Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Shortcuts: “How Can I Stop Myself From Being a Total Bridezilla?!”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in three sentences or less, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go. Today we discuss bridezilla behavior, threesomes, and wedding planning.

I just got engaged! And the wedding planning has already begun. I’m an avid advice column reader and I keep thinking about all the bridezillas I’ve read about or read letters from. I know I’m a bit type-A, control-freak-ish, so I could easily swing into bridezilla territory. But I had a friendship ruined by my previous best friend’s bridezilla attitude and I want to avoid being a horrible, mean, bitchy bride at all costs. Got some advice (beyond the usual “remember what this day is about”) for how to avoid turning into a monster? I’ve known too many sweet, kind women who go crazy on their Big Day. — Anti-Bridezilla

 
If you don’t want to act like a bridezilla then it’s as easy as not acting like a bridezilla!!! But if you honestly, seriously think you won’t be able to stop yourself from being a self-indulgent, intolerable, Grade-A asshole while you plan your wedding, then enlist a trusted friend or family member — your maid-of-honor, perhaps — to give you a little heads up when you start venturing into bridezilla territory.

I’ve been seeing this one guy for a couple weeks and since we’re both sexually curious, we decided to do a threesome thing with his (male) friend, who’s also in an open relationship. I’ve been talking to his friend for a while and we’ve really, really hit it off. Now I’m more interested in pursuing the friend than the threesome. I asked the guy I’ve been seeing if he would be okay with it and he just completely went nuts. He said if I sleep with his friend before him, he’ll cut us both off from him. I asked him why he was being like this and he said, “it’s a matter if pride,” and “it’s sleazy of him to want to date another girl.” (We’re all in open relationships, and he’s sleeping with other people). Why is he being like this? What should I do? Oh, and also, the friend’s sorta girlfriend has cancer. Sigh. — Threesome Love Triangle

 
Oy vey — this seems like way more drama than it’s worth. Surely, there are other interesting parties you can pursue sexual open-relationships with that won’t cause so much friction, right? That’s what I’d do…

My boyfriend of three years recently proposed to me, and I immediately said yes. He’s been absolutely key in helping me transform myself from a neurotic, unhealthy person to a happy, centered and peaceful one, and we have the utmost love and respect for each other. My family is kind of ‘eh’ towards him, mostly because I’m very different in my idea of a relationships (I’m very low-key and would always rather have a good book gifted to me rather than a ring or necklace, my sisters are a lot more about the gifts) and because they’ve seen this change in my general outlook, and don’t like it because I no longer am immersed in petty family politics, though I do visit often.

I would like to have a small ceremony, but my family has such a bad taste in their mouths over him, that it would make both me and him feel very uncomfortable — especially because they tend to be a lot more under-handed about it, and not outright disapproving. So we’re considering having a courthouse wedding instead, which would undoubtedly make my family angry despite knowing that I do not like the whole wedding process to begin with. They don’t understand it is a spiritual thing between him and me; they want to be invited to the wedding, but they don’t like him, so it’s perplexing. Ultimately, I know it’s up to us, but I want to do it with as little backlash as possible from my family while making it a positive event for my fiancé and me. — New Bride

 
If you want to avoid planning a wedding and you truly feel having your family there would make uncomfortable anyway, have a small elopement maybe with a handful of close friends. This could be at a courthouse or even in a forest or park or something like that — let yourself go wild! Include your family in a celebration afterward when their negative energy can no longer affect the spiritual aspect of the occasion.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

48 comments… add one
  • avatar

    BoomChakaLaka May 27, 2011, 8:07 am

    LW 1: I’ve never been a bride either, so I definitely am trying to keep these tips in mind. Having a friend that will keep it real with you when you start to venture into dangerous territory is a good idea. I would also recommend breathing exercises. I have a bit of temper so I know I can go from sweetness to nasty in 2.5s. Oh, and congrats!

    LW2: Never has the phrase HOT MESS been more applicable. Um, yeah, I think you should totally MOA from that situation.

    LW3: Congrats. I honestly wish you had commented more on why your family doesn’t think too fondly of him as “gift giver” really isn’t one of those qualities that tops the list when pursuing a life long mate. Is that really all? Is there something else we should know? Well, we might not get an updates on this, so I don’t think there is any point in dwelling, but that was a bit interesting to me.

    But, to your question, yes, this day really is about celebrating your union. This is the foundation of the start of a new family. As much as it would be nice to have family and friends there, at the end of the day, all of those people aren’t going to be there when the going gets tough or even for the small wonders that exist daily in marriage. This is really all about you. If you do elope, trust me, the parents will get over it because you are their child and they just want the best for you.

