Post # 1
This past Saturday I attended the wedding of a close high school girlfriend. She is really one of the sweetest people I know and has been with her fiance for quite a few years, so I was genuinely excited and happy for her. I was also stoked for her wedding, which was going to be a huge event with about 500 people in attendance.
Well, about 10 minutes before the ceremony, he called to say he was not coming. As in "I’m not marrying you." At this point, the entire church was filled. It was seriously heartbreaking.
Because I cannot even concieve of how I would feel in this situation (I know she is crushed), I am at a loss as to helping her cope. I know her friends and family believe that this was a blessing in disguise (because although he chose a TERRIBLE time to make the decision, at least he knew he couldn’t make the commitment before they were married), but it will still be a very rough time for her. My question for you ladies is if anyone here or anyone’s friend has been thorugh a similar ordeal and how you did handle this?
I know that etiquette dictates that I should still give her the present, but it is monogramed towels (she registered for), and I think it would be flat out cruel to still give them to her. Any other suggestions?
Thank you all!
Post # 3
don’t give those to her. since you are friends, send her something sweet like a mani/pedi cert or a coffee shop gift card — and a nice card.
Post # 4
I agree, a spa day or gift certificate would be a nice way to still give her a gift, but not be a harsh reminder of what happened. My heart goes out to her! What an awful thing to have to go through.
Post # 5
- Wedding: September 2009 - City Hall
Oh my god, how awful. I agree with those above – keep/return the monogrammed stuff and give her something like a spa/gift cert she can enjoy.
Post # 6
Wow, what a difficult situation. First, I wouldn’t give her the towels. Since they are monogrammed, she will have no ues for them. And although etiquette might state that you should give the gift, etiquette also states that she should give them back if the wedding is called off. So she’ll basically have to write you a thank you note saying "Thanks for the monogrammed towels, but the other half of the monogram is a jerk and we can’t really use these…"
I think that a gift card for a mani/pedi or a great restaurant or something like Miss Marshmellow is a great idea.
As for how to be there for her– I think that her grief will come in waves. First, she’ll probably be so embarrassed and it will take a lot of reassurance that no one is thinking poorly about HER. Then, she’ll probably be angry that he did this to her. And then, she’ll probably be sad when she realizes that the relationship really is over. I suggest that, if possible, physically being there would be good. In the beginning, sit around with her and talk it over as mjuch as she wants. And then, when she’s gone through the initial stages, get her out of the house. Don’t try to set her up with someone right away, but don’t let her wallow alone. Set up dinners with your girlfriends, and go to movies, etc. The worst thing is for her to sit home alone all the time. And maybe encourage counseling when she is up to it— this is A LOT to go through and there are lots of different emotions that a trained professional can handle.
And although everyone might say it, I would avoid telling her that this is a "Blessing in disguise." Yes, it is. But the word blessing isn’t really appropriate, because her heart is broken. In time she will realize that she is better off without him, and that its better to not have gone through with it instead of getting a divorce a year down the road, but it still SUCKS, no matter how you think about it. I would just remind her that she is better off without him, and what goes around comes around… Help her grow into a strong independent woman. But also remember that she will clearly carry this with her for the rest of her life, being very wary of men in her future relationships. So don’t encourage her guy bashing. Let her get it out, but then change the conversation and focus on HER and how strong and great she is, NOT how horrible he is!
Good luck… I wish your friend all the best.
Post # 7
I would be crushed, but like you said I can’t fathom what it would really feel like. BeachBrideT has good advice for you. As a close friend, I’d certainly still give a gift but keep it focused on her, not a traditional "wedding" gift but something she can really enjoy for herself.
Post # 8
Hmmm…do you live close by? I don’t want to trivialize things, but I keep thinking how great it was in SATC Movie when they all went on Carrie’s honeymoon to take care of her since initially she was almost catatonic? Can you take her to a spa (even a weekend spa) for a day or two? I’m guessing it might be hard for her to motivate to do that by herself. Also, everyone is different of course, but when really bad things happen in my life I don’t want to talk about them for a while…but I do like having people near me. So I don’t know if that describes everyone, but that might be the best thing you could do for her…just find a way to let her know you’re there without prying too much about what’s wrong.
Post # 9
- Wedding: September 2009 - Westwind YWCA camp
I second fizicsGirl – find some activities you can do together to take her mind off of things for a while. She’s probably feeling lonely, and lost – help her remember that she’s never lost her way by spending girltiime with her. a spa, horseback riding, a new yoga class – something interactive. Whenever I’ve gone through a breakup (although not this bad!), I’ve found that the more I move my body, the less I have the opportunity to think about how much my heart hurts.
Post # 10
I would not give her towels. You are right- it would be like salt in the wound.
Plus- I believe if the wedding doesn’t go on, the bride it to return the gift (remember Carrie hiring Jennifer Hudson’s character in SATC to handle returning all the gifts?)- so save her trouble and just return them yourself or eat the cost and donate them to the Goodwill.
I would take whatever money you would have spent and use it to do something with her that takes her mind off what’s going on.
