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 7 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 61 through 72 (of 74 total)
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  • #667527 Reply

    @vathena – sorry! I mangled your name!

    #667529 Reply

    Kudos to you for putting your big girl pants on and talking to your mom and asking her to do the same. Too bad she wasn’t willing to listen. But if you’re this stressed over a future wedding when you’re not even engaged yet, it might be helpful to visit a therapist. It would be helpful in multiple ways – one, you could bring your BF and use it as a safe space to explain to him your family dynamic – he has a right to know since it will affect not only his wedding but the rest of your lives together – and once he understands, a therapist can help you come up with a united plan on how to deal with them. Two, the therapist can give you encouragement and strategies in how to cope with your mom moving forward – how to KEEP your big girl pants on and keep insisting your mom keep hers on (and how to react when she inevitably doesn’t).

    FWIW I absolutely think if you go ahead with the wedding you invite everyone and let the chips fall where they may. If these women cannot behave and ignore each other for an HOUR OR TWO to celebrate THE HAPPIEST DAY OF THEIR DAUGHTER’S LIFE with her, and insist on feeling all butthurt, that’s on them and I feel sorry for them that they are such miserable people.

    #667530 Reply

    LW, you say: “I LOVE the idea of doing a courthouse wedding or a little getaway trip and then having an after party. His mom actually suggested that idea. But, of course, he wants his mom at that courthouse/getaway, and then I feel my stepmom will wonder why she wasn’t there on the other side, so it doesn’t totally make the problem go away.. (and if we do that without his mom, she’ll be very hurt too. Sigh.)”

    So, both your bf and his mother are content to go about as small and simple as it is possible to go, yet you are still insistent on a solution that meets the impossible demands of both your mother and stepmom. That is why I say you are being stubborn and selfish. At some point, and I think the above is that point, your bf and his mom have backed off as far from their ideal as is humanly possible and you have to either make it work or consider not marrying this guy. What further compromise do you think he can give you? You and your mothers seem unable to compromise at all.

    Your stepmom is local, so I agree you must invite her. Then your mother either chooses to attend or not.

    You say on the one hand that your situation with your mother’s bf was so awful that you were forced to flee, and on the other hand that your stepmom is wrong about your mother making bad choices. I don’t see how one can avoid concluding that, as the mother of a teenager, she made a supremely awful choice with that bf.

    You are an adult and this is real life. No matter how much you are willing to transform yourself into a pretzel and no matter how much you are able to pretzel your bf and his mother prior to the wedding, you cannot give both your mother and your stepmom what they want. That means this is on you and them. As an adult, you have to accept that this is something that you and your two moms must resolve. Certainly the loving thing is to try very hard to resolve it, but without your birth mother changing her position, there simply is no possible resolution. You need to come to grips with that.

    #667532 Reply

    Agreed. Your mother sounds like a nightmare. More and more this sound like she made this bed. Let her lie in it.

    #667535 Reply

    Ron is right. All of this pretzel-ing trying to please everyone, for a wedding that at this point is still hypothetical, is not healthy. At all.

    You simply cannot please everyone in this situation. Stop trying. There is no wedding you can plan that will satisfy everyone perfectly. So, your options are:

    1) Don’t get married because you’re afraid of a three hour party causing upset to your mother.

    2) Be an adult, and expect others to do the same. Plan the wedding YOU and YOUR FIANCE want. Not the one your mothers, or his mother, want. Simply asking people to put their delicate feelings aside for a few hours and behave graciously is not unreasonable. Adults can manage to survive socializing with people they don’t like, believe it or not.

    I went to a wedding a couple years ago that involved a very similar situation. My boyfriend’s daughter married a guy whose parents had had a really ugly divorce, and the father had married the woman he had the affair with. My boyfriend had told me the story on the way to the rehearsal. The parents had not seen each other since the divorce, ten years before. All three were going to be at the rehearsal and dinner and wedding.

    You know what? If he hadn’t told me about the situation ahead of time, I probably wouldn’t have realized anything was wrong. Everyone politely said hello before the rehearsal, and then got on with the important stuff: the wedding of their son. Yeah, it was a little strained at times, if you knew what to look for, I had a short conversation with the mom about how strange and sad she felt, seeing them after all this time. But it in no way affected any of the festivities. Because it wasn’t about them. They put it aside for their kid.

    #667554 Reply

    Long-time lurker here. Las Vegas chapels do nice wedding ceremonies. Go to Vegas, just the two of you, have a ceremony complete with dress and veil and flowers and tux and photographer and whatever else makes you happy. Some chapels have web links to the live ceremony so anyone “back home” who wants to can watch.

