Should I Invite a Friend I Slept With to My Wedding?

Ask APW: Sex and Lies


Q: I have a situation and am not sure where to turn. My fiancé and I are getting married in five and a half months. When we first started dating, we did not ask each other too much about our sexual and dating histories and still don’t. I have a lot of good guy friends and the only question my fiancé asked me was if there was any history with any of them. I did mess around (but never slept) with one of my best guy friends during college. (We are in our early thirties. My fiancé is in his late thirties.) Then about five years ago, we had one night where we did sleep together. After that we went back to being friends, and I have been good friends with his long-term girlfriend as well. So fast-forward to when my fiancé and I started dating, and I denied that anything had ever happened with my good guy friend and myself. I don’t know why! I have no feelings for him and am madly in love with my fiancé. I also held up our friendship as a purely platonic example, for example when watching When Harry Met Sally with my fiancé. Also, this guy friend and I are in the same circles in the city where we all live, as well as with all of our out of state college friends.

To further complicate things, I pressured my fiancé into moving into this guy’s house when he was looking for a place to live and then moved in myself when we got engaged. Although we were technically going to be the only people in the house at that point, the house has a very communal feel, which I love but my fiancé does not like. I had also lived there a few years earlier when I needed somewhere to stay for a few months. My fiancé has never liked this guy’s girlfriend. However, the rent was good, the neighborhood was perfect, and so on. We were in this house about three weeks when my fiancé asked me again if anything had ever happened between myself and this guy friend. So I told my fiancé yes, but that we never dated, it was only one time, etc. We had a large fight and ended up deciding that the best thing for us to do was move and start our lives in a space that was new to both of us. My fiancé let me know that he also felt that I had often compared him and my guy friend. We’ve been working through the issues that really led to this; we started couples counseling, and I believe we are stronger now than ever.

Here’s my question (finally!). My fiancé definitely does not want to invite this guy to the wedding now—NO WAY. I feel like this is someone who has been a good friend to me for many years. Also, I’m nervous about the fact that we have so many mutual friends, so people will be talking about this before and even at the wedding. If we were to invite him, then our friendship will probably fade out over time, but with not as many hurt feelings. (I’m not exactly interested in continuing a friendship with the guy friend after all this.) We’re having a large-ish wedding so his lack of invite would be obvious. The guy friend in question does not know most of this. Suggestions?


A: Dear Anon,

Whether or not this guy comes to the wedding seems a moot point. The fact that your partner is asking you not to invite him means there’s still a trust issue that isn’t addressed. Inviting him or not inviting isn’t going to fix that. And frankly, my Internet advice isn’t going to fix that. Based only on your letter, I can’t tell if you still have feelings for the guy and that your fiancé is right to give it all side-eye, or if your fiancé is overly insecure and a bit demanding. Who knows! Not me. But you have to sort all of that out, and skipping on his invite isn’t an easy out. You both need to work through the “why?” of your fiancé’s request, and that probably means sifting through some of that muddy history and making sense of it. I’m super glad to hear you’re in counseling to do just that!

Meanwhile, this question raised some interesting discussion among the APW staff (and then we asked our partners, too, because why not).

In my relationship, we have a mutual understanding that we both get to veto the other’s friends. Our mutual security trumps whoever else. But, neither of us have ever actually played that card, so maybe the fact that we’re both not jealous types is the key to the success of that dynamic. With that backstory, I read this question and thought, “Of course fiancé gets to be the Decider!” Not everyone agreed.


This poor guy has done nothing wrong, and been a good friend to her. Did he lie about them hooking up once? Nope. Was hooking up once upon a time wrong? Nope. Did she lie about it? Erm, appears so. (Which is in the grey area for me. Who hasn’t sort of… blurred the edges… on a past hookup to save a partner’s feelings? Well okay, I haven’t. But my partner has, and when the truth came out I definitely laughed, because whatever, I trust him, and the poor guy should be allowed a few sexual secrets.)

If he had lied, he’d be out. If they were no longer friends with this guy, or she didn’t feel like he’d been a good friend to her, I’d say screw it, don’t invite him. But he didn’t lie, nor did he do anything wrong! And he has been a good friend! And good friends get invites. (Also, there is a slippery slope here, where married couples keep only friends they both like, regardless of how good a friend the person is to the partner they have a close relationship with.)

Cutting him off the guest list will merely ruin a friendship, it’s not going to fix the trust issues, and the trust issues are the core of this. Life is long, and guess what? This isn’t going to be one or both of your first trust fuck ups. Better to come to terms with that now, without collateral damage.

If you are in counseling and can’t get over “I slept with someone before I knew you and then wasn’t honest about it, but I’m honestly really sorry, and he’s a nice guy,” you need to take a step back to reassess. As relationship issues go, that’s pretty far from the most serious thing you’ll deal with. Maybe this is just the tip of the iceberg and there is a serious issue under there (like, say, trust). Or maybe you just can’t get past this, which makes me worried about how a marriage will withstand the real shit that is sure to come.


So either this fiancé sees some sexual tension with this particular friend that’s real, has some legitimate reason for not liking this friend that the writer is blind to, or he has serious jealousy issues. If it’s not this friend, it will be another friend in the future. I hope they’re working this out through therapy because the writer really needs to keep close tabs on this.

In terms of inviting the friend to the wedding, I’m still not sure what the fiancé’s issue is. If they’re still in counseling, they need to work this out so that the friend can be invited. If the fiancé is still not willing to invite the friend and this wedding is still a go, then the only appropriate thing to do is tell the friend straight up why he’s not invited. The friendship will be damaged either way, but at least she’ll be honest.


Her partner gets to call the shots on this invite, after she struggled to handle the situation truthfully and directly with him. My partner has a former person who hangs around the edges of our lives and pops up every now and again. I don’t get angry with her for having complicated feelings for the person, even if they’re mostly resolved and done now, because feelings are one thing and actions are another. We agree that should this person contact her, or should she run into her/have contact with her, she will let me know (but I prefer not to hear about whether she has any… appreciative… thoughts during the conversation). That agreement works for us for now. But we did agree that it was my call on whether they were invited to the wedding, and I did, in fact, veto that invite because I didn’t want to be glancing over at that person during my ceremony and being pulled away from the task and meaning at hand. And Anon does need to clearly show her respect for her fiancé’s feelings on this one since she lied the first go-round.


I totally get wanting to socially fix the situation by lying—I did the same thing! But you have to trust that your partner can deal with the complications of life and the messiness of relationships. It wouldn’t be reasonable for the partner to be angry about the guy because they slept together all those years ago just once, or even that they slept together one time, and then had complicated feelings, and now she doesn’t think they’re complicated any more but sort of occasionally has twinges. That’s all fine. But lying about it? That’s not fair and I understand the guy wanting a clean break. Should she get to have him at the wedding? Of course. But after she lied about it, I sort of think the partner gets to dictate the terms of her relationship with him on this one.


Lying about past activities is one thing. But if your partner says that someone is a friend, and you can’t trust that, you have bigger issues at hand. Because one of you is either lying or a jealous asshole.

Also, it sounds like this friendship is more important to her than she is letting on, and not inviting people to the wedding seals the deal in ways you might not anticipate.

If you would like to ask APW a question, please don’t be shy! You can email: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off! 

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