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  • avatar

    Bostonian Thinker May 27, 2011, 9:03 am

    LW 3: This seems a bit off. Your description of the reasons they don’t like him seems a bit like there might be more to the story, but really, to a certain degree, when you marry a person, you marry into a family. They will be your husband’s inlaws and your future children’s gradnparents and such. I would include them if you can, at least to a reception. If you really feel it woud make you unhappy, than have a private ceremony. I know you can’t make everyone happy and you shouldn’t try, but these are the only relatives you’re going to get.

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    • avatar

      dobby May 27, 2011, 1:10 pm

      From reading LW3 I got the impression they don’t like the guy because he is helping her get away from the “petty family politics” – she is becoming more independent from her family and refusing to engage in the negative, petty bickering/drama that runs a lot of families. And her family probably doesn’t like that – they want her in the thick of the drama and to be a full participant in it. She no longer wants to do that, is taking steps to stop doing it, and so the family blames the finance for the changes that she is making for herself.

      In my life I have found this reaction too – when I took steps to break away from the drama and politics of my family (to the point of moving across the country to get away) they blamed everyone around me for the “changes in my attitude” when in fact the changes in my attitude were all my doing. Although I love my family I was just sick and tired of being in the negative environment.

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      • avatar

        Kate May 27, 2011, 1:12 pm

        Been there. Moving was the best thing I did.

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  • parton_doll

    parton_doll May 27, 2011, 9:03 am

    LW1 – Wendy is right … enlist the help of a reality check. For my sister’s wedding, I was the maid of honor and we enacted the bitch rule … when she was being a bitch I would give her the signal and she would settle down. It actually worked well. It also helped in the other way … when people accused her of being a bridezilla to get their way, I would again be her behavior gauge. Weddings can make EVERYONE crazy whether you want them to or not. But if you pick a reality check who is reasonable and who you trust, you’ll be great. Congratulations!

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    • avatar

      Kerrycontrary May 27, 2011, 9:38 am

      I agree that its easier with a family member. I can say stuff or act a certain way in front of my family while I always behave somewhat appropriately in front of friends (no matter how close we are). I have this distinct memory of telling my sister she was being a bitch at some point during her wedding planning. It’s the only time I’ve sworn at a family member! But It did work to curb the controlling behavior. So choose your bridal party wisely. They should be people who know and love you no matter what. Then you can repay the favor by being their for them during their most wacked out bridal moments.

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  • avatar

    silver_dragon_girl May 27, 2011, 9:04 am

    LW2: I don’t even understand half your letter because your pronouns are confusing, but RUN. Run, run as fast as you can away from this whole mess. His sort of girlfriend has cancer? He (which he?) can sleep with other people? But you can’t? Egad, girl. Get out while the gettin’s good.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray May 27, 2011, 9:28 am

      I’m reposting my stupid and unrelated question: Silver, how do I upload a picture to go with my user name? You clearly figured it out.

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      • avatar

        silver_dragon_girl May 27, 2011, 10:00 am

        Go to disqus.com and create a profile, or en.gravatar.com. This site uses gravatar, but disqus will link up with that one and other sites. Anyway, login to gravatar, or you may have to create a new profile. Then you can add images and stuff. Hope that made *some* sense.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray May 27, 2011, 10:39 am

        Thanks!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray May 27, 2011, 11:00 am

        And lookie there, it worked! I’m accomplishing so much today. Nothing work-wise, clearly.

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      • avatar

        silver_dragon_girl May 27, 2011, 11:06 am

        DearWendy is directly correlated to the decline in my work productivity over the last few months.

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  • avatar

    Bethany May 27, 2011, 9:24 am

    LW1- You sound pretty self aware, so I think you’ll probably be ok. But just to be on the safe side, do what Wendy said, but also make the whole Bridezilla thing a little bit of a joke with you and your MOH/BM’s. I’m getting married in a few months, and my MOH and I joke about being a bridezilla all the time. Hearing it mentioned frequently (but not in a mean, accusatory way) is a good reminder to keep yourself in check!

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  • avatar

    ArtsyGirl May 27, 2011, 9:47 am

    LW1 – as a slightly controlling (ahem*) type A personality myself, I made sure I worked on not taking a one way ticket to bitchville by enacting some general rules.

