of the best kisses I’ve had in a while.” Which suggests most of her Ex’s kisses didn’t do all that much for her. An almost best kiss that causes butterflies, not after a nice date, not sitting around making out during a date, but as a surprise to her as the final act of a guy she had just dumped? What a romantic setting for a kiss, especially from her perspective. And yet it makes this huge an impression on her. And apparently him. This is a very strange reaction for a woman who has just gotten back together with her Ex and is thinking of marries, house, and babies with him.

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      • Kate B. August 6, 2012, 1:19 pm

        What’s wrong wth butterflies? A good kiss gives me butterflies and I’m well over 16.

      • Michelle.Lea August 7, 2012, 4:16 pm

        I’m with Kate B. here.. i’ve been with the same guy for almost 7 years, and when he kisses me? Butterflies.

  • MellaJade August 6, 2012, 10:25 am

    Seriously, that letter sounds like a great Hallmark made-for-tv-movie. LW, you come across as a tad shallow and Wendy went easy on you. I hope you take her excellent advice to heart and not get caught up in a marriage to a guy that you don’t truly love just because all your gfs are doing it. This is a quick road to disaster and prolly divorce. Then again, you may be fine with that too since then you could take half of his money….SMH

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  • Alecia August 6, 2012, 10:28 am

    I agree with Wendy but I see what other points have been made. Marriage is what you should strive for, not a wedding. The wedding lasts all of five minutes while the marriage (if done right with the right intentions) can last a lifetime. If you went back to your ex simply because he was safe when he originally said he didn’t want you- you both chose the safety option. You chose to go with the person you think you know and want instead of being with the person who truly wants you and only you then, there, and now.
    The new guy is a different issue like Wendy said but it’s obvious you want the rom-com version of a relationship and not the nitty gritty cameras off type stuff that deals with your shortcomings, flaws, and insecurities. And from what I can tell you have alot to deal with.
    I understand we as women have a right to want kids and a family but I would rather wait for the right person than rush into it with the wrong person and end up regretting it. You can break an engagement, you can divorce, but you can’t reverse having kids with someone you wish you had never been with in the first place. And I think that’s something that people don’t think about enough because it affects the child more than anything.

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    • landygirl August 6, 2012, 12:13 pm

      I went to a wedding last weekend and it felt like we were in the church for an eternity!

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      • Desiree August 6, 2012, 12:39 pm

        That can happen. My fiance is from a Catholic family and he might want us to do a full Catholic Mass for our wedding. Full Catholic Mass=hour long wedding ceremony.

      • landygirl August 6, 2012, 12:51 pm

        Yup, that’s what it was. All of the responses were sang rather than spoken so that always adds to the torture. It was in St. Louis and it was about 99 degrees that day and the church was hot and I couldn’t wait for it to end.

        I’ll take my 5 minute ceremony over a church ceremony any day.

  • TaraMonster August 6, 2012, 9:31 am

    Wow. I’ve never disagreed with Wendy this much before and it makes me feel a little strange.

    Though I did think the line about her friends getting married indicates she’s just got the wedding itch, I don’t think that’s the only ,or even the strongest thing going on here. The con list may have included things like “My fiance broke my heart into tiny little pieces, can I be sure he won’t do it again?” And I think THAT feeling could cause anyone to focus on the material things, because that sort of emotional doubt is difficult to deal with. Maybe she’s not even admitting to herself how much it’s affecting her rekindled relationship with her fiance. LW was completely in love with her fiance, until he hurt her in a pretty serious way. For her to react by dating/considering some other guy just tells me she’s confused and hurt.

    Maybe she’s NOT ready to get married just this minute, but I don’t think it’s because she doesn’t love her fiance. I think that’s a really strong assertion to make. Maybe she just needs to take things much much more slowly with her fiance. I think should tell him she feels disconnected because of the pain he’s caused her and they should really work through that before they even begin thinking about diving back into an engagement. The ring thing too I kind of understand- the old one probably represents a lot of pain and betrayal (personally, I think getting a new ring is kind of awful for other reasons: nearly all diamonds are unethically sourced).

