Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Trying to make a wedding work when my mother and stepmom hate each other.

Home Forums Get Advice, Give Advice Trying to make a wedding work when my mother and stepmom hate each other.

This topic contains 73 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by avatar Chrissy 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 13 through 24 (of 74 total)
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  • #667443 Reply
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    LisforLeslie

    To date, when you have celebrations are your families always separate? Have your future in-laws ever met your mom, dad stepmother? Invited them to tea and cakes?

    Do you envision your blended family getting together for cozy christmas holidays or celebrating your kid’s birthdays? If so, wedding is a good way to start putting your foot down and making your expectations clear.

    If not then go with the ktfran’s friends route: Get married and then “allow” each family to hold a celebration dinner. It can be as fancy as they want, catered sit down dinner, barbecue, intimate dinner, whatever. Let them celebrate you the way they want to celebrate. The typical wedding is the joining of two families, but if it doesn’t look like that’s ever going to be on the table, I see no reason to force it now.

    #667444 Reply
    bittergaymark
    bittergaymark

    Wendy’s advice here is confusing to me in that 1) its not at all unusual for somebody to want a wedding. 2) Still wanting one even though your bride to be has two emotionally stunted women in her life is hardly a red flag. 3) Eloping and then having a party fails to solve the problem in that it just transfers this mess to the party.
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    I say have a wedding. Invite both. If things go South at the wedding? Have them both fucking tossed out on their chins and wash your hands of them. Petty people like this do NOT deserve any special treatment. None. Whatsoever. Catering to their fucking bullshit only sets you up for a lifetime of doing so.

    #667445 Reply
    bittergaymark
    bittergaymark

    PS — If my potential spouses family was so fucked up that we couldn’t even throw a wedding… um, yeah. That would give me REAL pause.

    #667446 Reply
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    SpaceySteph

    I commend you for having worked through less-than-perfect experiences with the adults in your life. Definitely agree your mom is putting you in a tight spot.
    I think before you talk to your bf, you need to think through the worst case scenarios..
    1) Your mom flat out doesn’t come to your wedding
    2) Your mom and stepmom both come to your wedding and drama ensues. There are ways to mitigate this, but you might not be able to completely stop it so imagine that screaming match.

    Once you’ve pictured these, what are your feelings about them? Many people would be understandably heartbroken if their mom didn’t come to their wedding, even if they knew it in advance and tried to prepare. It’s ok if that’s you. It’s also ok if that’s NOT you. Don’t pressure yourself to fake a better relationship with your mom for the sake of appearances at a wedding.
    If you think you could handle a smallish wedding without your mom or a wedding wherein your mom and stepmom have drama, then maybe having a wedding is a reasonable compromise you can make for the man you love.
    If, on the other hand, one or both of these scenarios would be devastating to you, then you need to explain that to your boyfriend: you simply don’t have the kind of family that can go along to get along and that an elopement is a compromise you are asking him to make for the woman he loves.

    #667447 Reply
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    for_cutie

    I read through the thread, and there is a lot of great advice here. But a little perspective, you’re not even engaged yet. I think talking about taking xanax on your wedding day is a little premature. Enjoy the time now, today. Enjoy your partner. What will come will come, but stressing out about things that are still in the ‘what if’ category are not going to make you any happier today, or when it actually comes to pass.

    #667452 Reply
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    ele4phant

    But BGM, at the end of the day you get married to a person you love, and generally it’s more important that they share a happy day with you then it is to get your dream wedding. Like, you can be sad, but if this is the person you want to spend your life with, you generally don’t want them to be absolutely miserable and stressed on what is supposed to be day for the two of you. If your priority is about getting a wedding then it is about celebrating with the person you love, then your head isn’t in the right place for marriage.

    And yes, petty people shouldn’t be accommodated, but what other life events are they going to be forced together? Literally anything else can be split up and separated. Christmas, alternate years. Grandchildren, separate visits. A wedding can be a unique event, and if it’s important to your future spouse to avoid this one off conflict, you should budge.

    Maybe they can talk about it, and come up with a compromise or strategies that will still be a wedding but lower pressure. Maybe just knowing he fully gets the situation and has her back will make her more comfortable going through the wedding. I don’t know. But if he’s not willing to at listen to her, and make some accommodations because she’s the woman he loves, that’s a problem.

    #667453 Reply
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    Kate

    I think people way overthink weddings. My husband’s parents didn’t show up to ours. My friend’s mom didn’t show up to hers (her dad and stepmom did). Who really cares in the end? Who cares if your stepmom acts passive-aggressive? And can you recruit someone (your dad??) to keep her under control? I say just have the wedding you both want and invite everyone. They need to be adults and handle it.

    #667454 Reply
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    Kate

    Plus, Xanax and champagne.

    #667455 Reply
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    golfer.gal

    Can you have a small family-only ceremony where all parents are invited, and then separate receptions a few days/weeks later: 1 in your current state with your boyfriend’s family and your dad and step mom, and 1 in your mom’s state with her and the rest of your family? That way it minimizes the amount of time your mom and stepmom have to be in the same room (a half hour, max) and it gives your mom some options if she refuses to attend; she still gets to see you at your reception/after party in her hometown. I realize that means you will have to plan and finance 3 separate events, but maybe you can keep them very causal/inexpensive, even a potluck, or ask parents or family members to host.

    Ultimately you might have to explain to your mom how much you love her and that you completely understand her aversion to your stepmom, but that you love your dad too and deciding to exclude one or the other of them is tearing you apart. And ask her if, for the sake of her daughter, she could agree to be in the same room for a mere 30 minutes while you get married and then have a proper party with just her side later. And have a similar talk with your dad/stepmom explaining the only thing snide remarks will do is hurt you and your relationship with them, and ask her to stick strictly to no communication or respectful small talk for your sake, even if it means rising above something your mom says.

    #667456 Reply
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    K

    I’m sorry you’re dealing with this, and I feel for you – I’m not engaged, but my mom has made snide comments about my dad’s girlfriend being at my potential wedding. My dad cheated on my mom – 23 years ago, and has had 2 other girlfriends since, one of which is his current one. She would be hurt if she wasn’t invited to a potential wedding of mine. I’m pretty sure my mom would still attend, but there would be tension. I think this is on your mom. You should invite both of them, and your mom wouldn’t have to interact with her if she chooses not to. But if she skips her daughter’s wedding just because her ex’s wife is gong to be there, that’s pretty immature and childish.

    #667458 Reply
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    SpaceySteph

    We don’t get to choose our parents. It’s not on the OP that her father was a cheater, and her mother can’t put that 20 year old hurt away long enough to show up for her daughter.

    #667459 Reply
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    Kate

    That’s right, spaceysteph.

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