Thursday, January 6, 2011

Am I being over-sensitive?


Dear ESB,

My parents divorced centuries ago, and my dad has been in a relationship with a woman in another country for a few years now. Right after our wedding at the end of february he is packing up and moving overseas to live with her. We have met his new partner a couple of times, the most recent being at my uncle's 50th birthday party, which she flew in for. On this trip she was being (almost over-the-top) nice to us, and clearly trying to make a good impression.

So imagine my surprise when I found out she wasn't planning to come to our wedding!! The first reason my dad gave was that she couldn't get time off work. Not buying this. She lives a 3 hour flight away, the wedding is Saturday afternoon. Completely feasible to do without taking time off. Then he said she wasn't comfortable around people she doesn't know. I think this is closer to the truth, but REALLY? She managed for my uncle's birthday!!

I feel quite offended about this, as does my fiance. My father is packing up his life and moving to another country for her (for the record I have no issues with this, and am glad he has found someone who makes him happy). Surely the least she could do is come to his daughter's wedding, especially as I know that he would like her to come.

My fiance really wants to tell her "if you don't come we will take that as an indication that you don't want any part of our lives and you won't be welcome in the future"

Is this too extreme? Is there any way that we could get her to come?


*****

My guess is that your dad's lady is not prepared to meet your mother (I.E. your dad's ex-wife).

You can tell her "It would mean a lot to us if you came." But giving her an ultimatum is WAY TOO EXTREME.

It's just a wedding. Srsly.

(Image via Laurel Thompson)

24 comments:

  1. I get how upsetting it can be, but ouch. And there could be money concerns and she doesn't want to say. (And doesn't have to, that's nobody's business.)

    Considering that they like her so much that the fiance is willing to write her out of their life because she can't attend their wedding, no wonder she doesn't want to come.

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  2. Yes, it would be way too extreme. You are adults; you can handle this. Sure, it is a letdown, but her absence will not take away from the beauty, joy, love and sense of community you will experience on your wedding day. Don't let this setback get the best of you. And, for God's sake, don't go issuing ultimatums to ANY guest (family member or otherwise) who cannot attend your wedding.

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  3. Uh, it is a little weird but ultimately I agree with ESB.

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  4. Too extreme. I get why you're annoyed, but that's not a proportional response. I agree with Lyssachelle's advice on this. (Duh, that's not a surprise.)

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  5. Er, wait, I can't read. I agree with Lyssachelle's COMMENT and ESB's ADVICE. There.

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  6. yeeeeaah. totally worth bitching about to your girlfriends, but not worth writing someone off. spot in, ESB,

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  7. yeah, this one's probably not about you, sweetie.

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  8. I'm with ESB. My first guess would be that she doesn't want to face the entire family, mainly your mom.

    You know what would really suck? If she was kicking up some kind of fuss and insisting that your dad not attend. It sounds like she's just quietly opting out, which isn't bad.

    If you really, really want her there, tell her that you'd love to have her, it would mean a lot to you, and she'd be welcomed by everyone. But then it's up to her.

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  9. whoaa fiance, holy speech!

    instead of stewing pick up the phone and let her know it's important to you that she attend. she has her reasons to not want to come, give her a chance to tell you them, and respect her decision.

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  10. I agree with Rachel and Lyssa--lots of stuff could be going on here. I also advise you to prepare yourself for stepfamily: she is going to be in your life, and she might make decisions you don't like (whether they do or don't have anything to do with you, or your dad, is anybody's guess and you'll probably never know). Set your expectations right now that you'll be pleasantly surprised when Uncle's wedding, or similar, happens. Then you can be happy instead of stewing. But you have no vote here, wedding or no.

    I say this from many years of stewing.

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  11. Is she hairy or scary.. she needs to flipping suck it up and come to the wedding.. silly nancy girl.

