DEAR CAROLYN: I am very recently married to a man I have dated for several years, and am very happy. One of my bridesmaids, “Courtney,” said she was upset because she always assumed she would be married by 25.
About a month before my wedding, she met a guy who was about to be deployed. They had a whirlwind romance, he deployed, they kept in touch, and now it is six months later and she is telling me he is “the one.”
Now, I believe that when you know, you know, but there are all sorts of red flags that she is ignoring. My husband and I have spent time with him, and it turns out he is recently divorced — as in, he divorced his wife less than a year after marrying her, and he met “Courtney” before his divorce was even final. He met her less than a year after he married another woman!
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They also do not communicate well, and he doesn’t attempt to get along with her friends. Other than the few weeks he has spent with her while on leave, he has been across the world, and they have been communicating by Skype when they can. Now they are talking about rings!
When I mention my hesitation about him to my friend, she gets offended. She thinks my dislike of him is because I am recently married, and I’m biased against a divorced man. She is partially right — I do think that divorcing somebody less than a year after marrying them indicates bad judgment in the first place, but there are other problems with him as well.
Do I keep my mouth shut and let her be a big girl and make her own decisions? How often, if at all, am I allowed to say I disagree that he is “the one”? What is my responsibility as her friend in this situation?
— He’s Not the One
DEAR HE’S NOT THE ONE: Such scrambling for self-validation, it’s making me dizzy.
Not just hers — you’re doing it, too.
She’s throwing together a marriage to affirm her worth in her own eyes, and you’re wrapping yourself in your carefully considered marriage to affirm your worth in your own eyes.
You are clearly closer to maturity than she is, but I also don’t think either of you has the end in your sights. That’s because the proof you’re there is the realization that plenty of carefully considered marriages implode, too. Likewise, some pairings that you’re sure will end in calamity surprise everyone, and stay solidly on the rails.
That hers is a red-flaggy, rushed, long-distance entanglement with a (clutch pearls) freshly divorced man does suggest they’ll hit trouble, but “suggest” is not “guarantee.” The worst thing you can do for your friend, or your marriage, or yourself, is get smug about the soundness of your choices as compared with hers.
The best thing? Anything that doesn’t come across as foundation work for an I-told-you-so. If and only if you see warning signs of abuse (“The Gift of Fear,” de Becker, chapter 10, or this link: http://bit.ly/15iwGcm) instead of just warning signs of lousy judgment, then alert her to specifics without judging her.
Otherwise, unless she asks your opinion, just love her and root for her. There’s more than one path to a good place.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax. Find her columns daily at www.seattletimes.com/living