Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

In Other Words: “My Fiance´s Mother Doesn’t Want My Burn Victim Dad in the Wedding”

This one from Dear Prudence really makes the woman who didn’t want any toothless groomsmen in her wedding sound like a saint:

I am 27 years old and engaged to an amazing guy. When I was a little girl, my dad was involved in a really bad accident and was burned over a large portion of his body. He lost part of one limb and has some serious disfigurement. He has been a great dad and I never think about it. A few weeks ago, my fiancé started acting strange when we talked about the wedding. I asked him what was up and he avoided the question. Then his mom called me out of the blue and told me that she didn’t think that my dad should come to the wedding. She thinks that he will upset the guests and “traumatize” any children who might be there. She is suggesting that we have a private family ceremony before the big blowout. I got upset and my mom asked why. When I told her, she said that she and my dad understand, which only makes me feel worse. Maybe my future MIL has a point, but I would really rather disinvite HER than my dad.

Prudence’s reply is spot-on and exactly what I would have said, except I’d probably add that is the LW actually wants to go ahead and marry this not-so-amazing guy with the horrible family, she should disinvite the future MIL to the wedding, for sure, as well as any future family gathering until she offered a profuse and sincere apology for being such a nasty person.

57 comments… add one
  • iwannatalktosampson August 13, 2013, 1:34 pm

    Reading stuff like this makes me sick to my stomach. People are so cruel. I hope the mom suffers a fate much worse than a burn. I hope it hurts. A lot.

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    • lets_be_honest August 13, 2013, 1:36 pm


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  • bethany August 13, 2013, 1:36 pm

    Fuck that lady.

    That’s all I have to say. Actually, it’s not. If anyone, ANYONE every tried to tell me that my own father might not be welcome at my wedding I would tell her that she could go fuck herself and wasn’t welcome. fuck that bitch.

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    • bethany August 13, 2013, 1:44 pm

      Oh, and I just reread the letter, and I agree with Prudie about the fiance needing to step up and tell his mother to quit being a cunt.

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      • TortoiseBear August 13, 2013, 2:40 pm

        wbs all the way

      • Miss MJ August 13, 2013, 5:24 pm

        Is there a word that is more profane than “cunt” for this MIL-to-be? I feel like it’s just not doing her justice. Frankly, the Prudie LW should run. Her fiancé isn’t much better than his mother.

  • Amanda August 13, 2013, 1:48 pm

    How was the LW’s immediate response not “What the fuck is wrong with you? I’m ending my engagement because of you, you nasty cunt.” Or something along those lines….

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  • Something Random August 13, 2013, 1:48 pm

    I actually thought Prudence was a little hard on the fiancé. The letter writer really doesn’t know the whole story and it is quite possible that the mil approached her son and he refused to pass on the horrible request so the mil took it upon herself to make the request.

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    • Something Random August 13, 2013, 1:58 pm

      Lots of people have crazy parents and manage to be decent. My own dad made a horrible request that I didn’t want to even entertain at my wedding. But the thing is people with poor boundaries often refuse to respect the boundaries of others and he went along and asked my husband even though I told him not to. I love my dad, even though he is a complicated and flawed person. I would not have cut him out of my life over this, apology or not (though I would have cut him out of my wedding if my husband had been willing).

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    • Marjoralynnia August 13, 2013, 8:22 pm

      I think so too. Actually, I think what’s worse is that the LW actually told her mom what her MIL asked.

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  • Guy Friday August 13, 2013, 2:11 pm

    First, the MIL’s reprehensible. I don’t think there’s anyone here who could spin her comments in any way that would make her seem reasonable.

    That aside, some people have touched on this, but let me play Devil’s Advocate for a moment regarding the LW’s fiance. We don’t know where they are in the wedding planning, but it seems like they’re in the thick of it enough that there’s stress and feelings of being overwhelmed. And, despite popular conceptions, grooms feel it as much as brides in many cases. So you’re trying to juggle wedding planning and a career and keeping your relationship healthy . . and then your mother says this to you. About your future father-in-law (who it seems the fiance gets along with and isn’t horrified by, since I figure the LW would have mentioned that were it the case.) I mean, this isn’t just a “I don’t like the wedding colors” shot across the bow. This is WAY beyond that. This is napalm. This is Hiroshima. This is . . . I mean, I’m not even sure there’s really a good way of describing what this is.

