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If I Don’t Marry Her, This Ex-Girlfriend Is Invited To My Wedding

Before I even get into today’s post, some clarification on the title. I in no way mean to insinuate I have plans on marrying anyone, but I do believe that we never know what the future holds and so it is very possible the woman I marry can be a woman from my past or a woman I’ve never met. I won’t know until I ask her!

So now that we have clarified the title, let’s move onto today’s post about a girl who I call a friend first, but was indeed my girlfriend. I don’t want to get into too much of our relationship’s back story, so I will just say we dated back in 2006 for an intense 9 months. She knows exactly who she is and some of my friends know too, but I wanted to write about her today because, well, this past weekend, she reminded me that some people in our lives are meant to be in them forever, regardless of their status. She is one such person in my life, and I in hers.

When her and I were together, tragedy struck her family very suddenly. I won’t get into details out of respect for her and her family, but it was one of those situations where I knew I would have to step up and be strong for her, even though she was already handling the news with grace and strength.

The tragedy required her to fly back home within the next couple of days, and I absolutely knew I wanted to travel with her and be there for her. The only dilemma was it was the same weekend my mother and step-dad were coming to visit me in New York City for the very first time.

Their trip was one I had been asking them to take for over a year. I always thought there was something cool about my mom and step-dad visiting me in the place where I lived as an adult. I was excited about their arrival because I would get to show them where I worked and the apartment I was living in, and all this other tangible evidence of my adulthood. But when the tragedy happened, just two days before my parents scheduled arrival, and I learned if I wanted to be there for my girlfriend I would have to leave my parents on their own in New York City, my excitement turned into anxiety and confusion.

I didn’t know what to do. My mother and step-dad never got time off from their jobs, so this opportunity was rare and they weren’t about to change everything at the last minute. And although I did see on the surface this was an easy decision to make (after all, my first instinct was to be a man to my woman), there was something I felt was off. As though this was a decision usually designated for married couples only and my girlfriend and I weren’t married.

My girlfriend said to me she understood if I couldn’t be there. She knew how special my parents visiting me were because I had been talking about it everyday since they booked their tickets. Meanwhile my mother also was supportive about whatever decision I made. Neither of them were coaxing me into a decision, they simply said the choice was mine.

So do I renege on a visit I know my mom and step-dad have been looking forward to in order to be with my girlfriend of some months at this very difficult time in her life? Or do I be a man to this woman I loved (even if our time together was only months) and tell my mother and step-dad that as much as I appreciated them visiting me, it was more important for me to be there for my girlfriend they had never even met.

Well, the decision was made, and I decided to go with my girlfriend. I told my mother and she completely understood. Both her and my step-dad made the trek anyway, had a blast and all, but it didn’t make me feel any more comfortable with my decision. If I’m speaking honestly, there was a part of me that felt like I was choosing the woman who had brought me into this world and supported me everyday of my life in some way or another, for a woman who I was madly in love with, but had no idea if they were going to be around a year from that point in time. I know it may sound wrong, but oh well, those were my honest feelings at the time and what’s funny is, the idea that my girlfriend wouldn’t be around for a year after turned out being true.

For entirely unrelated reasons, none of which I will get into today, my girlfriend and I broke up with each other a few months later. As time went on, I always thought about that week when I made that decision to go with her instead of stay in New York City with my parents. I even asked my mom a couple of years later if she was disappointed in my decision, but she told me she wasn’t, insisted for me to never think such a foolish thought.

Over the years, my ex-girlfriend and I have developed a great friendship. To her testament, being friends with me isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do, but she has weathered my more difficult moments and stayed with me every step of the way. Even when I have cut her off while dating other girlfriends, whenever those relationships didn’t pan out, it was my ex-girlfriend who always picked up the phone and aside from a few shots she took at me here and there, has always loved me unconditionally.

This past weekend an example of her unconditional love shined through.

I have had some difficulties balancing all the various things I have going on in my career. And though I don’t want to get into the details, the balancing act I have been putting on has caught up to me to the point where I might find myself exactly where I was a year ago. It’s a scary thought, and this past weekend, I confided in my ex that very thing. I told her it was just beginning to get harder and harder and I might have to hustle more and more. And she said to me something to the effect of, “I know you’re going to be great and I know some of the things you have going on will turn out to be huge. So if you have to give up some things to make those things happen, and you can’t afford to stay in your apartment, you can sleep here. You always have a place with me.”