    LW, sloooow down. You and your fiance have been through a lot. If he’s truly serious about committing to you this time, he will be patient and understanding as you work through this stuff together. I think the other guy just represents a fresh start- someone who hasn’t hurt you with whom you’d have a clean slate. If you really do want to marry your fiance, then a little time, and a lot of talking will reveal that to you, and it will be clear that Mr. Clean Slate is just that. Good luck!

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    • a_different_Wendy August 6, 2012, 9:41 am

      You know, up til I read this I was completely with what Wendy was saying (I actually still agree that she sounds a little immature, but so does everyone when they are confused), but you’re right and I hadn’t thought about it this way.
      Either way, LW – the right thing to do is to slow waaaaay down and not jump into a wedding with anyone until you are certain of what you want.

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    • Flake August 6, 2012, 12:13 pm

      I agree with you. I think people are being a little too harsh with this LW. So many times women in similar situation are advised to look at things practically, especially when they want kids and they are at an age where time is becoming an issue.

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      • Red_Lady August 6, 2012, 6:39 pm

        Maybe that’s why the divorce rate is so high?

    • Desiree August 6, 2012, 12:21 pm

      This is a really interesting perspective! I agree with a lot of what you said. I like you pointing out that the LW being hurt/confused is probably impacting her communication right now. If she had explained why she wanted to marry her fiance before the break-up, it likely would have been a very different list than the one she is giving now. But her judgment is probably impacted by the betrayal, and I can’t blame her for that. I personally don’t want her to marry her ex, but it’s mainly because he doesn’t seem like a stand-up guy based on his actions.

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  • Fabelle August 6, 2012, 10:41 am

    LW, you can’t just go back to your fiance like nothing ever happened. That’s what you are trying to do & it’s already not working– “I do feel sort of disconnected from him.” Of course you do! The guy you dated for 4 years & were planning to marry suddenly BROKE UP WITH YOU what, mere months before the wedding? It seems like neither of you realizes the weight of those actions or the toll it’ll most likely take on your relationship in the future. You say he regrets calling off the engagment, but how has he expressed this other than sending you flowers & promising you a new ring? Are you so easily pacified by these gestures that you can forget how this man wanted to trade you for a fantasy single life in a new city?

    Sorry if I’m being harsh, but I feel as if you’re being deliberately blind in order to make your life fit into some mold. Being married isn’t all that important. Stop making pro/con lists & let yourself explore, whether that means dating your co-worker, just dating AROUND, being single for a while (this is an option, you know!), or just examining WHY you & your fiance are so eager to tie the knot.

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  • spark_plug August 6, 2012, 10:43 am

    Whenever I go through a break up – especially when the guy breaks up with me and I claim to be in love with him, I am devastated for a long period of time. I realize that everyone recovers on their own timelines, but an end of a freaking FOUR year relationship that’s easily remedied by hanging out with friends and family and smitten by having a guy kiss you to me screams that either the LW needs attention from men to feel okay, has no idea how to process her feelings or is really not into her fiance that much. A couple of weeks after a serious break up, I’m still glued my bed unable to have a regular human conversation because I burst into tears every 10 min. I just can’t imagine how you could have any interest in a new guy after the end of such a long relationship. I hope that the LW really thinks about these points and not just becomes defensive about them.

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    • AliceInDairyland August 6, 2012, 6:04 pm


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    • Elisse August 6, 2012, 10:38 pm

      This. This, this, this.

      I’m glued to my bed right now. Good thing I had vacation days stored up at work, because…seriously.

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  • Vathena August 6, 2012, 10:43 am

    Dude, Wendy, you are just knocking them out of the park lately! Excellent response. I hope we get an update from this one – I suspect some details weren’t included the first time around.

