Saturday 20 January 2018

Dear Mary: 'A colleague is to wed the the love of my life'

small red heart, broken with threaded stitches
small red heart, broken with threaded stitches

Mary O'Conor

Relationship counsellor and psychosexual therapist Mary O'Conor offers relationship advice in her weekly column.

Question: I don't know what to do.   I had a boyfriend some years ago and we eventually broke up - I was heartbroken at the time, and even though I dated other people, I never really got over him.   He was the one who broke up with me, and the reason he gave was that we were a bit too young to settle down.

I discovered subsequently, however, that his parents had a lot to do with it as they had plans for him to do well and to marry somebody in his own social group. I was a bit too poor and working-class for them, apparently.

So now, some years later, he has reappeared into my life, but this time as the fiance of one of my work colleagues. She always just referred to him by his first name, and it was only when we were all out together one Friday evening recently after work and he joined us that I discovered who he was.

I got a huge shock when I saw him, and knowing that he was going to marry my friend was really difficult to take on board. All the old feelings came back, and I so much wished that I could change places with her. He also was very surprised to see me, but just said to her that we knew each other in another life, and she assumed it was another job and I didn't tell her the truth.

She is going to invite everybody in our section at work to the wedding and I don't know what to do when the invitation arrives. I feel like I'm in a very bad movie. Should I tell her the truth and explain that I can't go to the wedding, or should I say nothing, go along and have my heart broken all over again?

Mary replies: I think you should very definitely say no to the wedding invitation and invent a very important date clash. What is the point in you going and being miserable, and perhaps at the end of the evening spilling your heart out to another guest or colleague?

There is also very little to be gained in telling your friend that you dated her fiance. If he thinks it appropriate he will tell her himself. Otherwise it should be left in the past.

It is unfortunate that things have worked out the way they did for you, and hopefully there is something better ahead. If he was swayed by his parents in his choice of life partner then you have to ask yourself just how strong a person he really is. So stay away from the wedding and keep looking at what lies ahead, rather than being miserable about the past.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting or email her at or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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