Samara O'Shea

Dear Samara,


I am going to be the Maid of Honor in my best friend’s wedding. The problem is, an ex-boyfriend, who I have a tumultuous and hateful relationship with is going to be in the wedding party, thankfully not the best man. We’ve both promised the bride and groom that it would be fine, but the thought of being near him is making my skin crawl. ​

​I could really use some tips on how to navigate the rehearsal dinner and the wedding.

Thank you,




Hi Leah,

This is a difficult, but fortunately, not impossible situation.

I’m going to suggest you do something before the festivities begin: Forgive him. You say he makes your skin crawl. If he has the power to do that then he has other powers, too. He has the power to make you feel bad about yourself or send you into a rage. If you forgive him, you take any and all power away from him.

I know it’s not always easy to forgive. If the wound is too fresh then simply set your sights on forgiveness. Say to yourself, “I can’t forgive him now but I hope to someday.” I advise against swearing you’ll never forgive him. It hardens the arteries and causes wrinkles.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean he never wronged you. It means you’re allowing the scab to heal instead of continuing to pick at it. It doesn’t mean you have to be friends with him. You don’t even have to like him. It means you don’t wish him any harm and you’re done with hating him. You free yourself from the stress and tension that that sentiment creates. If he still harbors angry feelings toward you, let that be his problem.

Here are some ways to start the process of forgiveness. Doing some internal work will make being in the same space with him more tolerable. It’s a lot easier to give off that I-am-so-over-you vibe when you actually are.

All this being said, I was maid of honor once and I’m certain that I did not speak with half of the groomsmen. It just worked out that way because there’s so much going on. I think it will be easy for the two of you to avoid each other gracefully. If you do come face to face, take a deep breath and be polite. Remind yourself that you’re doing this for your friend, as is he. It will be over quickly and you can get back to the party.

Have fun!


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* The ideas and advice presented here are not a substitute for professional advice. Talk to your psychologist, counselor, physician or health care professional for situations that warrant further analysis.