I haven’t had a friend in the same situation, but I did have a friend come home to find her husband of 3 years packing his stuff to leave her- just after they bought a home, a new car, and started trying for a family.
When that happened we just started hanging out a lot more- dinner and movies, mani/pedis, movie nights, going out for drinks- anything to keep her from having to sit at home and dwell on what was happening.
My heart is breaking for your friend. Good luck being there for her.
Post # 11
Wow that’s really horrible! I am not going to repeat all of he good advice that has already been given. Of course, just smother her with love and be there for her. I see that you just got married (congrats!), try as hard as you can to not talk about your wedding with her. Any reminder of weddings right now might just be salt in the wound for her. Good luck with everything!
Post # 12
Eek. I definitely agree although it IS it hurts too much now to tell her it’s a blessing in disguise,
Maybe take her out for a girls day? Movies, Spa, etc? Get her out of the house, being alone at home has a tendency to get your mind churning…
Post # 13
Oh my goodness, that is heartbreaking. I agree that you should try to spend some time with her if you can. Maybe not right now, while she’s probably surrounded by family and such, but especially over the coming weeks and months. When people go through traumatic experiences, like say, after a death in the family, there tends to be a big outpouring right away but soon it dries up as people go back to their lives. Or she may not experience as big an outpouring because being left at the altar is a taboo thing, so you may be able to step in earlier. Regardless, the grieving process can take much longer than many people realize and its course is different for everyone (although the details tend to follow the same pattern). Concentrate on being there for your friend in the long as well as the short term.
As for what to do when you are with her, think of times when you have been very upset and what was comforting to you. In my experience, just the simple presence of my friends did me a world of good. Don’t push her to talk about it if she doesn’t want to. Just try to assess where she is and just be with her. You don’t need to necessarily fill the space with talk of how strong/wonderful/brave she is, because she may not be ready or able to hear that yet. Ditto on this being a "blessing in disguise" or any talk of how her ex-fiance is a jerk/coward/horrible person. Just listen to her, if she wants to talk. If she does talk, focus on expressing her emotions back to her instead of trying to contribute your own interpretations. So if she is saying cruel things about her ex-fiance, you could say "he treated you horribly, I can’t believe what he did either, but it’s going to be okay" but I would not try to expand the dialogue into other times he has been a jerk, for example, or to try to change the conversation into about how much better she is off without him. Take her where she is.
The spa gift certificate (or spa double date) is a wonderful idea, but I would not give it to her right away. After I had a traumatic breakup several years ago, one of my friends sent me for a spa treatment a few weeks after the fact. If it had been any sooner it would have been all lost on me because I would have been too upset to enjoy it (which would have made me more upset, because I would have been worrying about wasting all that money). If you give it now it might seem like a wedding consolation prize, and you want her to know it’s something for her not just a revamped wedding gift. Low-key distractions are a good idea in the short (and long) term (a stay-in movie night, perhaps)—think the kind of thing that you wouldn’t mind being ruined if she decides that she would prefer to bawl hysterically instead.
Above all, give her normalcy (with a few special treats to perk up her spirits). Be a regular friend, a show her that her life isn’t over. Show her that not everyone is going to love her and leave her. Your consistency in this time of upheaval may not seem like much to you, but it’s going to mean a lot to her. Kudos to you for being such a good friend.
Post # 14
While a spa trip is a great idea and very relaxing, I think something active and distracting is the way to go.
SATC had one approach, but I think that if I was left like that I would feel like Bella in New Moon (Oh come on, Twilight is addicting). If you aren’t familiar — and ps SPOILER ALERT — when Edward leaves Bella she is totally catatonic. The only thing that finally revives her is becoming distracted with her friend Jacob. Even more, everything reminds Bella of Edward. Everything. Music, Movies, Books. And quiet, free time made her feel worse. Trying to push her may make it worse.
Also, I agree with chelseamorning, just be there for HER. I Wouldn’t bash the guy. You never know, the situation may change and they may end up back together.
Also, keep in mind that probably everyone close to her is trying to console her. I would EASILY get annoyed and overwhelmed. If it were me, I would appreciate a handwritten note, letting her know that you are there for her when she is ready. You could also suggest activites that might distract her and say you’d be happy to share that time with her. This is the person I’d go to.
Post # 15
Omg, this is so sad, my heart goes out to her. I agree with the above posts, pass on the towels! Definitely inappropriate. Is there any way her family can recoup the money? Seriously, I’d sue the dude or find some way to make him responsible. but that is just me. Perhaps taking your friend away for a girls’ weekend would be better if you can afford it? Drive to a nearby city, go get massages, relax by the pool, something to get her AWAY from all the wedding stuff. Have somebody come to her place and put all the gifts and any reminds away so they aren’t right in front of her face and then SHE doesn’t have to do it. Good luck!
Post # 16
All you ladies have some great advice and thoughts!
I can’t imagine how humiliated she must be, besides being devastated. I would think she may want to be in a hole for a little while, so just be considerate of her space and let her know you’re there whenever she needs it.