The Washington Post
‘Fun’ date seems like a better match for my friend. Can I set them up?
Adapted from an online discussion.
Hi Carolyn: I went on a fun first date last night. We have plans for a second date, but I’ve been thinking he might be a really good match for my friend. I’m actually more excited about the prospect of their potentially hitting it off than I am about the second date — but I do like him enough that I would definitely like to see where this goes.
What’s the etiquette for proceeding here? Go on the second date and see what I think then? This is the first time I’ve ever had the urge to play matchmaker.
Matchmaker?: Matchmaking seems like fun but is weirdly sensitive — like, “What must you think of me if you think I’d like that person?!” Or, “So he’s not good enough for you but okay for me?” And the guy could be, “Uh, thanks a lot.”
Still, you sound genuine, so why not? Float the idea by your friend first, because that’s the connection that matters more. “I like him enough to see him again but can’t shake the idea that you and he would be great.”
That could be the end of it right there.
A reader’s thoughts:
My advice? Don’t try to tell l the friend why you feel this way about her and first-date guy, just that you have an instinctual feeling about this. Although this isn’t exactly the same scenario, that’s what a new acquaintance of mine — new as in we had first met about four hours prior — said to me about a friend of hers. She just had a feeling we’d fit together. She ended up being one of our bridesmaids and the godmother to one of our kids, so let’s just say her instinct was correct! Sometimes your subconscious makes some very accurate connections.
Dear Carolyn: Divorced five years, ex’s now-wife told him it was weird that we were still friends, so now we are not. He doesn’t even acknowledge me, not even when my dad died, after he treated him like a son for our 15-year marriage. He has forced our kids to have two separate families.
I worked very hard to forgive him and be friends while going through the divorce, and for the past five years he has totally ghosted me.
Why does it hurt so much, and what do I do when I see him at an upcoming wedding? He even got me uninvited to his — our — nephew’s wedding a few years ago by threatening to not attend if I was there.
Hurt: I realize this causes you significant pain and frustration, but your ex sounds like a victim of his wife’s control and abuse. His was a stunning and extreme turnaround to please a spouse — and a healthy spouse would never pressure a divorced parent to shun their co-parent or force their kids into sharply divided camps.
Stating this doesn’t fix anything, but it does touch on your two concerns: why it hurts and what to do now.
It hurts because it always hurts to be shunned — but if it’s any consolation at all, it also really does seem to be about her derangement, not your unworthiness of courtesy.
What you do now is regard him as a hostage and be glad you aren’t in a relationship with an emotional abuser so insistent that you can’t so much as express condolences for a death. For your kids, work with a family therapist on mitigating their trauma from spending time in that home. For you, resolve to appreciate your freedom to be yourself, and hope he’s soon free to do the same.
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