To not invite my dad's wife to my wedding?

(234 Posts)
weddingfamilywoes Sat 01-Sep-12 23:03:59

I'm getting married next year, and deciding how to deal with my divorced parents is causing me a lot of stress. They have been divorced for almost 20 years, but its still a big deal for me to have them in the same place. Since they split up, the only time I have seen them in the same place was at my siblings' weddings. My dad never went to any graduations etc, it was always accepted that my mum would be the one to go.

At my siblings' weddings it was clearly a big deal for my mum that my dad was there. So much so, that she took a tranquilizer before one of the weddings. I also remember my dad talking to her at once, and it really rattled her.

My mum has never remarried. She hates my dad, but I think underneath there is a lot of regret and some feelings still there for him. When my parents split up, he left her for another woman (although I don't think my mum was blameless in the breakdown of their relationship). He later remarried (but to a different person).

I like my dad's wife (stepmother I guess) a lot, but I'm not sure whether to invite her to the wedding. I anticipate that my mum will react badly to the news, perhaps terribly so. I have always had a somewhat tumultuous relationship with her. She has quite low self-esteem and is prone to depression. When my dad got remarried (~10 years ago), I told my mum I was going and she got hysterical. She phoned my grandparents and shouted at them down the phone, and asked why they were supporting this. I backed out of the wedding. I'm kind of expecting the same thing if I invite my dad's wife this time. And I'm worried whether it would be too big a thing for my mum to handle. She had cancer earlier this year and has generally been more depressed since. But on the other hand I feel really bad for my dad and his wife if I don't invite her. Neither of my siblings invited her to their wedding. I guess they felt it was best to avoid the stress for themselves and my mum.

WorraLiberty Sat 01-Sep-12 23:08:25

OMG what an awful position for you to be in sad

Obviously your Mum is being VERY unreasonable and selfish...if she's still like this after 20yrs have passed, she probably needs some sort of therapy too.

Not inviting your Dad's wife is taking the easy way out, but sometimes taking the easy way can be the only realistic option.

Do you think she would be offended at not being invited? Would your Dad be upset too?

RevDebeezWoodall Sat 01-Sep-12 23:09:55

How does your father's wife feel about the situation? Would she be offended or understand you are in a very difficult position and and trying to please all?

I don't think anyone is being unreasonable here, your Mother can't help having depression and any feelings she has towards your father. Your father like you said probably wasn't the only one to blame in the breakdown and you can't blame him for being happy with someone.

But, if there is one day you should be selfish and think about what you want, it's your wedding day. I'd like to say invite who you want, but it's obvious it's not that simple for you sad.

MushroomSoup Sat 01-Sep-12 23:10:03

To be honest I think you are getting involved in a problem that doesn't concern you. How your mum feels about your dad is her issue and not yours. To put it simply, you love your mum so invite her. You love your dad and his wife so invite them. They are all adults so you tell them that you expect them to behave accordingly. If they feel they can't then they can choose not to come.
I've been in this situation! You are not responsible for your parents' behaviour.

Lovelygoldboots Sat 01-Sep-12 23:10:16

I know it is easy for me to say, but you really should invite your Dads wife to your wedding. Your mum is going to have to deal with it. Hope it works out for you. You can't do any more for your mum than what you are already doing but she can't ruin this day for you.

JumpingThroughMoreHoops Sat 01-Sep-12 23:10:34

Sad but Your father has a wife, it would be an awful slight to exclude her. If you do so, be prepared for your father to cut you off.

Tell your mum to grow up and invite SM to wedding. It was 20 years ago - she's wallowing.

greenplastictrees Sat 01-Sep-12 23:11:07

This post isn't really helpful but didn't want to read and run! What a tricky situation. What did your sisters do when they got married? Do you ever speak to your dad about your mum? Could you discuss this with him?

I think you either need to invite them all, or invite none of them.
If you invite them all, tell them all so, and remind them they are grown ups, and you want them at your wedding. If they have issues, you don't need to hear about them, all you need to know is if they are coming or not, by X date. Then refuse to discuss it at all.
Anything else will just stress you out completely, and arranging a wedding is quite stressful enough without people adding to it by drama-queening/kinging and making it worse.
Let them sort themselves out, and try not to worry about it. Their issues are not your issues. Try you hardest to let it all go and stay calm and let them all get on with it.
Just repeat "You are more than welcome at my wedding, as is <other parent>" and nothing more.

larks35 Sat 01-Sep-12 23:12:53

I think you should invite your Dad and his wife if you want to. I think you should prepare your mum early on and if necessary use similar emotional blackmail that she has used toward you in the past, to ensure she attends too. If she chooses not to attend then accept that as her choice, don't let her use that as a way of manipulating you. TBH she sounds very emotionally manipulative.

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Sat 01-Sep-12 23:15:20

If you dads wife isn't the woman he left your mum for, what's your mums problem? Do you think this is your mum trying to hurt your dad by making sure his other half is excluded from all significant family events?

