- Gender and Relationships
My Ex Got Married: Shock and Disbelief
Michaela tells us, "My ex got married. He was supposed to marry me, but he married someone else." So how does this happen, why does it happen, and what are you to do in this situation?
How Does this Happen?
The Relationship Goes Something Like This:
It happens to women all the time. A girlfriend will spend two, three, four, or more years being the devoted girl to her guy, hoping that the elusive engagement ring will be popped out each Christmas, Valentine's Day, or birthday that passes. But it doesn't happen. She counts the days since she met her man, since they maybe moved in together, and somehow she eventually knows that he isn't counting the days or the years like she is. But she still hopes that her relationship and commitment has meant enough to him over the years to warrant that ring.
Hindsight is Always Clear
Often when a woman meets a man she really likes, she pictures that they will be together forever, especially because everything seems to flow very well in the relationship. But post-relationship, when a woman looks back, she will often pick up those cues that she never did before.
She looks back on the past and remembers him saying things like:
- "Let's live together first and see how it goes."
- "I'm not ready for marriage."
- "Just because we have a child doesn't mean we have to get married."
- "You need to give me more time."
- "I don't think I ever want to get married."
But while a woman is in love, she will often dismiss, forget, or minimize that her boyfriend has said these things, because love often blinds people to the reality of what their partner's commitment potential really is. After all, everything else seems to be going somewhat smooth at the time.
Then the Breakup Ensues
Often the woman (but occasionally the man) breaks the relationship off with her guy after three, but frequently many more years because no ring emerged. Usually she is still somewhat young because she cut it off in time to be able to meet a new man, consider the years it takes to get to the engaged phase again, and then actually marry, all while she is still youthful.
Often the breakup has one of the following patterns:
- She breaks it off because he didn't produce a ring. He knows this, and it still didn't make him pop the question.
- She breaks it off, but doesn't tell him it's because she didn't get the proposal. She just gravitates away from him and stops answering calls, or she moves out of their shared living space without much explanation.
- The guy creates issues where there are none as a way to break their relationship up because he sees someone else on the horizon.
Why those lost years matter so much to women:
The breakup is often painful because there was a lot of emotional investment in the situation for the female. But because marriage means a lot to most women, realizing those lost years is frequently the bigger issue, because youthful attraction and childbearing years are usually at stake. These really boil down to a woman's capacity for survival in the animal kingdom. The issue is rarely addressed this way, but this is a main reason why lost years add up to so much bitterness for a woman.
Realizing some fool strung her along because she was good enough to be a sexual partner and companion, but not good enough for the ultimate commitment, is enough to make some women go ballistic.
Remember When Big Married Natasha Instead of Carrie?
Did your ex marry/get engaged to someone else?
Then the Ex Gets Engaged or Married Soon After
And it often does happen really soon after, sometimes within a month to six months. When this happens, a woman often asks herself, "What was wrong with me? Why didn't he propose to me?" "I stood by him. I gave him all those years of my life and somehow he couldn't commit to me." "Now he meets some girl off the street and he is engaged in a few months?"
It's an infuriating and hurtful blow like no other, as Catherine, 33, who just went through this, will attest: "My ex got married. He was supposed to marry me, but he married someone else. I broke it off with him because after four years of being in a relationship he simply told me he didn't ever want to be married."
"He met a girl after we broke up. Within a month he was engaged to her. I just don't get it."
How to React When You Hear Your Ex is Engaged or Married to Someone Else
Ultimately you will feel what you are feeling inside no matter what, but here are some helpful hints:
- You can choose to confront him and ask for an explanation. if it suits what is going on inside of you, but often it still will not help. You will still feel quite bad for a while, which will pass one day. Keep in mind not to do anything illegal. In addition, some men simply don't handle confrontations well.
- Start dating again immediately. Often you will hear advice to the opposite, that you will need time to recover, but the truth is if you want to get married, you should spend your time proactively -- even if it is just going out with friends to places you know a lot of men hang out. You must realize your ex wasted precious years of your life, so don't spend anymore time on him.
- Do not communicate with your ex any more than you absolutely have to (for example if you have children together). If you must communicate, then simply be neutral -- neither show friendliness nor anger. Think business mindset.
- Don't go to their engagement parties or wedding, even if you are asked. There is nothing really there for you at these events. Consider it taking out the trash.
- Don't be friends with your ex. Even if you forgive someone, you do not need a person who had the capacity to lead you on, as a part of your new life. He will be your past.
- If you run in the same circles, let him see you on dates, with a new boyfriend, or enjoying yourself with friends. Then forget about him.
- Speak to trusted friends and family about your woes until time washes them away.
- Realize your future is bright. Your past, which is gone, was where the pain emanated from.
Why Did He Marry Someone Else?
It isn't because you didn't wait long enough. Men know when they want to marry someone relatively quickly after meeting them. Some men choose to simply keep a partner in their lives, even for many years, regardless of whether he knows he will marry her or not.
The reason men string women along is because society accepts cohabitation and breakups very easily. Stringing someone along does not have the image-shattering taboo that it had in the Victorian era and for most of history beforehand.
This is one of the main reasons that sex before marriage was frowned upon. Sex only came with the ultimate commitment because it ensured that women would not be giving their hearts and bodies away to men who in the end might not be honoring them.
What Should You Do In This Situation?
If you have been the victim of this bait-and-switch, simply look out for these cues for future relationships:
- Make sure any man you wish to commit to has told you beforehand that you are the woman he wants to marry. Do not move in with a man otherwise. And preferably do not move in with a man at all before marriage.
- Do not date exclusively one man at a time unless you know that he is extremely serious about you. You need to keep your options open until you feel that a man is expressing honorable intentions towards you.
- Consider waiting to have sex with a man until he expresses his intentions towards you. And make sure they are the same intentions that you wish for.
Don't fret over your past. History is a teacher for us all, and in the game of love, sometimes you need to play defensively until your match has arrived.