Now he wants to wed, and it s not me?

Question: Please help me come to terms with the fact that, less than one year after breaking up with me because I wanted to get married and he didn’t, my ex is engaged to someone else. He had spent four years telling me how firmly anti-marriage he was. The worst part is that the fiancee is really insufferable.

Answer: Really? That sounds like the best part. Think of the possibilities the fiancee’s awfulness allows:

It could mean your ex was looking for someone (presumably) very different from you — which would mean your personality wasn’t the problem, his taste in women was.

It could be, too, that his anti-marriage stance was a test to gauge how much of a pushover you were. Now, I don’t necessarily believe he did that consciously. But I do believe that immature people push their companions to see how compliant they’ll be.

Maybe his now-fiancee, when he tried his no-marriage line on her, said, “Suit yourself, but don’t bother calling me anymore.”

I am not, I repeat, not endorsing anything like playing hard to get — or “playing” anything — nor do I believe you should have done anything differently to snag a proposal: You want a guy who wants you, so your ex wasn’t the guy.

Coming to terms with that hinges on the difference between regretting a mistake and learning from it. You have nothing to regret here. You did your best with the information you had. The right guy would have loved you for it, and the wrong guy never would (although a decent one wouldn’t have taken advantage, as this one seems to have).

Question: How soon do you know when someone’s “the one”? I’ve been with my girlfriend only a few months, but we’ve been friends for a long time.

I’ve loved people before. I’ve been blind to people’s faults before — oh, have I done that! — in the newness of an attachment. I’ve had intensely passionate sex that’s convinced me I adored someone only to find that I didn’t even like them.

But I’ve never just waked up every morning and smiled because I know that she’s alive and that she cares for me.

This is new. And so wonderful I don’t even understand it.

Answer: Yeah, actually, you do. Congratulations.

First letter writer, I hope you’re still reading. Whatever your ex had to offer wasn’t worthy of you if it didn’t include feeling like this.

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