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  • Leah August 6, 2012, 10:59 am

    Look, it’s common for people to get engaged and even married when they really should be breaking up. Why? Because you reach a point in the relationship where you’ve been stuck in the same place for a long time and feel like you need to make a change. You love each other and no one has done everything wrong and things are comfortable. Maybe your friends are all getting married and it feels like it’s probably “time” or you’re at the right age, so you go for it. The thing is, sometimes successful long-term relationships just don’t work as marriages. What works well for a couple years isn’t necessarily right for the rest of your lives, but it can be hard to see that if nothing has gone particularly wrong.

    LW, I wonder if you and your fiance (ex-fiance?) were in that boat. You loved each other and it felt like it was time to get married because you were surrounded by married friends, but on some level he realized it wasn’t the right decision and freaked out and ended it. Just because he wasn’t honest with himself or you about why he did it doesn’t mean that ending the relationship wasn’t the right decision. The fact that he had second thoughts and asked for you back might be the mistake, here, not the breakup. You both really need to sit down, alone and together, and talk through your relationship and why that break-up happened. And remember, things don’t have to be awful or dramatic for the relationship to have fizzled out or just not be enough for you anymore. I get that you’re ready to be married and committed, but that doesn’t mean that your fiance, who you may love a lot, is the right guy to do that with. Isn’t it better to admit that now before you get married and have kids with him?

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    • kerrycontrary August 6, 2012, 11:55 am

      This is always a fear of mine, not because I think my relationship will end up that way but because people warn me about it so often. A lot of couples get married because it’s the right time in their lives and they just think they are supposed to. And then they end up divorced at 27.

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      • MJ August 6, 2012, 12:16 pm

        But if you’re loving someone, do things just fizzle? I know that falling out of love is said to be a thing, but honestly? You can’t keep hot “love feelings” alive forever. Is “well, I’m not feeling it” enough to walk away from a four-year relationship that’s been overall really good?

        I think people have way over-the-top expectations about what love is supposed to feel like. Sure, there are times it isn’t right, but just because it’s not exciting doesn’t mean it’s time to end things. You can break up because you’re young and it doesn’t feel like the “right time”…why can’t you get married because you’re 33 and it feels like the “right time?”

        Guys do this sort of thing all the time, btw. They won’t commit until they’re ready (usually a certain age, when they have their shit together). Why do we hold women to a different standard?

      • ktfran August 6, 2012, 12:23 pm

        I’ve thought about this. And I think with some men, they don’t even look for the right woman until they’re ready. They finally decide to look for and find the right life partner. And in my opinion, waiting to do that, you’ll have better success.

        As for women, I think they have this timeline, so they decide they love whoever they are with that fits into their ideal timeline. They don’t think about if they’re really compatible long term. They don’t vet people, so to speak.

        This is based purely on observations on my part. And from my life experiences.

      • MJ August 6, 2012, 12:30 pm

        I can see that for sure. Thinking about long-term compatibility is important and good, and some women (me) overthink it, while other women don’t think about it at all.

        Most men don’t seem to think too much about it at all–“hey, I’m 28, she’s fun, smart, attractive, not crazy and our life goals line up.”

  • j2 August 6, 2012, 11:03 am

    Prediction: if you marry your “Ex-Fiancé,” he will have an early mid-life crisis, bemoaning his loss of freedom and independence, especially due to the demands of children.

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  • Bossy Italian Wife August 6, 2012, 11:37 am

    Marrying this guy would be a huge mistake for several reasons!!!

    1- He abruptly dumped you after asking you to marry him. Marriage is not a flippant thing! It’s a serious commitment. That should be alarming to you.

    2- Seriously? A pro and con list made your decision for you? Seriously?!?!?!

    3- What you want is a wedding, not a marriage, and those are two different things. My husband was unemployed when he proposed to me… it didn’t matter–we were and continue to be very much in love. (And now he is a photographer/videographer who works for several outlets.) Money is not a reason to marry; it doesn’t mean security. And while I’m on the subject how can you possibly feel “secure” with a guy who is perfectly comfortable dumping you like that?