I was speechless because what she said to me made me go back and think about that weekend when I had to make a decision and though I made it quite easily, it was something I wrestled with long after. But her words, which were as genuine as anything I have ever heard someone say to me (including my mother), really put to rest once and for all the question of whether or not I did the right thing.

This is not to say that she hasn’t already proven to me before that I made the right decision. She’s always been this kind to me and this supportive of me. Nor is it to say I would have chosen to do things differently if she never had done anything for me again because when I look back there’s a part of me always proud I stepped up to be a man to my woman at the time; showed me what I’m capable of if I love someone that much.

But I think what I was guilty of back then is something a lot of us are guilty of, and that’s making decisions to do something for people based on the status of our relationship with them. We always talk about what we won’t do for people because we’re not married to them or they haven’t claimed us on Facebook. We tell people certain things can’t be asked of us because we’re not “in a relationship” or we don’t “love” each other, we just like each other. I do understand it is fair to ask of others what we know we would do ourselves, but when it doesn’t work out so neatly, and things aren’t always reciprocal, why must we regret the kindness we demonstrated or the sacrifices we made? Sometimes our actions don’t have to be a reflection of who we are to someone else, but instead, they can be a reflection of who we are to self.

The thing I realized is that I made a decision a couple of years ago for a woman I loved, and it was fairly easy for me because I knew she loved me too. Years later, she showed me that love we had back then is still a love we have now, even though we’re not together like we once were. And I can already predict some people saying to me, “Well man, that’s the one right there. You need to marry her.” And trust me, there have been plenty of thoughts about her being my wife back when we were together, and even today, but I think what I appreciate the most is that no matter our relationship status, we know when one of us needs the other, the decision will always be easy. With no hesitation, we’ll be right at each other’s side.

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  • Rib Shank

    I think I met that girl too 3 years ago.

  • Janet

    Great post.

  • SouthernNYCer

    This post really hits close to home for me!! LOVE IT

  • http://www.onlyoneheaven.com heaven

    very true…. but my only question is…. Did your parents come anyway??? and if they didn’t come that weekend… did they come at a later time?? … i know that wasn’t the point but i like details… good post!

  • http://ampersandrea.com AndreaW

    Ahh…beautifully written. My ex and I talk about this sometimes. When we’re both telling each other about the woes of dating and relationships…there is still a love there that will always be. We just know. (And we also know that the kinda of love we share may or may not result in getting back together. And we are BOTH cool with that.) He was like my first ‘adult’ boyfriend…and like your ex’s situation – I met him the day after I lost my dad. I completely relate to this. Very sweet. 🙂

  • Yari

    This is true friendship. You write and express yourself beautifully.

  • http://www.evasaidit.com Miss E

    Love this post. Reminds me of my best guy friend and me, right down to getting the temporary axe when he gets into a relationship. Too often, people don’t appreciate someone having your back unconditionally. Status aside, she’s definitely a keeper in whatever fashion the future holds. That old saying is so true: people come into your life for a season or for a reason!

  • **inquiring mind**

    You’re so in love uggggggghhhhhh! LOL… nice post.

  • Z

    you post always make me sit back and reflect…as painful as it is.

  • Aries_Rose

    I think it’s really nice to see situations like this! Sometimes when you do a good deed, there always won’t be an opportunity for that person to pay you back in the same way. It’s great to know that when you do need somebody, they will be there!

  • http://twitter.com/freeyourheart freeyourheart

    Love this post!
    I’m so there with this guy.
    Life is taking a toll on him,
    and others have faded away,
    but I’m still there.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://loveh8relate.com Swag

    “Sometimes our actions don’t have to be a reflection of who we are to someone else, but instead, they can be a reflection of who we are to self.”

    Hook, Line and Sinker. I couldn’t have said it better myself if I tried. Thanks for the post.

  • superwoman

    @heaven

    hmmmm, who’s guilty of not reading the entire post????? jozen clearly stated…

    “Well, the decision was made, and I decided to go with my girlfriend. I told my mother and she completely understood. Both her and my step-dad made the trek anyway, had a blast and all, but it didn’t make me feel any more comfortable with my decision.”