    First I marked out the places where things HAD to go my way – i.e. my dress and flowers and some places where I wanted a say – i.e. the menu and music and finally things that I could give a flying fig about like what hotel we were going to crash at the night (or should I say morning) after the wedding and what style of dresses my bridesmaids wore (I decided that they should be from J Crew and brown but they could pick out cut and fabric). The things I didn’t care about, I delegated out to my husband or friends.

    I also attempted to get alot of the things out of the way in advance – so I picked out flowers early, decided on the venue a year and a half before the date, things like this so there was really not as much stress when we got nearer to the big day.

    Finally I really worked hard to make sure I was not letting stress and the special roid-like rage found among brides spiral out of control. I wanted to enjoy the process of planning the wedding along with the actual day since I plan on this being the only one I ever have.

    LW2- Ok so your sex life is pretty complex but I applaud you for your openness. I think I would sit down guy A and speak with him calmly to address why he is being so possessive. It seems counter intuitive that he would have a problem with you seeking the attention of guy B when this is an open relationship – but when I reread you letter it sounds like you have not had sex with guy A. If this is true I wonder if this is a case of hurt pride. You and guy A have obviously planned on having sex since you were looking into a menage a trois but now expressing sole interest in guy B. I wonder if he would be fine with you seeking a relationship with guy B if you had a previous sexual encounter with A. I am not sure, but I think I would speak with him calmly and decide if there is any interest in A. If not then I would MOA. Now for guy B having an open relationship with his GF with cancer – are you sure about this because what a crappy situation that would be. Damn that was confusing to write so I apologize for any readers.

    LW3- I am sorry you are having family drama. I think if I were in your situation I would elope or maybe have a destination wedding. I would still invite your parents since I believe that giving them any reason for complaining would not alleviate the situation, and might make it worse. Honestly so long as you and your future husband are happy and in love there shouldn’t be any amount of chilly disapproval to stop you – and who knows maybe they will come around.

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  • avatar

    MsMisery May 27, 2011, 10:26 am

    LW1- Can you afford a wedding planner/stylist? If you can, if may behoove you to have them take over some of the aspects of the event- seating, flowers, etc. If you can afford it, you can outsource your bridezilla-ness.

    LW2- WTF? This is why I quit dating. People are cray-cray.

    LW3- Even if you’re going to have a very small, understated ceremony, I would not leave your parents out of it. That might only drive them further away from your husband and union. Regardless of their reasoning, you don’t want to start this new life off on the wrong foot. Plan for something more celebratory and inclusive after the ceremony though, so all those gift-givers can give til their hearts content!

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    • avatar

      DramaQueen224 May 27, 2011, 11:32 am

      I agree. If you have a relationship with your family, I think you kind of have to invite them to the wedding, especially if they’ve expressed a desire to be there. I think they’d be really hurt if you didn’t. Maybe if you tell them you’re thinking about eloping because of all the negativity they’ll shape up?

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  • avatar

    mf May 27, 2011, 10:27 am

    LW1: Wedding planning will seriously stress you out, so monitor your stress levels. If you feel like you’re starting to lose it, go for a run, take a warm bath, turn on loud music and dance around. Do whatever you need to do to keep a level head. If you can do that, you won’t have to worry about taking it out on other people.

    And like ArtsyGirl above said, pick your battles. Choose a few things that are super important to you and focus on getting those things right. Don’t lose sleep over the other aspects of the wedding.

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  • avatar

    melikeycheesecake May 27, 2011, 10:29 am

    LW1: I’m engaged and planning my wedding now… I’m not at all a control freak so not being a bridezilla comes easier for me. I never thought about what I wanted my dress or wedding to look like… I don’t care. Keep in mind it’s about you and your fiance not what color the napkins should be. I agree with Wendy have someone tell you if you’re getting out of line but also keep in mind it’s about your love for one another… don’t get caught up in all the little things your guests won’t notice or remember!

    LW2: Oh my… I dunno. I say stop being in open relationships… they sound like a lot of work.

    LW3: Do what you want for your wedding. If that means eloping then do it. It’s about your future together with him. So start it off however you two want.

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  • avatar

    MajinMD May 27, 2011, 10:32 am

    LW1: This question probably has an obvious answer, but what behaviors do you consider to be bridezilla behaviors? I am a strong believer in that a wedding shouldn’t turn a bride (or a groom) into someone they’re not, and that goes both ways. It shouldn’t turn you into a fire-breathing dragon if you’re normally a go-with-the-flow person . . . but it also shouldn’t turn you into this docile, passive kitten if you’re the kind of person who knows what you want, as long as you can still be polite about it.

