The real kicker was my no-show aunt’s Facebook status a few days later, complaining about how people should treat others the way they want to be treated. REALLY?! I so wanted to comment on that, but I showed restraint, just waiting for an explanation as for why they all didn’t show. It’s been six weeks now, and neither I nor my parents have heard from them as to why they didn’t show. And now one of my other aunts is organizing a family BBQ in a couple weeks. So, my question is: how do I address these no-shows on the off chance that they actually do show up to the BBQ? And do you have any advice for moving past this? I’m usually a very drama-free person, but it really hurts that my family essentially stood me up, without explanation. — Stood Up Bride
First, congratulations on your new marriage! During what has been, I’m sure, a joyous time in your life, I can imagine how much it hurt to be snubbed by people you care about, were looking forward to seeing, and whose support you were counting on. I understand the temptation you might have to be like, “WTF? How could ALL TEN of you stand me up on my wedding day and then not even have the decency to apologize or offer any sort of explanation?!” But, resist that urge and take the high road instead.
Obviously, if all ten family members skipped your wedding, there was something going on in that particular family unit that you don’t know about. The Facebook update about “treating people how you’d want to be treated” is a clue, too. Something is amiss, and that something most likely doesn’t have anything to do with you. And even if it does — even if you did something to warrant the snubbing you got — you deserve an explanation.
What I would do if I were you is call the matriarch of that branch of the family tree — your aunt, in this case — and express concern (not anger) over their absence at your wedding. Tell her that you were surprised that all ten guests from her family missed your wedding and, without any explanation, you have been very worried about them. You could even say, “I was just so surprised that no one contacted me to let me know you weren’t coming, and seeing your empty table at my wedding reception made me wonder if I had inadvertently done something to anger you.” This way, you are expressing some of your feelings over their snub without going on the attack.
You may never get the explanation or apology you deserve, but if you express yourself now in a controlled way, the next time you do see each other, whether that’s at the upcoming BBQ or not, there won’t be an unaddressed elephant in the room. Even if your aunt doesn’t take your call or return your message, you can at least say, “Did you get my call? I’ve been so worried about you!” And in saying this, you are inviting an explanation of some sort without putting your aunt and her family on the defense.
What’s most important here, of course, is not focusing on who let you down, but remembering the love and support that surrounded you on your wedding day and now. There will always be people who disappoint you, but as long as they are the minority in your life, you are a lucky woman with blessings to count.
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