    And while it’s easy to say in hindsight what the fiance should have said, if it were me I’d probably be too stunned to even know how to respond. I mean, who’s prepared for that kind of thing? And so he’s ashamed of his mother, and panicking because of course this is going to look terrible to the woman he loves — because how could it not? — and what if she thinks he feels the same way about her father? What if she breaks it off with him because of what his mother said? Maybe if he doesn’t mention it to her he can nip it in the bud with his mother, call her out for it privately and quietly so that the love of his life never has to know this awful situation. But every time they talk about wedding stuff he can’t help but think about the comment, and yet he REALLY doesn’t want to tell her for all of those reasons I talked about. And then his mother calls before he can fix it, and . . . well, it’s all out in the open now.

    In light of that, it’s easy to see how someone could be paralyzed by fear and panic in that situation and handle it as poorly as this guy did. And, honestly, the LW didn’t say how the fiancee reacted once his mom said all that nasty stuff to her; she focused on what she felt about the MIL’s comments, which is certainly fair to do. He very well could have gone to her father and showed his support, called out his mother publicly, openly told the LW that he didn’t agree for one second with what his mother said. He may have done everything he was supposed to do before. I just don’t think we should rip into him for doing it too late, because he may not have even known how to process all that at the time it happened.

    (Also, I get that your emotions are telling you to disinvite your MIL, LW, but don’t do it. My grandfather always told me never to fight with an idiot because he’ll drag you down to his level and then beat you with his experience. You’d really put your fiance in a tough bind, and, frankly, this is the perfect opportunity to show this woman — and everyone else in attendance — how, unlike her, you don’t judge people, how you treat them the way YOU want to be treated. Then you get to take a victory lap about it 🙂 )

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    • Katie August 13, 2013, 2:55 pm

      I can definitely get behind this. My first instinct was not to chastise the groom, although that wouldn’t be completely of the table. I would go about it similarly to what Essie said below.

      The worst part in my opinion? The dad and moms admission of “they understand”. That means that this is not the first time this has happened, and they have just come to accept it.

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      • theattack August 13, 2013, 2:56 pm

        That part broke my heart.

      • iwannatalktosampson August 13, 2013, 3:03 pm

        Yeah I wanted to die. Why the fuck is that woman allowed to live. She should be beheaded. (fine, I’ve recently gotten into an unhealthy game of thrones addiction). BUT SERIOUSLY. Off with her head. Fuck her.

      • Guy Friday August 13, 2013, 3:14 pm

        Mine too. And it made me respect the hell out of her parents even more. I mean, he’s been dealing with this for decades, so it’s not surprising that he’s come to terms with people’s comments. But to say that they understand (which really means that they forgive the MIL for her bigotry, and are willing to step aside to make sure their daughter can be married without a scene) . . . I mean, THAT is what love is. Right there.

  • cdobbs August 13, 2013, 2:22 pm

    wow! disinvite the MIL! how dare she even suggest such a thing! unbelievable!!!! in all seriousness though, obviously you can’t disinvite your fiance’s mother, if i was you i would just completely ignore the request, invite your dad and forget about what she said and just enjoy your day with your family by your side where they should be!

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    • Something Random August 13, 2013, 4:05 pm

      I hear what you’re saying about not letting other people’s crazy bring you down. But the letter writer does need to have a talk with her fiancé and make sure that he is doing everything he can to establish and enforce healthy boundries with unhealthy people and he needs to be the one to tell his mother how she was incredibly hurtful and inappropriate. You can’t fix other people so if they choose to keep his parents in their lives it will require a lot of boundary enforcement and good communication between the two of them.