    You need to think long and hard about what your motivations are to get married. As far as I am concerned a break up is a break up is a break up. You broke up. Don’t take him back because he got a bonus.

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  • iwannatalktosampson August 6, 2012, 12:04 pm

    Everyone’s being really hard on you LW, and I won’t stand for it. Here’s what you do. You date them both without telling the other one you’re playing the field. Then you see who buys you the most presents in the next 6 months and pick that one. But make sure they don’t know there’s a competition – that could make it really awkward.

    May the odds be ever in their favor.

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    • ktfran August 6, 2012, 12:12 pm

      Well played.

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    • kf August 6, 2012, 2:12 pm

      I was going to say marry guy 1 and carry on an affair with guy 2, so she can get the pretty baubles *and* the butterfly kisses, but this is good too.

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  • CattyGoLightly August 6, 2012, 12:26 pm

    It’s hard to say! I know that I would be confused as hell with all the shenanigans you ex/current fiance pulled. I know this is easier to say since I am a third party and not actually involved in your life in any way, but I would seriously consider dumping him. It’s hard, since you loved him, were engaged to him, excited about marrying him, only to be dumped by him. He was either A) having serious doubts, or B) interested in being available and single in his new city. Neither of these options is very nice, and this is probably why you are having such a hard time choosing/feeling happy with him again.

    And I like that you always seemed to be upfront and honest with the new guy. If I were you though, I would tell both of them that you need time for yourself. Spend some time alone, and figure out if you can forgive someone who dumped you because they were “too busy to have time for you,” and figure out if you would even want to be with him. I don’t think I would be able to.

    You don’t want to waste any more time with your fiance if he is not the one anymore, due to his own actions. I wouldn’t blame you if the way he acted changed the way you felt about him. I agree with what everyone else is saying, and think you need to definitely get answers from him as to why he left. And if they’re still that he was “too busy” for you, for the love of god, break up with him. That makes him either a jerk or a liar, and you don’t want to spend the rest of your life with either.

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  • theattack August 6, 2012, 12:30 pm

    I truly hope that you were just being careless when you wrote this letter and that you forgot to list the emotional reasons you want to get back with your ex. A list like this should include things such as loving each other, having a good partnership, working well together, being great emotional support for each other, feeling safer than any place in the world when you’re with that person, etc. A relationship is a good candidate for marriage when you both love each other deeply and have a very functional partnership. Part of a functional partnership is being able to work through problems and hard times together. It doesn’t sound like your fiance fits that. Take those things into consideration when making your decision.

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    • theattack August 6, 2012, 12:32 pm

      You should also consider if you even trust him at this point. You should not be engaged to someone you can’t even trust to stick around. I would make him prove himself to me for at least another year or so before committing with an engagement.

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  • aegri August 6, 2012, 2:32 pm

    I haven’t read all the comments, forgive me if this has already been said, but LW do you really want to commit to a man (for life) who bails on you when his life gets stressful? What happens when you have the chaos of a child at home? This is not a man who is ready to be a husband and father, regardless of how ready (or not) you might be.

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  • Leslie August 6, 2012, 7:10 pm

    WWS! Girl go out and have some fun. Date your co-worker and a whole bunch of other guys. It might feel like you’re getting left behind with all of your friends getting engaged and married but that’s ok. Live your life at your own pace!

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  • Red_Lady August 6, 2012, 9:19 pm

    LW, why did your fiance propose to you in the first place? And do you truly believe that he meant any of it, if he was so quick to up and leave you a mere 2 months afterwards?! I hope you guys are really analyzing why that break up happened, and how you can avoid it in the future, because someone giving up on a 4-year relationship, AND an engagement, just because they felt too overwhelmed? That is definitely not good marriage material. Being in a marriage means you work things out together, as a team. I know I don’t know all the details, but based on what you’ve given us, he and you were just not meant to be.

