Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Follow Up: “I Still Can’t Decide Whether to Attend the Bridal Shower”

This isn’t so much an update from “Meeting his Grown Daughters at a Shower,” the woman whose boyfriend of a year refused to introduce her to his grown daughters, as it is more of a follow-up question. As a refresher: The LW is good friends with her boyfriend’s sister. The sister invited her to a bridal shower for her daughter. The LW feels funny about going because her boyfriend’s daughters will also be there and she hasn’t been introduced to them yet. Now the shower is less than two weeks away and the LW is freaking out about going. Read on:

The shower is 13 days away, and I can already feel myself hyperventilating. I RSVP’d to my boyfriend, Dan’s, sister, “Julia,” on May 1, but only AFTER I had an honest talk with her about how awkward I felt that her brother still had NOT introduced me HIMSELF to his daughters and they will be at the shower. I shared how I would love to go to the shower but I feel very uncomfortable that I have been put in an awkward position. To my surprise, she totally understood and said she would love to have me there but understood if I don’t feel comfortable. Julia told me that she will talk to her brother and his daughters and also ask her niece to talk to his daughters. I told her that I want them to know I will be there and I want this day to be about her daughter and not attention on me as Dan’s “girlfriend.” Sadly, I don’t even feel like his girlfriend when I haven’t met his daughters and when he’s treating me the way he is.

I just thought today…WHY am I going to this shower? What, if anything, do I need to prove? I’m looking at my subconscious reasons for going. Maybe I’m curious to meet his daughters…maybe I just want to feel like I’m part of a family. But, I’m getting “cold feet” and was going to tell Dan this week that I’m declining the invitation. I will have to be “on” while I’m there, plus, I found out that I will know some of his cousins there whom I met with him and they will surely spread the word about my being Dan’s girlfriend…

Also! I found out by asking what the wedding attire is that he will be wearing a tux because he will be IN the wedding party, walking his 86-year-old mother down the aisle. So, great — now I’m alone once again at the wedding. I guess what doesn’t kill us down makes us stronger… Anyway, I asked WHY he didn’t bother to tell me he was in the wedding party. Again, I felt insignificant. Am I making too much of deal out of this? I’m requesting your wise coaching, as I struggle to do the “right thing,” “please everyone,” “be accepted,” and HONOR myself. — Feeling Insignificant

Yeah, you’re making way too much of a big deal out of this. I mean, you sound on the verge of a nervous breakdown … over, what? A bridal shower and a wedding? That isn’t even yours? You’re talking about “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” in reference to sitting alone at a wedding for a few minutes while your boyfriend walks his mother down the aisle? It’s a little… much. But you know as well as I that this isn’t about a bridal shower and this isn’t about a wedding; this is about you feeling, as you said, insignificant in your relationship. You have shared your feelings with Dan about how awkward you feel being put in the position of meeting his daughters outside the context of meeting them as his girlfriend, and he’s done nothing to help rectify that. He hasn’t included you in wedding plans that affect him (and you). And you say you don’t even feel like his girlfriend anymore.

So, you know what? You should probably break up with him. I don’t even understand why you’re still with him. What are you getting out of this relationship other than a bunch of angst (and a near-heart attack, it sounds like)? Maybe you’ve gotten so wrapped up in the hope that things will improve that you can’t see the forest for the trees. This man just doesn’t seem to care that much about you. MOA.

And since things were already going to be so awkward for you at this shower and the wedding, to the point that you’re hyperventilating two weeks in advance at the mere thought of attending, I say sit it out. Julia has already told you she understands. Call her up, update your RSVP to no, tell her how sorry you are to miss it but that, given the issues you’ve been having with her brother and how awkward you feel about meeting his daughters under the current circumstances, you think it’s best for everyone if you skip the shower. And then, run yourself a warm bath, make yourself a cup of tea or pour yourself a glass of wine, and try to chill out. I think you’re going to feel much, much better when you clear your life of this emotionally-draining man and refocus your energy on yourself, your well-being, and your happiness. In the meantime: deep breaths. This is seriously not worth passing out over.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

31 comments… add one
  • juliecatharine

    juliecatharine June 2, 2015, 8:24 am

    WWS; LW, his actions are showing you how he feels about you and your relationship. Why would you want to be with a guy who doesn’t care that you’re uncomfortable and hasn’t prioritized introducing you to the important people in his life? You sound completely fried and having gone there myself, I can pretty much guarantee it’s from twisting yourself into knots trying to feel secure in your relationship while your boyfriend continues to show you over and over that you’re not. Being single is better than this crap, MOA so you can be available when you meet a guy who will make you a priority.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh June 2, 2015, 8:30 am

    This is definitely not about the shower or wedding, but your relationship. I don’t understand why you’re still with this person either. He doesn’t seem to share or even want to share parts of his life with you. If you’re so unhappy in your relationship that you’re getting anxiety over someone else’s wedding and shower, you have your answer to both questions. Don’t go and leave him. And use this is as a reminder of the basic things you need from someone you’re in a relationship with, firstly feeling like a priority or even like you’re on their radar.

