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.

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Sat 01-Sep-12 23:26:17

Does your DM often ruin things by getting stressed when situations haven't gone her way?

larks35 Sat 01-Sep-12 23:26:49

Can you get your siblings on side to ensure that if she does wobble on the day you are not made aware of it?

BackforGood Sat 01-Sep-12 23:27:01

I agree with most people. It's not fair on you or your Dad for your Mum to be manipulating things for so long with the emotional blackmail. Do you have an Aunt/Uncle or Godmother / Godfather who would help you by giving your Mum a bit of support on the day? Either way, I think you should calmly tell your Mum that you are inviting your Dad and his wife now, so she has time to get used to it, and be prepared to just calmly repeat it is your wedding, and your choice, and that you really hope she will come and behave graciously, but if she can't, that's very sad, but you are not going to be emotionally blackmailed by her. So sorry you are getting all this stress when planning what should be such a joyous occasion.

edam Sat 01-Sep-12 23:27:52

Oh blimey, this is so difficult for you. All the advice about 'invite all of them, you can't pander to your mother' is fine in theory, but actually you are really worried about your Mother causing a scene on the day, aren't you? And that advice won't prevent it happening... and of course you do want your Mother there on the day, not refusing to come because you are inviting your Dad's wife.

What do your sisters suggest? Could you have them poised and ready to spring into action if your Mum kicks off, ready to hustle her out of the room somewhere for a nice sit down with a calming cup of tea?

BillComptonstrousers Sat 01-Sep-12 23:27:53

Your poor Stepmother! Your father has been married to her for 10 years and you would exclude her from the wedding! I really think your mother should get a grip, they have been divorced for 20 years, and she had to take a Tranquilliser to go to your siblings wedding?

If there is another reason as to why she hates your father that much it's causing her emotional damage for one day I think she needs to address it.

It must be so hard for you OP,but I feel really sorry for your father and stepmother, I'm sure they would both enjoy such a lovely occasion together. It would be horrible for her to sit at home while your father gave you away.

wilkos Sat 01-Sep-12 23:29:07

can you pair her up on the day with someone who knows the situation and can deal with her accordingly? relative of mine did that at her wedding with her "challenging" pain in the arse mother

riverboat Sat 01-Sep-12 23:29:22

Wasn't there a similar thread about a month ago? Very similar situation, except OP didn't like the new wife so didn't want to invite her on that basis as well as thinking it would send her mum into a panic attack on the wedding day.

Anyway OP the reasonable thing to do would be to invite all three of them and try to ignore any acting out by your mother on the day, but easier said than done.

Do you think your DM is capable of actually listening to reason and playing nice on your wedding day for your sake? Or is that just never going to happen?

DisabilEightiesChick Sat 01-Sep-12 23:29:32

There was a thread with a very similar situation a couple of months ago. Seem to remember most people said invite dad's wife. Can anyone link it so OP can benefit from that?

DisabilEightiesChick Sat 01-Sep-12 23:30:59

river boat - X post. I remember it too.

weddingfamilywoes Sat 01-Sep-12 23:32:44

I don't think my mum will make a scene in front of DF and wife or other guests at the wedding. But I think she could be very anxious/panicky the day before and on the morning of the wedding. She would be getting ready with me and the bridesmaids.

I think the general consensus is that I should invite DF's wife. I think it will take all the courage I have to tell my mum about it. I need to think about it for a bit, but if I can work up the courage I'll try to do it. I think I will just feel awful if I leave her hysterical and in a depressed state after telling her.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Sat 01-Sep-12 23:35:49

Do you plan on having children? Christenings, birthdays, graduations? This could be the time to sort this out once and for all.

if I leave her hysterical and in a depressed state NO NO NO. Her emotions are her responsibility! If she is upset, it is because she needs to do some work.

queenofthepirates Sat 01-Sep-12 23:52:33

I had a similar situation with my parents-they divorced when I was 18 and for the next 20 years, loathed one another with a feverish passion.

I put my foot down when my DD was born and when my mum ended up leaving her own home on her birthday to avoid seeing my dad-just horrible.

They finally did the impossible and get in touch with one another and agreed to be pleasant in public. I was gobsmacked! They've kept to it for a year now so it can happen. I kept well out of their negotiations to try and give them a bit of respect and to their credit, they seem to have cracked it.

ComeBackasaFlower Sat 01-Sep-12 23:59:46

There was a thread with a very similar situation a couple of months ago.

That was me. This is the thread. I got a proper pasting smile

Might give you some fresh/helpful insights, though, OP. Might not. Either way, it might help to know that you're not the only one struggling with this kind of situation.

perfumedlife Sun 02-Sep-12 00:01:37

We had a similar issue when marrying. Dh's parents divorced ten years earlier, fil left for another woman. Mil was extremely angry and bitter still. Dh decided it was not for him to pick and choose who to leave out so wanted to invite them all and it was up to them if they came.

We called Mil with our wedding news, just that we were planning a small do fairly soon and she replied she was in Spain that month shock We hadn't even said the month so got the message loud and clear that she would not attend if Fil and his partner were coming. Fine. Her issue. I know that you want your mother there but you also want your dad to be there and why shouldn't he have his wife with him, just to suit your mum, his ex?

I think if you are firm, sound confident in your decision, she may just realise this is the way it's got to be. I also don't care for the suggestion of an appeasing speech to thank mum, much though I understand why it was suggested. The whole problem seems to be too much pandering to your mum, indulging her bitterness.

Invite the wife. Your mum sounds like my stepdad, emotionally controlling, depressive and manipulative. Difficult as you love her, but so not fair on the wife. Tell your mum you're inviting her as it's your wedding and you would like everyone who means something to you to be there, and that you would hope they were all mature enough by now to get on with it.

Tell the wife that you want her there, and sorry in advance for any nastiness from your mum.

InkyBinky Sun 02-Sep-12 00:05:19

I think I would invite DF's wife too. Your DM does sound rather manipulative I am afraid. If you end up not inviting DF's wife it would be good if you could arrange to do something nice with her and you DF instead to let her know your bare her no ill will. Its a very difficult situation.
Good luck with whatever you do, I hope you have a lovely, stress free wedding.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Sun 02-Sep-12 00:05:57

Your mum is being very selfish and pandering o her emotional blackmail won't do anyone any favours.

Your poor Dads wife, being excluded from family celebrations when she has done nothing wrong, and has in fact got on well with you. Id feel sorry for her and your Dad way more than I would your Mum. She is the one causing the problem and who you have reason to believe wont put a bride and her groom first on their own wedding day. I think you should tell her that anyone who didn't have yours and your future husbands happiness as their priority on you Wedding day won't be welcome. That includes her if she can't refrain from being a drama queen.

SirBoobAlot Sun 02-Sep-12 00:06:02

Invite your stepmother. Have a talk with your mum before hand, a blunt talk: "This is MY wedding day, you will NOT ruin it." Its acceptable to be temporarily bridezilla wink

YouOldSlag Sun 02-Sep-12 00:21:38

Invite them all. Give your Mum plenty of notice, then she can decide not to attend if it's too difficult for her.

She sounds selfish and manipulative and is putting her feelings for your father before you or your wedding day.

My parents split up 30 years ago and my Mum still pulls a cats bum face every time they have to be in the same room, even though she has remarried.

I get so pissed off with divorced couples making other people's weddings about THEM and not the bride and groom.

Use this as a turning point. Tell your Mum the politics end here and it is only one day. After this there may be baptisms or other occasions and she can't continue to make you feel bad about having your DF and DW in your life.

Good luck and lots of sympathy for you from me.

Tell her to get some therapy or stay away unless she can behave and not have the vapours.

80sbabe Sun 02-Sep-12 00:36:18

I have been the "uninvited" stepmother and believe you me it hurts - it hurts a lot.
Like your dad's wife, I was not the other woman and my DH's ex had been remarried for years before we even met, however she still wielded a powerful emotional hold over her children.
Although I'd been part of their lives, contributed to their finances when they were growing up and later at University and never caused their mother any grief whatsoever, I was always persona non-grata while her second husband was always included.
I didn't get to attend my stepchildren's 18th or 21st birthday celebrations or their graduations although my husband went to them all.

When my stepson decided to marry we found out via facebook.
Initially neither of us was invited because "It might upset mum".
Then a few days before the wedding my stepson "found" a place for his dad. However it was made clear I was not and would not be invited, neither would our children.
It caused my DH a huge amount of grief and soul searching, but eventually he decided he'd had enough of going to "his" family events alone. He rejected the last minute invite if I was not welcome.

Sadly it's caused a massive rift and his son has refused to speak to him since - he felt he'd bent over backwards to find room for his dad, but my DH only saw his son's mother and step-father welcome while his own wife was excluded.

You say your dad and your step-mum will graciously accept it if she is not included. I too told my DH that if he wanted to go to his son's wedding I would not cause a fuss just as I hadn't with any other occasion.
However, I have to say that when he stood up for us and said we came as a couple or neither of us did I was relieved as I had been hurt and left behind so many times before.

If you want to invite your step mother along with your father then you should do so. If my experience is anything to go by she and your dad will be delighted that you've done so, and your mum to be quite honest needs to let you make your own decisions regarding your wedding day.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Sun 02-Sep-12 01:13:23

This is why I'd like to pop down the register office wih DP, the kids and a couple of witnesses! Both our parents have been divorced and all have remarried. My dad 3 times!
On the other hand, when we do get married, it will be about DP and I. Anyone who doesnt like the arrangements can lump it!

80sbabe Sun 02-Sep-12 01:22:23

saggy if my stepson and his wife had done what you suggest then it wouldn't have been an issue for us at all.
In fact when I married DH it was just us, his children, my children and a couple of witnesses.
We too made it just about us. Not even our parents attended because that was the way we wanted it and we were fair down the line.
The fact that his son chose to have a big wedding and celebration including his mum, step dad, half brothers and sisters from his mum, but excluding me and his half siblings from our marriage did make a difference.
I'm all for quiet and intimate providing you are not having one rule for one half of the family and a different one for the rest.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Sun 02-Sep-12 01:38:35

I quite agree. It must have been awful for you. And your Dcs! I've got step and half siblings and it's a tough dynamic!

JessePinkman Sun 02-Sep-12 01:44:07

80sbabe I think your dh made a mistake there, after a lot ôf soul searching he should have gone to his son's wedding, whether you were included or not.

iscream Sun 02-Sep-12 01:49:21

Well, my mother sounds very similar. Panic attacks, depression, anxiety, and all about her.
Can you sit down and talk with your mother, and point out how she will ruin your wedding if she can't at least pretend to be mature about this? I mean, it isn't about her, and it has been 20 years, and your step mother wasn't the "other woman".

JessePinkman Sun 02-Sep-12 02:12:14

Who is paying for this wedding? If it is you and df then you get to chose who comes. I would want my mum there, and I know she would want to be there, my dad is like the dad above where he decides he won't come and breaks my heart.

MollyMurphy Sun 02-Sep-12 02:36:39

I have a similar family situation OP and I see my stepdads kids ignore my mum and never include her for fear the ex-wife will be poorly behaved. My stepdad never says, but it hurts him badly that my mum is treated with such disrespect - like they've done something wrong by moving on with their lives and not being lonely forever. It is ultimately disrespectful of your dad to treat his partner such.

Your mom is an adult and responsible for herself - why let this fear ruin all future family events. Settle it now.

