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Worrying about a wedding and DP's ex - long(18 Posts)
I apologise in advance - this is ridiculously long.
DP and I have been together for four years - I'm late 20s, he's early 30s. We met totally at random - no mutual friends or anything. He's amazing. This relationship is as close to perfect as I think it's conceivable to be after this time! I adore him, he adores me, yada yada. We're in the process of buying a house and have agreed to think about marriage/kids once the house is all sorted.
When we first met he had a few different groups of friends but there was one that I never felt 100% at ease in. It was a small group from University - 2 girls (A & B) and 2 boys (DP and Y). DP was in a relationship with one of the girls (A) for around a year during university.
A is a very dominant personality. When I first met her four years ago, it was clear that she was the 'leader' of the group. I felt a bit uncomfortable with the incestuousness of the group (Y had also been with both girls, separately, at other points) and the fact that she was his serious ex, but put it to one side as I really didn't want to be the 'uncomfortable with DP's ex being a friend' girl. DP was always very understanding about me feeling insecure around her - particularly since she's so gregarious and make it very plain that she leads the group - but the whole group has a habit of staying quiet in order to not rock the boat with her, DP included.
There were various instances over the first 3 years of our relationship where I felt that she was actively trying to make me feel uncomfortable. She sought to shit stir in the early months by telling me quite intimate things about DP that she knew he hadn't told me. I felt she undermined me by referring to things about DP that she knew better than me, e.g. ordering for him at bars when I was there, or talking at length for no reason about members of his family I was yet to meet. She would also reminisce openly in front of me about events or places they'd gone to when they were a couple, which seemed to me to be quite disrespectful.
I sometimes got a bit upset about her with DP but framed it as 'I hate that I'm uncomfortable' rather than calling her out on it - I knew that the whole group was very much of the view that they just let her get on with this behaviour, they all seemed rather in her thrall. It did make me feel like shit though.
Just over a year ago it all came to a head. We were out at dinner and, in fairness, everyone had had a bit to drink. I mentioned (stupidly, I know) an issue that's very close to me and causes me a lot of distress about my family - relating to disabilities. Her response was rude, presumptive and upset me a lot - she kept repeating her view of what my family should/shouldn't have done when I tried to change the subject. Eventually I said 'we're getting no-where - I'm going to go for a cigarette' and went outside to let things diffuse as I really didn't want to fall out. I know I shouldn't have mentioned something close to my heart with her - I'm an idiot for that.
Outside, one of her friends (not of the close knit group mentioned above) came out and asked me to come back in. They acknowledged she was 'hard work' but said she was crying and wondered if I'd come in and sort it out. Reluctantly I went in, said it didn't matter, and gave her a quick (if not particularly sincere) hug. She was a bit subdued but we kind of finished off the evening.
On the way home, DP and I had quite a big argument about the fact he hadn't said anything when she'd made the comments about my family and what they'd done wrong in her eyes. After a long chat involving a fair amount of soul searching and crying on both our parts, he apologised for not having said anything, or stood up for my family (who he's particularly close to). I'm not one of those girls who believes her boyfriend should 'rescue' her in those scenarios but I was upset that he just sat by and said nothing. It's probably the biggest fight we've had in our relationship but we have since resolved it and there's no outstanding issue between us - if anything we're stronger since.
A day or so later he told me that he'd reflected on the evening and wanted to say something to A about her behaviour. He said that it had set off in him a lot of thoughts about times when she'd been rude or dismissive and he was sick of rolling over and letting her continue with it. As it is, they exchanged some Facebook messages, met for a drink to discuss it and parted on not-fantastic terms where it was agreed that we would no longer see A. In the messages, A made a few accusations about me (that I think I'm above everyone, that I'm rude and disrespectful - which obviously I don't think are true, but are the same accusations I'd level at her if I were going to).
Without wanting to sound horrid, we've had the most wonderful year without A in our lives. We continue to see B and Y and their respective partners, and whilst I think it makes my DP sad that they don't all meet up as a group any more, he does tell me when the subject comes up that he's pleased he made the choice to break contact with her.
I remain a bit uncomfortable about it all because I feel responsible for a friendship of his ending. It all makes me feel like I'm a 'psycho girlfriend' and couldn't deal with them being exes. I'm almost certain that's not the case, and that I'd have been fine with it if she'd been respectful to our relationship or me as an individual. Whenever it comes up with DP, he says that there was a lot more back story to it and with hindsight he should have cut contact or at least distanced himself from her a long time before.
