“My Maid of Honor Keeps Talking About *Her* Relationship”

I got engaged at the beginning of this year and asked my best friend to be my Maid of Honor. She had recently started dating her first real boyfriend. Her relationship has taken off very, very quickly (trips together, moving in together). Now all she talks about is her boyfriend and their future engagement.

I am very happy for her, but I can’t help but feel like my happy moment of engagement and planning a wedding is being totally overshadowed by her excitement about getting engaged soon. I’m at my wits’ end; I can’t listen to her talk about it anymore (it is the ONLY thing she talks about – her ring, their engagement, her future wedding), but I also don’t want to burst her bubble and upset her as she deserves to be happy too. I’m worried that she and her boyfriend will get engaged before my wedding and she’ll completely stop caring about mine. She hardly asks about my wedding as it is, and even when we are talking about it, she eventually brings up her own situation. My bachelorette party is next summer and she has already informed me that she’ll be leaving it a day early to go on vacation with her boyfriend’s family.

What do I do? How do I handle her getting engaged a month before my wedding (if it happens)? I’ll definitely be her Maid of Honor as she doesn’t have any close relatives, but I not sure I will want to be if I’m still planning a wedding of my own.

Please give me advice! — Feeling Overshadowed

Eek, this makes me sad. If you aren’t sure you’d want to be the Maid of Honor in your best friend’s wedding while still planning your own, I’m not sure this friendship has much of a future. If you only have room in your heart to support a loved one when you feel like your need for support doesn’t trump theirs, I’m not sure there’s space for meaningful friendships in your life at all. And that sounds lonely and depressing. Instead, I would urge you to make the space in your heart for your friend’s happiness in addition to yours.

You don’t have to center her relationship or her potential wedding, but… she doesn’t have to center yours either. In fact, I would suggest you steer the conversation away from wedding or relationship talk altogether. Because here’s the thing: Just as you are sick of hearing your friend go on and on about her relationship, she is probably feeling similar about listening to you discuss your wedding plans after almost a whole year (and still many months to go!). I know this because, according to you, she hardly asks about your wedding as it is. Do you ask about her relationship? Or do you think that while you’re engaged, you don’t have to think or talk about anyone else’s relationship? I ask this because you say that even when you two are talking about your wedding, “she eventually brings up her own situation.” Well… yeah, that’s what friends do! They eventually share their own stuff after listening to the other person for a while. Why does this upset you?

Look, you’re gonna burn each other out with this tedious relationship and wedding stuff. Surely, you have other things you like doing and talking about together? And if you don’t, why are you friends? What do you two have in common? What is your connection based on? Lean in to whatever it is you enjoy about each other. Do something fun together that isn’t related to weddings! Try to remember what it is you love about one another. Remind yourselves that there are other ways to express care for each other besides inquiring about your relationships or wedding plans.

And if there’s simply nothing else you want to discuss, accept that your potential for making friends is going to be limited and you should hang on to the ones you have and not push them away. As little as your Maid of Honor may want to hear about your wedding after nearly a year of listening to plans, I promise you that people you are not as close to care even less.

I’ve been dating this guy for about a year and a half. About six months ago I moved four hours away for the job of a lifetime(!) – seriously, it was an offer I just couldn’t refuse and he was and is still supportive of the decision. Before then, we lived about an hour apart and both lived with our parents. We had both recently graduated from university at the time. Now we both live in our own apartments – four hours apart.

Christmas is coming up and I’m driving back to my hometown, which is now about 30 minutes from him since his move). I want to split my time equally between my parents and my boyfriend. I get to see my boyfriend usually once every two weeks for the weekend, sometimes every weekend – we try to split the driving. I don’t see my parents very often, even when I’m back in the area, as I normally spend all my time with him. The problem is he has issues with my spending half my time with my parents and doesn’t understand why I’d want to. I don’t understand how he can’t understand – I miss my parents and I want to spend time with them.

He’s kind of had issues with it before too. Like when I was traveling down for the weekend: I proposed staying at my parents on the Friday night to visit with them and then coming to his place first thing on the Saturday, but he wasn’t happy with that suggestion. I get that he misses me and wants to spend as much time as he can with me because I miss him too. We talked about it the other evening, and I expressed my disappointment that he wasn’t more supportive. He says he doesn’t understand the desire to spend full days with parents – that he’s moved out and “is over that period in his life.”