JessePinkman Sat 01-Sep-12 23:16:03

I would invite them all, and then do an unprecedented bride's speech, to say how much your mum has done for you.

It realy sucks to be the child of divorced parents sometimes.

weddingfamilywoes Sat 01-Sep-12 23:16:37

My dad has already asked me if I was going to invite his wife to the wedding. I told him no, and he said ok, well thanks for trying (not in a sarcastic way). He is not going to cut me off, he hasn't cut off my siblings and he knows what a hard time I have with my mum.

Since then I've thought about changing my mind. If I do, it will more likely be my mum that cuts me off! I absolutely dread that conversation. I know it is selfish of me to want to avoid the confrontation though.

But possibly what is worrying me more is the actual wedding day. I don't want to be stressed on the day, but I absolutely will be if I invite my dad's wife. I have no idea what my mum will be like. She is prone to panic attacks etc, and that is not something I want to have to deal with on my wedding day :-(

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Sat 01-Sep-12 23:16:52

I also think you need to invite everyone. It is really tough but it is the right thing to do. Your DF's wife is part of his family, his family. FWIW I went to my BF's wedding when she married my ExH's BF. I was bridesmaid and he was one of the best men. My BF called me beforehand and very nicely and sweetly told me I could suck it up for her wedding. I sucked it up.

BabylonPI Sat 01-Sep-12 23:16:53

When I married DH, we explained to both of his parents that we wanted them both present at both the ceremony (which meant a few days away in a castle in Scotland) and at the reception.

We also explained that if they felt unable to put their feelings for each other aside for this short period of time, then they were both very unwelcome.

At the time they had been separated for well over 10 years, and MIL had a new partner.

Your wedding day is about you and your DH to be - your parents need to remember that.

In our case FIL sadly passed away before we married, but otherwise they would have both been there and would have put aside their differences for the sake of their son.

I hope you find a good solution op smile

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Sat 01-Sep-12 23:18:08

I don't know if this is true but your DM does sound a tiny bit manipulative and selfish. sad

squeakytoy Sat 01-Sep-12 23:19:38

Sorry, but I think it would be incredibly rude to not invite your dads wife to your wedding, and your mother needs to sort herself out. It was 20 years since they split, she should have moved on by now!

wilkos Sat 01-Sep-12 23:20:09

it ultimately is ridiculous to have your mother dictate through her unreasonable (and selfish) behaviour who can come to YOUR wedding

I do feel for you, but 20 years?? what an unhappy life for her, and for you, unless she seeks treatment to help her move on

What a tricky situation. One thing to remember though, it's your wedding so you can have who you want there.
It's really not nice to regret it after because it's too late, especially with something as special as your wedding. If your mum loves you she will understand that and want you to be happy and relaxed

weddingfamilywoes Sat 01-Sep-12 23:22:45

She can be manipulative, yes. When my parents split up I was 10. I used to see my Dad on Saturdays and his girlfriend was there. She hated that, she thought I was being disloyal. I wonder if this will invoke similar feelings. I know it shouldn't, since DF's wife hasn't done anything to her. But things are not always logical with my mum.

I understand what everyone is saying about inviting her, but what if my mum is so stressed on the day that she ruins everything?

WilsonFrickett Sat 01-Sep-12 23:24:05

It sounds like your mum is going to find something to have a dramallama hissy fit about, no matter if you invite the SM or not. You say she was a stress-fest at your siblings weddings and the SM wasn't even invited to those.

So, if you accept that your mum is going to be a nightmare, what have you got to lose? If you want your SM there, invite her. Poor woman, how hurtful to be continually excluded from family events.

wilkos Sat 01-Sep-12 23:24:16

actually I revise that, what an unhappy life for you and your children, and your siblings, and your dad and stepmum, all caused by one person who is clinging to her misery

because lets face it, it cant be pleasant for any of you to have to make the decision of how to deal with DM's complex feelings every time there is a big family occasion

peeriebear Sat 01-Sep-12 23:25:23

Your Dad is being punished for getting on with his life and being happy, and your Mum is being pandered to and accommodated for living in the past and being emotionally manipulative. Don't be a party to this sad I feel very sorry for your dad and his wife. Do invite them. Don't keep letting your mum make everyone walk on eggshells- it's not right.

TeiTetua Sat 01-Sep-12 23:25:42

I think you should invite all three of them, and if Mum can't deal with it, she'll have to be the one to make the decision not to go. You can try to set things up so she won't have to get very close to her ex, but I don't think you're under any obligation to do more. I'm sorry, but in a conflict like this the benefits have to go to the people who are prepared to act reasonably.

squeakytoy Sat 01-Sep-12 23:25:42

You are the bride, you need to enjoy the day, and recruit your siblings to keep your mother in control. I would be tempted to tell her that if she cant manage to behave herself for her daughters most important day, then she wont be welcome.

Tough love is what is needed.

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