MollyMurphy Sun 02-Sep-12 02:43:04

80sbabe - I think you DH did the right thing....how respectful is a son who can just barely find a space for his own father at the wedding and never even considers the mans wife? Mean, ridiculous and self indulgent behavior by that son. sorry you've BOTH been treated like second class citizens for so long. that is exactly how my mum and stepdad get treated by my stepdads kids - breaks my heart how much hurt they put up with, especially poor stepdad sad

Gay40 Sun 02-Sep-12 02:56:32

Why can't everyone grow the fuck up and stop letting this petty nonsense affect what should be a lovely day?
Bloody divorced parents who can't get along civilly for one bloody day. I think it's a damn disgrace and I really feel for the adult children of these fuckwits who cannot bite the bullet and get over relationships that ended two decades ago.
And don't exclude your stepmum, your dad loves her very much and she should be invited to share his and your happiness of the day x

gimmecakeandcandy Sun 02-Sep-12 03:39:38

Your mother sounds very very selfish and how she acts and feels is not your fault, remember that. You should tell her firmly that you are inviting your dad and his wife and that is that. I feel for your having to deal with her selfish attitude.

gimmecakeandcandy Sun 02-Sep-12 03:45:23

80sbabe that is awful of your stepchildren! If their stepdad is invited to things why not you?! They should very immature. How awful for your dh too x

nochipsthanks Sun 02-Sep-12 07:16:20

This is another example of what always baffles me. The person in a group who behaves badly is always catered to, and walked on eggshells around. Your mother is behaving shamefully. I want to shake her myself and say 'grow the fuck up'.

I would invite everyone, and put a sibling on 'mum meltdown watch'. The I would waft through my day and enjoy it.

I also think your mother needs therapy.

And to the other stepmother who has been in that position- I am so sorry. Your story is really sad and it must be so terribly hurtful.

TroublesomeEx Sun 02-Sep-12 07:20:03

Your situation echoes mine almost exactly (except my mother is a little unhinged and incredibly unpredictable).

It is also the reason why we didn't invite a single person to our wedding and drove to the other end of the country to do it on our own with just our children and a couple of witnesses.

The thing about your wedding day is that it is yours. Invite all 3 of them and tell your mother that it is your wedding day and you and your husband to be will be inviting your families and if she isn't happy about it, she can choose to not attend.

She has no right to make your wedding day about her.

pigletmania Sun 02-Sep-12 07:34:22

Wht a toxic woman your mum sounds. She sounds manipulative and controlling. Yes if I were in your position I would invite your step mum, she is art of your dad now, if your mum wants to how her tys out f her pram, tough. I did te same at my wedding but my sister was the toxic influence. She had an affair and left her wonderful dh ( nephews father). Sister as a history f being selfish self centred ad nasty. She remarried, she told me she was not going to my wedding as she is too busy. Far enough so I invited her lovely ex ( I did nit invite him at first as I thought she was going). Sister phoned me up in a rage and told me to uninvited him, I basically told her that it was my wedding and I could invite who I want, she slammed the phone down on me and has nt spoken to me since 8 years ago

TroublesomeEx Sun 02-Sep-12 07:37:15

OP I've just read page 2 again.

Future children - Christenings, birthday parties, Christmas, school plays, celebration assemblies, graduations, your children's weddings...

If you don't nip this in the bud it will never go away.

I have a cautionary tale:

Until my son started school we hosted 2 birthday parties for him - one to which ILs and my dad and his wife were invited, another to which my mother, brother and grandma were invited. My brother and grandma would have happily come to the 'main' one, but were emotionally blackmailed by my mother into attended the second one with her.

We held 2 separate Christmas parties until my DS was 7 for the same reason.

My mother completely expected this to happen, felt we were disloyal if we invited my dad's wife to anything and made a big deal of showing my dad (oddly by flirting with him) how 'over him' she was. They divorced 20 years ago too.

My mother managed to ruin my son's 6th birthday party. It was the first time we'd done something to which we'd invited everyone. I told my mother before issuing the invites that we'd be inviting dad and his wife. Her reply? "well of course you would. It's been a long time. I'm sure we can all behave like adults for the sake of X's birthday".

Great! So I issued the invitations and when dad and his wife accepted, I told my mother straight away (so she'd have time to get used to the idea). And again she was "Oh is she coming? I'm surprised about that, I didn't think she would." etc etc.

The day before the birthday party my brother phoned up in a foul temper telling me that he was going to call my dad and uninvite his wife to my son's birthday party. I told him he wasn't going to do that. Cue - huge row between my brother and me. My grandma phoned and told me she thought I was being incredibly insensitive and selfish to just drop this on my mother and did I have any idea how much of a shock this had come to her.

Obviously, just my mother playing the victim again given that she knew I was going to invite dad and his wife before the party had even been booked and no one else had been invited.

Anyway, it caused a huge hoo-ha. Completely ruined my experience of my son's birthday party, made the whole thing incredibly stressful and all because my mother was such a selfish, inconsiderate, self centred bitch that she'd got not only my husband and me running around trying to keep her happy, but that when that wasn't enough for her and she wasn't the 'victim' she dragged my brother and my grandma in too.

Sorry this was long and sorry for hijacking, but you really do need to nip this in the blood.

Since my son's birth (tbh it was easy for them to avoid each other before that) there has been my graduation; my brother's graduation; the birth of my second child; the birth of my brother's child; several birthdays (mine, my brother's, my SIL's, my husband's, my children's) and every Christmas. My engagement (a whole other confusing and, frankly, unbelievable story), my wedding, my brother's wedding... Nativity plays, drama club performances, music recitals... the list goes on) and every single one of them has been blighted by my mother - or over the top consideration for her feelings.

In every single one of them has she been the only person who has received personal consideration and for every single one of them (without fail) she has kicked off/made a fuss/had a tantrum.

I'm 38 now and the last 20 years of my life have been largely controlled by my parents divorce. I should have put a stop to it years ago. In fact, I should never have allowed it to start.

Learn from my mistakes! grin

DruAnderson Sun 02-Sep-12 07:45:37

I think the fact your dad accepted it, but your mum will cut you off is very telling.
Your am is probably lovely in a lot of ways. But, tbh, the way she is acting and manipulating you so you don't gave a full involvement in your dads life and vice versa.
Personalli I would invite my SM. Its unfair for your mum to be dictating this sort of thing.

Your mum needs a good kick up the twat, she's been bullying her whole family for 20 years, and I must say it's unsurprising your father binned her if she's such a self-obsessed drama queen.
HOnestly, like everyone else has said, it's time to put your foot down with her and tell her you expect adult, civilised behaviour from her on the day or she's not welcome.

FeersumEndjinn Sun 02-Sep-12 07:51:23

What PomBear said (about the 8th reply on page 1). This is about celebrating your day and your reationship, you shouldn't play favourites but should either invite all of them, making it clear that grown-up behaviour is expected and they are not allowed to make the day all about their own issues - or if you can't trust them to do this (or trust them to choose not to come if they know they can't) then don't invite any of them.

It is certainly unreasonable to not invite your Dad's wife. Married people should be treated as a unit, you can't invite one without the other - especially to a wedding.

maillotjaune Sun 02-Sep-12 07:51:57

I think you should invite you Dad's wife. I understand that if they split up say, last year, and this was the OW that would be very insensitive to your mum.

But that's not the case, and really she needs to realise this is your wedding. If you do invite her have you considered seating arrangements?

ettiketti Sun 02-Sep-12 07:57:35

I think its very hurtful to not invite your stepmother with whom you have a good relationship.

I would sit you mum down now, explain you are inviting her, SHE was not the cause of their marriage breakup. Give her warning, tell her to get used to the idea, prepare herself, respect your wishes for a happy wedding day. Get someone else on board to keep an eye in your mum, one of your or her siblings or a close friend and let it go.

You are all enabling her behaviour by avoidance, I'd be so hurt as your stepmother.

FWIW, same situation here and also I'm in a blended family myself, so understand the complications, but it can be done smile

Shakey1500 Sun 02-Sep-12 08:04:15

I agree that you should invite your SM. You're not responsible for your Mother's reaction or emotions. She should put all feelings of anxiety/whatever in a box for the day and save any meltdowns for the day after for YOUR sake.

My Mum "uninvited" herself from my wedding as I hadn't invited Great Aunt xyz that I hadn't seen for 20 odd years hmm She wasn't contributing to the wedding (as in, to have any/some say on the guest list) This, coming from a woman who secretly got married telling not even her OWN mother (my nan)

Tensions were high for months until a family member stepped in and asked me to re-invite her confused I really didn't want to but knew that if I didn't, then the whole day would be people focusing/speculating on why she wasn't there rather than the event itself. So I did, and she spent the entire day with a face like a slapped arse grin

Good Luck

pigletmania Sun 02-Sep-12 08:11:08

You ignore your mum, and do what YOU want to do. It's YOUR wedding not hers, and really she s an grown adult woman (meant in a loose way) she should bend over to MK you pot on your day, and if tat means putting gp her differences aside for the day so be it. Don't cater for her, you are feeding her bad behaviour. Invite your step mum, if I were her I wuld be very offended and would wonder wht I have fne wrong

Bettyonholiday Sun 02-Sep-12 08:14:36

Omg, I could have written that post! Although they both never remarried, my parents have been divorced for about 30 years. Even so my mum still hates my dad and family events cause a lot of friction - my mum is currently not speaking to me for attending a (very important) event on my dads side.

Both my brothers did not invite my dad to their weddings as both times my mum threatened not to go if they did. It upset them both terribly.

I have a wonderful DP and 2 DCs, and we have talked of marriage but dealing with this issue for me is my number 1 concern. I've had lots of imaginary conversations with my mum over this, but I couldn't imagine having them in real life, she is a very difficult character.

I don't really know what to advise but all I can say is that it is your special day and you are not responsible for any of the choices they make. Good luck, hope you have a wonderful day.

Thumbwitch Sun 02-Sep-12 08:19:26

Are you the last child in the family to get married? Just wondering if it would be the last chance your SM gets to go to any of her DH's children's weddings.

You know, I'm sure this qualifies as devious but I would invite your SM. And just not tell your Mum. Because your mum shouldn't control your guest list (unless she's paying for the whole shebang, of course) and she shouldn't have such an emotional blackmail hold over you all still, it's ridiculous after so long. How vindictive of her!

As for her stressing you out, I can totally understand your reaction there but I would consider putting your foot down and telling your Mum that if she can't behave in an appropriate manner on your wedding day, then she will have to get ready by herself etc. I had to actually throw my Mum out of her own bedroom on my sister's wedding day because she was upsetting my sister unnecessarily - just Not On, IMO.

I am sorry she has had cancer but I don't think you should take any extra account of this - she's been pulling this stunt for years now, it's time for it to stop.

pigletmania Sun 02-Sep-12 08:20:02

Why should you accommodate her bad behaviour. She sounds like a bully threatening until she gets her way. I know se is your mum, but your dh is your life and future you have to do what you want not because your scared f her

nkf Sun 02-Sep-12 08:21:44

I would invite my mum and dad and leave the stepmother out of it. It sounds as if it won't affect your relatonship with your father but it will with your mother.

Mrbojangles1 Sun 02-Sep-12 08:24:19

Hi i think you need to invite your step mother in law, weather your mum likes it or not she is slso part of your family

I think its awful on your part if this lady has done nothing to you even more awful if you get on, you will be likey to casue a issue with with yur dad Do not take sides their is no need

Its up to you but i think you will be making argue mistake it you dis invite her on somone elses behest

shushpenfold Sun 02-Sep-12 08:25:06

Agree with the majority of the posters....if your mum has a problem with your dad's wife that's her issue, not yours. You want them there so you invite them - end of story.

