Party hashtag: #ThankGodImNotGettingMarriedToday
Falling in and out of love in the age of Facebook means that for the rest of your life, it's possible to see what your ex is up to in just a few clicks. It's a harsh reality, not to mention, a fairly new problem that many of us aren't exactly sure how to navigate.
The obvious solution is, of course, not typing your ex's name into that search bar in the first place, which hinges on how much will power you have to resist temptation.
I try my best not to peek in on my ex's lives via social media, but occasionally I find myself going down the rabbit hole and clicking through the new reality that they're living — with someone else taking on my former role of girlfriend. Recently, doing so lead me to discover that my first boyfriend (a guy I moved in with and almost married half a decade ago) would be tying the knot in a few weekends.
Determined not to use this knowledge to troll their wedding hashtag in real time, I resolved to throw myself some festivities on the same day as the wedding to keep myself distracted.
At least, that's how it started out.
I rallied my troops, sent out a Facebook invite and explained the event's intention: "My ex is getting married on this day. I would like to be very drunk with all of you so that I don't troll their dumb wedding hashtag on Instagram. Please come and join in the festivities! Your presence is a present."
And you know what? People were way into it. Most of the invitees had either been through a similar situation or knew that they'd be headed there in the near future. Before I knew it, I was creating a signature hashtag for the event (#ThankGodImNotGettingMarriedToday), and brunch plans were thrown on top of drink plans in order to properly commemorate the occasion.
On the big day, I headed to brunch with some of my oldest friends: the ones who had been there when I was dating the groom-to-be; the ones who were actually thanking God that I wasn't getting married today.
I tried to explain to them how all of this felt. Sad isn't the right word, because I wasn't. If I had wanted to marry my ex, I could've. I would've. But by the end of our five years together, sitting in the apartment we were renting because we both thought it was the obvious next step in our relationship, it all felt wrong.
Knowing that he was now marrying someone else didn't necessarily feel right. But it sure as hell made a lot more sense than if it had been me.
Really, there's no getting around how bizarre it is to be able to see photos from a wedding you had once imagined being the bride at; it's like glimpsing into an alternate universe.
Aside from that moment, the rest of the day didn't give me much time to think about the wedding that was taking place in tandem with my celebration. We moved on to another bar, where more and more people showed up to join in the party. Some even came bearing gifts fit for the occasion: wedding-themed toilet paper to wipe my ass with, a bouquet of roses, and my comedian friend Vicky even brought me a very appropriately redone wedding card.
As I looked around at the group of people who had come out to celebrate, it dawned on me that I never would have met half of them had I not moved out of that apartment and into the city all those years ago. In losing a boyfriend, I had unknowingly over time gained a circle of friends that wouldn't have been part of my life otherwise.
What started as a celebration to distract myself from my ex's wedding had become something much more meaningful.
As far as avoiding the temptation to check up on your ex goes, I haven't quite figured it out. But I recommend celebrating the fact that you're not married on the same day that your ex ties the knot. Because nothing makes you feel like you're exactly where you're meant to be quite like surrounding yourself with all of the people who helped you get there.