I have been with my boyfriend for two years (and lived together for one). Friends of ours are engaged, and are to be married in June. These friends and I are very familiar with each other; we all attend the same social events and get along (at least I thought we did!). I’ve spoken with both of them about the upcoming wedding and shared in their excitement. I was even verbally told to save the date. So, when the wedding invitations came, it was addressed solely to my boyfriend (for both the ceremony and reception). Later, they expressed verbally to him that he was the only one invited and that I was not invited to either the ceremony or the reception — their reasoning being that they couldn’t afford it.
I fully understand weddings can be expensive and stressful. If they are planning a small family affair, I completely support that. But all our friends are going — ALL — except for me (and it’s not even a small group). And my boyfriend and I live together — he even pet calls me “wife.” Invite snub aside, my real issue is with my boyfriend — he plans on attending the wedding without me. To try and make me feel better, he says that two other girlfriends are not invited. I believe that in a situation like this you should support your partner and if he or she is not invited, you should respectfully decline.
SO here are my questions: Socially, how do I respond to the engaged couple after the wedding? I will most certainly see them at every social gathering. Stories of the wedding will definitely be topics of conversation for a while afterwards, and although I am happy that they have that experience, it hurts that I was deliberately left out and have to hear all about it afterwards. I don’t want to be catty, but when I am hurt it’s hard not to be angry. Secondly, how do I deal with my boyfriend not supporting us? — Left out of the Wedding
Last month, I answered a letter from a bride-to-be on the flip-side of your equation; she wrote in wondering if she and her fiancé had to invite plus-ones, as doing so would mean they wouldn’t be able to fit all their guests in their first choice venue. Readers may remember that I clearly suggested the couple find a different venue that could accommodate plus-ones — especially spouses, and other long-term and live-in significant others — because I happen to think it’s not only tacky not to invite those particular plus-ones, it’s also likely to cause friction for the couples that aren’t inclusively invited, just as it now has between you and your boyfriend. But that doesn’t mean you’re right in being angry with your boyfriend.
Yes, it’s hurtful that your friends don’t view you as close enough to invite to their wedding. It’s hurtful that the other friends in your group have all been invited and you haven’t. But your boyfriend isn’t responsible for that hurt and he’s been placed in an awkward position of either upsetting you by attending the wedding even though you weren’t invited, or hurting his close friends, thoughtless as they may appear, by missing one of the most important events of their lives. And while you may think your boyfriend should be 100% loyal to you in every situation, isn’t there any part of you that can accept that the lesser of the two evils he’s currently faced with is upsetting you in the short-term over this issue that is, quite frankly, not that big of a deal?
I suspect, after all, that what you’re really upset about is your relationship not getting the respect you think it deserves, and that’s understandable. But I suspect your friends, in an effort to cut costs, implemented a rule about plus-ones that they must all be married. This would explain why two other “girlfriends” were not invited, as your boyfriend pointed out. By making this rule, there is no gray area about inviting dates or significant others that have only been in the picture a few months. So, try not to think of this as a personal affront or some statement about the legitimacy or seriousness of your relationship, but rather a personal choice made by people who value their own needs and desires over those of their friends (and when it comes to a wedding, that’s often the case! You can’t please everyone, after all, so better to aim for pleasing yourself, right?).
Let’s put things in perspective: in the end, the bride and groom will get married and you’ll still have a wonderful relationship with your boyfriend to enjoy. Yeah, you’ll miss out on a wedding that may or may not be any fun and you might have to hear a few stories about it afterward, but who cares? Really, unless a wedding is fucking phenomenally fun — and this one probably won’t be if so many people will be without dates — the only people who really think about them and “tell stories” about them after they’re over are the bride and groom. It’s not like this is going to be the party of the century that you’ll be hearing about for years. So, you know, just get over it. Plan something else on the wedding day you’re sure to enjoy. Take the high road, and be gracious to the newly married couple when you see them. Before the wedding, wish them well, and afterward, congratulate them. Don’t give them any reason to be glad they didn’t invite you. No good can come of it and it will only serve to make you look bad, not them.
It’s one damn day. It has no bearing on your happiness or the success of your relationship … unless you let it. Life creates enough drama for us on its own. Why stir things up when there’s no reason to?
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to follow me on Twitter.