Mrbojangles1 Sun 02-Sep-12 08:26:58

A few say it wont effect the relationship with your dad how can it not also i will deeply hurt your step mum

Invite them all if your mum cant be grown up she should decline unless of course your planning to exclude your step mother for all futher family events which is not fair for your dad,her or your children who most likey have come to be very fond of her

lovebunny Sun 02-Sep-12 08:27:13

you are inviting your dad - you can't leave his wife out. and you like her. why try to do such a hurtful thing? it's horrible.

your mum is an adult. she's been apart from your dad for twenty years. she has to put up or shut up. i was perfectly prepared to do this at my daughter's wedding, as well as to pay for it and let him take the credit, but in the end he withdrew his entire family from the event. he missed a good do.

you are an adult, too. make your own decisions and don't let your mum make them for you.

diddl Sun 02-Sep-12 08:28:06

It´s your mother I´d be tempted to not invite!

Do you have friends/rellies who could be trusted to remove her if she makes a scene?

changeforthebetter Sun 02-Sep-12 08:31:17

Well I have depression and I do not expect the sun, moon and stars to revolve around me hmm

Obviously your mum is a bit of an emotional mess and a trip to her GP is in order, swiftly followed by some sort of talking therapy.

She shouldn't be able to poison your special day (nor those of your siblings). Poor you - it sounds utterly wearing and not how your wedding should be.

FWIW I would stand my ground and invite all 3,and perhaps find a kind-hearted soul to "babysit" your mum on the day? brew

TroublesomeEx Sun 02-Sep-12 08:32:37

The fact is, that your mother won't perform on the day because she'll only show herself up and look incredibly unreasonable in front of all your guests.

She will just feel a little bit uncomfortable for a few hours.

She doesn't want to feel uncomfortable, so she's ensuring you feel so uncomfortable about it now that you won't invite your SM and she won't have to deal with it.

She's thinking about herself and not giving any consideration to you, who you might want there, the situation she is putting you in or how this is making anyone else feel.

Nagoo Sun 02-Sep-12 08:32:45

I did actually have to give my dad the 'It's been 20 years get a fucking grip' talk.

It went surprisingly well.

I would invite her and your mum will have to deal with it.

What are you doing about the reception? I avoided top table fiascos by having an informal reception/ hog roast.

pigletmania Sun 02-Sep-12 08:35:56

I am shocked at people saying dnt invite the sm especially as she as done nothing wrong. Just becase she is the op des not give her any more rights and yes I would be tempted not to invite the mum

squeezed Sun 02-Sep-12 08:40:06

If you like your SM then invite her. Or just elope!

GhostShip Sun 02-Sep-12 08:42:46

What a horrible position to be in. Sorry OP! This isn't fair you should be looking forward to it. It's horrible for your mum but she needs to stop being selfish and wallowing now, it's your big day

Hope it all goes well

thebeesnees79 Sun 02-Sep-12 08:48:25

having been on the receiving end of a none invite (long story a group of dh mates don't like me, all the other dw or dp were in invited to said wedding I wasn't) & very hurt by it i would invite them all. you can't exclud one person its very mean & your poor dad divorced your mum and she is still dictating what he can and can't do.
your mum needs to grow up, she sounds like she has some sort of personality disorder.
good luck

I think you should invite your SM, your mother is behaving like a spoilt child!

This comes from a divorced mother of 2, my XH is still with the woman he left me for and a year after he left me I hugged her and told her I forgive her for her part in it ( i have not forgiven xh but i am polite as and when we are together for any reason, even when dcs aren't there) and we should be able to get on for the sake of the children! Your mother needs to suck it up and start behaving like an adult!!

Kayano Sun 02-Sep-12 08:49:35

I would
Invite her and tell mother to get over it

But I am mean and have no time for drama llamas

whattodoo Sun 02-Sep-12 08:50:49

I think you should invite dad's wife, then go with your mum to her GP.

Say to GP that instead of prescribing tranquilizers, your mum should be referred for cbt to handle this and her ongoing depression

GhostShip Sun 02-Sep-12 08:53:38

Why is he prescribing tranquillisers like that anyway?! For one incident? Seems a bit silly

Indith Sun 02-Sep-12 08:54:40

I'd invite the wife. If your mum can't grow up and put her feelings aside for one bloody day. One day that is YOUR day not hers then I'd tell her not to bother coming.

And yes, been there too with our wedding inviting Dh's divorced parents. They have so far managed to be civilised for dh's graduation, our wedding and BIL's wedding because though they might not get on they are adults and they behave as such.

kilmuir Sun 02-Sep-12 08:55:34

20 years! Get a grip mother.
Like others say tell her that you have invited SM and she needs to deal with it. Your poor SM has done nothing wrong.
Have a lovely day.

Pannacotta Sun 02-Sep-12 08:57:15

Invite them all and tell your Mother to grow up and behave herself, she really ought to be able to manage that for one day!
Good luck...

RuleBritannia Sun 02-Sep-12 09:01:37

Invite them all but word your mother's invitation: ' .....invites <mother's name> and Guest'. That would enable your mother to bring a companion with her and give her an opportunity to speak to someone she really likes to know.

I agree with SqueakyToy though; ask your siblings for their support in the matter.

Pagwatch Sun 02-Sep-12 09:09:09

I agree with the comments about the GP

Assuming your mother is not simply choosing to be a manipulative cow, why is her GP just giving her tranquilizers rather than dealing with whatever is causing her to behave in a hysterical and ridiculous way.
She may have depression or anxiety because hanging onto such an irrational to a man who has not been her partner for 20 years is very odd.
Sadly catering to someone's irrational anxieties simply makes them think the anxiety is rational.
You love your mum but catering to her behaviour is not helping her to move on.

I would tell her calmly that it is reasonable, polite and normal to invite your ads wife. It is irrational, impolite and staggeringly rude not to. And then ask her if she will be able to manage a perfectly reasonable situation in a rational way or would she like you to go to the GP with her

MammaTJisanOlympicSumoWrestler Sun 02-Sep-12 09:10:40

I am a woman who was left by my husband for someone else. They are still together.

Our DD is now 17, so I have thought about this. I would not like it, but I am a grown up and would accept it for my DDs sake.

Your mum needs to be told this.

happyinherts Sun 02-Sep-12 09:11:35

No two ways about it - you MUST invite your father's wife. She is your step-mother now and as you have no axe to grind with her or dislike her in any way, it is just totally rude not to invite her.

lotsofcheese Sun 02-Sep-12 09:21:17

I agree with the majority decision here. The important thing is how you present it to your mum: have confidence in your decision & tell her in a firm, polite way. Have a stock phrase & just keep repeating

Good luck!!

emblosion Sun 02-Sep-12 09:22:01

OP my stepsister was in pretty much the same position when it came to inviting my mum (or me and dbro) to her wedding. Her mum made things so difficult for her that in the end we weren't invited, and although we understood why and knew DSsis was upset about it and it wasn't really what she wanted it was still very hurtful.

On her wedding pictures its like we don't exist, despite the fact that we all get on & are close, our parents had been married for 15 years, hers divorced for over 20. Mum had no involvement whatsoever in their divorce.

Your mum is being very unreasonable to expect this of you. I can understand you wanting to avoid bad atmosphere but if I were you I would invite who you want to be there & imo its rude not to invite your dads wife - but I acknowledge I'm a bit biased!

PopcornCity Sun 02-Sep-12 09:30:09

I think you should invite all of them. It's rude to only invite one half of a married couple.

Would your mum consider counselling?

ByTheWay1 Sun 02-Sep-12 09:35:01

We had the exact same situation - even down to 20 years passing - I invited all 3 and said they would all just have to get along for 6 hours.

My brother took care of mum, we did photos with my mum and dad and with SM and dad - everyone just got on with it.

Mum was not exactly 100% happy, but she saw that the ONLY other option was not coming.

p.s. I did feel a bit cheesed off that SM turned up in a killer bright salmon pink outfit - a bit of "oneupmanship" on the bride's mother.

eurochick Sun 02-Sep-12 09:37:49

We had a similar situation with my PIL at our wedding. They had been apart 20 years and FIL had been with his new partner for 15. MIL stayed on her own. In the past 20 years they had been in the same room twice before - for BIL's passing out parade at Sandhurst and his wedding a couple of years before

There were no panic attacks, etc. involved, but there was still stress involved. However, they all behaved like grown ups on the day and appreciated that the day was not about them.

weddingfamilywoes Sun 02-Sep-12 09:50:24

To answer a couple of questions:
My mum has told us she will give us some money towards the wedding. But she has never said how much, so we just planned the wedding according to what we could afford. It would be nice to have the contribution but we don't need her money. My dad offered us £1000, and this was after I told him that SM wouldn't be invited.

Reading all your comments makes me see things in a more objective light. I guess in some ways I think I've been acting in line because I've just been copying what my older siblings have done. But I guess we're all manipulated.

A couple of people have said why just not elope? Believe me, we have thought about this. DP and I have been together 8 years, and have been ready to get married for the last 3 or 4 years. The only thing stopping us has been the wedding. We have thought about all types of weddings, including eloping, but then I realised I would be doing that just to avoid my parents' issues, rather than because it was really how I wanted my wedding to be.

weddingfamilywoes Sun 02-Sep-12 09:56:34

About the anxiety, tranquilizers etc. My mum is a bit secretive about these kinds of things, but I think she might have originally got the tranquilizers for a long haul flight. But it could also have been for panic attacks, I'm just not sure. She has definitely been on antidepressants at different times in the past, and when my parents first split up she had some counselling.

To be honest it's not really something I want to get involved in. She would not take kindly to me suggesting any kind of treatment to her or wanting to go along to the GP.

DesperatelySeekingPomBears Sun 02-Sep-12 10:06:38

I think OP you need to decide who you would rather have there; your mother, or your stepmother because tbh, rightly or wrongly, it doesn't sound like both is going to be a viable option. I imagine if you 'put your foot down' you may drive your mother away. If that is something you can cope with in the long term then by all means, invite your stepmother.

It sounds like your mother has quite significant depression and the oh so helpful comments on here of telling her to snap out of it will not work. So, as I said, I think you need to decide who you would rather have in attendance.

perfumedlife Sun 02-Sep-12 10:11:56

Like I said, dh's mother didn't come to our wedding and honestly wasn't missed. Had it been the same situation with my mother, also not a problem. I only wanted people there who wanted to be there above all else. Dh's brother's then gf actually called me to tell me I should uninvite Fil and his partner or they were not coming as a show of support to Mil. I said don't come then, you won't ruin the day and I will not be held to ransom thanks all the same.

Twenty years floundering around in this bitterness and anger is toxic for your mother and harmful to you all. You will be doing her a kindness if you step up and say STOP, this has gone on long enough.

YouOldSlag Sun 02-Sep-12 10:30:45

Please do not back down and exclude your SM in order to placate your mum, no matter how tempting. I really feel for you OP. I am also the adult child of divorced parents ( as is DH).

MIL threatened not to come to our wedding as DH was inviting his Dad and SM (32 years after the divorce). DH said "shame, you'll miss a lovely day", and didn't budge.

Sure enough, she was there on the day.

We had all sorts of blackmail coming our way from people who wouldn't attend if so and so is coming. and I tell you we were having bloody NONE OF IT.

It is the height of selfishness and rudeness to try and get your own way about any wedding that is not yours.

It is so unfair on your Dad and SM who are being reasonable about this when your Mum is behaving like Veruca Salt and making threats so she can get her own way.

I understand she might not take kindly to a GP suggestion, but it is time for a full and frank discussion. It's so sad you've waited this long because you don't know how to get the wedding you want without her breathing down your neck about it. Please explain to her the effect it's having on your life. If she still stands firm after that then don't invite her on the grounds "she might not cope". I bet you she'll change her mind.

