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How to Make the Right Move/Complicated situation with marriage, guy's ex etc. Please help


QUESTION: Warning: It is long (TL;DR at the bottom) and it is honestly going to sound like a Bollywood story lol but is very much real unfortunately

So basically my wedding has been arranged with this guy. Its not your typical forced marriage but for reasons best left unsaid I can't really say no (my conscience isn't letting me even though I have the option of saying no). The guy isn't happy with the situation either as it was all the sudden. The real problem comes is his ex-girlfriend/girlfriend.

A little bit of history of them. The guy is 28 and the girl 30. I am 21 if that is somehow relevant. They have been friends for like 10+ years now. Started dating 2/3 years ago. There were a lot of ups and downs and they broke up more than twice. The break ups lasting from a few days/weeks to a few months. He was never serious about relationships except with her. He said things like he felt the love he felt for her was "sacred" and that people say "I love you too often when they are not actually in love" (implying that he had now found true love with her). Whenever she broke up with him he would always go after her. For e.g if she unfollowed him on twitter following a break up he would almost never unfollow her. He would only do so after a long time. And one time he was absolutely devastated and was quoting things like "When the person you are so attached to leaves you feel so lost", "For me it has always been her no matter how hard I try to deny it, she is undeniable". Lol His friends kind of joked around about it presumably because they knew they would get back together? Idk.

He really wanted to get married to her and tried very hard to convince his parents. His parents didn't really approve of their relationship and his close friends also apparently advised him that it wouldn't really work out. Their relationship seemed very volatile with her kind of always being suspicious of him because he has a bit of a ladies man reputation and can be very flirty. Anyway they broke up again and less than a week later our "wedding" was arranged. She says she broke up with him because he was "treating her like a joke". Its been a couple of weeks now and I am just soooooo confused.

First of all he obviously still loves his 'ex' (technically). They probably would have gotten back together if it wasn't for this. I feel like I am intruding on their relationship. I also feel insignificant compared to them. They both are obviously older than myself, very popular and out-going, people say they are such a cool and crazy couple. They are both also very good-looking and very successful in their own right.

Me on the other hand, young and confused, really introverted and reserved with most people and I feel like I'm nothing compared to them. I'm not at all good looking (very very plain and I mean it), not popular, no one has ever asked me out and I'm so confused about life and don't know what to do with myself let alone be successful at anything. I also feel like I am less intelligent than both of them even though this might not actually be true.

To make it worse I kind of like the guy haha. I am attracted to him and I like his personality (although I'm unsure of whether we can actually work together). And I am so incredibly jealous of his gf. She is just stunning and has always been whereas I am like...passably attractive on my best days (and on my worst? you don't wanna know lol) She is skinny, quite clever, very liked by pretty much everyone. She also has a 'wild side' which I think he really likes. She is funny too. I feel like I am just idealizing her almost because I don't even know her. But this is the impression I get. And I am jealous that she is the one who he loves so much. And of her looks and how 'cool' and successful she is LOL. As pathetic as that sounds. And I don't even think he could even be remotely attracted to me. Or admire and respect me as much as he does her. We do have a lot of things in common esp. intellectually. I think we are compatible intellectually but overall I think THEY probably work better together? They seem to be 'cut from the same cloth' so to speak. I dunno I keep imagining them together and feeling jealous..

How do I even begin to sort this out? Getting out of this arranged marriage isn't even a possibility right now. And my jealousy of his gf is eating me up and I just feel like an unwanted extra tbh. I don't have any specific questions as ANY advice would be appreciated right now

Does it sound like what they had was something real? I feel like if she wasn't involved this whole situation would be so much simpler and I maybe could have gone into this situation more positively and actually would consider happily marrying him (after getting to know him better).

TL;DR: Unwanted arranged marriage with a guy who has JUST broken up with ex, still loves her, I am insecure and have low self-esteem and am jealous of her and their relationship. Dunno what to do.


ANSWER: Hi Zoe!  Thanks for your patience!

That was indeed long, but I'm afraid your summary at the end wouldn't have sufficiently encompassed all the important details anyway!  LOL

I'll be honest, I'm a little perplexed as to why saying no is not a possibility.  As long as it's an option, it is a possibility.  If it were genuinely not a possibility it wouldn't be worth discussing at all, but I get the sense that, in all honesty, it's a matter of not WANTING to say no very strongly rather than not being ABLE to say no, and if so I'm wondering what it is about saying no that is so terrible that you think agreeing to this marriage is a better alternative.  What is it that you think will happen if you say no?  Why is your current dilemma preferable to that?  Who benefits by you saying yes and how do they benefit?  Who is harmed by you saying no and how are they harmed?