Reading between the lines, he didn't have a serious girlfriend after her until me (about 6 years) and I don't know (or want to know) whether part of that was due to not being over her, or just not wanting to rock the boat given how involved she remained in his life.
It's worth noting at this point that A has a DP - A is a very big personality and her DP is the opposite of that, from what I've seen. I know many couples are different behind closed doors and I actually don't have any problem with her DP, he always seemed very nice when we spent time together. He never seemed bothered about her possessivenss over my DP, but who knows?
Anyway - Y (the other guy in that group) and his DP are getting married next year. I'm dreading it. I love Y and his DFiance and I can't wait to see them married, we've only got on better since the schism last year. But A and her DP will be there. My DP has had a quiet word with Y and as far as I'm aware has promised there will be no drama, and Y has said we'll all be seated separately etc. But I can't help but worry about the day. I'm a bit socially anxious anyway, and weddings make me nervous at the best of times! But knowing she'll be there - I'm terrified. Plus, I feel bad for B, the other girl - I imagine she'll be torn between us on one side of the room and A on the other.
DP is going on Y's stag do and A's DP will be there. I can't decide if it's worth the two of them having a word (if A's DP is even ok with talking to him?) about how we're going to do the day. DP says that he would quite like to. I've even wondered about the idea of dropping A an email myself to smooth things over in advance. Or do we just leave it and play by ear?
I kind of wish I knew what she wanted to do so that we could just agree how the day should go!
I've got no interest in reviving the friendship with A - like I said, it's been a great year without her in our lives and I'm sure she's quite happily getting on with life too. DP is firm that he feels the same way. But after 12 months, it does feel to some extent like water under the bridge and I just want to get through the day with minimum hassle.
Ok - part of me is still livid with her for what she said to me, part of me is still a tiny bit fucked off with the 'I know your DP better than you do' shit and I'm really cross with her for upsetting DP, too. But once this wedding's out the way, we don't need to see each other again. I've got no desire to cause any trouble at the wedding, particularly for Y's sake! Just need to work out how to minimise the chance of me having a freak out - it sounds daft but, even now, if I were to run into her now by accident I'd probably have a panic attack (to which I'm prone) - her presence is just a memory of such a horrible time.
Thank you to anyone who has made it through all of that - any advice would be really gratefully received.
I think you're doing brilliantly. She tried to clutch on to what little power she had over him (all historic) yet it was all fruitless. He's with you for a reason & I think you need to just bury stuff from the timeline before you.
You're the winner here, if I saw her now, I'd give her the cheesiest smile
She's bitter & you're the better person. Don't lose sight of that
Please don't 'drop' emails before wedding, that's just bizarre.
You go along, smile, make polite smalltalk if required, and don't see them again.
It's not a big deal.
If she makes any drama, you just walk away.
Are you getting professional help with your anxiety btw?
I think you're making it a much, much bigger deal than it needs to be.
Really, the drama is unnecessary.
Just go to the wedding. Smile. Make small talk then leave. All done.
If I were you, I'd assume that she's put the past behind her and is now grown up enough not to bring up a spat from ages ago at a friend's wedding. It should be easy enough to just say hello and smile.
If she creates a scene, just tell her you're not interested in disrupting such a lovely day, and then walk away.
Thanks everyone. This thread is really helping, not least because it's helping me to confront what I'm worried about.
I don't imagine she'll make a scene on the day TBH. I certainly don't want that and I can't imagine that she does either! I suppose a lot of my fear comes from having to face up to it all rather than squirreling it all away and mulling in my over-thinking brain (I do over think things massively - thank you for pointing out that I'm doing it here, sometimes it's hard to get perspective).
Manon you're quite right that an email would be weird and creepy! I don't know why, I just wish that I could pre-plan the whole thing so I knew it wouldn't be awkward.
I have had help with my anxiety in the past but it's been a while. Perhaps I should look into getting some more help now so that I'm better placed for when this all happens next year.
I so don't want to make this into a drama! I promise all the worry is happening inside my head, I wouldn't dream of imposing all of this on anyone (just you lovely people )
I remain a bit uncomfortable about it all because I feel responsible for a friendship of his ending.
She treated you badly, over and over again. You are not responsible for that. You brushed her repeated bad behaviour off over and over, you gave her every chance to do better, and when she was horrendously rude to you, you still didn't issue ultimatums or start yelling: you left the room. Your partner then met up with her another time, challenged her poor behaviour, and has since decided to not see her again.
In other words, you are not responsible for this friendship ending, she is.
