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 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 25 through 36 (of 74 total)
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  • #667460 Reply
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    RedRoverRedRover

    @BGM, since you always like to assume the answer would be different if this were gender-revesedan, what would you think of a bride who insists on having the wedding the way she wants it, even though it will make the groom miserable? I think most of us would say Bridezilla, and reconsider if that’s who you want to marry. Same deal for this.

    (And I’m not saying the groom will necessarily react this way if LW fully explains her issues, but if he does, then yeah. Groomzilla.)

    #667461 Reply
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    RedRoverRedRover

    *revesedan=reversed, obviously. This phone is insane.

    #667462 Reply
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    Miss MJ

    I know you love your mom, but she’s being manipulative. It’s not your fault that she cannot stand your stepmom and it is grossly unfair of her to put that on you. So, here’s what you do. Have a wedding. Invite them both. If your mom chooses not to come, then tell her that is her choice and don’t let her guilt you into feeling bad that she cannot suck up her negative feelings for her daughter’s sake. If she does show up, make it clear to your stepmom that any passive aggressiveness or shade will be taken by you as a personal insult and that you expect her to put her feelings regarding your mother aside on your wedding day full stop. If she cannot do that, then ask her to stay home, too. (Obviously, this applies to your mom’s attitude at the wedding, too.)

    At the end of the day, this is a bigger problem than a wedding. It’s about two women in your life who have no compunction about spewing their bullshit all over their daughter/stepdaughter. It is grossly inappropriate of THEM, and THEY need to be told to grow or be distanced from you. If you don’t set these boundaries now, then watch out when it comes to kids, future holidays, etc. It’ll be a nightmare. And, it honestly doesn’t take that much for the two of them to act like adults and be civil for a couple of hours out of respect for you.

    #667463 Reply
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    Ron

    I think LW is being very stubborn. Bf can’t have a wedding because her family is so messed up. Fine, I guess if he agrees to go small. But… bf can’t even invite his mother to a courthouse civil ceremony, because LW’s family is SO, so fucked up? That’s really selfish. LW: if your mother is upset, she’s upset — that’s what comes of issuing ultimatums that you won’t participate unless someone else, who literally has to be there, because she’s the wife of the father of the bride and lives in the same town as the bride, will be invited. Your mother is being extremely petty and vindictive. Don’t sleight your future husband and his mother by giving your own mother veto rights over any feasible compromise. That’s hardly fair.

    Also not fair is siding with your mother over your father, after things got so bad with mother’s bf, and she did nothing to stop it (physical/sexual/emotional abuse?) that you felt compelled to flee and your father and stepmom took you it. It sounds like she was a bad mother and is now being vindictive. I’ll guess, given the information you provide that your mother did her fair share in causing your parents’ divorce. Like you, I suspect your father felt he had no choice but to flee. She is vindictive and about me, Me, MEE! You talk a lot about her, and it’s nice you’ve forgiven her for the events which drove you away, but you provide zero suggestion that she ever thinks about anyone but herself. Don’t for one second think that she doesn’t know how much she’s screwing over your wedding plans.

    #667464 Reply
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    SpaceySteph

    These are real people with real feelings and though “screw that person if they can’t behave” is the most logical response, it’s rarely the most human. OP is reasonable to be sad that her mother won’t come to her wedding and OP is allowed to have a good relationship with her stepmother despite the cheating history and also allowed to love her mother despite what happened with the boyfriend years ago.

    #667466 Reply
    juliecatharine
    Juliecatharine

    Ugh +1 to your mom being really shitty putting this on you. A good mom doesn’t make her daughter’s wedding day about herself and crap that happened decades ago. I think you should do what you want, invite everyone you would like to be there, and let the chips fall as they may. Worst case scenario there’s obvious tension between your mom and stepmom but you really truly cannot control that. Accept that lack of control now and things should roll more easily.

    FWIW half of my immediate family is estranged from the other half. It was a source of stress leading up to our wedding but everyone came and everyone acted like adults. Hopefully you will have a similar outcome. In the meantime enjoy your partner and the life you’re building together–that really is more important than a wedding.