    #667557 Reply

    THAT is how it should be @essie! Everyone being mature adults and swallowing their pride for the sake of their kid or someone who they care about. I think others had some great ideas and a talk with mom and stepmom separately is a solution. Telling them you are inviting them both and you expect that they will be able to act cordial for the hour or whatever they will have to be in each others presence. Maybe designate someone who knows the situation and wants you to have a wonderful day to keep an eye on them. Seat them as far away from each other as possible. They do not even have to interact so your moms insistence that stepmom not be invited is kind of ridiculous. I can’t imagine NOT inviting my mom though . . . it’s her choice whether she wants to be petty, etc. but i still think you send her (and stepmom) an invite

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by courtney89 courtney89.
    #667566 Reply

    @essie exactly, that is the way it’s supposed to be. My BF’s parents also divorced because FIL cheated on MIL and got her mistress pregnant with twins. He then proceeded to marry his mistress. And my MIL has so much class and is so civil, that I would never imagine her doing something like this to her son.
    And I understand LW’s anxiety over the topic because my parents don’t speak to each other either, my mom pretty much hates my dad. But they behave when they are in the same room. My sister got married and both of them behaved.

    When I have conversations with my BF about an eventual wedding, we discuss all of this, his parents and mine, and all the feuds in the family. And I get a little anxious just thinking about what it would be like to plan a wedding, even if this is a very hypothetical one. I understand LW’s anxiety because she sees that it’s getting closer. Her fears could be materialized.

    But there is plenty of helpful advice here.
    1. You can’t please everyone.
    2. A wedding is for YOU and your BF.
    Do as you please and don’t look back.

    #667568 Reply

    Have the wedding you and your fiancé want, invite everyone and let it go. Do you really think your mom will blow up and create a scene at your wedding? Will your stepmom interject some petty passive aggressive digs? Can you enlist two family members or friends to babysit them so they don’t?

    #667574 Reply

    This makes me so frustrated. I don’t give a hoot who you are, why you are mad, etc. Keep your damn mouth shut at ANYONE’s wedding. It isn’t about you, it is about the couple. Anyone who would cause problems on someone’s wedding day is a selfish, immature, jerk.

    #667578 Reply

    “I just have no idea how to give him what he wants AND deal with both my mom and my stepmom, AND not have someone (myself included) come out of this with hurt feelings.”

    This used to be me. Not with mom/stepmom, but other challenging family members. I have the quintessential “dysfunctional family.” And then I met my husband, and realized the dynamic had to change for the sake of my marriage. So my two cents: do not be held hostage by unreasonable people. Even (or maybe especially) unreasonable people that you love. Why? Because after all your bending over backwards to accommodate them, they are the people most likely to STILL be unhappy. Treat them with respect, of course, but not kid gloves. This frees you up to focus on the happiness of the REASONABLE people around you, like your boyfriend, who might actually appreciate your efforts.

    The magic of this is that often unreasonable people adapt to the new normal. It was a very painful transition, but about a year after I started setting firm boundaries with a challenging relative, this relative started treating me MUCH better. And even if you don’t see results in the behavior of the guilty parties–hey, at least you’ve got a lot more free time that you used to spend worrying! I know none of this is easy. Took me a LOT of therapy to get there. Good luck!

    #668539 Reply

    Unfortunately, I have been in the same experience. Except I am the Mom. Here’s what my daughter did.
    She called me and very patiently and kindly explained to me that step-mom is an important person in her life. That daughter cares about her and wants her to be in the wedding as well as the wedding planning. She sympathized with me in regards to my feelings towards step mom. Said she understood how I felt and why. Once we got past that, she also explained that she understood that step-mom could be overbearing and again sympathized with me in having to put up with her. However, she explained that although it was very important that I be there for her, she stated very firmly that this is how its going to be. She explained it was HER day and she needed me to try very hard to get along so that her wedding day would be a happy one.
    She did the same thing to step-mom.
    Here’s the thing. I couldn’t imagine not being there for my daughter’s wedding. I had to put the temporary feelings of betrayal aside and as I love my daughter, I could not make this day about me and my feelings. Although I didn’t like it, I put on a smile, tried very hard to keep the resentment aside and avoided the trigger conversations with step-mom. And guess what? Together step-mom and I actually forged a truce and put step-daughter and daughter first.

    Don’t NOT have a wedding if its something you want because of someone else. Do it. And make it clear to everyone else what the expectation is.
    I think it can be done.

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