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      • cdobbs August 13, 2013, 4:30 pm

        yeah, you actually just said it perfectly….i think it is on the fiance to talk to the mother….i think it will be hard for the LW now that the MIL has brought this up, she can probably never look at the woman the same ever again….i know how i would feel if someone said that about my dad….i would defend my parents to the death and i think it would hurt me more than my parents of someone were to say something like that

  • Essie August 13, 2013, 2:30 pm

    Oh. My. God. I would have NEVER mentioned this to my mother, as the bride-to-be did. Ever. Ever ever ever. It would have been handled privately, between future MIL and myself, and her ears would have burned for the rest of her life.

    And then I’d have a long conversation with the fiance. If he knew, and let his mother have it with both barrels, and she did an end run around him and then came to me with it, I’d still consider marrying him.

    If I thought he agreed with her in ANY way, or didn’t have the guts to tell her that it was disgraceful to even think of dis-inviting my father, we’d be done. No wedding, no worries about invitations, problem solved.

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    • Essie August 13, 2013, 2:32 pm

      Oh, and when I called each one of the invited guests to tell them the wedding was off, I’d make damn sure to tell every single one of them what that horrid woman said.

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      • j2 August 13, 2013, 2:42 pm

        I cannot imagine marrying into that family unless my spouse and I had “that talk.” You know, your mother will never ever be welcome in our house and will NEVER be with our kids w/o me being there unless/until she changes/repents.

        NEVER would I allow any children of mine to be exposed to that person w/o me there ready and able to remove them at the first sign of any such %&T*@!

        I might not make the calls you said, but I would admire anyone who did it!

      • Essie August 13, 2013, 3:12 pm

        Normally I’d cringe at the thought of making calls to tell people my wedding was off. But in this case, I’d be riding on such a wave of white hot rage that I’d WANT to tell every single person on the list what she did, including her own relatives.

        In fact, she would probably spontaneously combusted from the white hot rage 5 seconds after she said it. The blast wave would have been felt for miles. Windows would have broken in nearby towns. 🙂

    • starpattern August 13, 2013, 3:40 pm

      Seriously! Why mention it to mom and dad at all? No reason to spread the pain around. Ridiculous crap like that has to be shut down SO FAST. “I’m sorry, but you must be SMOKING CRACK right now because I cannot believe you actually mean what you are saying,” is the only appropriate response to that kind of thing.

      And everything you said about having a long talk with the fiance.

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  • Fabelle August 13, 2013, 2:31 pm

    Ugh, I’m so glad you posted this. I was full-out, feeling-the-adrenaline-physically angry when I read it, & it’s even more upsetting that the LW’s parents said they “understand” & that she is all like, “maybe MIL has a point”. No, no, no. FUCK THAT. Seriously, LW, I hope you’re reading this or that I can transmit it through the air somehow, because FUCK THAT. Fuck your MIL, & fuck your fiance too if all he’s going to do is squirm uncomfortably. Fucking horrible people.

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  • theattack August 13, 2013, 2:31 pm

    Say “I would rather have ugly on the outside than ugly on the inside. GTFO.”

    Not really, but wow. It’s hard to believe that humans like this even exist.

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  • lets_be_honest August 13, 2013, 2:33 pm

    Can you imagine if this couple has a disabled child?!

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  • TortoiseBear August 13, 2013, 2:42 pm

    Ugh The more I think about this, the angrier it makes me. I hate that people this cruel exist. That MIL should be ashamed of herself.

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  • j2 August 13, 2013, 2:45 pm

    I looked at the other Prudence letters and the one about the out-of-the-blue accusing letter from a co-worker wife really got me!

    I agree with one of the commenters (instead of Prudence) and would go straight to HR. As far as I’m concerned, that letter is itself workplace sexual harassment and anything I did on my own to deal with it would involve risks.

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    • starpattern August 13, 2013, 3:41 pm

      Yeah, trying to keep HR out of it could backfire big time.

