Chances are good that your ex-boyfriend remained your friend long after the breakup. Now you’re heading for the altar, and the sticky question comes up: should you invite him to the wedding? The answer is yes, and no. You’ll want to consider the feelings of your future husband. Would you be receptive if the tables were turned and he wanted to have his high school sweetheart in attendance on your special day? Your motives play an important part in making the decision. Are they respectful, kind and considerate of everybody? Here are some things you’ll want to think about as you draw up your wedding guest list.
Is the ex a part of your life now?
Rachel Sussman, a marriage and relationship therapist in New York, said a good test for deciding whether an ex should be invited is whether that person has been part of the life of that couple.
“If someone all of a sudden says, ‘I want to invite this person to my wedding,’ and the fiancé hasn’t met him or her, that’s weird to me.” Chances are excellent that your fiancé also would find unsettling your desire to issue such an invitation out of the blue.
Most of us aren’t marrying our very first love.
Many people are marrying later in life when they’ve established careers and feel financially secure. Online dating has expanded social circles and made it easier to find new people to date. You may have a long list of past relationships or even hookups who may expect to be included in the festivities.
“We don’t live in a world where people marry their first kisses,” said Diane Gottsman, a San Antonio etiquette expert. “Lots of people date lots of people these days. We might have dated people at one time or another and now they are our neighbors, our dentists, our friends.”
She adds, “There really aren’t any definites. It is subjective based on the feeling of the couple and the circumstance.”
Is jealousy raising its ugly head?
You want to be careful of your intended’s feelings, but you may want to take a look at his motives if he wants to leave your old boyfriend out of the festivities.
“Are you all friends now and the bride or groom is just jealous? If that’s the case, that is a sign of bigger problems to come,” said Ms. Gottsman. “That person is going to be jealous of co-workers and family members down the line. If you’re making a declaration that this is a fresh start for us, we are keeping it limited to close family and friends, that is different.”
Often you and your fiancé and your ex are part of a close-knit circle of friends. You’ve hung out for years with the crowd, and old romantic flames have died and lain dormant so there’s no jealousy. Then the question of inviting isn’t tricky. But just as often, the choice can carry emotional baggage. Think about how you’ll be feeling if the old boyfriend watches as you walk out of his life forever.