You say you wanted an intimate wedding, just the two of you, and a big ceremony later when your boyfriend gets out of the Army. Were you planning to invite your alcoholic mom and her boyfriend to the big ceremony? Or… were you secretly hoping that once you had the small intimate wedding with just the two of you, the desire for a ceremony would sort of dissipate and you could avoid the whole wedding drama completely? You need to be really honest with yourself here. Whether it’s at your small intimate wedding on the beach or at your big ceremony later, you have to face whether or not to invite your alcoholic mom and her boyfriend. It’s ok not to! But I think it’s fruitless to try to avoid hurting her. If you exclude her from both a small, intimate wedding AND a big ceremony, she’s going to be twice as hurt. If you exclude her from a small, intimate wedding because you’re afraid she’s going to embarrass you, you have to understand that the potential of her embarrassing you at a big ceremony is just as great.
If I were you, unless I really wanted the big ceremony later, I’d probably have a small, intimate wedding only and invite immediate family. I would NOT invite the alcoholic mom and her alcoholic boyfriend, and I would set the boundaries of my adult life early, letting them know that the kind of behavior they exhibited at my siblings’ graduations would not be tolerated at special events in my life. I would tell them that until I know they’re sober and I feel confident they won’t disrupt special occasions, we will do our celebrating privately (over a dinner, maybe)… or not at all. This rejection from you is the price your mother has to pay for being an active alcoholic who has disrupted her children’s special occasions. She may get hurt and she may blame you and it may affect your relationship with her, but you have to remind yourself that this is a choice your mother makes by not getting the help she needs. You have not done anything wrong. You do not owe your mother an invitation to your wedding when she has proven that she can’t behave well at such an event.
You need to invite the people you want to be at your wedding and accept that, by not inviting the ones you don’t want there, you are setting a tone for the years to come. This will be both a blessing (no alcoholic moms ruining special events) and, unfortunately, a heartache as you figure out what it means as you navigate an adult relationship with your mother.
Anyway, I wanted to go out for a drink with him but did not present it as a date — just a drink. He was up for it but then asked to reschedule since he worked late and had to go the doctor the next morning. After a few days, I mentioned when I was free and he said it all depended on the test results the next morning. Then when I ran into him, he said that the doctor gave him more medicine and he still needs to heal. Since then I have only run into him once and he was busy, so I can’t tell if he feels embarrassed by his situation or was just busy.
I’ve never been in a situation like this and would love to give him a chance. But I talked to a guy friend who said if he were taking antibiotics, he would not go for a drink and certainly would not try to impress a gal he likes. I also heard that people seem to have trauma after an STD, that sometimes after that they have arousal problems, and, or course, they do not want to date during that time because they don’t want to pass the STD on to someone else, etc.
Can you please let me know how I should behave? — Finding his Vulnerability Appealing
Yeah… this guy is giving you clear signs that this is NOT the time to pursue dating him. Frankly, I’m surprised you’d even need a sign. I mean, shouldn’t “I have an STD I’m being treated for right now” be enough of a signal that perhaps this isn’t the best time to go out? It makes you look desperate that you’re pursuing him right now — like you see a window of vulnerability, or a time when he isn’t pursuing someone else, and you’re trying really hard to take advantage of that. Slam on the brakes, sister, and give the guy some space. If he’s interested in you, he knows where to find you and can always use the excuse of wanting to reschedule that drink to reach out to you. If he doesn’t, then it’s safe to say he’s not interested.
And, you know, you might want to re-evaluate your criteria in a date if finding out someone has an STD is what’s especially appealing to you.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.