It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “Repeatedly Rejected By Niece,” the woman who was debating whether to attend her niece’s wedding in another state despite their lack of a relationship. Keep reading to see what she decided.
A lot of people commented on me not knowing if she’s busy or not, but I see her spend hours on FB posting old photos and then discussing them with people. To me, that’s something that takes time and, if you are really busy, that stuff goes on the back burner. I’ve had some sleepless nights over this decision, mainly because I don’t want to hurt her feelings or have family retaliate, but I know that I need to weigh everything and not attend anything out of fear.
I never mentioned this because it had slipped my mind, but, when I got married, my niece’s behavior (as an 11-year-old) caused lots of drama, which caused me a lot of tension the day I walked down the aisle. When I came to town to pick out bridesmaids’ and junior bridesmaids’ dresses, she hated every one we went to look at until she eventually liked just one. But then, a month after I got home (after measurements and fittings), she complained it didn’t fit and she needed a regular (not junior) bridesmaid’s dress like her older cousin had. The company we ordered them from said there was no way it couldn’t fit. My sister and mom got mad at me until I finally said that I’d pay for her to go get a regular bridesmaid’s dress, and I sent my sister a check. She ripped it up and said they’d keep the dress they had and she’d wear it like it was. Nobody talked about it again, but I noticed at the wedding and in pictures that it fit her perfectly, not even snugly. She just wanted to feel like she was the same as her cousin although her size fell into the junior bridesmaid category. My sister and mom were very cold to me in the weeks leading up to and on the wedding day. Because of this unnecessary drama, I remember feeling sad and disappointed on what should have been a happy, joyous day. I partially blame myself because I do have a hard time getting over things when I’m hurt, but I’m constantly working on this as part of my personal development.
This event has nothing to do with my decision to go or not to her wedding, but I relate it just to show you the kind of drama my family likes to create. My niece was an only child and her parents divorced and I think my sister felt guilty, so she let her behave however she wanted. There were times my sister would let her ex take my niece out with open liquor in the car, and, when I’d ask her why, she’d say “because he has a right to see his daughter.” Ugh!
Thanks again and I love reading your column!
Wow. Well, I’m happy you reached a decision you feel comfortable with, but I think you already had enough valid reasons without retrieving this nearly 20-year-old story from the depths of your memory about your then-11-year-old niece and your sister and their less-than-ideal behavior around your wedding. Just . . . let it go, and try to extend some compassion and understanding not only to yourself but also to the family members you feel have wronged you so much.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at email@example.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.