Recently, a 23-year-old woman posted an astonishing inquiry on Ask Metafilter. Just a warning, though, her question—titled “Did my boyfriend just get married?”—might make you want to hop into one of Bruce Willis’s spaceship drills from Armageddon and burrow yourself 10,000 feet into the core of a dying star:
This is such a silly question, but I would appreciate AskMe’s perspective. My boyfriend and I are long distance, and yesterday I stumbled on “wedding” photos of him and his ex that were taken two weeks ago. He told me that it was from a video that his university is making for new students to show how glamorous graduate school life can be (he’s a professor and an alum). Am I being irrational in doubting him?
As context, I’m a 23-year-old woman and he’s a 29-year-old man, and we’ve been dating for the past year and a half after knowing each other for three years. We met during his graduate studies at my university, which was abroad for him.
The photos were from two weeks ago and posted by a student of his on Facebook. I was utterly shocked when I saw the photos. They look so real; he and his ex are both in gorgeous wedding attire and there’s a crowd in the background and I just don’t know what to think. There was even a framed family picture of them in one of the photos! I am actually wondering whether he just got married and I’ve been taken for a ride, which is CRAZY. I feel crazy. We’ve been long distance since last fall, and because of the distance, I’ve only been able to visit him twice in that time since we’re in different countries. I’m not the most secure person in the world, but I feel like even for a normal, no-anxiety sort of person this would be an uncomfortable surprise. I would try to check whether there actually is a school video but unfortunately I don’t speak the language of his country.
To be clear, when I stumbled on the photos, it was from a Facebook profile link he had sent me. He didn’t seem nervous or confused when I called to ask about it (although I must have sounded frozen, since the photos looked horribly realistic). He even laughed when he said that some of his friends congratulated him because they were fooled by the photos. (That really did not make me feel better.) He hadn’t told me about this video shoot for the school before, and he said he thought it wasn’t important enough to mention to me.
If I think about all the time we spend IMing and calling and skyping, he couldn’t possibly also be married, right? He is obsessed with his career—how could he have the time to juggle two relationships? I flip between feeling like I’m just being ridiculous and feeling convinced that I’m the affair. I don’t want to bring it up with him because if I do, I would probably just fall off a cliff of crazy and alienate him. What would you do in this situation? I feel like I’m overreacting, but how do I tame my irrational fears?
So what we have here, if I am able to stop laugh-crying for long enough to wrap my mind around this situation, is that a young woman saw “horribly realistic” photos of her long-distance boyfriend marrying his “ex”-girlfriend, he was like, “Nah, though,” and she was afraid to question him further because that would be CRAZY.
Totally! Tooootally. Ladies, remember: keep your focus on maintaining that chill, exceedingly-generous womanly mindset, and you won’t even notice if you’re dating a psycho villain! You won’t even feel him drain your life force!
After about a million “Uh, no, WTF”-style comments, girlfriend gave him another ring, so to speak.
“He was understandably reluctant to talk about the photos, but he took the time to be patient and to explain,” she wrote, crushing my soul. “He gave me lots of details, ranging from his makeup to the student organizers … He also said that if he were married, she would be with him at home, and he wouldn’t have been able to Skype.” Oh.
Later, however, our heartsick and very obtuse heroine finally got a grip (“grip” is probably a strong word):
When I confronted him today, he admitted that he’s engaged. I can’t comprehend it. Obviously we can’t date anymore, and I shouldn’t talk to him anymore. But I don’t know how to start feeling like a whole person again. I’m angry and heartbroken, and I don’t know what to do when part of me is so betrayed and the other part still loves him. Crazily enough, that part of me that cares about him is even a little glad that he found someone he really loves. But I don’t know what my tomorrow morning will be like without a good morning text from him, without hearing his voice. Everything is so surreal. He asked me for another Skype tomorrow, and I think it really, really needs to be the last time we talk for a long time. Because I still want too much to believe him when he tells me he loves me. But really, really thank you. Without everyone, I would have just ignored the photos otherwise, told myself that I’m overreacting, that everything is ok. Thank you.