Be unmoveable on this one OP. Control Freaks need to have control taken away from them.

bogeyface Sun 02-Sep-12 10:35:50

Is she genuinely depressed or is she only "depressed" when she doesnt get her own way?

And taking tranqs before a weddding? I dont believe that, I have taken them to help me sleep and they make you very spaced out and not "with it" for several hours. I think she is laying it on thick to make you feel bad and do what she wants.

To my knowledge, tranquilisers arent prescribed for panic attacks, beta blockers tend to be given if anything as they help to stop the physical symptoms developing. And anyway, it doesnt sound like panic attacks to me but tantrums when things dont go her way!

You do need to get a hold on this because as Folkgirl said, it will only get worse as the years go by. You shouldnt be held to ransom (good phrase Perfumed!) over this.

GhostShip Sun 02-Sep-12 10:43:01

Sounds like something from the 1940's. When the doctors would prescribe something for the poor shocked woman...

Kaloobear Sun 02-Sep-12 10:45:50

OP I really feel for you-I had almost exactly the same situation, even down to the timescales. The only difference was that my step mother is the woman my dad left my mum for. My mother through plenty of fits and made it awful-I couldn't imagine not having my step mother their as she and my dad had married when I was 10 and she's family.

In the end I invited them all to the wedding and my mother just had to put up with it. I did compromise though as we had an afternoon reception with my mum and then an evening one with my dad and stepmother. It was a bit of an exhausting way to do it but did make it all a bit calmer! My mum is very old school though and thinks evening receptions are unnecessary and tacky hmm so wasn't at all bothered about the evening as she didn't want the wedding to carry on that long anyway. I was sad my dad wasn't there at the traditional father of the bride speech bit but he did it in the evening instead.

It's very easy to say 'your min just needs to grow up', and of course it's true and I said it to my own mother countless times. But ultimately you can't force someone else to be accepting or forgiving or to behave as they should/you want them to. The question you have to ask yourself is if you invite your step mother will your mother still come to the wedding? If she didn't could you ever be ok with that?

For what it's worth, when DD was christened I invited all three to church and the party afterwards. Mum was upset but having gone through the wedding fiasco a few years ago I found it much easier to say 'tough, it's not about you.'

Kaloobear Sun 02-Sep-12 10:46:11

THREW fits.

weddingfamilywoes Sun 02-Sep-12 10:46:20

\She is genuinely depressed, and to be clear it's not like she is going around saying "Im depressed", it's how I'm describing her as I recognise the signs. Like I said before, she has quite low self-esteem, so my and my siblings' behaviour can often be perceived to be a slight to her. Eg. if we visit at Christmas but leave on Boxing day, then we have "abandoned" her and left her on her own over the Christmas period.

Does it make a difference if she is genuinely depressed or not? Should I be making more allowances for her if she is?

She definitely took that tranquilizer on the wedding day, and I think I said before that it was probably prescribed for a long haul flight because I know she has taken them before for that purpose. She was pretty spaced out on the wedding day. At one point she was stood with her hand on a chair just staring into space.

Kaloobear Sun 02-Sep-12 10:46:26

And THERE not their. FGS.

Nanny0gg Sun 02-Sep-12 11:00:34

AS previous posters have said, this situation will not go away. It will crop up on every occassion for the rest of your mums life.

Do you really want that?

Thumbwitch Sun 02-Sep-12 11:14:35

No you shouldn't be making more allowances for her, but fewer.

She feels abandoned if you leave after one day at Christmas? She is emotionally blackmailing you over that as well - it's only because you've lived your life for the last 20 years like this that you haven't realised.

bogeyface Sun 02-Sep-12 11:30:08

I think Thumb is right in that you dont seem to realise how much you have been manipulated.

Depression isnt about low self esteem, whining when you dont get your own way, or emotional blackmail and thats why I asked if she has been diagnosed with it it because it really doesnt sound to me like she is depressed. What it does sound like is someone who sulks when they dont get their own way and lays it on thick to their children in order to get them doing exactly what she wants. Just because someone spends their time moaning and looking miserable doesnt mean they have clinical depression.

I think you need to talk to someone about healthy parent/child relationships in order to help you see that you dont have one, and how to deal with it.

bogeyface Sun 02-Sep-12 11:34:29

Have a look on this website and see if there are any comments that flag up for you.

Not saying that she has a personality disorder but she certainly seems very self absorbed and perhaps you will find some good ways of dealing with her on there.

horrible situation for you op. I am sure you will come to the right decision.

If you want to elope that sounds fine to me, and have a or several parties afterwards with various family members. glad you dad and sm are Behaving

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Sun 02-Sep-12 12:39:30

You should read the book Toxic Parents by Susan Forward, wedding there's a whole chapter on people like your mum.

squeakytoy Sun 02-Sep-12 12:52:53

Sorry OP, but your mum sounds like an attention seeking diva.. and it also sounds like everyone has tiptoed around her letting her get away with it for the last 20 years too.

What a sad wasted life she has had though. sad Instead of getting on with life, rebuilding it, and enjoying things, she has spent two decades wallowing in self pity.

thebeesnees79 Sun 02-Sep-12 13:31:39

bogeyface she sounds like she has a personality disorder to me too.
a depressive would not manipulate or try to control others in this way, they would be to self absorbed with their own problems etc.

msrisotto Sun 02-Sep-12 13:52:09

Yeah let's not go around diagnosing personality disorders! Suffice to say that pandering to her will be more problematic for the future, lots of people are sadly divorced and they behave sensibly enough that I'm sure she can manage it too.

weddingfamilywoes Sun 02-Sep-12 14:00:48

Ok thanks everyone, it sounds like there is a consensus that I should not pander to her. I have heard of the Toxic Parents book, so I'll give that a try.

I don't think she intends to go around upsetting people. Rather I think she feels justified in expecting certain things, and then is genuinely upset when she doesn't get them. Almost like she lives in a different world than the rest of us. She can be a difficult person to be with at times, although there are great sides to her too. I've never really known how to deal with her effectively or change things to be honest. It's hard to constantly be trying to do nice things for her, only to sometimes get them thrown back in my face and be told that no one cares about her. Seems like this thread has become more of a discussion about my mum than anything else!

Thumbwitch Sun 02-Sep-12 14:06:07

Sounds like it's not before time, WFW!!

Whether or not she has a personality disorder, she is inherently selfish and self-absorbed and the rest of you are just dancing to her tune without questioning why you're doing so. She probably doesn't intend to upset people - I expect she thinks that everything would be fine so long as she always gets her way and no one tries to cross her!

I was reading a thread the other day about someone else's mother - the analogy was drawn with the behaviour of a 6yo, which is when everything IS all mememe - but for that mother (and possibly yours) they never emotionally developed beyond being 6. So everything stayed being "mememe" and it's been that way every since.

Might try and find it for you now...

Thumbwitch Sun 02-Sep-12 14:09:06

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/a1553348-furious-with-my-mother-since-becoming-a-mother - here you are - the specific bit I remembered is in one of AttilatheMeerkat's posts. I'm not saying at all that your mother is the same as the one in this thread; but there are similarities that may ring bells for you.

squeakytoy Sun 02-Sep-12 14:11:55

The thing is though OP, it is ALL about your mother. Nobody else in the family seems to be demanding or making it all about them.

I would say you are right, she doesnt go around intentionally upsetting people, BUT she does expect everything to go how she wants it to go, or she kicks up a fuss and makes you all feel sorry for her. It sounds very passive aggressive, and extremely manipulative, as well as draining for everyone but her.

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 02-Sep-12 14:23:41

WFW, your OP could have been written by my DH. Although DH and his siblings invited the step mother to weddings, Christenings etc, she always declined out of deference to DH's grandmother, who took the divorce almost harder than his mother. There have been over a dozen big, family events that the step mother has missed - and DH's father has attended on his own - because of the situation.

Recently DH's grandmother passed away and we decided enough was enough, and made clear that we wanted all parties to attend our youngest's christening. The step mother attended; DH's mother got a "migraine" and didn't attend, his sister (who is close to his mother) found that one of her children was "too poorly" to attend, so none of her family group came either.

We suspected that this might happen, so you might wonder why we chose to do it this way. The main reason was our son, who enjoys a relationship with all his grandparents, understands that Grandad and Granny used to be married but aren't anymore and now Grandad is married to Nanny, but doesn't get why Nanny isn't ever at the parties or in the photos for weddings etc. A valid question! We've decided that we will continue to invite everyone, and would hope that after nearly 25 years everyone could be grown up about it, even if only for the grandchildren. Maybe one day...

cardibach Sun 02-Sep-12 15:26:50

My exH married the OW. We split when DD was about 18 months old, she is now 16. I wouldn;t even contemplate not inviting the step mum to any significant event of DD's! She is part of her life.
Actually, I got over myself a long time ago in this regard. I am able to stay at their house and them here (we live about 150 miles apart) when it is necessary. I don't know how she feels, obviously, but we seem to get on in a civilised way. DD doesn't even know why we split up. It's a non-issue. If she asked I would tell her, but she hasn't.
OP, invite all 3, let all 3 know the situation, let them sort it out.

diaimchlo Sun 02-Sep-12 16:49:34

This is your day and you invite who you want to celebrate it with you.
Would you give in to a young child for throwing a temper tantrum/ sulk because you would not get them the sweets they wanted? of course not, because by doing that you are allowing that behaviour to continue to the point they rule your life 100% and that is the behaviour your Mum is exhibiting.

There comes a time in the parent/child relationship that the roles reverse and the child has to become the parent, (if that makes sense) and looking at your post this has happened. It will not be easy for you and I can fully empathise with your situation but I personally would sit her down and calmly but firmly tell her that you want both your parents to celebrate your wedding and also your stepmother and that is what you intend to happen, tell her that if this is a massive problem and if she cannot be part of an amicable solution then she must be the problem which you expect to be solved before the wedding day because you love her and really want her to be there.

holyfishnets Sun 02-Sep-12 16:55:06

Everybody expects weddings to involve all the parents and their partners so YABU to leave anybody out. Everybody just has to be grown up and get on with it. The wedding day is about you and your DH and not thier issues. I would announce that you intend to get married and are inviting everyone and if it all gets too stressful elope instead. It's either yes to everyone or no to everyone in my eyes.

McHappyPants2012 Sun 02-Sep-12 16:57:03

Tbh I would invite her, this isn't a new relationship your father is married to her.

Once you are married how would you feel if your husband got invited to a family wedding when you was left out.

thegreylady Sun 02-Sep-12 17:08:08

I am a stepmother and a mother-there are no issues between me and dsc and I was a welcomed guest at all 3 weddings.However they had a problem with their stepfather for whom their mum left my dh.
They agonised about whether or not to invite him as they knew my dh would be upset if he had to meet this man.
Dss2 who married first did not invite him.
Dss1 did and he came,sat at top table at other end from dh and I-it was fine it was dh's ex who caused problems.
Dsd invited him and he did not come.
The point is that there have been no lasting problems and all 3 dsc get on with him and their mum now-between 15 and 10 years later.
Have the wedding you want.Invite the dsm you like and
tell your mum now to give her time to get used to it.

weddingfamilywoes Sun 13-Jan-13 00:17:11

OP here with an update. I finally got around to telling my mum I would like to invite my Dad's wife, and how she would feel about it.

She said it was my wedding and I should invite who I want and it was important that I enjoyed the day. She said she would feel uncomfortable and would not want them to go anywhere near her. She also said that if it was her sending out the invitations, then she would not invite her. To me, this was incredibly adult behaviour from her, normally she tries to guilt-trip me more and play the martyr. Anyway, I ended by saying that I would probably invite her.