In any case, just in case you still decide that agreeing to this marriage is a better option than not, I'm afraid there's nothing I can say and there's nothing you can do to fix the situation.  There are simply too many factors that are beyond your control.  In these situations, trying to change the situation itself is futile and sometimes painful.  The best you can do in these situations is try to understand and accept as much as you can.  Towards that aim, let me offer the following:

To paraphrase what a famous philosopher once said, we are slaves to our passions.  The stronger the passions, the harder it is to release their grip on our reasoning.  The man you are set to marry is currently very strongly in the throes of his passion for this other woman, and it is affecting his thoughts and decisions.  This is something you will simply have to accept; he is not going to be rational, he is too emotionally invested in the other woman, rationality has little to no value to him.  I have seen this situation countless times, so from my perspective it is easy to see why he is so invested: the rollercoaster ride she is offering him is intoxicating and thrilling, and he's right when he says it's rare, but he's wrong when he says it is sacred.  It is no more sacred than, and just as unhealthy, as drugs, alcohol or criminal behavior.  In fact, biologically, it is producing the same effects, the same "high" which will almost certainly lead to unhealthy and dangerous choices and wear out the body and mind.  The problem is, trying to convince him of this is just as hard as trying to convince an addict that his habit is unhealthy: You can't.  They have to realize it on their own.

I'm just speculating here, but I think another part of the problem for you is that you (and most other people) are only seeing the surface here: you see her public persona, which includes her physical appearance and her social mask.  This is only a small fraction of who she really is, and many people are exceptionally good at hiding other aspects of themselves.  I can almost guarantee she is an unnecessarily difficult woman to deal with intimately.  This should explain why his parents and friends didn't approve of her.  Other people may approve of it, but they are only approving of a facade, they're only looking at it superficially, possibly enjoying vicariously living the fantasies of what they erroneously think their life is probably like.  Honestly, if they were such a great couple, why would they constantly be breaking up and getting back together?  Is that what great couples do?

Which leads me to something else I want to make very clear to you: You are almost certainly not like that and you would almost definitely not be that type of partner.  From the little I know of you based on your message to me, you seem intelligent, well-spoken, considerate, caring and compassionate.  It may be too early to fully understand why, but these are immensely wonderful qualities that many men looking to devote their lives to one woman will cherish.  Don't sell yourself short.  You may describe yourself as "plain", but this woman your soon-to-be husband is interested in is basically a Ferrari with a terrible engine; looks great but doesn't actually work.

You are, understandably, unsure and insecure regarding the situation and of your own worth, at least in comparison to this girl who has become your rival.  But I think you were insightful when you said "maybe because I don't know her."  This is a prime example of the "halo effect"; our tendency to idealize someone who has one or more qualities that we admire.  We look at someone beautiful and smart and immediately assume EVERYTHING in their life must be wonderful.  This is rarely, if ever, the case.

So, to answer your questions:  No, I wouldn't qualify what they had/have as something "real".  Exciting?  Sure.  Romantic?  Maybe.  Long-lasting and healthy and fulfilling?  Absolutely not.  The only situation in which those types of relationships are successful is in the movies, and that's because a movie is only an hour and a half long, and they don't dare show the long-term results of such a relationship.  Those results can be pretty disastrous.  "Real" love is an ember that burns slowly, but lasts for a long time.  It requires patience, compromise and cooperation, and this girl has made it fairly clear that she's not willing to develop any of those qualities.  I'm pretty sure you are, so you have something going for you.  Whether or not he's interested is up to him, but you'll kill your chances if you approach this with the attitude that you're not "good" enough.  In a sense, you could say you ARE intruding on their relationship, but from his parents' perspective, you are probably INTERVENING more than intruding.  For the sake of the relationship but also, more importantly, for your own sake, focus on your strengths, and accept your very human weaknesses.

Hope that helps, and even more I hope things work out!  They usually do, in the long run.  ;)

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


1. I cannot thank you enough for your response. Just to update you on the situation, it looks like there was a lot of mis-communication and misunderstanding especially in the way my grandma proposed the idea of this marriage to me. Bottom line: I am not obliged to marry this guy. It would be ideal if I could  and that MAY happen in the future depending on how everything else turns out but every agrees that a marriage with him right now as things are the way they are would be disastrous which I am VERY glad to hear haha!