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  • Raccoon eyes

    Raccoon eyes June 2, 2015, 8:38 am

    Yep, WWS.
    *
    You signed off as “Feeling Insignificant,” and that is because you are letting yourself be pigeonholed as such. He knows that you wont stand up for yourself, so he stays satisfied with the status quo (letting you worry yourself into a breakdown over the fact that he WONT independently intro you to his daughters).
    *
    If you feel that you need to make some kind of last-ditch effort here (and no offense, but you sound kinda martyr-y, so I think you do), then tell him that you are coming over for dinner this week or weekend or whatever to meet his daughters. Or you are all going out to dinner. Oh, he has a “strained relationship” with his ADULT daughters that still LIVE with him? Tell him to buck the F up and tell them their continuing to live (presumably rent free) under his roof is dependent up on it.
    *
    Or just do the smart thing and MOA here. Bottom line, you are way too worked up over something that should be a non-issue. Wendy’s referring to your not being able to see the forest for the trees is spot-on.

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  • Portia

    Portia June 2, 2015, 8:49 am

    Woah, overreaction much? If you want to make this an MOA non-negotiable, that’s fine, but dude, please listen to Wendy and calm yourself down. Seriously. I think this is more about your anxiety level than any of the actual events happening. Not that it’s not sucky that the BF has put you in this situation, it is, but as someone who’s naturally prone to work social situations up in my head, I can see this going down that path. If this level of anxiety happens frequently in your life, maybe it’s time to talk to a therapist.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy June 2, 2015, 8:56 am

      I second the therapist suggestion. LW, this just isn’t a healthy reaction and if this is “normal” for you, then some professional help would probably do you a lot of good.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover June 2, 2015, 9:50 am

      I honestly don’t think her reaction is all that abnormal. Personally, I’m an introvert and I already find it stressful and exhausting to go to these kinds of social events. Showers and weddings for people I barely know (or don’t know at all) are work for me. And I’m not someone who’s constantly anxious, that’s just how I am. Small groups are my thing. Big events where I hardly know anyone and will have to make small talk are not.
      .
      So for me, I would already have a low level of stress about going to these events in the first place. Add the awkwardness of the situation, plus the (reasonably) high level of stress caused by the way her boyfriend is handling it, and I think her reaction is completely normal for an introvert.
      .
      With that said, I agree with Wendy’s advice. Why he isn’t introducing her to his daughters is beyond me. And not telling her that he’s in the wedding? It’s not clear to me if he’s going to be sitting with the wedding party at the reception… if he is then first of all it’s really screwed up that he didn’t tell her, and second of all I wouldn’t even go. That would bring the awkwardness level even higher. Plus it shows how little he cares for her, that he doesn’t even bother to share with her the plans for that day. Why would you want someone like that as a boyfriend?

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom June 2, 2015, 11:11 am

        I think the odds are very high that if he hasn’t told his daughters that he has a girlfriend before the wedding that he will pretend they aren’t a couple during the wedding. She can expect to drive alone to the wedding because he’ll need to do something like pick up his mom and take her to the wedding and he’ll have it figured out so that they don’t sit together at the wedding or the reception. He’s not going to admit she’s his girlfriend at the wedding if he hasn’t done so before the wedding.

        LW if your boyfriend won’t publicly admit that he’s your boyfriend you should dump him. You are worth more than this. He can only treat you this way if you allow it. Quit allowing it. When is enough enough?

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover June 2, 2015, 11:29 am

        I agree with you, which is why if I were her I’d be stressed about the whole thing too. And yes, she should dump him.

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  • avatar

    Anna June 2, 2015, 8:53 am

    You’re being a drama queen. You’re a grown ass woman, stop acting like a 13 year old in a rom-com.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom June 2, 2015, 9:17 am

      Realizing that there is something seriously wrong in your relationship, to the point that you can’t be comfortable attending a bridal shower, is not being a drama queen. She’s uncomfortable because she realizes that she shouldn’t be meeting his daughters that way and that them meeting her that way could cause the attention to be on her rather than on the bride. This situation is forcing her to look at how awful her relationship is and it is causing her stress. Her boyfriend appears to not want his daughters to know that he is dating the LW and she feels stressed about trying to keep the secret while around them. It is a situation that shouldn’t exist. A situation created by her boyfriend.

