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My Boyfriend Had a Fiancé: A Retrospective

Today is the one-year anniversary of finding out my boyfriend had a fiancé. On this day one year ago, I found out that the man I fell completely head-over-heels for was in fact engaged to someone else and my world came completely crashing down around me. I have spent the past year working through that carnage and rebuilding.

Car mirror "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear"
Photo by Francisco Delgado on Unsplash

It’s a funny thing, trying to explain to people what happened with my ex. We dated for 8 months, I was very much in love with him and he said he was very much in love with me. Things weren’t easy but there were always excuses and reasons on his end and there was always hope that things would get better on mine. When he finally came clean about living with his fiancé, it was like his excuses actually made sense for the first time. I even continued to have hope that we could work things out. We broke up a few days later.

There are still things that I miss about him – how calm he was (possible sociopathic trait?), how sweet he was when we were together, the physical closeness. It’s easy to miss those things, especially in the context of being single during a global pandemic. There are also things that I’m grateful I don’t have to deal with anymore – all the fighting about him doing better, the insecurity that came with not knowing when I would see him next, tuning out my gut instinct that something was off about the entire situation.

In hindsight the bad outweighed the good, but you know what they say about hindsight…

Person holding up glasses to an eye test
Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

I feel TERRIBLE for his fiancé – well, ex-fiancé. There is no way for me to say this without sounding a bit cray, so I’ll just say it…I go on Facebook from time to time to see how she’s doing. She’s still hurting from what I can tell and it doesn’t surprise me one bit. They were together for at least three years, had blended their families and had bought and built a house together. They had a trailer they went to on weekends (I knew about the trailer; I didn’t know about the fiancé and her kids that went as well) and had just installed a hot tub in their backyard. He told me some of this and some of it I pieced together from Facebook. Is that creepy? Ok, ya…I thought so.

I’ve debating reaching out to her many, many times. I want her to know that I didn’t know about her, that I wouldn’t have kept seeing him if I did. I want her to know that I understand some of the pain she feels for being lied to and cheated on. At the same time, I ask myself if it would be helpful or provide closure for her if I reached out and that’s where I’m really not sure. I wouldn’t reach out solely for my own purposes, but I wonder if there is solidarity to be found in this shared situation or would it just be opening up old wounds? Does she hate my guts and could I even blame her? These are all questions I’ve asked myself ever since I found out about her exactly one year ago.

Here are some things I imagine we have in common:

  • Lack of trust in men

  • Lack of trust in our own ability to know someone or trust our instincts

  • Lack of understanding around how someone can engage in that level of deceit

  • Lack of hope that the right one – the one who couldn’t even fathom doing what he did – is out there

Every time I date someone and it ends, I realize there’s a lesson to be learned. I’ve spent the last year unpacking the biggest lesson to date. Am I grateful? Meh. Would I choose this for myself all over again? No. Do I recognize that it was the catalyst for a massive overhaul in my life? Sure.

My initial intention was to talk about how far I’ve come in the past year. I’ve made a lot of changes and I recognize that I am stronger, more confident and grounded that I’ve ever been in my life. I’m also tired of learning lessons though – it’s fucking exhausting.

So on that note, I’ll say happy Victoria Day weekend, I think it’s time for a glass of wine and a good book. It sure beats the anxiety and uncertainty I was dealing with this time last year, so cheers to that!


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