New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), or submit a question for advice.
It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.
I think it was selfish of him to dump that on you two weeks before he’s going to go away for four years like he expects you to just wait for him even though you’ve never been more than friends. If I were you, I’d tell him you’re flattered and that you have feelings for him and if, in four years, you both still feel the same and are both single, you’d love to re-visit the idea of being more than friends, but for now a long-distance friendship will have to do.
I think the better question is: Who cares? The only wedding where it matters whom you’re accompanying up or down the aisle is your own. The two or three minutes that you and your husband have to walk along someone other than each other are not in any way worth another second of anxiety, frustration, anger, or sadness. Instead, why don’t you celebrate that your brother thinks highly enough of your choice in a husband to make him his Best Man!
You have four options: help her find a different place to live (and if she needs money to afford a different place to live, then you need to help with that, too); talk to her about her meddling ways and explain that she cannot continue living in your home while bossing you around and butting into your business; let her stay, but ask her to do more around the house, like babysit, cook, and clean, to help earn her keep and help keep you from being too resentful of her presence; you and your three kids find a different place to live separate from your boyfriend and his mother.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.
kerrycontrary June 20, 2014, 9:13 am
LW2: “The wedding is not about me”—-repeat this to yourself until it sinks in. I don’t understand why people in bridal parties get so obsessed with how things will “look” or their role in the whole thing. The wedding is about the bride and groom, end of story. And at the beginning of the wedding a lot of times bridesmaids go down alone, and only leave with the groomsmen. So it will be like 2 minutes of you walking.
LW3: This is a difficult situation. If the woman is completely unreasonable, she may need to be placed in a halfway house or some sort of assistance program that can help her get on her feet. Is she mentally ill? Or was she just choosing to live on the streets? You and your boyfriend need to have a serious sit down with her and set some ground rules (you should’ve actually done this before she moved in). It’s hard for parents to understand that someone else is in charge now, but you need to communicate that. I also suggest you and your boyfriend read The Glass Castle (at least the last few chapters of the book) which addresses dealing with homeless parents or parents who choose to live that lifestyle.
Addie Pray June 20, 2014, 9:19 am
Yes, THIS: “I think the better question is: Who cares?” Ha.
ktfran June 20, 2014, 9:48 am
Right? Pretty sure my sis’s fiance’s brother is his best man. And his SIL is one of the bridesmaids. Nobody cares that he’s walking back with my sister and not his wife.
Also, my sister is not doing a bridal party dance. Thank goodness!
kerrycontrary June 20, 2014, 9:56 am
What’s a bridal party dance? I haven’t heard of that.
ktfran June 20, 2014, 10:10 am
Oh my god, so, where I’m from, it’s typical for the bride and groom to have their dance and then the bridal party comes out and dances with the person you walked down the aisle with. Usually to a slow song. I think this stupid tradition is finally falling by the wayside. But I’ve had to do it in two other weddings I was a bridesmaid in. Both times, I didn’t know the groomsmen. Sucks.
kerrycontrary June 20, 2014, 10:31 am
Oh ok. I thought it was some sort of horrible choreographed thing hahaha. I’ve done that before but I think it was short and not too bad.
Addie Pray June 20, 2014, 10:31 am
This is a thing? Shoot me now.
_s_ June 20, 2014, 1:40 pm
The only wedding I’ve ever been to where that was done was one my husband (then BF) was in as a groomsman. Like he wasn’t awkward/self-conscious enough in a tux, then there was a wedding party dance he had to dance (he does NOT dance) with a complete stranger bridesmaid with the entire group of wedding guests watching! I felt so bad for him! You’d better believe when we got married we didn’t do any of that junk – we had our “first dance” together (and tried unsuccessfully to get others on the dance floor about halfway though) and that was IT. Dance floor open after that!
SpaceySteph June 20, 2014, 4:39 pm
I went to a wedding my date was in, and they had a head table just for the couple and wedding party. So I was stuck at a table with a bunch of people I didn’t know, mostly couples. I’m an introvert, and not the type to strike up random conversation with strangers. So I sat there quietly through dinner. Awkward.
Its one thing through the ceremony, its a whole other thing to basically invite someone with date and then make them spend the entire day with some other person.
I hate this crap and was very specific about not doing it at my wedding. We did pictures before the wedding and then I let my wedding party enjoy cocktail with their dates. We invited our wedding party up to dance halfway through the first dance, but with their actual dates. (This is actually one of my favorite moments… being surrounded by all that love!)
Simonthegrey June 22, 2014, 11:37 pm
At my friend’s wedding a few years ago, the bridal party dance was to the theme from Ghostbusters!
Guy Friday June 20, 2014, 9:54 am
Well, they should care, but in the opposite way, the one that Wendy suggested: that’s really awesome that your brother and fiance are tight enough that he’d want your brother to be the best man. That’s a pretty big honor!
jlyfsh June 20, 2014, 9:19 am
LW2 you will be the only one who finds it odd. Unless you make a big deal of it. Then people will still think that you’re the one being odd.