  • http://www.onlyoneheaven.com heaven

    @superwoman

    Actually, I read the whole entire thing… Jozen actually went back and added that part after I asked my question… and THEN he was thoughtful enough to let me know that it was added……. I guess so that people won’t start going IN on me… so, not guilty after all. Thanks Jozen… and once AGAIN… good post.

  • ER

    great one bruh

  • Violet

    You are blessed to know such friendship. Cherish her.

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Mighty B

    Oh this was beautiful. Thank you for sharing. And I agree:

    “Sometimes our actions don’t have to be a reflection of who we are to someone else, but instead, they can be a reflection of who we are to self.”

    Since you are a Believer I’m going to state it like this… We are called to be reflections of God’s light/love here on earth, and exhibit the character of Christ. Think about it: the Lord treats us the way He does because of who He is, not because of who we are (if that we’re the case, we’d really be in hurting status right about now). Despite how anyone else treats us, it should be our character that determines how we treat them… and I can speak from experience by saying THIS is the hardest thing you’ll have to deal with once you get married.

  • VonBherAnn

    This post hit home for me as well. I currently find myself in that weird between stage on my friendship with my ex where he’s knee-deep in a relationship and I’ve been “axed”. We haven’t spoken in a month after half of year of frequent conversation. At one point he starts to say to me, “If I start to get serious about this girl…” and I finish, “I will back off and give you your space. Just know I’m still here whenever you need me.”

    I didn’t think that this was something a lot of people did (I get that “that’s just weird that you and your ex are so close” speech all the time), but your post (and subsequent responses) really rejuvinated my desire to continue on this path. While this between stage can be trying at times, I have to remind myself that some people come into our lives for a much bigger reason, and I believe that some relationships can transcend a romantic past to blossom into a much more profound connection (as you well know). For me, I feel it means that my higher power still has something left for me to learn from this person. And he and I have said as much to each other. Knowing this, I feel the relationship will continue to ebb and flow indefinitely such as it has, and your post makes me pretty damn happy about that.

  • http://www.wellbehaveddontmakehistory.blogspot.com Miss Malorie

    Haven’t been in the blog-world in a minute, and this is the first post I’ve read today. Thank you for posting this. Lets me know that I don’t need to feel guilty or silly for my “non-relationship” relationship with my ex. I will always extend a hand for him, because he always has a place with me. Thanks for voicing something I’ve been thinking 🙂

  • http://www.wellbehaveddontmakehistory.blogspot.com Miss Malorie

    @VonBherAnn

    Thanks for posting your response, as well. I needed to see that (about backing off and giving the ex the space he may need when he gets serious about someone). I’ve been fearing and dreading that day when he says something like that to me (if he even says something), but the way you stated it is so eloquent and so very mature. Just real.

    In short, thanks. I needed that.

  • ShaCrista

    Great post!! I unfortunately no longer have the friendship I would like with the ex who was all of those things to me. He was a great person, but made some poor decisions about how to break up with me and our friendship hasn’t been the same since; it’s almost non-existent now. It’s good to hear that it is possible and at some point, we may have that type of friendship again. Great read!

  • Kady

    Great post today!

  • JCC

    Going through all this right now with a friend…this post was a blessing in disguise for me literally. She may be the one Jozen if she makes you feel like that don’t sleep on her =)

  • http://www.jasminemuhammad.com JJLouis

    Really appreciated this post. I can definitely relate..

  • http://www.ashy2classy.net Diggame

    Good post! Definitely feel this one since I my ex regardless of our relationship situation will always be cool folks

  • J”)

    can u say story of my life!

    i started reading your post a while back and even though i dont always agree im always entertained but every once in a while you right something right as im going through it and it gets to me.

    my ex was my best friend knew me like no other and was there no matter what. he is the one person in my life that i know no matter what i would be there for him. but its just one of those things were time wasnt right. now theres a girl in the picture and its weird but i just want him to be happy, even if its not with me.

  • Cali

    nice…

  • Jackie

    @heaven
    I thought he said they came and they had a blast!

  • http://loveh8relate.com Sway

    Good post Joz,

    I’ve definitely been guilty of regretting sacrifices I’ve made for past exes. But at the end of the day I had to realize that my actions while in my relationships were for great reason, all the while knowing that nothing was guaranteed.

    Can you imagine how things would be if everyone was scared make sacrifices for their partners because of the possibility that their relationship could oneday end?