    Personal anecdote warning: in planning my wedding, I had one bridesmaid who hated every dress suggestion I gave. She didn’t like the color (“it looks like Barbie legs” when I suggested a blush color), she didn’t like the fabric (“I want shinier”), she didn’t like the style (“you get strapless or knee-length, but not both. Pick one”). Hell, she didn’t even like the handmade clutch purses I made for all the bridesmaids. And I paid for half of everyone’s dress, because I didn’t think it was fair to impose a certain style AND a (still modest) price tag on everyone.

    In any non-wedding scenario, I would call her out on her shit. So, I did . . . but politely. I explained to her that I want her to be as comfortable as possible on the wedding day (she doesn’t like big groups either), but her demands were putting me in an impossible situation, since my bridesmaids have very different body types, and I wanted something that would be universally flattering. I also explained to her that I was the one who would be looking at the chosen dress in my wedding photos in my living room for the rest of my life. There were no demands or ultimatums, because that’s what I consider bridezilla territory but I still was upfront with her about it, because that’s who I am, bride or not.

    My point is that it’s easy to fall into the same trap when you are a bride that women face in everyday life: many people think that if you’re assertive, you’re a bitch. And I don’t buy it. As long as you’re matching your assertiveness with some measure of politeness and understanding, you’ll be fine.

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  • avatar

    Desiree May 27, 2011, 10:40 am

    Okay, LW2 definitely needs to leave the situation. The first guy she was interested in turned out to be hypocritical (although, I never would have assumed that the “Do you mind if I date your friend instead of you?” conversation would have gone any way but exactly the way it did). And your second guy of interest has a seriously I’ll girlfriend. At best, you would be distracting him from a loved one who desperately needs his focus right now. But I wonder if his supposedly “open” relationship is *really* open; I got burned this way once. I dated a guy who had an open agreement with his girlfriend only to find out midway that it wasn’t so and that she (rightfully) wanted to tear me to pieces. I just can’t personally imagine that a woman fighting cancer wants her guy out there banging other chicks; but who really knows? Anyway, LW, find a group where the men really believe in equality in sexual openness and don’t have desperately ill primary partners they should be caring for.

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  • avatar

    SGMcG May 27, 2011, 10:42 am

    LW 1- The best way I prevented from becoming a Bridezilla when I got married was to get the groom involved in the process. When we were dating, my husband always centered and kept me grounded so it was natural that I turned to him during some aspects of the wedding process as I started to get a little hysterical over the details. One of the first things we did for the wedding was agree on a mutual theme that we could center it around. I found the more personality you put into the theme, the more memorable the event and the ability to shape the wedding around it made it much easier to plan. Our theme was “Godzilla loves Hello Kitty Angel” since it complimented our respective personas on the forum of his webcomic – the reason why he was an invited guest at the sci-fi convention where we met.

    While there were some aspects of the wedding that were kept out of his sight (like my dress), he came with me while we were vendor shopping and I asked for his opinion on EVERYTHING – from cake flavor, to table linens, to the music before the ceremony. By asking his opinions, I tried to make sure that his personality was incorporated into the wedding as much as possible. The venue we picked (a zoo and botanical garden) was also very helpful in providing input for the nights they accomodated us. Since his webcomicry made him familiar with photoshop, he also contributed a lot to the DIY affair – designing invitations, programs, menu cards (for the meal as well as for the custom cocktails served), tags for the favors, etc.

    As much work we did in putting our fingerprints on the wedding, there are some things that would always be out of control. My parents, who contributed most of the bill, were very insistent on seeing some items in our wedding that my husband and I didn’t necessarily agree with. However what we were able to handle, we worked with rather than resisted and let some matters slide. Communicating with all people involved in the wedding made our ideas clear and known to all and their opinions and talents also helped contribute to the affair. In the end, our wedding was really beautiful and meaningful to us. From our engagement to the big day, we did everything in about 4 months. Our family still talks about how much fun and how lovely our wedding was – and we’re approaching four years of marriage now.

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  • avatar

    oldie May 27, 2011, 11:50 am

    I think Bostonian Thinker is incorrect — letter #3 does not seem off. The LW has different values and aspirations than the rest of the family. She has changed from what she describes as a dysfunctional self to a happier self. She says her parents and siblings are upset that she is no longer enmeshed in family squabbles. The parents and siblings want the old dysfunctional LW back. They basically don’t want her to become a grown-up who sets her own life direction.