An hour or so later, she sent me an email to say that she wanted to be honest, and that she would feel very uncomfortable and it would be humiliating for her. She wouldn't enjoy the day, or be relaxed enough to dance and chat with people etc, and that she would be constantly thinking that everyone was watching her to see her reaction. She ended by saying that it was still totally my decision and that I should invite who I wanted.

Based on this email, I replied and said I wouldn't invite my Dad's wife. Even though I know that it doesn't seem fair objectively, it seemed like a lot to put my mum through. In my reply, I said that this was my decision, and we could just put this behind us now and not discuss it further. I felt good about this in that I had actually had made the decision myself, rather than being emotionally manipulated as I had expected.

But she sent another email back, saying that she sensed a feeling of emotional commitment to my Dad's wife in my reply, and that if I prefered she would just come to the ceremony, or not come at all. She said she's not sure what I am trying to say to her.

Now I kind of feel like I have opened a can of worms and she is wondering how much I care about my Dad's wife. I don't know what to reply back, and I'm worried that she is going to take this whole scenario out of proportion... :-(

ChaoticintheNewYear Sun 13-Jan-13 00:22:19

You do realise that your mum has applied the emotional blackmail/guilt trip extremely well. By first saying it was your choice then sending the email so she could be 'totally honest' she managed to manipulate you into doing what she wanted you to do in the first place.

gimmecakeandcandy Sun 13-Jan-13 00:23:10

Really?! Sorry but I remember your thread and while its great you have updated I cannot believe you have given into your mum's manipulation and threats and do you really believe it is your decision?! Why are you pandering to your mother and her ridiculousness?

I feel quite sorry for your blameless stepmother and for you as you seem to pander to your mothers every whim. Don't you remember what everyone on this thread said?

ilovesooty Sun 13-Jan-13 00:24:34

Agreed. She's manipulating you now and obviously got what she wanted. I feel for your father's wife.

gimmecakeandcandy Sun 13-Jan-13 00:25:08

Oh and your mother is extremely selfish and it would seem doesn't care about anyone's feelings but her own. Ridiculous of you to pander to her.

weddingfamilywoes Sun 13-Jan-13 00:25:15

I don't know, knowing my mum it felt like she was just telling me her feelings rather than emotional manipulation. It seemed a lot more honest and open than it has ever been before.

Now I just feel sad. Sad that whatever I do someone will be upset, and sad that apparently I am a weak person.

ilovesooty Sun 13-Jan-13 00:27:38

I suspect she's an expert at manipulation...

ChaoticintheNewYear Sun 13-Jan-13 00:29:27

OP I don't think that you're necessarily a weak person more that you've been conditioned to pander to your mother and her every whim/manipulation/tantrum.

You sound lovely but you shouldn't have to worry about your mum like this, especially not 20 years later and the fact that your SM is not the woman your dad had an affair with.

gimmecakeandcandy Sun 13-Jan-13 00:32:14

No, it wasn't just her telling you her feelings, she IS manipulating you. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you feel you are weak... You are acting weakly but it's understandable in a way - I am just annoyed for YOU that she is doing this to you! She has NO reason to feel the way she does and by pandering to her you do her NO favours as you allow her to get away with shitty, ridiculous behaviour that is no good to her. You need to treat her like the child she is acting as as say no more of this. She is actually bullying you by doing this too. If she chooses to stay away from your wedding through her own idiotic reasoning that is NOT your fault but HERS. How do you put up with her. Sorry but she sounds so so selfish and hard to deal with.

weddingfamilywoes Sun 13-Jan-13 00:32:27

Should I reply and tell her I'm going to invite my stepmum? I fear that she may not come to the wedding, and even if she does I am in for many months of emotional manipulation after opening this can of worms, plus stress on the day. I kind of wish we hadn't organised this wedding now. I just feel extremely sad.

gimmecakeandcandy Sun 13-Jan-13 00:35:07

And let's be clear your mother and your mother alone is causing the upset - and in turn you are allowing her to by doing as she wants. Stop letting her bully you. Put a stop to this and tell her firmly your step mum IS coming and that her behaviour is not on and is upsetting a lot of people and you can't allow that as there is no reason for it. You must stand up to this or you never will.

ilovesooty Sun 13-Jan-13 00:35:57

Yes, gimme is right. Your mother is bullying you. How sad that you wish you hadn't organised the wedding and those feelings are entirely due to your mother's toxic behaviour.

No one can tell you what to do but my instinct would be to tell her you're inviting your stepmum, and your mum can exercise choice in how she deals with it.

gimmecakeandcandy Sun 13-Jan-13 00:38:35

Then be firm and say you will not put up with emotional manipulation from her! Tell her that is what she is doing and that you won't allow her to do that any more! Put your hand up firmly and say NO if she starts. It is doing her a favour too as her behaviour is so awful and selfish!

Maybe you would benefit from some counselling. I am so sad for you that your mother - and it is ALL her - is making you feel so much angst about your wedding. What a sel-absorbed selfish woman she is!

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Sun 13-Jan-13 00:40:16

TBH she'll probably come to your wedding even if your fathers wife is there, just think how petty and childish it would look if word got round that the reason she refused to come to your wedding is because you invited your step-mother.

Snazzynewyear Sun 13-Jan-13 00:40:21

That's a sad outcome. Can you tell your mum it's not about emotional feeling towards your dad's wife, but about wanting to behave like a mature and decent adult?

gimmecakeandcandy Sun 13-Jan-13 00:40:56

Just remember if she chooses not to come that is entirely and utterly for stupid reasons of her own doing. You cannot base your decision on her silly selfish reasons - please don't. Leave her to it. She'll soon learn not to do it of you stop pandering to her behaviour.

Please don't pander to her anymore - for your sake now and for ever more!

dayshiftdoris Sun 13-Jan-13 00:42:11

Reply saying that you appreciate her comments, honesty and suggestions.

Tell her you particularly appreciated her understanding that the wedding was about you and your OH and as such you were going to talk it over with your OH before sending out any invitations.

Add that no matter what her attendance is very important as you love her very much and regardless of your stepmother attending or not you would do your best to ensure that she was sat with people that you can trust to support her through the day. After all watching your daughter get married is emotional and difficult.

Decide whether yu are going to invite your step mum or not according to whether you want her there... send the invite and then make sure your mum is sat with your siblings or aunties and give them the heads up if step mum is attending...

And then do not be drawn into anymore discussions with her. If she asks say you have decided yet

weddingfamilywoes Sun 13-Jan-13 00:42:50

I'll think about it overnight and report back tomorrow. To be fair, I think she started off by genuinely saying it was my choice. I think after the phone call, her old insecurities creeped back in and the emails have been the result.

"But she sent another email back, saying that she sensed a feeling of emotional commitment to my Dad's wife in my reply, and that if I prefered she would just come to the ceremony, or not come at all. She said she's not sure what I am trying to say to her."
What do you think your mother would do if you called her bluff? Responded to her email along the lines of 'If you would find it too painful to attend my wedding with good grace then I will of course understand'? And as for "She said she's not sure what I am trying to say to her." - you're trying to say that you would like my father and his wife to attend your wedding.

dayshiftdoris Sun 13-Jan-13 00:45:10

Sorry sent too soon...

Time telling her that your stepmum is attending with having plans in place as to where your mum will sit, who she will be sat with, etc... then you leave it up to her...

You have spoke to her, listened to her views, done what you can then left her to decide whether or not she can face it.

Its been 20yrs and those emails were emotional blackmail.

Good luck

IAmNotAMindReader Sun 13-Jan-13 00:45:16

OP you need to do what you want ot do and leave your mothers feelings out of this now. You have tried ot accomodate her and it has been used as an excuse to build the drama. you tried to diffuse it so now she moves to another subject to pick at. Next step will involve your father until you feel you have to uninvite him. Finally will be the guilt tripping over how traumatised she is you even mentioned them.
If you let her she will cast a cloud over your wedding no matter what you do so i would stop trying to accomodate her now and invite the people you like.
What would you do if she suddenly switched her anxiety to your partner? Would you cancel the wedding to accomodate her? No and you shouldn't.

Offer to accompany her to her GP or help her to find a counsellor to help her deal with this as 20 years is a long time to cling to it. If she won't then take that as proof she is using it as a stick to beat people with to get her own way and avoid goin out of her comfort zone. While that can be scary it doesn't justify this behaviour.

Look up the stately homes thread and particularly FOG fear, obligation guilt and see if any of it applies to your relationship with your mother.

CointreauVersial Sun 13-Jan-13 00:45:53

Invite your dad's wife. Please. It's been 20 years.

My mum was not invited to her DSS's wedding for precisely the same reason, because DSS's mother was using all sorts of emotional blackmail to persuade DSS to leave her out. Mum was terribly upset, and in her heart has never quite forgiven DSS and my DSD for pandering to the blackmail. She sat outside the church in the car and cried; it was awful.

When I got married, I told ALL my parents and stepparents (yes, I have the full set) that they were all invited, and that anyone who was going to throw a fit could jolly well stay at home. I was not going to be made to feel bad/guilty/stressed on my big day because of something that happened when I was 18 months old. I made it clear that they were ALL important to me. Luckily they all got the message that it was my day, and it went fine. They just kept to different parts of the room.

weddingfamilywoes Sun 13-Jan-13 00:47:20

I think she is a bit jealous. She doesn't like the thought that I would choose to spare my SM's feelings over her own. She asked me if I was close to her and whether I went to see her every weekend. (I don't, I'm not especially close to her but get on well with her).

my your father blush grin

AgentZigzag Sun 13-Jan-13 00:48:17

Agree with the other posters, her 'honesty' is out and out manipulation.

Subtle as a fucking brick.

But why can't you see that you haven't come to the decision of your own free will?

I think you know you're being manipulated by her, or why post?

Inviting your SM isn't a betrayal of your mum, however much your mum wants it to be seen like that.

She responded as she should have done at first because she knew it'd be socially expected that this should be about you, not her, and she didn't have time to think how to work it round to attention for her reflect. But after she got over the initial shock of you not obeying her, she's brought it back round to her again.

She's not at the centre of the universe.

ilovesooty Sun 13-Jan-13 00:48:35

I wouldn't get involved in any protracted discussion about it. The more you analyse it and the more dialogue there is the more she controls you.

If you simply say you want your stepmother there that means your mother has to take responsibility for her own decisions, emotions and behaviour.

ilovesooty Sun 13-Jan-13 00:51:14

Subtle as a fucking brick

Spot on.

LineRunner Sun 13-Jan-13 00:54:11

This is about your dad.

You and your dad.

You'll get there in the end. Just bear that in mind, though. You have two parents and neither of them gets to gatekeep whether or not you can have a loving relationship with the other.

Thing like weddings can be a symptom. They are rarely a solution. But think ahead - your mother will get stuck into your DC next. Be careful.

weddingfamilywoes Sun 13-Jan-13 00:56:18

She responded as she should have done at first because she knew it'd be socially expected that this should be about you, not her, and she didn't have time to think how to work it round to attention for her reflect. But after she got over the initial shock of you not obeying her, she's brought it back round to her again.

This is probably accurate.

Although she doesn't deserve any sympathy due to her bad behaviour and emotional blackmail, I do think this will be very hard for her, and I feel bad that she will have to go through it.

MrsHoarder Sun 13-Jan-13 00:56:45

Agree that she is being ott. So there will be a man who broke her heart 20 years ago present with his wife. She us an adult who should have taken steps to get over him so as to not make every big event in her children's lives about her divorce instead of them.