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  • Fabelle August 13, 2013, 2:48 pm

    Oh, & the “he might scare the children” thing is bullshit. Horrific bullshit— children are VERY accepting & adaptable. It’s the MIL who’s uncomfortable with the father’s appearance, & is putting the blame on children’s imaginary fears. Again, fuck her. UGH

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    • LadyinPurpleNotRed August 13, 2013, 2:50 pm

      Yeah, it’s more likely they’ll ask about it than be scared

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      • GatorGirl August 13, 2013, 2:55 pm

        And it could be a great learning experience for the kids!

    • theattack August 13, 2013, 2:53 pm

      And even if kids would be scared – who cares? If it’s THAT bad maybe think about leaving out kids before they leave out the fucking father of bride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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      • GatorGirl August 13, 2013, 2:56 pm

        For reals.

      • rachel August 13, 2013, 2:56 pm

        Yeah, I think most people at the wedding who would bring kids would know what to expect, since they would be close with the family, so could be prepared to answer questions their children have.

      • lets_be_honest August 13, 2013, 3:11 pm

        Or just say to them, he got badly burned. If you can’t manage to just say that to your kid when they ask, you really shouldn’t be a parent. Or human?

      • rachel August 13, 2013, 3:25 pm

        Oh, absolutely. I was more just thinking, the parents would know how to respond to their own child, like if it was a younger kid who might say something rude, they would know how to deal with that. It’s none of the MIL’s business either way.

  • SGMcG August 13, 2013, 3:00 pm

    Wow – her future MIL sounds like a straight-up bitch.

    My mom got horribly burned during while cooking Christmas dinner. When I announced my engagement and got married later that summer, my Mom was so self-conscious about the burns that she almost didn’t come to the wedding. My husband and I wouldn’t hear of it. I told her that she could wear whatever dress she wanted as she walked me down the aisle with my Dad. Mom picked a fabulous long red number with gloves to hide the still healing scars. My husband asked her to do the Mother-Son dance with him as his Mom long passed from cancer and they danced together for the whole song – “Lady In Red.”

    THAT is how you incorporate family into your wedding, especially your parents, if you choose to. Anyone who demands that you do any less, against your desires for your wedding can go fuck themselves.

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  • Imsostartled August 13, 2013, 3:02 pm

    Ugh I hated the MIL SOOOO much when I read it. There was a commenter at DP whose father had also had significant scaring from burns and how burn victims are often so ashamed of their apperance and how people react to it that they don’t go out during the day. So it makes sense that the father felt like “oh ok, I’m hideous and even though I’m your father I won’t go to your wedding and ruin your day”. That really hit it home for me. Which makes the MIL even worse for doing this. Ugh, completely fucked up.

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  • Bittergaymark August 13, 2013, 3:07 pm

    My advice would be to douse the future motherinlaw with acid, take an ax to one of her limbs and THEN throw the wedding…

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    • lets_be_honest August 13, 2013, 3:09 pm

      I don’t know what’s coming of me, but I had a similar thought about acid too!

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    • Addie Pray August 13, 2013, 3:40 pm

      I don’t condone violence, or vigilante justice, and I am definitely a pacifist, I hate war, all of it really, and I hate the death penalty too – I’m against it in every case, and guns! i hate them. guns should be outlawed, definitely, but … WBGMS for shizzles. 😉

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  • John Farrier August 13, 2013, 2:09 pm

    That the fiance regards this request as worthy of consideration should be a huge red flag.

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    • LT August 14, 2013, 7:31 am

      I don’t think we know that, specifically. It’s possible he told his mom to shut up, and didn’t want to upset the bride, so he didn’t dis-invite her or tell the bride, hoping his mom would listen to him. He can’t control the actions of others. Now, if he was mulling it over, I’d say toss him. I guess it all depends on his reaction when the bride-to-maybe-be confronted him about it.

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  • Lindsay August 13, 2013, 3:38 pm

    I think the MIL is a pile of trash. And the LW and the fiance are kind of shitty, too. Who says “maybe she has a point”? And I’d like to assume the fiance told his mother it wasn’t OK, and that’s why she felt the need to call on her own, but without any kind of mention of that from the LW, it makes me wonder.

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    • Lindsay August 13, 2013, 3:39 pm

      Also, it was really cruel for the LW to tell her parents about it. She’s an adult. I think she can manage to keep her hurt feelings to herself and just make up an excuse to her mother.