    It is not at all unusual for one sibling to have different values and life goals than the others or than the parents. This is often viewed by controlling parents as rebellion or irresponsibility. In the end, as we grow up, we have to chart our own life path, we cannot leave that responsibility to our parents or siblings. They don’t have to live with the consequences and can’t fully understand what drives us. It seems clear that the family views the future husband as changing the LW to be less like them. It’s equally clear that the LW views this as a move from unhappy dysfunctionality to happiness. She makes clear that it is not just the happiness brought about by love, but a more grounded self.

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  • Public Pearl

    Public Pearl May 27, 2011, 12:14 pm

    LW2 has to be fake. It’s the, “Oh, btw his girlfriend has cancer” bit that put it over the top.

    Although if there’s one thing the internet has taught me, it’s that there’s no shortage of people who make really bad decisions and should not be allowed out in society.

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    • avatar

      Amber May 27, 2011, 1:00 pm

      Either that, or Wendy is stealing letters from Dan Savage’s mailbox.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy May 27, 2011, 1:02 pm

        I get enough crazy letters in my OWN box, trust.

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  • avatar

    kdog May 27, 2011, 12:39 pm

    I fully expect to get flack for this…but do we really need help not being bridezillas? I think everybody needs to take a look around at what weddings have turned into and put the kool-aid down.

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    • avatar

      Kate May 27, 2011, 12:50 pm

      Flack? More like a lot of agreement!

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      • avatar

        kdog May 27, 2011, 12:52 pm

        Thanks, Kate! I guess sometimes it just feels like everyone else likes it that way!

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark May 27, 2011, 2:52 pm

        Yeah… I totally agree. Reality TV has made far too many revel in the glamor and drama of being a petty spoiled bitch.

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      • avatar

        MissDre May 27, 2011, 2:59 pm

        I’m not if sure if this is a Canadian or US show so you may not have seen it but, Rich Bride Poor Bride is the most AWFUL show ever! The women act like the most whiny, spoiled, entitled brats and all I can think is WHY THE HELL WOULD ANYBODY EVER MARRY YOU?

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      • avatar

        LTC039 May 27, 2011, 3:06 pm

        Def. a US show…It’s crazy!! & there’s of course the infamous “Bridezillas” show, which I believe was the launching pad for all this craze.

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  • avatar

    Amber May 27, 2011, 12:59 pm

    LW1 – I like the idea of enlisting a friend to keep the crazy in check.

    LW2 – Why are you creating so much drama for yourself? Forget these two and go find a normal relationship.

    LW3 – It definitely sounds like there’s more to the story.

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  • avatar

    Sara May 27, 2011, 1:49 pm

    LW 3, Sorry that your family is so drama-filled; I’m glad you’ve found a partner to help you deal. I think that their desire to be at your wedding is their way of telling you that they still love you and support you–even if they have been rubbed the wrong way. Since this may be their way of showing you their support, I would consider including them in some way (as others have said, they’re all you get, and they’ll be there forever).

    I think the option of having a private ceremony with a more inclusive reception is a good idea. I also know a woman who eloped two weeks before her wedding so she and her DH had the private ceremony they wanted. Then, they had a small wedding with their family and close friends, but few people knew about their “first” wedding. That way, their “real” commitment was drama-free, but everyone was able to show their support of the union at a later ceremony.

    Only you know what your family is expecting, and what they are able to deal with. It will be hard to find a balance between what makes you and your fiance comfortable and happy (which you def deserve to be!), and what will allow your family to show their love for you during this exciting time. Finally: Congratulations!

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  • avatar

    justpeachy May 27, 2011, 2:14 pm

    LW1: If at all possible, don’t rush to the alter. It’s much easier to become a bridezilla when the stress levels get high, so take you time and plan things slowly and calmly. Also, make sure your communication is clear with everyone, so be very organized. Show up to florists with pictures of arrangements you like and types of flowers you like, show up to bakers with cake flavors in mind, etc. Leave the vendors with their own set of images of the things you like so there’s no confusion. Make schedules, budgets, spreadsheets, deadlines, and checklists because, for most people, the more organized you are, the less stressed you are and the less likely you are to bite someone’s head off.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark May 27, 2011, 2:48 pm

    LW 1: What is it about weddings that turn so many brides into utterly entitled bitches? Seriously, I don’t get it. Kudos to you, LW, for wanting to head this off at the pass. I think Wendy’s solution is brilliant and clever, though I would hate to be the one who always has to give any Bridezilla the reality-check as there is so often a tendency to blame the messenger…

