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The Marrying Man: Chris

October 7, 2009

Yesterday I let it out via my Facebook status that one of my significant, recent exes is getting married. And he is getting married to the girl he dated right after me.

After reading my status a friend of mine asked, “So, your ex is getting married. What is that like?”

I promised her I would blog about it. So, Jamie, this one is for you:

As it happens, I have a lot of experience with this. The majority of my exes have married the girl they dated right after dating me. Almost all of the rest of them were engaged to the next girl, and a few asked the next girl to marry him, but the girl declined.

So, what is it like when your ex gets married? To be honest, it is different every time. Each relationship was different, each break up was different and each time he fell in love with someone else felt different for me.

There are, however, some elements that I have found common to the experience each time. Honestly, it is a rather complex combination of emotions. And it usually turns into one of those moments in life where my head and my heart have a bit of a fight and I have to habitually talk myself out of feeling bad about it.

When Zac was about to get married I was very excited, because I was sure I would be cured of ever wanting to be with him, in any way, ever again. I was wrong. I ended up sad, lonely and kind of jealous. (I also I think I was pretty annoyed because he picked a girl who I think is nothing like me. That always feels like an insult somehow.) What can I say? A person’s first love is hard to get over.

On a side note, I was completely cured of ever wanting to be with him (in any way, ever again) when he had a kid. So, that worked out well. Thanks God for baby William.

Other than that, the whole “ex getting married” thing makes me feel some combination of sad, relieved, happy, rejected, confused, angry, hurt, mad, jealous…a pretty full spectrum. One emotion usually dominates the others. But the others are always there in some measure.

The situation usually makes me feel like Sally during what I like to call ‘The Snot Scene’ in “When Harry Met Sally.”

Sally: …All this time I thought he didn’t want to get married. But, the truth is, he didn’t want to marry me. He didn’t love me.

Harry: If you could take him back now, would you?

Sally: No. But why didn’t he want to marry me? What’s the matter with me?

Then, of course, she dissolves into tears again. And, when an ex gets married I usually dissolve into tears at some point, because I’m wondering the same thing, “Why didn’t he want to marry me?”

I’ve actually gone so far as to ask some of my exes this question, to no avail.

My dad says that guys just get to the point that they feel like getting married and they marry whoever they are dating at that time – without much of a selection process. Aside from this idea being infuriating, it might be kind of right. I dunno. Maybe I help get the guys ready to be married, ready to be in love. Maybe I’ve just had bad timing. I keep dating guys who aren’t ready to pull the trigger.

All things considered, this time I’m doing pretty well with the whole “ex getting married” situation. But, I’m usually doing pretty well before the wedding. On Saturday, or Sunday, when I realize the nuptials have taken place – and he really is never going to be with me – that might be hard.

It might be especially hard because this particular fella kept me on a string for 3 years after we “broke up.” It took me a long time to accept the idea that he wasn’t going to finally decide he wanted me and quit messing around. I told him that if he wanted to be with me he had to start over from the beginning and be serious about the relationship.

Well, he thought that was a good idea…so, he started over with another girl.

I think it took about a year after that to work through all of the emotions that were left behind. But, I have forgiven him and thanked him for our relationship. I think I am as close to “over it” a person can be after devoting a portion of my heart to him for five years. I don’t want him back and I am no longer secretly hoping the first five years of his marriage will suck or that they will have a horrible sex life and ugly children.

I’ve know he would marry her ever since I knew they were together. So, I’ve been actively accepting this outcome for a while. I do miss him. And I’m sad that there isn’t really a way for us to be friends. He was one of my best friends for five years.

But now he can be her best friend. And I hope he is, for as long as they both shall live.

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