I don’t know what to say… I love him, but I think this might be the breaking point for me. — Breaking Point

Not all relationships are meant to last. Often the relationships we have in college don’t withstand the transition to adulthood, or the relationships we had when we lived near our partners don’t survive the challenges of long distance. Sometimes we simply outgrow people or realize that our values don’t align as well as we thought. It sounds like maybe all of these things are happening for you. While it’s almost always sad to contemplate ending a relationship, I would advise you reframe the idea that this is a “breaking point” and think of it as a “breakthrough” instead. It sounds like any decision you make about this relationship going forward will be based on the reality of your situation and your current feelings and not on simply continuing the status quo because it’s what you know.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

5 Comments

  1. LW1 – I’m scared to ask how old you are. I always I wonder how many women would bother with marriage if it weren’t packaged with an engagement period where a woman “allowed” to lean into an over-inflated sense of self and the fantasy of a dream party.

    There’s plenty of room for both of you to be happily coupled up and hitting relationship milestones at the same time! Why do you feel like you’re in some kind of competition with her for attention? Her relationship’s existence and progression do not diminish yours. And getting engaged does not mean your wedding should be the center of every conversation for the duration of your (very lengthy) engagement. Other people are not going to be as invested in your wedding as you are… and that means literally nothing. It’s not a slight, it doesn’t mean they aren’t happy for you, it doesn’t mean they aren’t supportive.

    I think you need to chill out about your engagement and wedding. Take a few steps back and get some perspective. Do your inner work, with a therapist if needed.

    1. Also, it’s not a big deal if she misses a day of your bachelorette party. For any reason. Bachelorette parties do not need to be days long — that is a newer trend, one that I believe is fueled by social media. It’s also a trend that can get very expensive very quickly for the friends who show up to support you. Why is your focus only on the ways you feel let down by her having a scheduling conflict rather than the effort she is making to be there for all but one day of your bach party? Come on.

      I want to be sympathetic but I’ve never been able to relate to the wedding obsessed.

  2. LW1: Literally no one except you and maybe your betrothed care as much about your wedding as you do. No one’s putting their life on hold for it, it’s not the center of anyone else’s world and it’s bizarre to expect your friend to not live her own life and discuss her own relationship during your apparently months (years?)-long engagement. And, if she gets engaged the month before your wedding – so what? You’ll have a MOH who is engaged. Or, hell, what if she rushes out and elopes. You may have a married MOH!! Who cares?

    Gently, I’d urge you to stop focusing so much on the It’s My Day; It’s All About MEEEEE! of your wedding day and remember that the point of it all is to celebrate the joining of your life with that of your fiancee with your friends and family. Whether your friend gets engaged, breaks up, gets married, get pregnant or does anything else in her own relationship really is irrelevant to that. She can continue to live her life and support you and be there for you, as you should, too.

    LW2: Wendy’s right. And also consider, this pattern isn’t going to just be limited to now. Imagine continuing this relationship and getting married and having this debate over every holiday, every vacation, any weekend you’d just like to see your parents and what have you.

  3. I have a friend who has a way of hijacking conversations into longwinded monologues, and we’ve been friends so long that I’ve likely heard the subject before. I either tune it out or say, “That’s interesting! Say have you seen, heard, been to blah blah blah” and get the conversation going on another topic. It’s frustrating to hear the same things over and over again, but you don’t have to sit there and take it. Also, your wedding is just never going to be as interesting to other people as it is to you. It’s just not. Go to reddit or some other community and overanalyze your wedding with other brides. Lastly, cut your friend some slack. I’m guessing she is the late bloomer of your friend group, since you say it’s her first boyfriend? I’d be more concerned with this relationship blowing up spectacularly in her face than her getting engaged before your wedding. All your information comes from her, no? So who knows what the man is thinking. You’d need to be there for her, and I’d hope you have enough room in your heart to help your friend and finish planning your wedding.

  4. Anonymousse says:

    “She hardly asks about my wedding as it is, and even when we are talking about it, she eventually brings up her own situation.”

    Is this not how conversations normally progress? This is how I relate to people I talk to. They tell me a little about themselves, and then I talk a little, and it progresses back and forth. It’s called give and take.

    “How do I deal with it if she gets engaged a month before my wedding?”

    You say congratulations and be a supportive friend!? How is this difficult? I was thinking though…have you considered the possibility of her being proposed to AT your wedding?

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