    Regarding Letter 2. It’s one thing to have threeway with somebody — quite another to want to date that person as a separate relationship that does NOT include your boyfriend. Frankly, in this case — your boyfriend is the guy who should MOA. PS. I am 99% sure that Dan Savage would agree with me…

    LW 3. Hmmm, this is a strange letter. I, too, feel there is more to the story. I mean, you seem to view this guy as your “Savior” and the one who totally changed your life and single handedly made you less neurotic and blah blah blah. Okay, so why would your family not like him then? They miss your insanity? Something does not compute here. And frankly, after all the letters on here we read where people find it impossible to “change” their partners, this alone makes me a bit suspect. Exactly what does your family do that is so terrible? Petty family politics is all very vague. I’d love to know more… But I would be very wary about anybody who wants to cut you off from your family. Ah, you say, but he doesn’t want to do that! REALLY? Getting you to publicly diss them all by marrying you without inviting them seems to be a pretty efficient way to do just that…

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    • avatar

      oldie May 27, 2011, 4:43 pm

      I’m not sure why you interpret letter 3 this way. First, LW says she still visits her family a lot. No indication at all that her bf discourages contact with her family or friend. She says she is less materialistic and less into family-fights and politics than her sibs. The only semi-strange line is ‘it’s a spiritural thing between him and me’ coupled with the desire to marry before a JP. No indication that the avoid her family at the wedding is something that he is pushing on her.

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    • avatar

      Quakergirl May 27, 2011, 4:53 pm

      “Okay, so why would your family not like him then? They miss your insanity?”

      Um, yes. Some families are drama factories and they want you to be right there on the assembly line with them. I come from a family of top-notch instigators, and there’s nothing they hate more than having someone not respond to their instigating tactics. I’m not saying this is logical or healthy, but there are families that will feel betrayed by you when you refuse to take part in their petty politics and fighting. They create drama due to you refusing to be involved in the drama. It’s twisted, but there it is.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark May 27, 2011, 5:43 pm

        I guess. I dunno. You both could be right, I suppose. But there was something about the tone of the letter that was so condescending and almost snide about her family. They are so beneath her, so much less deep. They (GASP!) like jewelry…. So of course they can’t possibly share in the deep spiritual bond that exists between her and her savior who has freed her from her madness… Um, okay. I sure do wish she had commented a bit on what her friends think of him. But since she didn’t, well, it sent up a red flag. If her friends all thought he was great, and agreed with her that her family was nuts I would have a much different opinion… I’m sorry but I’ve done too much research on controlling and abusive men (for an aborted screenplay) to not notice what I think might be things she should maybe perhaps pause to investigate…

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      • avatar

        Quakergirl May 28, 2011, 4:38 pm

        I agree that the family situation could be an issue and it shouldn’t be taken lightly when there’s any sign someone could be being isolated and/or abused.

        But there could be a totally reasonable explanation, too. Some families are petty and shallow and not very nice to be a part of, and when you get into a healthy relationship with someone from a loving, functional family, it can make that very plain. And that can trigger a little bit of resentment and negative feelings towards your own family for being so dysfunctional and making you all f-ed up.

        Again, it’s totally reasonable to question how her friends feel and whether there isn’t a deeper issue, but it isn’t rare for her to have negative feelings towards her family if they are indeed melodramatic and petty– and perhaps even a little controlling themselves.

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    LeahW. May 27, 2011, 3:02 pm

    Anti-Bridzilla, I’m also quite Type-A and am trying to be more rational so I don’t take things out on my boyfriend. I’ve definitely come up with some techniques to help myself. The first, and probably most important, thing you can do is learn to realize when you’re being irrational and be able to admit it to yourself and the people around you. Not way after-the-fact, but while it’s happening or immediately afterwards. Admitting to the irrationality of a particular thought will go a long way towards deflating it and being open with the people around you will hold you accountable, plus they’d appreciate the acknowledgement if you really are pushing it. The second thing I try to do is figure out why I’m really upset. The little details don’t really matter, which is why we focus on them! It’s much safer emotionally than delving into the hard stuff. If I’m going nuts over something really small, usually what I’m really upset about is that I’m afraid I’ll fail, that people won’t like me, that I’ll push my boyfriend away, or something equally scary and profound. Once you figure out what’s really the problem you can actually deal with it, and suddenly the small stuff doesn’t seem as important anymore.

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    AKchic May 27, 2011, 4:31 pm

    #2 – You have committed a serious faux pas. Essentially, you crapped in the communal bed and wiped your ass with the sheets just before people climbed in.