Not only do you need to talk to the mother here. But, your boyfriend needs to learn to communicate. I understand that he might be frustrated. But, what is he teaching your children by acting that way? (Assuming it is happening in front of them at times.)
Miss MJ June 20, 2014, 9:29 am
What is up lately with the LWs moving in with their MIL (or whatever your BF’s mom is called) they really don’t want to live with and then being surprised when it doesn’t go smoothly? Anyway, LW have got to talk to your BF and his mother.
First of all, your BF needs to stop saying he can’t stand his mother and yelling at her when your kids are around. Well, unless you want them to learn that treating their mother ( or anyone, really) with zero respect is okay. That’s a really bad environment to put your kids in and sets a terrible example of how adults behave. It’s got to end.
Second, explain to the mother that, while you appreciate her trying to help (give her the benefit of the doubt for the sake of the conversation) you have a system for raising your kids and it works for you and you’re not going to change it. Also explain to her that her challenging or contradicting you in front of your kids comes off as disrespectful and undermines you with them and it must stop immediately.
Finally, since the mother is obviously struggling financially right now, it’s kind of pointless to bitch at her about contributing to the bills. As the old saying goes, you can’t squeeze blood from a turnip. So, instead, take Wendy’s suggestion and ask her to clean or cook or run errands or what have you and be appreciative when she does. She’s not a maid, even if she does need to earn her keep, so to speak.
Honestly, though? You guys all need to work on treating each other with respect and getting along, even if you don’t like each other. You’ve got 3 kids in this house who need stability and good examples of adult behavior, not screaming and disrespect and anger.
Amanda June 20, 2014, 9:29 am
LW2, you are hilarious. I’m not sure why you would spend more than 2 seconds thinking about this, let alone writing into an advice column.
ktfran June 20, 2014, 9:55 am
LW1 – WWS. It’s perfect advice. Live your lives and when he’s finished, if you’re both in the right place, it will happen. Timing really is everything, and his sucks.
bittergaymark June 20, 2014, 10:13 am
LW1) Hmmmmm. Hot military guy + desperate last minute long distance girlfriend = somebody is desperate for a BEARD!
LW2) OMIGOD! If you and your husband don’t walk down the aisle together, all anybody will be able to talk about is how your marriage is on the rocks! How sad that your (loving?) brother both knows this and wants to exploit this… Huh? What? I’m being ridiculous? Well, yeah… sure. But then so is your letter.
LW3) Speak up. Just speak up. For the love of God, just speak up.
Addie Pray June 20, 2014, 10:31 am
BGM for the win. When did you get so smaht?
othy June 20, 2014, 11:03 am
LW1 – A long distance friendship is the way to go. I was in a LDR when I was at that age, and damn it was hard. And we’d dated for a year and a half before I left. I’m guessing you’re also recently graduated or maybe you’re still in high school. However, this is a time to fully invest in yourself. Finish your education, find a career path that’s interesting, figure out what you want to do with your life. Feel free to continue to keep him as a friend, but don’t plan your life around him. Live your life rather than pinning for a guy who lives far away. If it’s meant to be, feel free to reconnect when he comes home in a few years, and go from there.
Portia June 20, 2014, 11:14 am
LW1: it may seem romantic to you, but to him it’s a last-ditch effort to lock down a lady before going off into a mostly male world. If he had a real interest in you, he would have brought this up sometime in the last (I’m assuming) few years that he’s known you. WWS, long-distance friendship is totally the way to go on this.
TaraMonster June 20, 2014, 10:38 am
I went to college about 35 minutes from West Point and those military boys my classmates were sleeping with all had someone waiting for the back home too!
Steph June 20, 2014, 1:43 pm
LW 2: Please listen to everyone and do not make a big deal about this because it is not a big deal. My brother-in-law’s wife flipped out because he was asked to be the best man and my twin was asked to be the MOH at our very small wedding. She made a huge deal over it and was insulted that she wasn’t part of the wedding party. She finally made such a big deal about it that my brother-in -law decided to not be the best man. The wedding is not about you and he will be walking with someone else for a whole two seconds. Please drop it unless you want to have the whole family wondering when you lost your mind
SpaceySteph June 20, 2014, 4:30 pm
Oh FFS, LW2.
Get over your damn self. Your brother is getting married. You’re standing up in the wedding. By agreeing to be a bridesmaid, you agree to:
Wear the uniform.*
Smile pretty for pictures.
Stand/walk where they want you, when they want you to stand/walk there.
Who cares who escorts who down the aisle. It means nothing but what order you’re gonna stand in. (Which may mean how important you are to the wedding, which may be the secret reason you’re whining about this… like you’re mad your husband is best man and you’re “just” a bridesmaid. If that’s the case, then get the hell over yourself.)
*I think I’ll get some flak for this, because bm dresses get expensive. And if that’s your concern, either decline or state your budget from the beginning. Once you’ve signed on, as long as the budget isn’t being violated, buy the ugly dress she asks you to buy and Get. Over. It.