Q: Dear Meredith,
My mornings during the week are always about my friend and I drinking our iced coffees and talking about Love Letters. Sure, sometimes we struggle with finding sympathy for the young twenty-somethings who worry about finding the one but then we realize love hurts no matter the age.
I'm your typical 34-year-old, never-been-married, got-it-together (for the most part) girl. I sometimes have relationships (2 yrs, 8 yrs, 6 mo), sometimes try all activities they say to meet someone when I am single (even lowered my salary on an internet dating site) and then sometimes just go out with the gals for vino because dating gets draining. Eight months ago I met a guy organically and even though at first I didn't think I'd want to date someone with kids, I realized how much I loved being with him. He moved in and the kids were going to live with us this summer. His cousin asked me to be her maid of honor and I agreed even though this is my 8th wedding and I swore I would politely decline after the 7th. But I stepped up and due to a short timeline there were three days of non-stop wedding planning to the point I was given the sole task of planning the meal. The night I got home from trying on the bridesmaid dress I left to the bedroom to privately feel sorry for myself and have a good cry. I have always wanted to get married but it just hasnít worked out for me. When my boyfriend asked what was wrong, I exposed that all the wedding planning has been hard because it makes me think about my own situation of turning 35 and not ever being asked myself. When we moved in together I was clear that marriage and kids were something I wanted and that he shouldn't move in (for my sake or the sake of his two girls) if he wasn't interested. He did move in and I loved every minute of us being together. Two weeks ago, I came home and his stuff was gone and that was it. No goodbye, no waiting around to tell me. I didn't even get the post-it note Carrie got.
When I say I that I felt like I got punched in the gut, I'm not sure that even describes the feeling. I was sick for days over this but I pulled myself together. This past weekend he declared that he has decided that he does want to get married and have kids with me and that he just panicked. Can I really believe him? Should I put myself through being the maid of honor? The wedding is four weeks away and he is the best man, and I cannot think of more torture than that. I know the bride didnít do anything -- she was supportive of me the whole time so I feel obligated to do it -- but I'm not sure if I will keep it together.
– Always, Always the Bridesmaid, Lowell
A: AATB, you're going to feel wrong no matter what you do about the wedding. Let's say you back out of being the maid of honor. Will you regret not being there? Will you wonder what you're missing? Will you spend the day obsessing about the whole thing? I'm not sure that showing up for the wedding will feel great either, but consider that you're going to be miserable either way.
The bigger question is about your relationship -- whether you can believe that your boyfriend really wants you back. And the answer is: I don't know. It's normal to panic when your girlfriend of eight months has a wedding-induced meltdown and starts talking about kids and marriage, but it's not acceptable to pack up all of your stuff and move out while she's gone for the day. That kind of behavior is cruel and cowardly. And frankly, it's a bit dramatic. He knew he'd see you again. It's almost like he did that for effect.
I can't give you a definitive answer about his motives, but I'm all for getting as many of your questions answered as possible. If it were me, I'd talk to him about what happened and why he wants you back. Then I'd go to the wedding. Because I'd want to see what it feels like to be near him at a joyous occasion. I'd want to see if it feels right to be by his side.
Sometimes the best way to get answers is to immerse yourself in the problem. See if going to the wedding with him feels like coming home Ė or returning to something that you're ready to leave behind. And remember, the wedding isn't the big question, the relationship is.
Readers? Should she go to the wedding? Should she forgive the weird move-out? Has she been focusing on the wrong thing? Were they just not ready to move in together? Should she let go of some of that wedding angst? What happened here? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.