Tell her you will ask your dad and wife not to speak to her but that you expect her to not create a load of drama about it. That a family wedding is a good time to celebrate love, practise forgiveness and act like grown ups, not teenagers.

You may be more tactful than me i'm sometimes blunt to the point of causing offense but someone needs to tell her to get over herself. Does she have any siblings who would talk to her?

weddingfamilywoes Sun 13-Jan-13 01:00:07

Well after 20 years, as you can probably imagine, she is not really a rational person. I can't imagine her reasoning through her or other people's actions and feelings in a rational way. She does have siblings, but I can't imagine this conversation taking place and anything real coming out of it. I think most people try to avoid upsetting her.

ilovesooty Sun 13-Jan-13 01:02:13

If they treat her like that everyone is enabling her selfish and damaging behaviour. And she knows it, by the sound of it.

AgentZigzag Sun 13-Jan-13 01:06:04

Feeling sympathy because you know it'll be hard is fine, but don't feel responsible for her needy, attention seeking behaviour.

She must put a lot of energy into working herself up with this 20 years afterwards, who could be arsed eh?

That says she's using it for her own ends, and she's not fussed who she involves, even her own DD on her wedding day FFS.

I wouldn't even ask your Dad and SM not to speak to her, surely they would know not to go within 100 meters of her, your Dad lived with her presumably and knows full well what she's like.

Asking them is taking responsibility for their behaviour too, what those three adults do is their own affair, and you've got bigger and better things to be thinking of than whether there's going to be dramatics from immediate family on your wedding day (which are inevitable in even the most outwardly respectable families grin I have my own wedding day as a reminder grin)

Focus on things which will make you happy and need your attention, leave them to her their squabbles.

"I think most people try to avoid upsetting her."
And you are all paying the price for that.

Casmama Sun 13-Jan-13 01:10:15

Sorry if I've missed ou addressing this but can ou rope in one of your siblings to look after her on the day? Yes she is manipulating ou and she may be a drama queen on he day but if she has one on one support on he day would that make it easier?

I would be tempted to email back and say to her not o read anything into it, you love her very much and want her to be there. Inviting sm is no reflection on her at all and she shouldn't think that it is anything o do with her. O will ask DF and SM to give her a wide berth but they will be invited and o don't want o discuss it again.

Casmama Sun 13-Jan-13 01:11:34

Sorry for all missed letters.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Sun 13-Jan-13 01:11:54

Only read page one so sorry if I've missed loads.

It sounds to me as though your mum is being very selfish!

I really think you should invite your dads wife and tell your mum to grow up.

Its terrible that he had to miss the graduations because of all this. Its ridiculous and its got to stop!

AgentZigzag Sun 13-Jan-13 01:13:21

Oooh, it just makes me froth on your behalf that she's making you run around after her at a time when she should be supporting you.

weddingfamilywoes Sun 13-Jan-13 01:13:33

I don't think my siblings would be particularly happy for me to open this can of worms and then have to deal with it on the day, especially since they didn't invite SM to their weddings. One of my bridesmaids has offered to babysit though if necessary to take the stress off me. I'm not sure how much she can realistically help, but it's a nice offer.

CointreauVersial Sun 13-Jan-13 01:17:07

It's YOUR DAY, not hers! Do what YOU want, not what she'd like you to do.

Can she not see past her own feelings??! Makes me so cross....

ilovesooty Sun 13-Jan-13 01:17:07

What your siblings chose to do isn't relevant: you have your own choice to make.

AgentZigzag Sun 13-Jan-13 01:18:40

Fingers crossed the rest of your family will band together unasked to protect you from her on the day.

I did read your thread at the time but can't remember whether you said, what does your DH make of it all? It's his wedding day too. What's his family like?

weddingfamilywoes Sun 13-Jan-13 01:21:33

Future DH is really annoyed by my mum (based on past and present behaviour). He sees her behaviour more objectively than me, but is always supportive of my choices.

ie. basically he thinks we should invite SM, thinks my mum is and always has acted like a child, but most of all just wants me to be happy.

piprabbit Sun 13-Jan-13 01:27:20

TBH it sounds like your DMum will have a tantrum even if your DDad comes to the wedding on his own. The SM issue is just a distraction.
At the moment she is focusing on winning the battle to keep your SM away. Once she is confident that she has won that battle, I suspect she will start to apply pressure to encourage you to ensure that your DDad stays away too. It sounds like it all has to happen how she wants.

And tell her that the only reason people will be looking at her is if she makes a spectacle of herself on the day - she's not in Eastenders.

ilovesooty Sun 13-Jan-13 01:30:35

Your future husband sounds realistic, sensible and supportive. Listen to him.

AgentZigzag Sun 13-Jan-13 01:31:13

That's good that your DH sees through her, you might need that if you decide you've had enough of the way she treats you.

Quite a lot of what you've said is similar to my own mum, but she's much more subtle about it...if you don't know the shape the games take, which I thankfully do now.

But she'd never have put the shit she pulls ahead of me on my wedding day, because that would have been selfish to the point of irrationality.

To do that would take someone so wrapped up in the bubble of their unhappy existence that they couldn't see past the bubble to care about other people, even if they genuinely love them.

And that's your mum.

This isn't something she should have put on you, she must know that to have said what she said at first, but she couldn't loose her grip on her old ways and was compelled do drag you in.

It's what she's always done, and she thinks it's OK because she's never challenged, so it must be.

oooohhhhyes Sun 13-Jan-13 01:36:26

I sympathise with you. My DM used to be somewhat like this, though she has matured (now she's in her 70s grin) now. I know how difficult this is for you. From an outside POV (always an easy place to be!), I would say, start the dialogue with your mum early. Tell her in an email that you are sorry to be doing this in writing but it's impossible to speak about this to her face to face, much to your regret. You will be inviting all family, inc SM, but as mum is so incredibly important to you, you really hope she can suspend hostilities for your special day and be your mum, not an angry ex-wife.

Is she can't respond to an appeal like this, then she is, sadly an irredeemably toxic influence and although letting her flounce off into the sunset seems terrifying, it may also be liberating. Plus she'll probably turn around when she realises no-one is running after her grin

weddingfamilywoes Sun 13-Jan-13 01:39:14

Thanks. I may need hand holding if I go through with this. Updates tomorrow, I must try to sleep now.

DoodlesNoodles Sun 13-Jan-13 01:40:37

I think your DM is being very unfair and unreasonable. I do not think she is being honest, I think she is being manipulative.

Personally, I would invite your Step mother. Your DM is probably used to getting her own way, I suspect she would be able to control her feelings if her family started standing up to her.

It must be very hard for you though. sad

My mil didn't come to our wedding because we invited her exmil, 25 bloody years they hadn't spoken for (since mils divorce) extremly petty and childish.

Mil does love to be centre of attention though and is very good at manipulating her dc's so she gets her on way

TinyDancingHoofer Sun 13-Jan-13 03:21:20

Why does your mother think people will be watching her, it is your wedding day. Her relationship has been over for decades. To me she sounds attention seeking and rather selfish to be creating a big drama about her at your wedding.

I would invite Step-mum and not bother talking to DM about it. Don't engage with her over the issue.

You could do what my sister did. She invited everyone she wanted and told both our mother and father that we are all adults and need to act like it, their marriage was over many years ago and it's her day now. If she got wind of either of them kicking off or being rude about each other then they would be the one who had to leave. My mother was a picture of good manners and never said a word, My father however managed most of the day, then had a couple too many during the evening party and was promptly put in a taxi home. They were placed a long way from each other at the Church and at the dinner and managed to do very well for the most part.
Time to stand up to your Mum her marriage was over 20 years ago she needs to get over it and be an adult, she won't like to hear it, but has a year to get the hang of it.

Mimishimi Sun 13-Jan-13 04:24:09

Your stepmother would be very hurt if you didn't invite her, especially if the two of you have a good relationship otherwise. To be honest, I'd probably sit down with my mum and say she was invited only if she could promise to keep it all together. However, I wouldn't seat them near each other and I would also ask my dad to avoid talking to her unnecessarily.

Mimishimi Sun 13-Jan-13 04:27:34

Also want to add that you might want to consider offering to shout your mum a great outfit and makeup artist so she can go there looking, and feeling, fantastic.

Astelia Sun 13-Jan-13 06:41:29

It is a shame your mother isn't willing to hold her head up high and be proud of you and your siblings on this special day and be gracious to DF and DSM.

Can any of her close friends be invited so she has people to chat to and show you off to so she doesn't have time to worry about what relatives might be saying?

Squinkies's sister had a good approach there- can you do something similar?

ResolutelyCheeky Sun 13-Jan-13 06:55:11

You have spent 20 years trying not to upset your DM. Perhaps she could spend 12 hours trying not to upset you?

PurplePidjin Sun 13-Jan-13 06:58:58

he thinks we should invite SM, thinks my mum is and always has acted like a child

Your fiance has it right.

gimmecakeandcandy Sun 13-Jan-13 07:27:50

We are all here for you op - be strong. The only reason it is 'hard' for her is that she makes it hard! And as someone said up thread, where will this stop? What if she starts on your dh? What if you have babies and she wants to 'rule' if your dad and sm see them?

It stops.

Now.

Say no more for everyone's sake. If it is easier - email her and say your and your fiancée have decided you will invite your father and sm as there is logical reason not to and your mum has to deal with that and that you don't want to hear any more about it. A tough love approach is needed here.

Don't let her toxic behaviour rule you any more.

RuleBritannia Sun 13-Jan-13 08:05:00

I don't see why a guest list has to be discussed with all and sundry, no matter how close anyone is. My DH and I invited a long list of people to our wedding and it was tough if any of them didn't get on. They gravitated towards those they knew and liked. Oh, yes, there was one cousin (A) who came but, at the party afterwards, saw another cousin (B) whom she didn't like so cousin A left after half an hour. I wasn't really bothered about cousin A coming in the first place but I didn't want to invite all the other cousins and not her.

The OP should leave the guest list out of any conversation with her mother. Mother brings up guest list when they are talking.
OP should say, "We'll talk about that another time." and find something else thought about in advance to talk about if the guest list is brought up.

I hope you have a lovely day, OP. Ignore everyone else's thoughts about whom you should or should not invite.

tiffinbaker Sun 13-Jan-13 08:33:01

Your mum is being very unreasonable and childish and needs to grow up. she is trying to make it all about her and you must not let her.

Of course you should invite your dad's wife - even if you didn't like her that much it would be wrong to exclude her - as a general rule married people should be invited both or not at all.

louschmoo Sun 13-Jan-13 08:35:56

Hello, I haven't read the whole thread so apologies if things have moved on.
My mother did this at my graduation. It was very difficult as she was ill at the time. My dad was not as soft as yours and put his foot down - his partner cam too or he wouldn't. So I was really stuck as of course I wanted them both there. Eventually we agreed that my mum would bring a friend with her as support so that she would always have someone with her and wouldn't ever be in the position of standind around alone feeling self conscious. I was worried that she would have a panic attack on the day but actually she was fine. Although there were a lot of tears in the run up and after too. But I am really glad that they were all there for me.
I think that at some point you have to draw a line under your parents marriage and divorce and just try to have a relationship with them as an adult. It is really hard but your mum needs to understand that her marriage was hers, not yours, and you can't be expected to take sides anymore.
If you give her time to get used to the idea she may well come round. And on the day she may find that she has emotional strength she didn't realise (as she hasn't tried before) and be able to get through the day calmly.

Smo2 Sun 13-Jan-13 08:40:38

I've not read all this thread, but really think that you should invite who you want to.

I'm two years into the most appalling marriage breakup, where my husband left me after a five year affair with a work colleague. He now lives with her, and she is about to become my children's step mother.