Thank you for your positive words. I have gotten into a habit of thinking negatively of myself and it gets much worse in situations like this so  your words were very helpful :)

2. Why do you say what they have/had is rare? Do most people never experience something like that? Here I go again being jealous that they have something that is 'rare' haha. Please excuse that :) And also you say you have seen these situations countless times. How did they end up?

3. Do you think he will ever truly get over her?

4. You say real love is built over time. Do you not think that might have already happened for them seeing as they've been best friends for more than 10 years? They know everything about each other. "The good, bad and the ugly" (her words).

Thank you so so much once again. :D :D All the experts on here are fantastic and I just want to let you know that you taking your time out to help others is amazing :)

Hi Zoe!  Glad to hear things are going better.

One thing important to keep in mind: most people are usually very negative, it's not unusual.  In fact, there are sometimes very good reasons to be negative - or, at least, not carelessly positive! - so no worries there.

Yes, it's rare, but then again so are floods and hurricanes and earthquakes.  Is something good just because it's rare?  I think not!  It's just that most people aren't quite willing or even interested in putting THAT much time, energy and risk into love and relationships, and with good reason!  First, it's not necessary.  Love and relationships can be wonderful without being exhausting or dangerous.  Second, there are SO many other things in life that are great that it would be quite sad to live a life where you have to miss out on them because you are constantly trying to deal with things in your romantic relationship.  Wouldn't you rather be able to spend time with family and friends sometimes, or involve yourself in hobbies sometimes, or study and learn things sometimes?  I know I would!

Do most people experience it?  Probably not.  Is there life worse for that?  Well, let me ask you this: have you ever been in a bar fight?  Have you ever done heroine?  Have you ever broken into someone's house to steal something?  Is your life worse off?

In my experience, these relationships usually end in one of three ways:

1. The two of them become obligated to stay together and steadily become more and more miserable, either constantly fighting or accepting a mediocre existence together - often for the sake of children or occupational situations.
2. One of them leaves the other and remains angry and bitter towards love, relationships and men or women for a long time, if not their whole lives.
3. One of them leaves and realizes that his or her dreams of a perfect mate were just that: dreams, and he learns to appreciate a more realistic ideal of a partner and grows and matures from it.  This was the case for me.  ;)

In answer to your third question, I really don't know.  A lot of it depends on his personality, values and attitude about women and love.  It's certainly possible that he could fall into the 2nd or 3rd category, but only time will tell.

Yes, I think real love is built over time, but real life is not simply "knowing" a person a long time.  To paraphrase Stephen Covey, love is both a feeling AND an action.  It requires doing different things than friends do.  It requires, as I mentioned before, acting patiently, communicating well and making compromises.  These are things you don't have to do, at least not in the same degree, if you are just friends.  Friends can come and go, and friendships are usually contingent on shared interests, personalities and goals.  However, when it comes to a loved one, you will share a lot, but not everything.  THIS is where love counts.  Can you do something you would never be willing to do - forgive, be patient, compromise, communicate, listen, etc - if you were just friends?  THAT'S love.  It's the ability to look at "the bad and the ugly" and love THAT, too, not break up or give up because of it.

Again, you're very welcome, and I'm glad you're talking to a variety of people on here.  We all have different expertise and experience and we all communicate it in different ways, no one way or idea is necessarily going to be the most helpful for everyone.

Take care!

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I can teach you that there is no "right" move. It's more in HOW you do it, not WHAT you do. If you're interested in pick up lines or tricks, forget it. But if you want to know what the difference is between the men who get rejected and the men who don't, I can answer your questions. I can teach you about body language, attitude and how to respond to any kind of rejection you might face (or are afraid you might face). Approaching is one of the most difficult aspects of communication, so having difficulty in this area is perfectly normal. Let me help you out.


My life as a single guy, learning how to approach and get dates from women. I was never into one night stands or seduction; I spent a lot of timing just learning how to approach, communicate and set up dates. Read a variety of books on the subject (Double Your Dating, Attraction Isn't a Choice, The Game, etc.) and had a bit of experience myself before settling down. Currently conducting "approach" research to learn more.

none in particular in regards to this.

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