    Brooke
    http://www.momentsofelegance.com

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  12. it can be totally hurtful to find out that someone is letting a silly fear get in the way of coming to your wedding - but it doesn't really sound like you guys know her all that well...you just met her a couple of times...how many times has she met your family?

    it can be really awkward to be at a wedding at which you know almost no one involved and barely know the bride and groom...maybe she would feel more comfortable spending some QT with you, your dad and your new hubby after the honeymoon for a weekend or something?

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  13. Welcome to the world of stepmothers, I guarantee you, this will not be the last time she pisses you off. Mine had to be told that it hurt my feelings that she didn't even acknowledge my engagement and then 6 months later I got a card.
    For what its worth I would be super bummed too and ready to tell her to take a flying leap. Good thing ESB and her readers are a pretty rational group of advice givers.

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  14. The fact that she is not coming to your wedding doesn't mean she does not care for you or wish you all the best for your new life as a wedded couple. People have lots of reasons for not wanting to attend weddings. I have personally not attended weddings because of money worries or simply because I didn't know anybody. This didn't mean I didn't want involvement with their futures.
    Best thing to do is talk to her directly and what ESB said.

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  15. My husband's aunt didn't attend my husband's brother's wedding. There was no falling out or hurt feelings. The wedding was in Scandinavia and she just didn't want to go.

    It's nice when people come to weddings but just because you invite them doesn't mean there is any kind of obligation to attend.

    She may have any number of reasons for not wanting to attend, not least because she is a 3 hour flight away.

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  16. Here’s a possibility – maybe she is thinking it’s *your* big day and she wants your Dad to be there for *you* and not be distracted worrying about her having a good time or knowing enough people etc. After all, she’s effectively taking your father away from you in a few months time – this might be the last time you get to have him to yourself for a while.
    I promise I am not a Pollyanna – but I do believe that most people’s intentions are, by and large, good even if they do sometimes miss the mark.

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  17. For what it's worth, I would be THRILLED if my dad's girlfriend decided not to come to my wedding. I am dreading the moment she has to meet my mother.

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  18. Look at the bright side: that's one less dinner you have to pay for! Also, like Bella said, your dad can be there for you on your wedding day. He won't have to worry about babysitting his girlfriend.

    (I don't mean that to sound condescending. It sucks to be at a party where you don't know anybody. So if she did come, it would be your dad's responsibility to introduce her to everyone and stay by her side most of the night.)

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  19. fortune cookie say: he/she who must be forced to attend wedding does not belong at wedding. lucky numbers: 12 32 69

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  20. weddings should never make or break relationships.

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  21. Esb is spot on.

    And like everyone else says, there could be a number of factors at work. For instance, how nice or otherwise someone seems to you can often be a cultural thing. So if you're interpreting her as over-nice, she may well be getting the opposite vibe from you. Does that make sense? What I'm trying to say is that she might think you don't like her, and if she hasn't met your mother yet she might be, understandably, reluctant to do that in the high-pressure context of a wedding. It's scary. Here's an idea - do you have the time to engineer some sort of party or meal or whatever with all your parents along, including stepmum? You could tell her you want to welcome her to the family (which you do); it'll maybe ease her nerves about the day. And tell her she's important to you (she might not think she is) and you'd like her there. If it's this important to you that she's part of your wedding and your lives why not welcome the woman in instead of pushing her away?

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  22. God I wish I had this problem. I don't think I could get out of my new stepmother coming to our wedding. I'm more concerned that she might want to bring along her (grown) kids, parents, etc (I should add, I live on the other side of the country and probably won't even meet said stepmother or her family until a week before the wedding).

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  23. The Over Sensitive BrideJanuary 9, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    Thanks everyone for your feedback, it has been great to hear all the different points of view. For the record, I also felt my fiancé's response was a tad extreme.

    I have had an email today from the lady in question expressing her regrets at being unable to attend, and wishing us all the best. While I am still a little disappointed, and mostly for my Dad as I know he would like to have her there, I have realised I need to let it go! I will look at the bright side, with the realisation that it will make organising the seating at the top table a much more simple affair!! Thanks again to you all.

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  24. PLUS: Your dad is still coming, which is the important part right!? who cares if the new girl comes or not?

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