I read your post,because actually it gave me a real reality check that I never want things to be like this for my children, and unbelievably, though I'm prepared to do it for their sake, their dad absolutely won't be in the same room as me, despite me being blameless. I'm desperate for him to get it together,and put the kids first.

It's only two years, but I'm allowing my kids to do the whole bridesmaids thing at the wedding, though it breaks my heart. It's been twenty years, and your mum, well she's just got to, because it's your day, and it's just not about her.

I'm sorry, and I really hope you find a solution xx

legoballoon Sun 13-Jan-13 08:48:20

I agree with the posters who say your mum sounds manipulative and immature, even if she is ill. But that doesn't make it easier for you.

Could you invite your Dad and his wife to the reception, and your mum to the wedding (or vice versa)? Or would you consider doing an American style thingy and have a dinner the night before with your Dad and his wife?

I'm afraid I sort of agree with Wilson - it might be nice to focus on your SM's feelings for once!

katkit1 Sun 13-Jan-13 08:55:16

Hi op, I've read the whole thread. Nothing new to add because everyone else has said it so well. I hope you manage to have your special day, you also deserve to feel excited about the planning - not babysitting your Mum's angst. I feel tired on your behalf just thinking about dealing with her. I can't imagine holding onto all that misery and anger especially for 20 years, she must feel knackered.

DontmindifIdo Sun 13-Jan-13 08:57:10

You know what, gloves are off, if she want emotional blackmail, throw some back her way, she's putting her feelings above everyone elses, and it's your wedding day, it's supposed to be about you and she's gone and made it all about her.

I would send her an e-mail back along the lines of that you've slept on it, you're really upset at her behaviour, can she not see she's saying avoiding her being slightly akward for a few hours she's asking you to insult all of your Dad's family and possibly put a wedge between you all. That your dad is still your dad, she divorced him but he didn't stop being your dad and how could he attend without his wife? It would be such a slap in his face and how can she think that it's ok to ask you to do that.

Tellher if she loves you she'll put on her game face and support you, not try to make the day all about her.

CheCazzo Sun 13-Jan-13 08:59:07

You have spent 20 years trying not to upset your DM. Perhaps she could spend 12 hours trying not to upset you?

That ^ exactly.

I think it would be very wrong of you not to invite your SM - imagine how she'd feel? As everyone else has said, your DM is playing you like a puppet and it needs to stop. Do everyone a favour and be the first one to do something to make it stop.

gimmecakeandcandy Sun 13-Jan-13 08:59:48

Smo2 you sound like a brilliant mum who only wants the best for her kids and despite what you've been through you put them first, that must be hard but you are a shining example of how it should be. I hope you are ok and I wish you all the best - you deserve the world x

gimmecakeandcandy Sun 13-Jan-13 09:01:13

You know what, gloves are off, if she want emotional blackmail, throw some back her way, she's putting her feelings above everyone elses, and it's your wedding day, it's supposed to be about you and she's gone and made it all about her.

I would send her an e-mail back along the lines of that you've slept on it, you're really upset at her behaviour, can she not see she's saying avoiding her being slightly akward for a few hours she's asking you to insult all of your Dad's family and possibly put a wedge between you all. That your dad is still your dad, she divorced him but he didn't stop being your dad and how could he attend without his wife? It would be such a slap in his face and how can she think that it's ok to ask you to do that.

Tellher if she loves you she'll put on her game face and support you, not try to make the day all about her.

....
Perfectly said by this poster! Listen to this op! Email her - make it easier to get your decision across

VBisme Sun 13-Jan-13 09:57:11

I'm a stepmum, and I can definitely see this happening to us in the future.
Regardless of the fact that I was nothing to do with the split DH ex is very emotionally manipulative with the kids.
We've already decided that when the graduations / weddings / christenings start we'll sit the kids down and tell them that if they don't feel they can invite me then that's fine.
But it will really hurt (not that I'd tell them that).
Have you spoken to your stepmum?

mumandboys123 Sun 13-Jan-13 10:14:22

I get this. I get how hard it is for your mum. Being cheated on by someone you love is something well-balanced 'normal' people struggle to move on from. I am 4 years down the line and my children are young but reading this makes me realise that the hardest days are yet to come!

Your mum will feel incredibly vulnerable. I do now - my ex always, always has a woman by his side. He doesn't do dating or casual. He does relationships. They last a reasonable amount of time - a year, 18 months, 6 months. He will, eventually I'm sure, re-marry. I still struggle to see a time when I might be in a position to commit to someone again - I have been on dates, have enjoyed other men's company, but getting over the trust hurdle has been incredibly difficult for me. Maybe it's irrational, but when you trust someone with your life and they just screw it up and laugh in your face (as my ex did, literally), the barriers go up and it's incredibly hard to get them down again, even if you might want them to. Your ex having a partner puts you in a position of vulnerability - like they must be happier than you, better looking, better off...No, it's not a competition but it 's hard not to compare and if you feel you come off worse, it's even harder to have to face up to. I am the kind of person who wears her heart on her sleeve - I will always come off worse in public than my 'couldn't give a toss, will turn up at anything with no shame whatsoever' ex! And of course, there is a side of me that just wants to 'save' any new partner from what I went through and I struggle to understand what anyone is able to see in him - he is incredibly abusive towards me and the children which he doesn't hide and yet there are plenty of women who seem to enjoy this. Of course, they inevitably end up sobbing on my doorstep when he moves on but that's another story!

I believe you should have who you want at your wedding. It's your day and whatever anyone else feels, it shouldn't be about them. But as you recognise your mum's vulnerability, I do think that you should perhaps work with your siblings to make her feel 'safe' in whatever way you can. Make sure someone is beside her at all times - and tell her this will be the case. I would also talk frankly with your dad and step mum and say that your mum struggles. You don't need to go into details but just tell them to keep away from her, not to make conversation, keep a generally low profile. Have them sit at a different table during the reception and keep mum with you at the 'top' table to show her how much you value her. That will help keep her on 'top' of your dad, give her some oneupmanship over him which I am sure both him and your step mum will be able to handle.

And I would also say, don't assume you know why exactly your mum feels the way she does. And please never assume that you know what went on in your parents' marriage. There is a lot you are able to hide from your children and a lot you do 'for the sake of the children'. There is a pattern in adultery that is abusive and adulterers go to great lengths to prove to everyone around them that they were 'right' to do what they did, usually at the expense of the mental health of the person they left. Most of us rise up above it and deal with it but the scars are there forever. Please don't assume your mum's nervousness means that there is still love there or she somehow hasn't gotten over things. People get on with their lives in different ways and deal with things how best suits them. I accept my children have to have a quality relationship with their dad and I spend a lot of time biting my lip and not pointing out the obvious. Loving their dad often feels like a betrayal to me. It can be hard to accept their right to a quality relationship with us both after what he did. Some people struggle to see the wood for the trees - my ex doesn't deserve a quality relationship with his children but they do with him, if you see what I mean. I think many people can't quite see it - hence you get situations like this.

Have a lovely wedding, whatever you decide. It's your day so enjoy it!

Kalisi Sun 13-Jan-13 10:32:01

PLEASE INVITE YOUR SM!!!!
Things will never ever improve if you don't. You are not responsible for your Mothers emotional wellbeing.

Everybody looking at this from an outside perspective can see clear as fucking day how manipulative and downright nasty your DM's reaction was. I really, really feel for your SM and am quite sad about the fact that she will never feel accepted because nobody in your family seems to have the balls to stand up to your awful Mother. God she's horrible!! Please don't feed it any further.

Kalisi Sun 13-Jan-13 10:37:14

Ok, in hindsight reading back OP, I shouldn't have slagged your DM off quite so savagely blush I apologise for that, I know she is your Mum and you love her very much.
Honestly though, hidden stories aside, her behaviour sounds appaling and I am unrealistically angry about it!

Please invite your stepmum. Look at your mums personality and behaviour, and you know why your dad left her in the first place. You cannot punish him forever that he made a bad choice marrying your mum. The entire family have been held to ransom over her unreasonable behaviour for 20 years. Time the shoe was on the other foot.

SecretNutellaFix Sun 13-Jan-13 10:57:18

Please invite your stepmum.

If your mother kicks off at any point, it is she who will look like a complete twat. Not you or your fiance, or your father or stepmum.

If she chooses to disgrace herself by behaving like a six year old, then she will have to live with those consequences.

MrsHoarder Sun 13-Jan-13 11:39:14

mumandboys, you're missing a point, the OP's DM is not keeping all the shit from her and putting a brave face on for the sake of the children. If she was then the OP wouldn't have this problem. And you know logically that loving their dad is not a betrayal of you on their parts and hopefully will never treat them like it is.

Children (even adult ones) should never be put under pressure to put one parent "above" the other. How the dad acted in his marriage may have minimal bearing on his relationship with his daughter. We had one set of divorced parents who had had a nasty split much more recently than 20 years prior at our wedding. They sat on opposite sides of the top table so they were apart, their partners were kept apart and they behaved like adults. Ok so they weren't getting up and dancing together, but they weren't getting worked up, and the OM was at the wedding.

It would be reasonable to ask her if she wants to invite her best friend/other support figure for her. Not to let her block half the OP's family from her.

Really feel for you, OP - though as an impartial outside observer I am livid with your mum. She is being incredibly manipulative and unfair.

Whathaveiforgottentoday Sun 13-Jan-13 11:56:44

A very difficult situation but I would opt for the easiest solution and not invite your stepmum. Not because its the right decision, but because your wedding day is not the day to challenge the status quo as the focus should be on you and your DH to be and not on your mum.

Also as your Dad has already accepted that his wife may not be invited, I would go this route. However I would do something special for your Dad and SM after the wedding.

I didn't invite my SM to our wedding but for totally different reasons and I had the support of my Dad in this decision.

comingintomyown Sun 13-Jan-13 12:14:19

Not being funny but maybe your SM isnt overly concerned about attending the Wedding , not a reflection on her feelings for you but she just may not be concerned one way or the other.

ZillionChocolate Sun 13-Jan-13 12:22:02

I agree with the majority. To do anything other than invite SM is to punish her and your father for your mother's irrationality.

I would reassure your mum that she can sit separately from your father and step mother. I would not have any parents on your table so that you're treating them all fairly. I would ensure she has the company of people she knows/likes and then I'd leave her to it.

Presumably OP you can imagine making sacrifices for your children's happiness. This is what your mum should be doing. It's only one day but this is likely to arise again and again. If she has a problem with anxiety then there are things she can do it address it. You can't protect her from all things that might make her uncomfortable.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 13-Jan-13 12:52:30

There is a thread on here where the posters DH isn't allowed to go to family gatherings if the posters brothers wife is there.

Imagine how you would feel if it was your DH who had done nothing wrong but was being punished for it.

Invite the SM, tell your DM to suck it up or note bother turning up.

TarkaTheOtter Sun 13-Jan-13 13:00:27

We invited the ow to our wedding because it ha been 10yrs and she is the mother of my half siblings as well as my dad's partner. My dm found it hard, but she did her best to keep those feelings from me because she knew I would worry about it. She understood the difficult position I was in and put me first because I am her child and it was my wedding day.

We had friends at our "top table" and had parents and step-parents to "host" their own tables. Naff, but it meant no one was left out.

Dm and dad/ow kept themselves apart and all was fine because they are all adults.

GilmoursPillow Sun 13-Jan-13 13:01:40

While you're discussing this in any way, shape or form with your mother, she's got what she wants - you dancing to her tune.