    Here’s what happened: Your boyfriend wanted to play the dominant male in a 2m/1f liason. The other male was a guest. He was sharing his property – you. The fact that you and the guest made a connection and then you asked to essentially drop him from his controlling spot on the board/bed so you could leave him out was not only a blow to his ego, but changed the game completely. It wasn’t what was discussed at all. You two, from what I read, discussed the idea of a threesome, where the both of you were in control of picking the partners, approving the partners, etc. Not a completely open and clueless relationship (where he has no idea who you are sleeping with and has no approval to whom you are banging whenever).

    Open, or even semi-open relationships take communication and respect. How would you feel if the roles were reversed? You were offering HIM to a female companion and he wanted to ditch you to sleep with her? Disrespected, don’t you think? Especially if you had only discussed group forays before.

    Let’s not even get into the fact that this “guest” has a girlfriend with cancer. Who cares if she is okay with an open relationship – respect is key.

    I have had a semi-open marriage, and am in a semi-open relationship. Respect, communication and trust are key. If you don’t have those things and have jealousy involved, it will not work. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to handle an “alternative” relationship well. Believe me. I have walked away from many males who thought they could handle it only because they wanted me to bring home extra women, not realizing that just because an extra woman was in the home didn’t automatically mean the extra woman was willing to sleep with them, let alone meant that there would be sex every night in the home. Plus, how will things change if there are kids involved? You have to plan for the future as much as the present.

    You aren’t ready for this kind of thing. What you want are random, meaningless flings – not an open relationship. Relationships indicate meaningful connections. A meaningful connection doesn’t happen with the connection of your crotch, but with the connection of intellects. Move on and I hope your soon-to-be ex finds a woman who can handle an open relationship, or a semi-open one, if he chooses to have one.

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    AKchic May 27, 2011, 4:50 pm

    #3 – My “brother” and his new wife had a great idea during their wedding ceremony. Some people weren’t all that keen on the idea of them getting married (not sure why, they are a great couple). At the beginning, the officiant said “if anyone has any reason why these two should not get married, well, they don’t want to hear it, so stay in your seat and shut up”.

    Any relatives in the extended family that you might be able to recruit to help you during the wedding? They might be able to help distract the immediate family. I’ve had to do it at parties before. I’ve made it very clear that my younger sister is NOT to come to my events before. Unfortunately, my mother refuses to not bring her. Can’t leave her “baby” at home (at the time, “baby” was 18-21), it wouldn’t be “fair”. Nothing like having a birthday party for a 7 year old, or a congratulatory party for sports awards for 3 kids, or a 1st birthday party or holiday party with an adult child giving herself diabetic injections in the middle of the living room for all to see, with fake exclamations of pain, exaggerated wincing, and trying to test my kids for high blood sugar (she about got shot for that stunt) when she has been asked to do it in the bathroom in company. Had one guest faint at the site of blood. Then her “oh, I feel like I’m going to throw up” during candle blowing so she can try to get the first slice of birthday cake (to “boost blood sugar levels”, of course).

    Luckily, a few friends of mine were nice enough to try to distract her for most of my gatherings. Even if it didn’t work most of the time.

    When you marry someone, you marry their family. Your fiance knows your family’s issues, I’m sure that if an incident happens at the wedding/reception, something can be said to people if it is asked of you afterwards. But, I kind of doubt it will be asked. People will see the difference in you and them and know that there are sour grapes. It will probably be apparent.

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    Elle May 27, 2011, 3:52 pm

    LW1. I think you are such a sweetheart. Congrats on the engagement and enjoy the experience! If you don’t want to be a bridezilla, I’m pretty sure you won’t become one. You know, because you don’t want to!

    LW2 – so you meet guy A who brings up the possibility of a threesome. Then you meet guy B, and you tell guy A he’s out of the picture? I would be pissed too. Guy A found you, and guy B gets to have all the fun. What happened to having that previously agreed upon threesome? But I think guy A went a bit too far with “I’ll sleep with you first”. It’s not like he owns you or you have to sleep with people in the exact chronological order you met them!

    LW3 – your letter sounds a bit adulatory about your fiancée (agree with bittergaymark on this one). Maybe your family is everything your fiance says they are. But does your fiance say bad thing about your friends too? Does he like hanging out with your friends? Does he have any friends? If he’s trying to isolate you from all your friends, then he might have a control issue. That’s how abusive relationships start. But if you guys have a fairly active social life, maybe your fiance is right about your family. In any case, I would not be ok with my life partner talking sh*t about my family. My family’s not perfect, I admit, but I wouldn’t trade them for anyone else. I really hope your fiance is a good guy, but this may be a warning sign that he’s an abuser, and the sooner you figure out which one he is, the better for everyone – you can either nip it in the bud, or MOA.