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  • Caris August 7, 2012, 9:37 am

    Train-wreck waiting to happen, imo. *gets popcorn*

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  • Anna August 8, 2012, 4:23 am

    “And when you’re ready for more than flowers on your birthday and professions of love from guys you barely know, and when, instead, the thought of living the rest of your life without the man you love is like imagining your life without legs to walk on or air to breathe, then you’ll know you’ve found the right person. ”

    Wendy is so right about this. You don’t sound ready to get married or like you’re in love with your fiance. Just the fact that you accepted a date with someone else 2 weeks after the breakup tells me that. I was on the receiving end of a bad breakup just over 3 months ago. He was my everything and I was totally in love with him (well, still am really). Two weeks after the breakup, I was still sitting on my couch in my underwear drinking wine from the bottle and trying not to cry. If someone had asked me out, I would have had to say no I’m not ready for that. Even months later, I’m still not ready.

    I don’t often advise people to go sow their wild oats rather than getting married, but you seem particularly far from the marriage arena in your current thoughts.

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  • laxhaxtax August 8, 2012, 9:55 am

    If you have doubts then that’s your answer. I know 5 people who went thru with the wedding while they were not totally committed to the marriage and, guess what, they are all divorced. It takes two people full of passion, commitment, shared values, to make a go of a long marriage and even then it can get iffy from time to time. You need to let all of this sit for a while. All those lovely wedding dresses are not what reality is about. That wedding day is just that…. a day. Marriage should be looked at as life long. Anything that could interfere with that should be taken very seriously. Another man’s kiss woke you up. Now stay awake and give all of this some time.

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  • Sad and disappointed July 30, 2017, 10:30 am

    I have to be honest. I’m quite disappointed with this. I was pulled in by the pretty pictures and prettily made website and that is always the wrong way to go. I’m sorry to sound harsh but the person giving advice has no credentials to do so and should probably explicitly say that to prevent anything from hurting her legally. I say that because I care and I really think she does not know how these things so easily happen. As to her response to this poor torn woman, it was disrespectful and judgmental. I suppose that when people are emailing you their questions judgements will come to your mind. However, to be professional while giving advice you must leave your judgment out. I sought this site to ask my own question but after reading this I’d be better off asking my salon stylist. She at least does not want to degrade me or others.

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    • Dear Wendy July 30, 2017, 12:30 pm

      What do you consider “credentials” for giving advice, and how do you know I don’t have them if I don’t explicitly say that I do? Oh, is it because I actually do explicitly say? And what sort of legal problems do you think I will get from telling people they need to leave a relationship that doesn’t sound happy? I’m genuinely curious what sort of laws you think I’m breaking. And, fyi, giving advice is all about judgment! People specifically seek others whom they they have good judgment for advice. How on earth can you give advice if you have no judgment?

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    • RedRoverRedRover July 30, 2017, 12:53 pm

      Lol, it’s not illegal to give advice. Here, I’ll give you some: Before you tell people they can get into legal trouble, educate yourself on the actual laws.

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    • MissDre July 30, 2017, 1:05 pm

      I’m pretty sure Wendy is EXTREMELY qualified to give relationship advice, considering she’s been through the ups and downs of relationships in college and in her late 20’s, she’s been on dates and been through breakups, and she’s experienced the RIGHT relationship that led to an engagement, which led to a happy marriage, which led to beautiful children and a beautiful home, and is still happily married. Basically, Wendy has what most LWs writing in here want (most, not all). She has the life experience to back up her advice, and on top of it all, she’s an excellent writer. What more could you want in a relationship advice columnist?

      Unless you’re specifically looking for medical or psychological advice or a diagnoses from a doctor, Wendy is more than qualified to give her opinion. Just because you didn’t like what she had to say, doesn’t mean she should be discredited.

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    • Janelle July 30, 2017, 1:10 pm

      Oh no this wasn’t the answer YOU, who aren’t even the letter writer, wanted? Legal issues? I laughed when I read this.

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