Email her back and say that you want your Dad AND his wife to be there, and you want your Mum to be there too. I would write something along the lines of "I will be inviting Dad and Xxx, I will be inviting you as a guest too. I hope you can make it" and leave it at that. No ifs or buts. If she starts, repeat, "I will be inviting Dad and Xxx..."
Let her get the message that your feelings and your wishes (on YOUR big day) are non-negotiable.

GilmoursPillow Sun 13-Jan-13 13:02:30

...I will be inviting you and as guest too.....

GilmoursPillow Sun 13-Jan-13 13:03:09

Oh FFS! You know what I mean, right? blush

DontmindifIdo Sun 13-Jan-13 13:05:15

Another thing to think about, if your Dad left your Mum for another woman, but not this one, then your step mum is actually being punished for the bad behaviour of another woman. It's her fault your Dad had an affair. Your mum has to accept that this is your Dad's partner now, it's wrong to not invite her. If your SM was the OW she might have a point about it, but she wasn't. The only person in the room who might be at fault is your Dad, but your mum isn't suggesting you don't invite your Dad, just not your Step mum, who as far as I can see is one of the only completely blameless people in all this.

Excluding her but not your Dad is not about making your mum feel more comfortable (because your Dad's presence will upset her anyway) it's about not highlighting to the world that your Dad has moved on and is happy when she's not, and particularly, your mum is using you in order to hurt your Dad by making you snub a completely innocent bystander.

Toptable ettiquette would have your mum sat next to your FIL and your Dad sat next to your MIL anyway so if they aren't sat together or talking it won't be obviously. Some have the traditions that the Groom's dad asks the brides mother to dance and the bride's dad asks the grooms mum to dance after the first dance, so if you prime your FIL to be to ask her to dance, tell your dad it's best if he asks your MIL to dance for the first dance (perhaps get a grooms man/male relative from your DP's side to ask SM to dance so she's not stood on her own at the side).

If your mum wants to leave early after that, then fine, but she'll have done all her 'mother of the bride' bits.

OTOH, your Mum, quite frankly, sounds like a drama queen and actually, if she decides to stay away because of this, it might be for the best, she sounds like the type who thinks her DD's wedding is about her and it's ok to try to keep attention on herself.

DontmindifIdo Sun 13-Jan-13 13:07:33

oh and sit your SM with someone like your siblings on another table so she knows someone, but most SM's who weren't involved with raising the bride/groom would expect not to sit on the top table if it was traditionally set out.

DeepRedBetty Sun 13-Jan-13 13:21:51

Have skim read, all your posts (I love the way you can highlight the OP's posts!) and some key other posts.

My first thought when I saw the recent exchange of emails with your DM was 'Uh Oh Burning Martyr Syndrome'. This is what we call my DM's attacks of 'poor little me' which she uses to ensure everybody toes her line. But your mum has it considerably worse than mine.

Re-iterate, like 99% of other contributors to this thread, this is your wedding not hers and you need to draw a line in the sand otherwise every other family event for the foreseeable future will have this shadow hanging over it.

BacardiNCoke Sun 13-Jan-13 13:27:49

I would invite your stepmum, and if your mum decides not to come then that's her loss. I got married 3 years after my parents divorced. I had a very small wedding (only 10 people). I didn't invite extended family, but my mum and (maternal) grandparents obviously. My dad was paying for my wedding. My grandparents decided not to come because my dad was going to be there. hmm And my mum only came to the ceremony. hmm sad I fell out with her massively before the wedding because she somehow expected me to invite her DP (who she left my dad for) and not invite my dad at all. confused We managed to reconcile before the wedding. But I told her I was under no circumstances leaving my dad out and her DP wasn't invited. I felt because it was such a small wedding it wouldn't be fair to my dad. So she didn't come to the restaurant for the meal afterwards. She said she went home and cried. My response to that was, "Oh". What did she expect me to say, she decided to exclude herself not me, I refused to be manipulated by her, or my grandparents. It was there loss.

It's your day, don't let yourself be emotionally blackmailed by your mum. You're not responsible for her feelings, she is. She chooses to react in the way she does, she is putting herself before you. You should start doing the same, put yourself first.

I made up with my mum and we're close now. She regrets not coming to the whole of my wedding and sometimes still tries to guilt me. But I refuse to be drawn in, it was her choice.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 13-Jan-13 13:32:50

Dontmind

Your post assumes that the DM didn't use to be emotionally abusive and that the affair is the cause of it.

SantasENormaSnob Sun 13-Jan-13 14:08:36

Your mum is one manipulative nasty piece of work.

It's about time people stopped pandering to this type of shit.

HappyNewHissy Sun 13-Jan-13 15:23:40

I think you ought to hand over the invitation duties to your Fiance. He seems to have a much more level headed approach. He sees through the poisonous shite your mother spews.

You HAVE to get this in check NOW, or she WILL poison your marriage too, you are aware of that, aren't you?

You have changed your mind, it'd be MEAN not to invite your SM, as she IS a part of your life and you DO like her. Your SM has EVERY right to expect an invitation. Your father would want her there too, AND would expect to see your DM there too.

Stand up to your mother now.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Sun 13-Jan-13 15:36:49

Wow so she put the guilt and emotional blackmail switch on, got you to change your mind and say you'd not invite sm, AND had you thinking it was your own idea!

She's good!

Your mum is so selfish. When she said everyone would be looking at her you should of said that no one else is interested, because they probably aren't. The only reason anyone might be is because she's made such a fuss about it all these years. Everyone else just gets on with their lives.

I also think you made a mistake asking for her permission. I think she relies on that. You're an adult who makes their own decisions now. By asking for her permission you are giving her the power.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Sun 13-Jan-13 15:44:29

She didn't for a second consider what you would want for your day! Everything was about her!

meddie Sun 13-Jan-13 16:04:10

God I feel for you I really do. She sounds just like my mother. Fortunately my eyes were opened to her behavior many years ago and I keep a healthy distance and boundaries, but she still tries it on, though she gets no where..

You are in a difficult situation. Really you should set a boundary, its what you need to do in the long term or this manipulation and self absorption will continue (and get worse as she gets older probably). buts its your wedding day and even if you do invite your SM, which is what you should do. Your mum will either not attend, make such a big deal/drama about it that the run up to your wedding willbe all about her, or attend and have a face liked a slapped arse all day, maybe throw in a panic attack for good measure.

So what do you do... not invite your SM for an easy life, but this will reinforce your mothers behaviour, that if she causes a drama she gets her own way.

Or invite your SM but mentally prepare yourself for your mothers reaction and deal with it unemotionally. Ignore the sulky faces, don't be drawn into her dramas and let her get on with it.

I would be smiling my silly head off, commenting about what a lovely day it was and how everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and that I couldn't wish for anything better and just totally overlooking her slapped arse face....

Anniegetyourgun Sun 13-Jan-13 17:35:42

DSis (an occasional MNer) says it would be cruel not to invite SM, as this would deprive DM of an excuse to flounce dramatically. Imagine if it really was a brilliant day and nobody once looked at DM to see how she was bearing up! Oh, the horror.

Inaflap Sun 13-Jan-13 17:57:46

Have not read the whole thread so forgive me if I am repetitious. Is your mum likely to be verbally abusive towards SM? I'm thinking in a sort of Eastenders type way. If not, I would onvite SM and assign your mother to your siblings to 'mind' and to ensure that both parties are kept apart. I think it a real shame that your father cannot have the woman he is closest to at his daughter's wedding because of the mental instability and machinations of a woman he left a long time ago. I think it is really hard for you but this isn't even the woman he left your mother for and really her life needs to move on. This happened to a friend of mine but it was worse because her father's partner was someone he had been having an affair with for 16 years of his married life so the betrayal was huge. All came to the wedding and all behaved like the civilised adults that they are. They were kept apart and all was well. It takes a lot for people to misbehave and cause a scene publically. Only you can judge whether your mother might do this.

Of course your father's wife might not want to front the barrage of hostility and decline anyway but from her perspective I am sure she would appreciate the thought that she is included.

gimmecakeandcandy Sun 13-Jan-13 18:18:49

whathaveigotoday have you actually read the whole thread before dishing out your 'advice' ? [hmmm]

Op ignore this posters advice. Please invite your sm and don't let your mother emotionally manipulate and abuse you anymore.

startlife Sun 13-Jan-13 18:20:56

My DH could have written this post some years ago. His mum & dad divorced 20 years previously but his mum refused to attend joint family events. DH's brother had no one at his graduation because he wouldn't choose between then. However for our wedding we refused to let this happen. DH invited his mum said his dad would be going, he wanted his mum there but of course he respected her decision.

She vented in exactly the same way as your mum, she would feel awkward, wouldn't enjoy the day etc. She was so used of getting her way, all of her life so this was wake up to her and she didn't like it.

DH perserved, during the run up to the wedding and she did come and you know what it was a non event. No drama at all. The best thing was that it actually positive for her- she had been stuck in the victim mentality for so many years it was holding her back.

The run up to the wedding might have been stressy for her but sometimes we all have to face our fears, it was a growing experience for her. Her life has changed for the better since then and she now has a new relationship.

Please make sure you invite your Step Mum, your mum needs to get over this for everyone sake (including her own).

TheFallenNinja Sun 13-Jan-13 18:59:02

No, but it will put the old man in a spot.

bubby64 Sun 13-Jan-13 20:12:06

We had a similar situation with our wedding, except it was DHs mum, not mine. We invited her and FiL and his wife of the pat 12 yrs, and MiL kicked up in all sorts of ways, blaming me for the invite and she got really nasty at one point. In the end, she said she would come if FiL and SMiL were sat on the opposite side of both the church, and reception. We arranged all of this, and TBH FiL was willing to comply with her demands to keep the peace, but, on the actual day, she just didn't turn up!
It did upset DH, but, as he said later, if she had decided to come, she would have been a drama queen the whole day, and done her best to ruin the day for all involved. What I am really saying is that I would invite all 3, and it will be up to your mum as to whether she can accept the situation. DH and I still get on with SMiL much better than MiL, as do our kids, so I'm glad we didn't exclude her for our wedding (13 yrs ago now!)

LesBOFerables Sun 13-Jan-13 20:16:51

She is playing you like a fiddle, OP. I feel very sorry for your dad and his wife. Why is it that the most outrageously behaved people get pandered to, while perfectly reasonable ones have their feelings ignored just because they don't parade them in front of everyone? It's hideously unfair.

EugenesAxe Sun 13-Jan-13 20:48:35

I agree with everyone saying to invite your step-mum & that this is not your problem but your DM's. If she accuses you of being selfish I think you could reasonably direct that back at her. You need to be kind but firm - you're sorry it didn't work out between your parents, but she must accept you have a relationship with your DSM and that to ask you to not invite her to this special event in your life would be cruel to both parties. It also wouldn't change anything for the better from your DM's perspective; it's more likely to change things for the worse.

I think bubby also voices a lot of what I've thought. I guess you do need to think about how you'd feel if your DM didn't come & factor that into your decision, ultimately.

ilovesooty Sun 13-Jan-13 21:18:54

I think the posters who've suggested getting them on separate tables but none of them on your table are wise.

I think it would be pandering horribly to your mother and an appalling snub to your father to put her on the top table and demote him to a lower one.

FriendlyLadybird Sun 13-Jan-13 21:21:42

I'm another one who thinks you should invite your step-mum. My DH and his ExW absolutely loathe each other, over 20 years after they split up. However, they managed to pull themselves together and be the picture of civility for DSD's graduation, because they both knew it wasn't about THEM but about her. Your mother CAN do the same, just for one day.

Maryz Mon 14-Jan-13 16:30:48

This thread has really saddened me sad

Your mum has you exactly where she wants you doesn't she?

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