Go to the wedding. If you see her, smile and wave then walk away. If she engages you in conversation, be cheerful and polite and disengage as soon as you can. Move away. If she still manages to say anything rude, say, "Wow, that's rude!" then leave a looooong pause, which she will fill. Don't let her continue to talk about the rude thing: change the subject if she persists, or walk away.
She's the one with the problem, not you.
You can plan it.
You plan it with your partner. He's the only one that matters.
I agree with every one else. Smile and nod breezily if you have to speak to her. Ignore anything she says that's annoying or say 'okaaay' and change the subject if necessary.
The important thing is to show no guilt, no worry, no concern.
A is not relevant to your lives. She is not important, don't treat her as if she was.
It sounds like she likes upsetting you. She make sure that she doesn't.
it sounds daft but, even now, if I were to run into her now by accident I'd probably have a panic attack (to which I'm prone) - her presence is just a memory of such a horrible time.
I think it's good that you recognise this. It sounds like it was the right thing for you and your partner to cut ties with her, but perhaps one consequence of this is that she's become this big 'thing' in your head and symbolic of so much more than just herself as a person.
The wedding isn't until next year and you're already this worried about it. If you let it, it's just going to keep becoming a bigger and bigger deal, when honestly I don't really think you have all that much to worry about. I've been there myself - I went to a wedding last year with probably my least favourite person on earth (and I'm the kind of person who normally likes everyone). I hadn't seen her for years and I was really not looking forward to it, but of course on the day we just exchanged quick, polite hellos and then didn't see each other for the rest of it.
I promise you that this wedding can't be half as bad as you're imagining it will be! And unless it's a very small wedding, it's unlikely that the bride will even notice who's talking to who, let alone feel worried about darting back and forth between you.
Your dp ended their friendship, not you.
And he did it because of her behaviour.
You are blameless. If anyone should be feeling awkward, it's her!
OP, I'm like you in that I massively overthink negative situations. What I like to do as I work myself into a lather is tell myself ENOUGH! Then I draw in a deep breath and play out a scenario in my head where I'm not anxious. I picture the very best I can be in a quiet confident way. What I try and stop myself doing is go through various situations where I'll say/do such and such if she says/does this and that. Therein lies madness. I treat it like saying an emphatic no to say another drink,chocolate or start smoking again. I refuse to give my overthinking head space. It's ruddy hard work.
When I was reading through your OP , I thought you don't have the problem, you are just reacting to her issues. Have a bit of faith in yourself. You're not setting out to upset her.
There's no need for any communication before the wedding. That will only add drama. Make sure you and DP stick together on the day and don't engage in conversation with her..... If she says hi then reply and leave it at that.
Relax and enjoy the day.
My one request if I were you.. is that your DP does not have a conversation with her either.
She sounds like a right bi**h.
Don't try to smooth things over in advance of the wedding. That might give the impression you want to all be friends again, and then you'll be back to square one.
Breezy, polite, but don't get in a conversation.
I suppose part of your discomfort is your misplaced guilt about the ending of the friendship, but honestly, she wasn't a good friend to your dp. She tried to undermine his relationship and with you; he's well rid. She was not a friend of the relationship.
I suspect the reason your dp didn't have a serious relationship with anyone for the 6 years between was she undermined all other prospective partners
Tbf when you first met DP she prob did know him a bit better. Still, she was thoughtless.
My first instinct is that you are over thinking this. It's someone else's wedding, it's not about you. It should be perfectly easy to be 'breezy' and pleasant, no drama, as long as DP is on side
and not to much drink involved
But, having experienced a true 'frenemy' I can well imagine it's not always so easy.
Speak to DP, agree how to manage it, as long as you and DP are on the same page all should be well.
Good point, hownotto, I hadn't even noticed.. OP, please stop beating yourself up for failing to be completely 'cool' with your dp's ex being unpleasant to you. By your own admission, it took you
far too long years to snap; you're really not insecure and illogical.
Just accept that it will be a bit awkward, some things are, and that is fine.
I kind of wish I knew what she wanted to do so that we could just agree how the day should go!
I thought this line was telling! You're still treating her as the leader of the group.
She's got an extremely charismatic personality, clearly. But you have power too. You don't need her permission for anything.
Who cares what she thinks or does? By worrying you are giving her the power back.
Be blasé. Nonchalant. Breezy. Light. Smile, nod, walk away. 'Oh, hello hope you are well, must dash I need the ladies/a drink/to talk to a nice lady I saw earlier' and walk away.
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