Monday, November 29, 2010

I don't want to invite my stepfather

Dear ESB,

Here is another one of those "to invite or not invite" problems: I will be getting married next summer and I do not want to invite my stepfather to the wedding. He has ruined most of my childhood and we are not speaking to each other since five years. In brief, I avoid him whenever I can. If it weren't for my mother I would not have a problem now but she is still very attached to him, although they have officially separated a long time ago. They spend a lot of time together, visit family together, travel. She understands how I feel about him, but does not want to come alone to my wedding. She says she will not have anyone to dance with. It might also appear strange to my family who see those two together all the time and I will probably have to explain a lot to them about why he is not present at the wedding. But it is not like I can invite him and have him seated at a table far away from mine. If he comes as my mother's plus one, he will be sitting at my table. I do not want my mom to feel sad and alone at my wedding. She already tries to convince me that he is not all that bad and reminds me of some rare nice moments we had as a family earlier on. How can I tell her that she cannot bring him, without hurting her immensely and having to listen to her complaints for years to come?!

PS: Sorry for my English, I am not a native speaker.


Grab your mother by the shoulders and tell her "THIS WEDDING IS NOT ABOUT YOU."

Is she also planning to wear white? You'd better nip that in the bud.

(Photo by Mert & Marcus via Rosie Keszek)


  1. they officially separated "a long time ago"? too bad, so sad for him... he's out. sorry, mom.

  2. parents can be so manipulative sometimes. groan.

    do your thang girl.

  3. all wedding things aside, tell your mom to grow a set and ditch the deadbeat.

  4. my stepmother isn't invited to my little sis's wedding next year, and (in my opinion, at least) she's nowhere near as bad as your stepfather sounds. it sucks for both her and my dad, but sis and her fiance are paying for the wedding themselves, and sis said that having our stepmother there would ruin her day, period. when she put it that way, the rest of us stopped arguing.

    you're going to hurt her immensely and you're going to have to listen to her complaints for years to come; you can't make her okay with what you want to do. you can, however, be both firm and humane: make sure your mom has lots of dance partners.

  5. i can understand why your mom might feel insecure not having an escort to the wedding. you'll have to decide what's worse- the risk of seeing your mom mope around the whole day, or the risk of the dad-from-hell doing something to ruin your mood.

    if it were me, i would probably invite him but most definitely seat him and mom at a different table with extended family members- they'll all want to visit together anyways, right? but, it all depends on what exactly makes dad-from-hell so terrible...if he was abussive, he wouldn't be coming anywhere near my wedding and mom should understand that FOR REAL and not push for him to be there!!!!

  6. Maybe you can think of a friend or relative who would be kind enough undertake to escort your Mum and dance with her?

  7. Yeah, I think if they're not together any more you have no obligation to invite him. And why would your mother feel sad and lonely at your wedding? She should be feeling thrilled for her daughter! Plus she's the mother of the bride... there will be plenty of relatives and groomsmen ready to take her for a spin on the dance floor!

  8. Sorry but your mom sounds super selfish. Agree with ESB - don't invite him and tell her to suck it up.

  9. Yeah, you're mom is kind of being a jerk. Definitely don't invite him. Also, for your own sake, prepare yourself for your mom's bad behavior. She might still be moping on your wedding day, so prepare yourself for that and don't let it upset you on the day.

    Good luck!

  10. Thank you all very much for the advice! I actually spoke to several of my uncles and asked them to save each one dance for my mum. So I think she will have plenty opportunities to dance.
    The talk with my mum was difficult but not as difficult as I expected. After a lot of "what will the family think if he is not invited" arguments I asked her, if she thinks it is ok, that I should feel awkward at my own wedding.
    I think she is trying to get used to the idea of coming alone. And I feel already so much better now that this is put behind us. Thank you for encouraging to be firm on this one.