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Getting married without telling your kids

(135 Posts)
MikeOxard Sun 25-Aug-13 22:12:22

AIBU to think it's not on to get married and keep it a secret from your children until after the event?

If, for example, you did this, what would you expect your children's reaction to be?
A. Something along the lines of a simple 'thanks for the invite'?
B. Something more positive, congratulations etc?
C. Or something less positive, expressing hurt/rejection etc?

SunshineBossaNova Sun 25-Aug-13 23:41:23

My dad has done this twice - once when I was a child, again when I was am adult. My step siblings were there both times. It hurt like hell, and confirmed to me that I am a very small part of his life.

MikeOxard Sun 25-Aug-13 23:56:00

China It would be better if they told the kids, and prefereably invited them. There would likely be no more drama for the kids to attend on the day (but not be told in advance if necessary) than for them to be told afterwards. And if there was 'drama' about the kids attending then either don't get married or put up with that drama for the sake of your children's feelings.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 26-Aug-13 00:04:32

mike I see what you mean - in my case, you think it would be better for my DP and I to have the necessary legal docs drawn up for us to sign that gives us the same legal protection than to either 1) get married but not tell anyone ever or 2) get married, tell DD at the very last minute and her have to deal with her Dads behaviour when he finds out.

Pity there's such a difference in cost between a reg office marriage and solicitors fees.

We can't afford the latter, so if anything happens to me or DP, the remaining partner and DCs will have a real mess to sort out sad

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 26-Aug-13 00:05:58

My dad did this too. I was 10 or 11 and my sister would have been 8. They went on a round the world trip and got married in Vegas, in one of those drive-thru things. (Yes, really!) They sent us a postcard hmm I was really conflicted about it at the time, we both were. Excited, happy, but disappointed that we hadn't been a part of it.

I think I'm probably still in two minds about it. It's their life, it was a once in a lifetime thing and TBH it fits them. But OTOH it's the old thing about how a man can have DC and his life doesn't change beyond recognition whereas the woman's does. As a single parent now, it kind of grates on me how he felt it was just fine to go off disappearing on a round the world trip for a year and not see DSis or myself in this time (obviously). I don't remember him coming back either, which I later found out was because he spent another 6 months constantly pissed at this weird farm community thing they lived on at the time, and didn't bother to see us then either. hmm

RevoltingPeasant Mon 26-Aug-13 00:06:32

I don't really get this, tbh. If the children in question are under 18, then yes, I can see an issue. But many people here are talking about adult children. Really, if you are in your 30s and your parents want to have a quiet romantic wedding, why shouldn't they.

DH and I ran away to get married and didn't tell anyone. No one had a problem. Don't see why it would be different if we had (older) DC.

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 26-Aug-13 00:07:36

Then again, DP and I are thinking of doing the secret wedding for legal reasons, tell people after the fact, and have a big party later, so maybe I am a massive hypocrite. But at least I'm thinking about the fact that it's going to disappoint my little half-sister massively if she doesn't get to be a bridesmaid at my wedding.

Scarletbanner Mon 26-Aug-13 00:16:36

If the children are adults, I think it would only be reasonable for them to be upset not to know if everyone else knew but them. But if it was a secret wedding, it's entirely up to the parents who to tell and invite. I don't understand why any adult would think otherwise.

RevoltingPeasant Mon 26-Aug-13 00:19:29

Scarlet exactly. No one has a right to be disappointed at not being in someone else's wedding unless they are 12.

SorrelForbes Mon 26-Aug-13 00:30:27

My DSC don't live close by so it wouldn't have been possible to just have taken them along on the day. If we'd have told them the day before, there potentially could have been issues on the day which we wanted to avoid for everyone's sakes. TBH we didn't invite anyone apart from our witnesses. We ended up with ten people there, 6 of which were not invited but that's another thread!

We've discussed the events with the DSC since and they're absolutely fine with what happened. They're teenagers who are, quite rightly, wrapped up in their own lives and honesty weren't really bothered about what we were doing!