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      • Stonegypsy

        Stonegypsy June 2, 2015, 9:45 am

        Additionally, it’s so so so much easier to focus on events, individual things, and be anxious about those than to realize that your relationship, something you’ve invested a lot of time and emotional energy into, isn’t working for you. And when you start to get to that place where that realization is fighting it’s way to the surface, it can turn into a war inside your head.
        Her anxiety is understandable here, because it’s not based on the wedding and the bridal shower, but I think that a huge part of her really really really wants it to be. Because if it’s just about those things, then she can tell herself it’ll get better once those things are resolved.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom June 2, 2015, 10:38 am

        The shower and the wedding are highlighting all that’s wrong with this relationship in a way that she can’t ignore.

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      • avatar

        Anna June 3, 2015, 9:51 am

        Yes, but she’s handling this in the most dramatic fashion possible. She’s talked to everyone except her boyfriend about it. She’s talked to his sister, his mother, at what point is she going to lay it out for him how incredibly awkward this is?

        She can’t control how he reacts to it, but she can change her approach.

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    • Raccoon eyes

      Raccoon eyes June 2, 2015, 9:33 am

      Eh, Im with Anna on this too, Skyblossom. I really wanted to say something about how this scenario is rom-com territory too, but did not in the interests of space. Reading the original letter quickly and then this… She is in full-panic attack mode, because her 60 year old boyfriend of a year wont introduce her to his two daughters that LIVE WITH HIM.
      *
      Didnt she say before that he wouldnt let her come to his 60th bday party? Cmon. These arent grade-school age CHILDREN, the mother has been gone for close to a decade… I Just.Dont.Get.It. Both LW and Boyfriend are being held hostage by his daughters. But LW is ALLOWING it to happen, and getting into panic attack territory. This whole situation is downright NUTSO.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom June 2, 2015, 8:53 am

    Your boyfriend is treating you as if you are irrelevant to his life. If he hasn’t introduced you to his daughters it is probably because he doesn’t see you being in his life long term. He also doesn’t share basic facts, like walking his mom down the isle. A partner shares things as they come up and keeps you informed about what is happening in their life. Your boyfriend doesn’t do this. He doesn’t treat you like his partner. I’d break up. Leaving him will probably be a relief from the stress of being treated badly day in and day out. You deserve better so treat yourself better than he treats you. Leave him.

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    • avatar

      MissDre June 2, 2015, 9:05 am

      You said it better than I could. This is exactly why I left my last relationship. He was a great guy in a lot of ways and he treated me well as just a “boyfriend” but he just could not treat me like a partner as you’ve described. Honestly LW, just leave him because this guy will mostly likely never include you in his life the way you want him to.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom June 2, 2015, 8:57 am

    If he had spent more time introducing you to his family and you had spent more time around them you wouldn’t feel alone at the wedding even if the two of you didn’t sit together. You’d be surrounded by his family and they would be people that you knew and felt connected to but that hasn’t happened. That’s why you would feel alone at the wedding. It just confirms that your relationship isn’t much of a relationship.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. June 2, 2015, 9:00 am

    I second everything everyone else said, and: ditch the “please everyone” idea. It’s impossible. You can’t please everyone, someone will always be unhappy with your choices. Honoring yourself means being secure in your decisions and speaking your truth, no matter what other people think.

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  • avatar

    mertlej June 2, 2015, 9:48 am

    Oh my god, this isn’t about you. Now this bride is going to have to deal with all of these undercurrents of drama at the shower, where various family members are “talking to” your boyfriend’s daughters about what – making you feel comfortable? And you feel abandoned because your boyfriend is walking his 86 year old mother down the aisle? Stop trying to turn every little thing about a major family event into a slight directed at you. That’s just ridiculous.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover June 2, 2015, 10:58 am

      The LW is specifically trying NOT to make it about her. As the bride, would you want to be meeting your dad’s gf for the first time at your bridal shower or wedding? I wouldn’t. It’ll be weird. But that’s what’s going to happen, thanks to the dad. The only thing the LW can do to stop it is not go, which is what I’d do if I were her.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh June 2, 2015, 11:14 am

        Well the bride isn’t one of the daughters, it’s their cousin. Still weird in general that he doesn’t seem to care. But, it would be a lot weirder if one of the daughters was the bride and the Dad was like oh sure just come on you can meet there, hah!

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        RedRoverRedRover June 2, 2015, 11:28 am

        Yes, you’re right, I got it mixed up. But still! The bride’s mom knows and the bride probably knows, and a bunch of other cousins know but the boyfriend’s daughters don’t… it probably WILL be gossiped about at the wedding, and the LW isn’t in control of that.