    I also wish I knew why your family doesn’t like him. Everytime my parents didn’t like a guy, the relationship ended for reasons other than my parents intervention. And I hated to prove them right, but they were right.

    As for not having your family at your wedding… It’s a (hopefully) once in a lifetime event. You might regret it later. If I were you, I would draw drastic boundaries, and hold everyone to them. Maybe include your fiance to more family events (before the wedding), so that they get to know him better, and understand what you saw in him. And tell them, if they don’t accept him as part of your life, they will not be invited to the wedding. Your family has been warned, and as far as I’m concerned, as soon as they break the agreement, they made the choice not to be invited at the wedding.

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      AKchic May 27, 2011, 4:35 pm

      *laugh*

      My family wasn’t at either of my weddings either! My mom was just down the street for my second one and refused to come in protest that I was getting married at the courthouse rather than a church and in a white gown like a princess and having her plan it (with my money, of course), with my sister as my maid of honor, etc, etc.
      Had my mother had her way, I would have spent $20,000 on a wedding where she invited all of her friends (like the baby showers she wanted to throw me), people I didn’t know, and control everything, dress me up like a damned doll and parade me around for no reason. No thanks. I preferred my own way – even if my friend and 2nd husband did force me into a dress (I was going to wear jeans and a flannel). No make-up, less than 10 people in attendance, it was perfect.

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    Quakergirl May 27, 2011, 5:09 pm

    LW #1: Having a trusted friend or sister/sister-in-law tell you when you’re being crazy is a good idea, but the only way for this to work is for you to not bite her head off when she does. That’s only going to make it worse.

    Also, involve your fiance in the wedding planning as much as possible (as SGMcG said), as an extra voice of reason and sanity. His presence should hopefully help remind you what the day is really all about, plus he probably knows all the ways to calm you down– I know Quakerboy is an excellent cray-cray diffuser.

    But beyond your fiance, don’t ask for other people’s opinions. Everyone and their dog has an opinion about your wedding, but unless they’re footing the bill, they have no say. Obviously you want to keep people’s comfort and enjoyment during the wedding in mind, but those things aren’t contingent on the color of your napkins or whether you have a swing band or a DJ. The more opinions you have floating around, the more likely you are to feel overwhelmed and go ballistic as you try to regain control. And if you have parents contributing to the wedding, be clear up front about what their level of input will be and whether you’re okay with that.

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    Rachelgrace53 May 27, 2011, 5:49 pm

    Wendy, you never cease to amaze at how kind you are. If my family was being awful like LW3’s, I’d tell them straight up they weren’t invited to the wedding.

    As for LW1, I’d say to ask yourself (when you’re feeling crazy), if this issue is something that will actually affect you in the future. Are you even going to remember in a few month that the bridesmaids don’t want to wear matching shoes and accessories? If it’s something that is really important to you, deal with it in kindness. If not, try to let it go. Speaking as a fellow type-A, I know that will be no easy task, but just try to pick your battles.

    And LW2, throw up a “peace out” to that situation and FAST.

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    twiglet May 28, 2011, 7:22 pm

    LW3- I think you should do whatever you can not to alienate your family.Unless they are real monsters, and not just a bit different from you (i.e.themselves),they deserve to be included. You observe that although it is clear they don’t like your partner(and, I honestly believe- for reasons other than his choice of gifts), they still want to support you on your big day. That’s because they love you. Life will bring us all enough to regret,and in years to come, assuming you and your fiancee have a long and happy married life, leaving your folks out will leave a nasty-tasting gap in your memories.
    And, although your fiancee may feel they are very different in their values from him (and now you),anyone who truly loves you will accept your family for who they are, especially if they are truly a spiritual person.Good luck.

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    applescruff June 2, 2011, 3:52 pm

    LW3, after my friend’s father essentially disowned her (long story, he’s a giant asshole) she and her fiance moved their wedding up two months and rented a beautiful house in the mountains. Their closest friends from around the country flew in for the weekend, and everyone stayed at the house together. The ladies gathered her a bouquet from the wildflowers around the house, and used the leftovers to decorate the chuppah poles. Her makeup and hair people drove out, they had a solo cellist drive out as well and play for the ceremony, and afterward, while the newlyweds went off to take pictures with their photographer, the rest of us set the table, made lunch, and all ate together once they returned. It was wonderful.

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