He entered into another serious relationship within six months of being separated. Everyone tried very hard to try to get to know his new girlfriend. We asked many questions, were friendly, and invited her to all of the family gatherings. While I have asked her many questions to try to get to know her, she has never asked me a single question about myself. At first I thought that she was just shy, but now I am not so sure. She gives off the vibe that she is just not interested in forming a relationship with the family. She chooses not to go to most family events and, when she comes, separates herself from the family. For example, she went to the beach for a few days with the family and would not sit in the same room as everyone else for dinner. The next day she got breakfast by herself even though she knew that the family was eating together later.
They got engaged over the summer (as did we). They booked the date (a Friday) and a venue across the country less than a year away without asking anyone in the family if they could come. I know that you do not have to ask everyone if the wedding date works, but, since it will be so far away for the family, I think it is common courtesy to ensure the important people in your life can come. While my fiancé has no problem with going (other than not supporting the marriage), I have several. First, one of my best friends is getting married that day. Next, I am in grad school completing an internship and do not have extra days to spare. Lastly, I cannot financially make it so my fiancé will be paying for all of the related wedding expenses.
After the wedding was booked, they decided to also move to the same city as the wedding. She moved in October; he moved on Christmas. Even though he is far away, he made many promises to visit. He said he would come to fiancé’s bachelor party (fiancé was his brother’s best man and planned his last one), Thanksgiving, and Christmas. He flew out to California for Thanksgiving, came early for Christmas, moved west on Christmas Day (even though his job does not start until after the new year), and said that he would probably not come to the bachelor party. While I respect the time he wants to spend with his fiancé, he seems to have pushed his family to the back burner. She is not close with her family and, instead of incorporating her into ours, they have been separating themselves from it.
While I know it is not my place to express my opinion about his relationship, I want to know if I should go to the wedding. My fiancé thinks that I should stay home and go to my friend’s wedding since his SIL-to-be has expressed no interest in having a relationship with me. I think that it may push BIL further away if he thinks that he is not being supported by all of his close family and friends, and I am worried that my absence will give SIL an excuse to not come to future family events. So, am I obligated to go to the wedding? — Not Interested in Their Wedding
If you decide not to go to your BIL-to-be’s wedding, it should not be for the reason you gave (which is that your “SIL-to-be has expressed no interest in having a relationship with you,” which, honestly would be a childish and immature reason to skip the wedding considering the SIL is just one-half of the couple getting married and the other half is your fiancé’s brother, the person who introduced you to your fiancé and who will always be family as long as you are married to his brother). You should skip the wedding if — and only if — you have already told your close friend you would be at her wedding. If you haven’t — if STDs, let alone invitations, haven’t even been sent out yet because the wedding is still several months away, and if you aren’t IN the wedding, then you obviously aren’t committed to going and should then base your decision on other factors, like which relationships are most important to you (and when thinking of your BIL’s wedding, you need to consider your relationship not with your SIL-to-be and not just with your BIL-to-be, but also with your fiancé’s family who will surely notice your absence at the wedding and may interpret it as a sign of your commitment to them and interest in being part of their family). Of course, the other factors you mention are also important — you won’t have time off to make the trip across the country and your fiancé will have to foot the bill of your travel and related expenses since you won’t have the money to spare (which he may be happy to do if it means having you there).
Be honest with yourself about what your TRUEST reason is for potentially missing this wedding. If it’s because you feel slighted by both your BIL-to-be and his fiancée, that may not be a good enough reason to skip the wedding (even in combination with your other reasons and even if your fiancé SAYS it’s ok if you don’t go). Your job is to support your fiancé, and, if he feels like he’s losing his brother to this woman, even temporarily, having you there by his side as his brother vows to stay with this woman, whom the whole family seems to dislike, may mean a whole lot to him. It could be the support he needs to keep the occasion from being incredibly depressing. Or, maybe not. You should talk to him about it a little more to assess his feelings. And when you do, you should continue keeping your opinion about the BIL and his relationship to yourself, as well as your thoughts about the BIL’s dismissive behavior to your fiancé and the rest of their family. Of course, maybe it IS hurtful to your fiancé that his brother has seemed to distance himself at this time, and after the family was so supportive of him during his divorce. But maybe he also realizes that relationships can change family dynamics. New partners can take time and attention from family members involved in the new relationships, and moves across the country, as well as creating a new life in a new home (new job and new friends, not to mention planning a wedding) can further dilute the kind of attention and time a person can devote to his or her family of origin. Your fiancé may also understand that his brother’s relationship may fail like his last one and that, if/when it does, it will mean a lot to him if the family has always supported him and is there for him again when he needs him rather than disappearing when they disapprove of his behavior and relationship.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.