When Your Friend Is Marrying The Wrong Person
You’re not going to love every partner your friends choose for themselves. You simply are not. It would be nice if you loved the significant other of each and every one of your friends as much as you love them. And, it would really be ideal if they all loved your significant other as much as they love you. But, that’s not always how things pan out. It’s one of the most classic and unavoidable problems in life: your good friend winds up with a man you don’t really like. You can tell her anything, but you can’t tell her that. Maybe you can. Can you? We’ll get into that shortly. But whatever the answer, it’s undeniably a very uncomfortable subject. Your friend wants to be with her partner all of the time, and she also wants to spend time with you, so she wants her two worlds—friendships and romantic partnership—to merge. And you just don’t want that. But, selfish feelings aside, regardless of how you feel about hanging out with the guy, you are just worried for your friend. You feel she’s with the wrong person. You feel he doesn’t bring out the best in her. Maybe you don’t think he encourages her in her goals enough, that he’s controlling, or that he still has personal issues he needs to work out before he can be a good partner to anybody—your friend, or anyone at all. You’ve always told your friend when you thought she was making a mistake, but it’s hard to do that in this case. And now, she’s told you she’s engaged to this man. Maybe they’re even at the point of having set the date. You’re supposed to act excited and help plan the bachelorette party. Here’s the reality of having your friend marry the wrong man.
You feel you missed your window
All along, you knew this guy was wrong for her. And now that they’re engaged, you’re kicking yourself for not saying something before. She’s decided to spend her life with him. You had the question, in your mind, “Do you think this is really the guy for you—forever?” Maybe it would have been appropriate to ask that question before they got engaged, but it isn’t now.
The engagement announcement is awkward
You have to pull out the greatest acting job of your life when you act happy for her. You find yourself asking yourself, “What am I supposed to say? Oh, right. I should shriek. I should hug her. I should say I’m so happy for you.” The reaction doesn’t come naturally for you because your feelings behind the reaction do not match up with the reaction.
You’ll walk a fine line
But, you also don’t want to act too happy, because you want to leave yourself an opening to tell her, later, that you think this is a bad idea. If you literally throw her a parade when she announces the engagement, then she’ll be totally blindsided when you bring up your concerns later. But also, right now, as she looks at you and shows you her ring, you can’t behave tepidly. That would raise questions on her end, and you don’t feel ready to talk about your concerns just yet.
Planning stresses you out
She wants to talk plans—when should she have the wedding? What about the bachelorette party? Weekend before the wedding? So everyone is already in town? How about the bridal? Would it be too soon to have it next month? You’re sitting there feeling like you’re on a train moving fast towards a crash. You feel like a total imposter even participating in this conversation. She wants you to be a bridesmaid, and instead of worrying about the usual stress that comes with, you’re worrying about the fact that you don’t even support this wedding.
You’re planning your own event
The talk, that is. You’re sitting there, saying, “Um, yes, having the bachelorette party the weekend before the wedding sounds good. Also, if there’s a time you and I could sit down to talk sometime before then, that’d be a good idea…” You want to tell her she’s making a huge mistake. Is there a date set for that conversation between the bridal shower and the wedding?
Why doesn’t she see it?
You are completely dumfounded by the fact that she can’t see it. How can she not see it? It’s so obvious to you that she’s either A) Not happy around this guy or B) not herself around this guy. Those are pretty much the two main ways a relationship goes wrong. Those are pretty big factors. You just don’t understand how she can’t see that.
You pounce on a fight
If she talks to you about a fight they’re having during this process, you pounce at the opportunity to say, “Maybe you guys should have a long engagement…” or “Maybe you should wait to get married until you hash out that issue” (knowing they never will). It feels like a moment sent down from the heavens: it’s your natural opening to say don’t marry this guy.
But you feel like a bad friend pressing the issue
You know that, if you suggest she ends things with the guy, she won’t see you as looking out for her best interests. What she wants, from you, is advice on how to make things right with the guy, so they can move forward with the wedding. That, in her eyes, is what it would mean for you to be supportive right now.
You want to make her happy, now and then
This entire time, throughout the wedding planning, you are torn between your desire to make her happy right now—to say yes to her requests for the bridal shower and to get excited about the bachelorette party—and your desire to make sure she’s happy forever. And you feel that those two realities cannot coexist. If you say yes to her throughout this wedding planning, then you’re pushing her towards an unhappy marriage. If you don’t do whatever she asks to help this wedding move forward, you’ll make her upset now, but you feel it’s all so she can be happy in the future (by calling this off).
You want to communicate with others
At group gatherings, people are talking about the engagement and the wedding. You’re desperately searching for clues that somebody else agrees with you—that somebody else sees that this is a huge mistake. You drop little hints and make subtle comments. You’re throwing out some bait, and seeing if anyone bites. You’re looking deep into the eyes of others around you, trying to find panic in anybody else’s eyes. This all feels like a surreal play where everyone is playing the part of happy friend.
You shoot down her ideas
Every vendor she finds—from the florist to the caterer to the DJ—you take issue with. You look up Yelp reviews, taking a screenshot of the negative ones. You tell her disaster stories of others who tried to have their weddings at that venue. You don’t know why you’re doing this. It’s not like she’s going to cancel the wedding because she can’t find a florist just yet. But you feel like, in your way, you’re protesting the wedding by being negative about the vendors.
“They can just get a divorce”
That’s what you assure yourself. Yeah. She can’t possibly tolerate their dynamic forever. It’s unfortunate she hasn’t hit her breaking point before getting married, but she will hit it. You can just play the role of supportive friend, counting on the fact that she’ll come to her senses, and end things on her own one day. That’s what you tell yourself.
Though, divorce is not easy
Then you realize that just hoping your friend goes through a divorce is insane. That’s where things are at?! It would be a good thing if your friend went through something as terrible as a divorce? You also realize that, many people who want to get a divorce stay together simply because divorce is too expensive and messy. You cannot think she’ll “just get a divorce” one day and this will all be fixed.
You decide to wait; maybe she’ll consult you
Ultimately, you realize that it is just inappropriate to tell her that you don’t think she should marry this guy unless she asks. If they get into a blowout fight and she asks you, “Do you think I’m making a mistake,” then and only then do you get to tell her. Otherwise, if you tell her unprompted, you’ll always be the friend she knows disapproves of her partner.
You release it; you have no control
Though it all feels very urgent and very on your shoulders, you eventually realize that this is a part of life: your friends may wind up with partners you don’t think are right for them. If you plan on making a habit of stating it, every time it occurs, you’ll lose a lot of friends and have a tumultuous life. Maybe your mother or some older, wiser person tells you, “Hey, life is long. There will be many things you can’t control. This is one of them. Let it go.”