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David Eddie's Damage Control

I think my best friend should dump her fiance Add to ...

The question

Last year one of my good friends became engaged. Her fiancé is a decent guy, but throughout their relationship I have had a bad feeling. Even before they became engaged they would get in terrible screaming matches that would leave her crying. She had confessed some doubts to me about eight months ago, right before a four-month vacation they took together. When she got back, she said she was sure he was "the one" again. I, however, am not so sure. Recently there have been troubles again, and she has been telling me things about him that make me want to scream "Get out now, for the love of God get out!" I have kept quiet, but I am considering saying something to her. This could end very awkwardly though because I am the maid of honour. Should I say something?

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The answer

I was in the exact same situation once - well, except being a guy, I was best man instead of maid of honour.

My best friend was getting married, and I felt he was making a dreadful mistake.

In the lead-up to the wedding, I beat around the bush, trying to get my message across through a series of hints, innuendos, facial expressions and circumlocutions. But if he picked up on any of it, he didn't let on.

Then, on the day of, I couldn't stand it any more. Before the ceremony I took him for a "walk in the snow" (metaphorically - it was the height of summer) and uncorked the contents of my coconut.

"Listen, dude," I said, or words to that effect. "I think you're making a big mistake here. I know it sounds crazy, but I don't think you should go through with this ceremony. Just walk away. It'll cause a terrible hubbub, but it'll blow over. You'll be happier in the long run. As your best friend I feel I have to say something," and la la la.



He was furious, scandalized and outraged that I should step in and attempt to intervene on his wedding day. I don't think he has ever forgiven me - nor has anyone else who has ever heard this story.

(In my defence, I was just a baby. We both were, maybe 26, 27 - still "crapping yellow," as a friend of mine colourfully puts it.)

Now, I would like to inform you that, in the fullness of time, it was revealed that yours truly was right on the money - actually, it didn't even take the fullness of time, it was all over but the crying in less than six months.

Six months of sheer torture - of misery, shouting, tears and slammed doors. Later, his erstwhile bride fled to Thailand (the in-this-case aptly named island of Phuket, if memory serves), where she took a younger lover, sending my friend his bachelor papers by fax machine, and … well, the whole thing gets kind of sordid and seamy and, believe it or not, goes downhill from there.

So I'll draw a curtain over that anecdote and proceed to my point, which is: Did I get a thank you card, accompanied by a bottle of my favourite vodka, from my friend when the foregoing fiasco subsided? Did he light my cigar, clap me on the back and say ruefully: "Dave, I should have listened to your wise counsel while I had the chance, in the future please remind me to pay more attention when your gums start flapping - and, incidentally, thanks for trying, you sure are a hell of a good guy and a great friend"?

The short answer is: No. The long answer is: Ummm … no.

The net result of me attempting to horn in on my best friend's matrimonial plans was zero, except for giving him a perma-grudge to nurse vis-à-vis moi until the end of his days.

I predict a similar outcome in your case, if you attempt to say something to your friend. Unfortunately, painful though it is, sometimes we have to let those near and dear to us make their own mistakes, especially when it comes to the love/relationship/matrimonial department.

Recall also that anything you may say is strictly unsolicited - which is, after all, the lowest form of advice.

So, no, to answer your question: I don't think you should say anything.

It's a little different if your friend asks you: "Do you think [insert Mr. Obviously Wrong's name here]is right for me?"

Then, perhaps, you might gently suggest that maybe your friend should consider some of the doubts, the shouting matches and rockiness of the past and put the same question to her.

But that's all you can permit yourself to say. Consider that if you say something now, and they stay together, they'll both wind up mad at you and alienated from you, when, inevitably, your friend tells her husband what you said about him.

And you never know which relationships are going to "take." Sometimes the seemingly doomed, turmoil-filled ones outlast those with more placid surfaces.

In short, do as I say, not as I do. Learn from the error of my ways. Keep your mouth shut. And when the day comes, strap on your matchy-matchy pastel dress, stand by your friend and smile for the cameras as she makes what may be the biggest mistake of her life.

David Eddie is the author of Chump Change and Housebroken: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad. Damage Control, the book, will be published this spring.

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