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Wanda & Wayne: I got engaged, then started following my exes online

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

I recently (Valentine's Day) got engaged to my boyfriend of six years. A lot of people gave us a hard time over the years about why we were waiting so long, and whether we were ever getting married, but I have no complaints about the timing. We have built a wonderful relationship and I love "Paul." We are now both just about to turn 30 years old, with good jobs and a beautiful home we bought together, and I'm in the beginning stages of planning what I hope will be a pretty casual and low-key wedding to be held this fall. We are best friends, the physical attraction is still strong and we have a great life together.

But -- yes, there's a but -- since Paul proposed, I have found myself being beyond nostalgic about past boyfriends. I've gone through old journals and yearbooks and spent a ton of time on Facebook looking up former boyfriends' profiles. I even friended a couple and have chatted with some of them. It's nothing bad -- just catching up, maybe some fond words about the good times we once had. But I haven't told Paul about any of this and I feel like maybe this is a sign we still aren't ready to get married. Why else would I be looking up all these exes? I'm confused by my own behavior and afraid to tell any of my friends about it -- they'll just tell me Paul is awesome and to stop doing stuff that will mess it up. What should I do?

-- Cold Feet

Wanda says: What should you do? First and foremost, don't mess up your relationship with Paul by having secret relationships with ex-boyfriends. Online lurking, stalking, searching and investigating may not qualify directly as a relationship. But you've clearly crossed the line once the faintly flirtatious interaction is underway with your newly rediscovers "friends."

You know what you and these men have in common? The fact that you were once intimately involved. How is dredging that up and reminiscing about it going to strengthen your connection to Paul? Somehow, I don't see these former flames making the cut for your "casual and low-key wedding." These guys are not your friends. They're relics of your past, a way for you to feel young again, a way for you to briefly reclaim some scraps of attitude and emotion that you felt when you were freer and more unencumbered.

And it makes sense. Marriage is huge. You're nervous. It's a big life change. But rather than manage those feelings by delving into your past, go out for cosmos with girlfriends or have a cathartic night of chocolate and "The Notebook."

Wayne says: Ryan Gosling -- swoon! Now, if one of your exes was The Gosman, I would totally give you a pass on feeling those twinges of nostalgia that led to fits of cyberstalking. But I doubt that any of your exes have either the amazing abs, slightly-troubled voice or the oh-so-dreamy eyes of Ryan, so let's move on with our lives already.

You're about to make a life-changing decision and you're scared. Hey, you wouldn't be human if you didn't feel some kind of anxiety in this situation. But it doesn't excuse emotional or technological cheating. You've also found a special partner, a perfect fit for you -- and that, my friend, doesn't happen every day. Just ask all the folks who send us letters every week about struggling to simply find someone decent in a sea of crazy singles, or those who are making excuses for sticking around in their terrible relationships. You've scored a winner -- don't mess this up.

Turn off Facebook, pull some wool socks over those cold feet and dive into wedding planning with the love of your life. If you two can survive that, it's a sign that you are truly meant to be! And if you can't handle it, be a grown-up and tell Paul it's too soon or too much.

• Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and been to therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at wanda@adn.com.

 



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