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      • theattack August 13, 2013, 3:40 pm

        I thought the same thing about her telling her parents. That’s so mean and unnecessary.

      • LT August 14, 2013, 7:44 am

        I can see talking to the mom about it when I was sure the dad wasn’t going to hear. Because she just pretty much confirmed all of the dad’s worst fears about his appearance.

    • Guy Friday August 13, 2013, 4:24 pm

      Wow. I totally missed that “maybe she has a point” comment in the letter. What the hell, LW?! You can’t be all offended at the comment and say “maybe she has a point.” No way. Either your father is good enough to walk you down the aisle and be at your wedding (in which case you do what I advised above) or he’s not (in which case you REALLY need to reevaluate your values AND you don’t get to be pissed at the MIL since you were thinking it too.)

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      • Fabelle August 13, 2013, 4:35 pm

        I think a request this epically horrible has a way of fucking with a person’s head, though. Like, the MIL probably had this tone of , “and so you see, I’m wearing the gray shoes now instead of the gold” as if it were perfectly matter-of-fact & reasonable, so I can see why the LW was momentarily like, “bwaa? Does she have a point?” BUT she needs to snap out of that mentality—it should only have been a split-second confusion. I really hope she told her get fucked by now.

    • lets_be_honest August 13, 2013, 4:25 pm

      I thought for sure you misread that. Wtf

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    • katie August 13, 2013, 4:31 pm

      the only thing i can think of is that the LW, after hearing that her father shouldnt be in the wedding from the MIL, then the asshole fiance for apparently not saying anything, which is a silent agreement with his mother, and then the father and mother who say that they understand and bow out graciously- she then starts to believe it. she thinks, “well, it is a wedding, its supposed to look like X” and the wedding industrial complex takes over her head and she actually thinks she might believe the abhorrent idea thats being thrown around, which is being agreed upon in roundabout ways by everyone.

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      • Miss MJ August 13, 2013, 5:34 pm

        This is what I kind of figured happened, too. For it to progress to the LW telling her parents and wondering what to do, I’m inferring that fiancé agrees with mom but was too much of a pussy to say it himself. And, now that LW’s mom and dad are much better people and want to avoid a scene and drama with MIL to be, the LW is lost and hurt and afraid and stressed, so she’s questioning what the right thing to do here is.

      • Lindsay August 13, 2013, 5:38 pm

        Yeah, presumably if your fiance was outraged, too, you could cry to him and both tell his mom to go suck an egg and be done with it. Still, I’d be pretty displeased with myself if I were able to be influenced to think that maybe it’s better to hide a loved one because of their appearance…

  • TECH August 13, 2013, 5:13 pm

    I know the LW did not write into Wendy, but I would love to hear an update on this. I am dying to know what happens. If she sends an update to Prudie and someone happens to read it, please post it!
    If she ends up marrying into this family and her dad stays at home, my hope in humanity will be lost.

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  • Miss MJ August 13, 2013, 5:48 pm

    Oh, and also, what kind of awful people does the MIL know who she thinks will be “upset” by the appearance of the LW’s father. Really? I call bullshit on that excuse, too. The MIL isn’t worried about people being “upset” or children being “traumatized.” Most adults can handle seeing someone who is disfigured without lapsing into hysterics and losing their minds. And most children may ask questions, then forget about it move on to other things. I suspect the MIL just wants the pictures of her son’s wedding to look “nice.” (“Nice” to her being pretty people only, not, you know, full of happy people celebrating.) Revolting.

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  • fast eddie August 13, 2013, 5:56 pm

    The fiance must be confronted and if he isn’t in agreement with his mother then it’s his responsibility to confront her and resolve the issue without your taking it on. Your family knows about it so the cat’s out of the bag. If he does come through try to appreciate that his mama has a problem that’s not your responsibility to fix or facilitate but this woman will be part of your life for a very long time IF the wedding takes place. Plan accordingly.

    If he does concur with his mama, DUMP HIS SORRY ASS YESTERDAY!

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