Advice

I was supposed to be happily married by now. Then COVID-19 came along and ruined it all.

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

At the start of 2020, I was engaged and planning a wedding for that summer. When COVID happened, we ended up postponing the wedding. As the months went on, the pandemic was very hard on our relationship. We ended up breaking up and I’m still not over it. I remain convinced that without COVID, I would now be married to my true love, and happy. I feel like we were unfairly tested by a once-in-a-lifetime event that piled on too much stress amid the already stressful situation of having to delay my dream wedding.

Meanwhile, during COVID, my best girlfriend and her significant other got engaged. They are getting married this fall. Even if COVID peaks again, I have to admit they’ve been smart about it, keeping the event small and having it outside. I am the maid of honor.

All my friend talks about is the wedding. Whether it’s her clothes, décor, food, the event itself, the guest list — it’s constant, and it is making me absolutely miserable. Every time she starts in on it again, it’s like my heart breaks all over again. Never once has she asked if the situation is hard on me, or if helping her plan her events is tough since my own wedding was ruined.

I know I should be happy for her, but I’m not. I feel like I should step down as her maid of honor at this point. What do you think?

Wanda says:

One hundred percent, COVID-19 was tough on couples. It was also tough on the healthcare system, children’s educations, parents, grocery store workers, travel and tourism, the hospitality industry — and it was toughest of all on people who got ill or lost their lives, and their loved ones. So while I absolutely sympathize that you lost your man and your wedding, I’m also metaphorically grabbing you by the shoulders and virtually shaking you in a well-intended reality check. It’s August 2021, and time to move forward, girl.

Tough love and true talk: you and your ex should be grateful. COVID exposed cracks in your relationship that would have fractured your functional foundation at some point, whether in the mega-pressure of a pandemic, or over time, with the small but compounding stresses of life. At the end of the day, COVID didn’t cost you a marriage; it saved you from an eventual divorce!

Think of it this way: when we commit big time to someone, we want a partner who’s there for us in the toughest of times, someone we can communicate and laugh and cry with even when things are really, really bad. Weathering a storm together isn’t a tribulation, it’s a shared victory and an experience you’ll remember later as a success you tackled and took down as a team.

Your heartbreak is understandable, but so is your friend’s joy. Don’t begrudge her the once-in-a-lifetime excitement she’s experiencing building up to her big day. Instead, celebrate and support her, and take it as an inspiration for what your future may hold.

Wayne says:

Exactly, Wanda.

Under almost any other circumstances I’d say that this is your best friend and you should feel comfortable telling her anything anytime, and she would be available for you anytime anywhere. But this is that one time in a million where you need to lower your expectations of the bestie bond, take one for the team, and grin your way through the nuptials and all the wedding wackiness leading up to it.

I’m not letting her off the hook, entirely. Even in the trance of romance, a true best friend should have a consciousness and empathy to realize that she needs to check in on her girl, whose own wedding fell apart, and even recognize when her bestie’s smile is disguising some serious pain. Hopefully somewhere during the dress fittings, invite list trimming and honeymoon planning, she’ll have a moment of clarity and give you a talk and a hug.

But either way, yes, you should be happy for her. She isn’t the reason your relationship fell apart. And even though she’s temporarily blinded by the bling of her new ring, you can’t be mad at her for not being available. Do you think you would have been had your wedding momentum kept rolling? Be a great friend, go to the wedding, drink (not too much), dance (as much as you can), chat and flirt with friends and strangers, and give a great speech. A little fun will do you good. Even wedding fun.

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