Bad news. You thought that after years of one-night stands, hook-ups, break-ups, ethical complications, and “how do I handle this chick” confusion you could now, finally, slip into a comfortable life of marriage—free, at long last, from the anxiety and weirdness of dating.
Nope. It never ends. Even if your marriage is solid as a rock, you will muddle through awkwardness and jealousies and insecurities. The stakes have changed, the drama hasn’t. One issue will smack you in the head and make this clear from the get-go: The Ex Factor.
Do you invite the ex-girlfriend? Snub her? Risk upsetting your bride? The wedding-porn will serve you a large bowl of “on the one hand, on the other hand.” Screw that. Here’s what to do for each Ex Scenario:
You never see the ex, you’re not friends with her, you haven’t seen her in years
Never create drama when it can be avoided. Think about the upside vs. the downside. What’s the upside—you get to rub The Ex’s face in the fact that you’re marrying someone hotter? Frankly…that sounds pretty good. Nothing wrong with that. But the downside is that your fiancée will get the wrong impression and wonder why you want this woman to join you for the most important day of your life, whether you still harbor feelings, if she should be jealous, if you’d ever cheat, etc. It gets ugly fast.
You banged the chick within 12 months of starting to date your fiancée
Just like jokes about Hurricane Katrina, “TOO SOON.” These things need time. Barring extraordinary circumstances, recent girlfriends must be excluded.
You and the ex are now just platonic good buddies
This is getting more and more common. You may invite her only if and only if all the following conditions are met:
3A: You’ve socialized with The Ex as a couple and you haven’t noticed any tension between The Ex and the fiancée.
3B: You haven’t hooked up with her in years (as in the above, at least 12 months before meeting your fiancée.)
3C: You were never engaged to The Ex.
You and the ex are best platonic buddies…but you’ve violated the 12-month rule
The most complicated scenario in the book. You’re platonic friends with this girl, but maybe you stopped hooking up right before you met your fiancée. Or maybe she was a friends-with-benefits type girl.
Does your fiancée know that the two of you have a past? If not, then invite her and don’t drag up ancient history.
If your fiancée does know about the recent hook-ups, is she cool with it? If so, invite her.
So the final permutation… if the fiancée isn’t cool with it, regardless if that’s fair or unfair, you need to side with your fiancée. You’ll offend someone, and it’s better to offend the girl you’re no longer sleeping with. Let The Ex know that this isn’t personal, in a perfect world you’d like her to come, but that you and the fiancée have a “No Exes” policy you can’t violate. It’s the best of your bad options.
She’s married and has kids
This should be fine as long as you’re actually still acquainted with her. Otherwise—if you e-mail her out of the blue—it looks like you’re just inviting her along to see what might have been.
You still really, really want to fu#k her
Only in the following conditions:
6A: Your fiancée doesn’t suspect.
6B: You’re clinically retarded.