My 10 Year Wedding Anniversary

The wedding ring. I still have it tucked away in my sock drawer.I was a runaway groom.
It’s the type of thing you see in movies, but it doesn’t really happen in real life… does it?

Anyone who knows me well already knows this story, but a long time ago I was a runaway groom.

Exactly 10 years ago, on June 26, 2004, I was supposed to get married. My fiancee and I had been planning the wedding for months, getting all the details sorted out. We were to get married at Parkwood, in the sunken garden where so many other weddings had taken place before us.

Afterwards, dinner and a reception were supposed to happen at a nearby golf course banquet hall. We had the flowers, the DJ, the photographer, the limo, people coming from out of town… everything was all ready for the big day. Except me.

I didn’t go to the wedding.

Well, it’s not like I just didn’t show up. I did let the bride-to-be know ahead of time, but only a few hours before the wedding was supposed to take place. Better than just not showing up I suppose, but definitely not the best way to handle the situation. It’s not like I went to the wedding and then ran away once we were at the altar, but it obviously would have been much better to take care of things before the actual wedding day.

However, I was a very different person back then. I lacked self-confidence. I was pressured into proposing, and felt trapped. Deep down, I knew I didn’t want to marry this girl, but I kept trying to convince myself it was the right thing to do. So I went along with everything, despite that nagging feeling in the back of my mind telling me something wasn’t right.

It’s not too late until you say “I do”
The day of the wedding, I woke up early at my parents house and paced around the kitchen for a while. My brother Mike came down and immediately knew something was up. He flat-out asked me if I wanted to get married, and I told him I didn’t, or I wasn’t sure, or something along those lines.

Who gives away matchbooks at their weddings anymore?

We took off to my uncle Rick’s place, since he was a rational and impartial person who understood my situation. He had been in a bad marriage before, and when I thought of my future, I saw myself in a similar place.

I was clearly freaking out. It was the morning of my wedding day, and I didn’t want to get married. But it was too late to do anything at that point, I thought. Everybody was already getting ready to go and everything was already set up for my wedding. My uncle was calm about the whole situation and basically told me “it’s not too late until you say I do.”

He told me not to worry about what everyone would think, not to worry about the money and the planning and everything else. The bottom line was: It’s my life, and if getting married isn’t the right thing to do, then don’t do it.

Not so great advice
My brother Chris offered an interesting recommendation. He basically told me “Just get married. You can always get divorced later if things don’t work out.” While I appreciated the advice, I’m glad I didn’t follow it.

Obviously I felt and still feel bad about what I did. It wasn’t my intention to break my fiancee’s heart or embarrass her in front of her family and friends. However, behind the scenes things weren’t great between us, and I don’t think it was a complete surprise to her when I broke the news.

I also feel bad for putting my parents, family and friends through all of the drama. My dad had to stand up in front of everyone at the ceremony and tell them the wedding wasn’t going to happen, which I’m sure wasn’t easy. However, since the dinner and hall were already paid for, a bunch of people still decided to go eat, drink, and party. Many people later told me it was one of the best and most fun “weddings” they had ever been to, except the groom didn’t show up.

I know I disappointed a lot of people, but almost everyone supported me in my decision. They didn’t necessarily agree with how I dealt with things, but they supported me nonetheless. For that, I am very thankful and appreciative.

In the end, I lost a bunch of money, a few friends and a fiancee… But I regained my freedom and learned a lot about myself in the process.

For those wondering, my ex-fiancee and I no longer talk. She has since moved on and is now married with kids and as far as I know (and hope) she is living a happy life.


Cutting the cord
My advice to anyone in a relationship they aren’t 100% committed to is this: get out. And get out early. Don’t drag things out and hope you’ll change your mind. Because you most likely won’t. Life is too short to waste time in a relationship you don’t believe in. If something doesn’t feel right, either sort things out, or get out. Don’t go through the motions and wait until the last minute to make a move. It’s hard to cut the cord, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do. And the sooner you do it, the better.

A lot of people think I’m anti-marriage. That is not true at all. I fully believe in the idea of spending your life with someone you love and committing to someone through marriage. I just think a lot of people get married for the wrong reasons, or feel obligated to, or just give in to pressure and think they have to. Getting married is a big deal, and should be treated as such.

The next time I propose to someone, I’m going to be 110% sure it’s the right thing to do. I’ll be fully committed to the woman in my life, and I definitely would never again put anyone through the turmoil and stress like I did back in 2004.

It’s hard to believe 10 years have passed since that crazy day. A lot has changed in my life, and I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way. I feel like a completely different person. Despite wishing I had done things slightly differently, I am still proud of my decision, and the fact that I had the courage and support to avoid doing something I knew wasn’t right.

Thank you to everyone that stood by me during that difficult time. I couldn’t have done it without you.

5 thoughts on “My 10 Year Wedding Anniversary

  1. Rob… You admit that you would have done it a different way,.. I agree.. waiting until that morning… well…. Not the best move… BUT..
    Not getting married, when you feel it wasn’t right was the BEST decision you made ..both for you and your fiance… So many people do things in their lives, because its expected, because it ‘s the right thing to do, because you’re pressured… BUT when you’ve lived a few decades on this planet, you will realize that life is very short .. very very , very short for a few people.. and only hours old for some premature babies… SO………….. Go out and do what YOU want to do , jump out of a plane, visit Australia, go Vegean.. Whatever it is that your heart tells you, because during your last breathes.. that’s all any of us have .. Your memories… Do want you want to do.. and dont sell yourself short 🙂

  2. I remember that day. It was crazy. I must admit that it was a douchey way of doing it, but everyone survived and far better off now. A blessing in disguise, I guess.

  3. Rob, I am very proud of you for sharing your insight on this subject. It was a difficult thing to do and I agree with you 100%. I SHOULD have said “I don’t” and as I walked up the asile, I KNEW that I was making a mistake, but unlike you, I was too worried about what everyone would think. You are a wise and wonderful person. Hugs, T

  4. I remember this!
    I was at work and Rob MacDonald told me!
    I was like OMG…..good!
    Because I remember how unhappy you were!

  5. C.B. right? Good for you. I honestly think you dodged a bullet there. I don’t think you would have been happy. She may have been emotionally needy, but she seemed like the manipulative type who had a pre-set life plan: get married, have lots of kids, and wanted to impose it on you. Maybe, she manipulated you into proposing. Some men are dreamers and can’t be tied down too early as it destroys their dreams and aspirations. It sucks that you lost some friends over this. Who knows, maybe try reconnecting with those varmints. Again, you mentioned it being 10 years. People change and people forgive and forget. It also may be a matter of perspective. Perhaps, you didn’t lose any friends and only lost touch with them. Try to reconnect with them today, you just never know. They may welcome a line from you.

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