  • Nephilim

    It’s always a blessing to have unconditional love. But it’s even more of a blessing to be able to recognize it and appreciate it, real-time.

  • superwoman

    @heaven
    heh heh, okay – conceded…but in my defence, it wasn’t obvious that it wasn’t in the original post…

  • http://www.wellbehaveddontmakehistory.blogspot.com Miss Malorie

    @J”)

    “I just want him to be happy, even if it’s not with me.”

    –Amen. I really want it to be with me, but if it’s not, I still want him to be happy.

  • Naomi

    I know I’m a day late but I so needed this today.

    “..when it doesn’t work out so neatly, and things aren’t always reciprocal, why must we regret the kindness we demonstrated or the sacrifices we made? Sometimes our actions don’t have to be a reflection of who we are to someone else, but instead, they can be a reflection of who we are to self.”

    I’m so glad someone sees it “my” way. Man o man..u just dont know.

    Thanks

  • HoneyMoney

    GREAT post. Its been awhile since I liked one this much.

  • L. Dejean

    This was a great post Jozen….this is how I am with a guy from my past…no matter what, I’ll always be there for him.

  • Kar

    Thanks, made me reach out to an ex that I’ve wanted to talk to all week.

  • kS

    “she reminded me that some people in our lives are meant to be in them forever, regardless of their status. She is one such person in my life, and I in hers.”

    he’s marrying me. i hope you marry her (:

    “what I appreciate the most is that no matter our relationship status, we know when one of us needs the other, the decision will always be easy. With no hesitation, we’ll be right at each other’s side.”

    sounds like forever-qualified. i love it.

  • Jessica

    I knew I’d be able to this post as soon as I read the title. That’s a beautiful relationship you have.

    I’m glad I read this today; with everything going on, it couldn’t have been more perfect.

  • Jessica

    I knew I’d be able to relate to this post as soon as I read the title. That’s a beautiful relationship you have.

    I’m glad I read this today; with everything going on, it couldn’t have been more perfect.

  • http://www.falliblesage.com Fallible Sage

    “Sometimes our actions don’t have to be a reflection of who we are to someone else, but instead, they can be a reflection of who we are to self”

    Excellent Post… and yeah, she coming to the wedding if she isn’t the bride.

  • Shaun

    I can soooo relate! My best male friend is my first love…we dated for a little while and even though we have dated other people, I have never had a problem with always being there for him and he’s felt the same way also. We have been through a lot together in the last 14 years and I can’t even imagine not having him in my life. We have always been upfront and honest with each other…we have even introduced the other to our significant others. This past May, he got married and I was there by his side…(I even helped blow up the balloons!) Not as his first love or even his ex-girlfriend…but as family. I know that he’s found his soulmate in his wife and I am blessed to know that they have found each other. I know that most people don’t understand our relationship, but it is something that is definitely meant for a lifetime.

  • Carla

    i love this post because i can simply relate it to what i am with my ex now…its when you realize how, even if it wasnt for too long, a person can impact, affect and change your life. A lot of my close friends don’t understand and think that you have to CUT OFF anyone who didnt fit into that particular part of your life you initially hoped they would be apart of. I completely understand…and thank you for your persepctive.

  • Shana

    I like this post. I’m a firm believer that there is nothing wrong with being friends with an ex. Obviously, you saw something in that person that made you date them, so why would that change because you guys broke up. Unfortunately, there are some people who aren’t mature enough to be friends with an ex and find it quite weird. I always joke with an ex of mine that he better invite me to his wedding. He thinks I’m nuts! Anyways, good luck with whatever you’re going through and you are truly blessed to have such a good friend.

    Stay Blessed

  • aurel5800

    I enjoyed the story, especially the reflective tone, but I disagree with the very last part. I think you either end up marrying this girl or you will have difficulities keeping this relationship up at the present level once you marry someone else.

  • citygirl22

    “So do I renege?” (and thus be there for my girlfriend)

    “Or do I be a man…” (and thus be there for my girlfriend)

    Jozen, the decision based on either option is identical. I find it so utterly telling that your choice was really one of not WHAT to do, but HOW to view yourself.

    I do hope that in the intervening years, and with the growth of your friendship with this woman, you have come to recognize that what you did was, in fact, “tangible evidence of [your] adulthood.” I’m sure your Mom and stepdad saw that.

    Beautiful, beautiful post!!!