Q: I recently called off my wedding less than a week beforehand. Everyone hates me now — my ex, her family, even my family. I feel terrible about having done this. I kept trying to put my feelings down to cold feet, but I suddenly knew I couldn’t go through with it. Better that than divorce in less than a year, right? I know I look like the bad guy, but my ex bears some blame for giving me an ultimatum instead of letting it happen organically. We had only been dating two years before she said, “Give me a ring, or else I walk.” When I tried to explain this to friends and family, they said it makes me look even worse, trying to blame the “heartbroken, jilted bride.” Aren’t I entitled to defend myself, or am I going to have to take 100 percent of the blame forever?
Not Really the Villain
A: You had me till the finger-pointing.
Yes, her ultimatum was a terrible idea. But, dude — you heard her terrible idea, and upi did what? Bought a ring. So that’s on you.
Let’s go back for a second, though. I don’t like blame in situations like this. You two weren’t right for each other. Everyone who “hates” you isn’t connecting enough dots to recognize you had to call it off.
You could both be lovely people who tried to do right by each other, and that still could have brought you to a last-minute cancellation. Sometimes the Aha Fairy chooses to visit at a terrible time.
So own that, and nothing else. Say you’re sorry. Say you feel terrible. Say you wish clarity had come sooner. No flinching.
And no justifications, either. Here’s what doesn’t help anyone at a time like this:
“Hey, beats a divorce?”
“YOU pressured ME, remember?”
“We had only been dating two years!” (My eyeroll added.)
“Do I have to take 100 percent of the blame forever?!”
Your job is to have a clear message for yourself, that you are 100 percent responsible for your part in this. For agreeing to something you didn’t want and for taking so long to see the error in that.
How others see it, see her, see you? That’s for them to work out. The rest will follow when you get right with you.
And when you compensate your ex and/or her family for any deposits you lost by bolting so late. Decency demands it, in installments if you must.
Washington Post Writers Group