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I slept with someone else the night before my wedding

BY DONNA HUSSEY-WHYTE All Woman writer husseyd@jamaicaobserver.com
Monday, July 30, 2012

ST Catherine resident Charmaine was getting married to a devout Christian. And while she was not yet saved, she knew this status, too, would change, as her husband-to-be was fully committed to the faith.

But while many persons in the community knew of Charmaine's sketchy past, including her penchant for wild partying, they thought the pretty girl had been tamed by the man of God.

And so, it was a shock to all when on the morning of her wedding, she was found in the bed of another man, getting her final sinful high before being tied to one man for the rest of her life.

The story eventually made the rounds, but only long after she had already walked down the aisle, a ceremony she insisted on still participating in despite her transgressions.

It was, she admitted, her version of the bachelor party that men for ages have used as the final occasion to sow their wild oats before tying the knot to one woman's bedpost forever.

Clinical psychologist Pearnel Bell said the practice is more common among men than women.

"Women who do it may have it in their minds that this (marriage) is a long haul, a long-term commitment, and they don't want to mess up so maybe they say 'let me just do this and put it behind me'," Bell said.

It is a common practice for friends of the groom to throw him a bachelor party the night before his wedding. This, some men admit, is a way for the groom to get his groove on one last time, before taking the marital vow.

In years past, and still in some circles today, the party involved actual copulation with paid women. Nowadays, it's more of a night for the boys to get wasted as they prepare their friend for settling down.

A bachelorette party, on the other hand, usually involves giving racy gifts to the bride to use on her wedding night. It may involve a stripper or two, as well as simulated sex, but rarely does it become a sleepover as happened in Charmaine's case.

Still, some women admit that once a ring isn't on it yet, it's OK to find comfort, if offered, with other people.

Thirty-nine-year-old Sherene M, who is engaged, believes that finding comfort in the arms of another man is acceptable since she hasn't yet tied the knot.

But once she does walk down the aisle, she says she will be committed to a life with only one partner.

"I tell myself that I am not yet married so I am still single [and will act single]," she said, admitting that she has been seeing another man, but will break things off soon.

"Many times I tell myself it is wrong but somehow I find it comforting," she admitted. "It's like I know I cannot get involved again after I get married and so I am kind of just making sure I am satisfied."

But this does not make it right, Bell said.

"It's a kind of pseudo comfort, a false comfort," the psychologist said. "Because whether they do it before they get married or after, it is still a betrayal, it is still a lack of commitment and trust."

But some women say what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

"Equality should extend to all areas of our relationship," Stephanie Foster said. "So if your buddies believe in wild partying and experimenting before the wedding, so will mine."

Bell said the woman, or man, who does this, should give their relationship serious thought.

"It could mean you are not in love with the man you are about to commit the rest of your life to," she said. "In some cases they might feel they are making the wrong decision but they have to make it because they have committed themselves publicly already."

She added: "If you find that you do not love the person — and that is actually the first ingredient for a very good, long-lasting marriage — then the likelihood of that marriage surviving is zero."

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