    #667468 Reply
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    ele4phant

    @Ron. It would also be shitty of the BF to insist on a ceremony that would be extremely stressful and miserable for his future wife (not saying he’s doing that – sounds like they are not yet at the point of talking about their actual wedding yet).

    They should work on it together. She needs to lay out her family situation and concerns, and then they need to work on it together so they come up with a wedding, or a strategy to deal with her family together in a way that doesn’t unduly stress her out. Maybe they have exactly the wedding he wants, but he takes on the responsibility of helping run interference between the two women. Or maybe he calls the mom and has a conversation directly with her about how hurtful she’s being to the bride by refusing to come.

    I dunno, it’s on them to figure out together. But what is marriage, if not sharing the burden of life (including dealing with each other’s shitty families)?

    #667469 Reply
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    RedRoverRedRover

    I think you should talk to your mom about this and make sure she is crystal clear on the position she’s putting you in. My guess is if you don’t invite the stepmother, there’s a risk that your dad will skip too. So essentially your mom is making you risk that one of your parents won’t be there. See if explaining it that way gets her to stand down from her position.

    If she still says she won’t come, tell her that since she’s forcing you to choose, you’re choosing the parent that DIDN’T put you in an awful position. And then follow through and don’t invite her. Have a gathering at your grandmother’s like you mentioned, at a later date.

    If she does decide to come, then yeah, make sure your dad keeps them separate. They should just not talk to each other. Maybe it would be better even to get your bf to invite more of his family, so you can separate their tables a bit and it’s not so intimate.

    #667470 Reply
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    Essie
    Participant

    This isn’t the easy answer, but it’s the one I keep coming back to.

    Your mom is being ridiculous. Yes, it sucks massively that her husband left her for another woman. It hurts to have to see this woman at social gatherings. But is it not possible for her to suck it up and be coolly polite for a couple of hours FOR HER DAUGHTER’S WEDDING? No one says she has to become this woman’s BFF. She doesn’t even have to talk to her, or acknowledge her existence. All she has to do is be in the same room for a few hours and not start a catfight or otherwise cause a scene. She’s not willing to do that? Really? For her child?

    As I said, it sucks that the affair happened. But it did. And her being a drama queen and screwing up your wedding plans is not going to change that. All it does is put unhappiness and stress on you during what should be a very happy time. And make her look foolish in front of her in-laws-to-be.

    Have the wedding you and your fiance want, and invite both your mother and your stepmother. Assume they will be adults. They may surprise you. If your mother actually goes so far as to say she won’t come to her child’s wedding because “the other woman” will be there….well, I’d enlist a sensible relative to talk to her and straighten her out.

    #667471 Reply
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    Ron

    Red Rover —
    If the groom is willing to have a courthouse wedding and his only hard stipulation is that his mother be invited, then he is hardly a groomzilla. If bride can’t allow this, because this doesn’t solve her mom/stepmom problem, knowing that groom’s mother will be hurt not to be included to that extent, then she is being unreasonable.

    #667473 Reply
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    ele4phant

    I suppose we’re all assuming that the BF will hardline for a very specific type of wedding and won’t share any of the emotional burden with her (which we don’t know), and we’re also assuming that the mother will refuse to come or will be terror (which we also don’t know – people can rise to the occasion for once in a lifetime events like a child’s wedding or when they’re asked to. I have a similar family history and a lot of my maternal family members sucked it up and were very gracious and lovely at my wedding; something I was very worried about leading up to it).

    So, talk to both your BF AND your mother. Have a serious come to Jesus talk with your mom. They may both surprise you and your fears will be unfounded.

    #667474 Reply
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    RedRoverRedRover

    @Ron, I was talking about BGM’s response that an elopement isn’t good enough and that it would be a red flag to him if he wasn’t allowed to have his full-on wedding even if it made his partner absolutely miserable. He didn’t mention courthouse wedding, and LW in this case said she’d still have the problem with a courthouse wedding anyway.

    Personally I think they should have the wedding, as I said in my response a couple posts above.

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