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    Vathena June 2, 2015, 10:41 am

    I’m still puzzled as to how the daughters aren’t eventually going to find this out anyway. The BF’s sister and niece know (and what are they supposed to be talking to the daughters about, exactly? That there will be this lady at the wedding shower, but NOTHING TO SEE HERE!)? Won’t they wonder who their dad’s date is when they’re all at the wedding together?

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh June 2, 2015, 11:14 am

      I don’t really understand where the Dad in this situation is coming from unless he really wants the LW to not go. But, if that’s the case he needs to grow up and say that!

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom June 2, 2015, 11:29 am

      I think he’ll try to make it appear that they aren’t a couple. He will probably drive separately and try to not sit with her at the wedding and the reception. If he hides her up until the wedding he will continue to hide her during the wedding. That’s why he wasn’t telling her that he’s getting a tux and escorting his mom. He’s not going to be with the LW at the wedding and he was avoiding telling her that.
      .
      The LW needs to understand that when he hides her from other people that is the type of person he is, he is a person who hides things. You can assume that he hides things from you too, big things, as big as his relationship with you being hidden from his daughters.

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      • avatar

        Vathena June 2, 2015, 11:40 am

        Ugh. That would just be gross. Hopefully LW will break it off before it comes to that! She sounds like a kind and thoughtful (if slightly anxious) person who deserves better than to be ignored and snubbed by someone who is supposed to care about her.

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  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny June 2, 2015, 11:43 am

    I don’t have much to add, except that I have had similar feelings as the LW before in a past relationship, and it got to the point where I was feeling so insecure and bad about myself that I didn’t recognize myself.
    What I would do first is change the RSVP to a no and not go. It’s not worth it. Then, I would talk to the bf about how you are currently feeling, which is, like you are insignificant and not important to him. If he cares, he will listen. You are feeling this way for a reason- listen to your gut. You sound like a reasonable person (aside from overreacting right now about this wedding and shower), so if you don’t get any assurance that your need for being acknowledged will be met, then I’d move on.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark June 2, 2015, 5:39 pm

    My word. Some people out there REALLY do seemingly LOVE drama. And if there isn’t any to be found they swiftly create it out of nothing… Yikes. I was exhausted just reading this…

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  • avatar

    Ange June 2, 2015, 6:28 pm

    WEES and LW stop trying to get every else to intervene on your behalf. You’re stirring up family drama when this should be between you and your boyfriend.

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  • avatar

    Liquid Luck June 2, 2015, 7:50 pm

    I agree that if you feel like your boyfriend is hiding you and refusing to even try to come up with a compromise that would make you both comfortable, you should move on. If think you must give it one last try, tell your boyfriend directly that it’s important for you to at least meet the family of a long-term partner, and you’d like him to arrange a time for you to finally have dinner with his daughters. Don’t frame it as an ultimatum. State very clearly what you need to feel secure in your relationship, and if he doesn’t have something planned within the next couple weeks (or whatever time frame would make you feel like he was taking your request seriously), at least you’ll be sure that walking away is the right choice. If he only changes his behavior to keep you from leaving, it won’t be a permanent shift, and you will fight this same battle every time you disagree on how to move forward.
    .
    As for the people saying you sound like a drama queen, I have to agree that this part of your letter does come off a bit over-dramatic: “I shared how I would love to go to the shower but I feel very uncomfortable that I have been put in an awkward position…I told her that I want them to know I will be there and I want this day to be about her daughter and not attention on me as Dan’s ‘girlfriend.”” Getting everyone to discuss the topic you most wish to avoid has exactly the opposite effect. You could have simply gone to the shower and deflected anyone asking about your relationship with Dan by saying simply that you were there as a friend of the hostess, and oh, doesn’t the bride just look lovely today? Instead, you’ve ensured that everyone will have been gossiping about the situation for weeks before the event actually happens, and people who otherwise will have been wholly uninterested will now be looking for something dramatic to happen.
    .
    While your situation isn’t entirely of your making, you should step back and recognize that you are in control of your reaction to it. And if your partner’s actions fuel your anxiety rather than (at least try to) allay it, you’re probably in the wrong relationship.

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  • Guy Friday

    Guy Friday June 3, 2015, 8:52 am

    Can we at least draw a distinction between the shower (which — whether you think she’s overreacting or not — at least has a kernel of validity to the concern) and the “walking his mother down the aisle”? I mean, I’ll be honest, LW: you MAJORLY undercut any sympathy I had for you when you included that second part. I fail to see any reason why he needed to formally inform you that he was walking his mother down the aisle. It’s his mother, and they’re at the woman’s granddaughter’s wedding; it’s largely expected she’d be included somehow, and it’s not a stretch to suggest that a male relative would do the honors. It’s like 5 minutes, tops, and then he’s back at his seat next to you.

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