...is The Bachelor's Jason Mesnick. I really really really REALLY feel for Melissa, his original pick--the woman he said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. It's hard enough to have your engagement broken off the day before finals at a teeny-tiny private university your Junior year, then watch, dumbfounded, as your ex-fiancee gets over you and starts dating someone about 2 seconds after arriving back on campus in August...I can't imagine how it must be to experience that in front of national television. Welcome, Melissa, to a little "club" that helped me through my own public h-e-double-hockey-sticks six years ago--the almost-brides. The break-up of an engagement is many things: torturous, heartbreaking, stomach-turning, and sad. But most of all, it is incredibly, horrifically embarassing. Think of it this way: you have spend the past however long (it doesn't really matter the length of the engagement) making a big deal out of your relationship. You yell from the rooftops how awesome your fiancee is, how awesome you are, how much everyone should pay attention to you because you are just so stinking happy! You've made plans, you've spent time with HIS family, hopefully you haven't put down deposits (but you may have). Then when it ends, *poof*, you have to tell everyone, "Oh, just kidding. Remember that person I said I was going to be with forever, and how much we love each other? Yeah, nevermind." In extreme cases, you may have to send back gifts. I, thank the Lord, did not have to do that. You are then treated with pitiful kid gloves by everyone you know. Your friends who get engaged after this happens to you will not tell you. You'll find out from other people. You won't get invited to things. Friends who were mutal between you and your fiancee will pick sides. You want to think it won't happen, but it will. Most of our friends? They chose him.
Please don't hear (read) me wrong. Everyone has the right to change their mind. But that decision and the resulting heartbreak should not be played out on national television. And I can't emphasize enough that it's okay for the breaker-upper to enter into another relationship. However, it is NOT COOL to do that basically in front of your ex's face. YOU. JUST. DON'T. DO. THAT. I had my ex's new relationship shoved in my face for the following almost two years, because they stayed together after we graduated. She was younger than us, so she was still in school, and I was working at the university. It was not pleasant.
At the heart of this heart break is the idea and value of a promise. I place a very high value on promises made and kept. I considered my engagement a promise. Other people may disagree and say that there is no promise made until the final "I do," but I think especially for women, that ring means so much more. Hearing Melissa ask, "Then why did you put a ring on my finger?" broke my heart. She asked many questions that I also asked. Neither of us got answers. In situations like this, you rarely do. When Melissa said, "You chose me, but you didn't want to fight for me," I cringed. We all want to be fought for; to know that our love and our relationship and our commitment is worth something. If you've read any of John and Stasi Eldredge's books, you know that our great, unanswerable question is "Am I worth fighting for?" Melissa's question was not answered. My question was not answered.
Oh sweet Melissa, if I could tell you one thing it would be that it is NOT your fault. You are a unique person who deserves to be treated with respect and honor. Should a relationship not work out, you deserve to be part of that decision and not left vulnerable. You should be kept safe. I have learned that no one can TRULY answer my question but the Lord. HE is where I find my worth. But it sure helps to know that He sent me someone to answer my question on earth. It is because of the Lord that I can look back on my first engagement and say, "Thank you Lord that it did not work out." And it is because of that experience that I was prepared for my next (and last) engagement and eventual marriage. Melissa, I know it feels like he stole your engagement experience (because no one ever imagines having TWO or more engagements), and he DID. But someday, some wonderful man is going to STEAL IT BACK. And it will be so much better than walking up a pathway wondering if he loves you and if you're the one he's going to pick. You are worth SO much more than what he could EVER give you! You have a tough road ahead of you, but you will make it through.
I am SO happy to be out the other side of my engagement experience. It made me who I am and led me to Josh, so I am able to be thankful for it now.
Melissa, welcome to the "almost brides" club. Relax, kick up your heels up and grab a drink. You'll need it. Can't wait to kick you out, though!