Kiwiinkits Mon 26-Aug-13 00:45:53

I think it's very hurtful for the DC to do this, whatever age.

Kiwiinkits Mon 26-Aug-13 00:49:40

Sorrel, you might think your DSC's weren't that bothered but there's a number of people on this thread that have been similarly excluded from their parent's wedding at the same stage in their lives who have said they were very hurt, despite trying hard to come across as nonchalant to their parent at the time.

TheSecondComing Mon 26-Aug-13 00:51:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SorrelForbes Mon 26-Aug-13 00:53:37

I get your point but honestly, they really weren't at the time and still aren't now. They had a fabulous time on our proper 'wedding day' with lots of family and friends around them. They have said that our party day was the best wedding ever as there were no boring bits (i.e. the ceremony!).

EllaFitzgerald Mon 26-Aug-13 00:54:40

My father got married without telling us and the only reason we found out was because I saw a card with 'To My Wife' written on the front and told my mum, who asked him about it. He explained that he hadn't told us because he didn't think we'd want to come hmm At 13, I was the eldest.

If the children are adults, then fair enough if it's all kept quiet. However if teenagers or younger children are involved, then the parents should understand that their children are likely to feel incredibly hurt and unimportant in their parent's life. It's not a case of not being asked to be a bridesmaid, it's the feeling of exclusion.

SaucyJack Mon 26-Aug-13 01:06:47

I disagree RevoltingPeasant and as someone who has actually been on the receiving end of it, I can't imagine it would've hurt any less as an adult to know that my own father thought so little of me that he couldn't even be bothered to tell me he'd got married much less actually wanted me to be there and share it with him.

Your mum and dad are still your mum and dad even when you're in your 40s.

Hissy Mon 26-Aug-13 01:12:11

That level of exclusion hurts like hell, no matter what age, no matter what the event OR reason is.

My mother moved without telling me where. That ffing hurts.

Getting married without telling me would be no different.

RevoltingPeasant Mon 26-Aug-13 02:32:20

Saucy, I guess I just feel strongly that now I am an adult, my parents have a right to their own love lives. My mum came out a few years back and it turned out she had been in an intense relationship with a woman I knew socially for some time. My dad has a girlfriend he won't talk about cos he is weird and a bit Victorian like that.

It is not the same as getting married, but they both have private parts of their lives that they chose or choose to keep secret. I respect that. My mum is on holiday with her partner now, and in all honesty, if she came back and said they'd had a civil partnership, I'd be a bit hurt but I'd get over it in about a day, wish them happy and buy them a present.

IMO they had enough of thinking about the DC when they stayed unhappily married until we were all older to spare us (in their eyes). They are welcome to a bit of romance without having to drag their kids along.

It is clearly different if the kids are kids, though.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Mon 26-Aug-13 06:17:19

My mum and step dad did this a few years ago. Both me and my DB are in our 30s. They didn't tell anyone, their witnesses were two random people off the street. I think at the time I was a little but hurt at finding out afterwards but it doesn't bother me now, it's quite a funny story.

Tinkerisdead Mon 26-Aug-13 06:35:22

My mum did this too. My brother and I were late 20/early 30's. We're pretty close to them but my step dads kids don't see much of him. They got married six months after I got married and I was pregnant. My mum said how she hadn't wanted to take the shine off my day, how his kids prob wouldn't have come and so they just went and did it. Except they had their best friends as witnesses and got my nan's carer to bring her from her care home.

The following year they had the huge wedding reception, wore the wedding clothes again etc and invited the world and its mother. So I didn't really buy the whole we want a quiet affair thing? Incidentally I was the only child out of the four that attended anyway. I don't mind that they wanted to go off and do it, it was the secrecy about it and getting a text message afterwards knowing other people had gone was hurtful.

Groovee Mon 26-Aug-13 06:45:53

My mum and dad sneaked off with 2 friends and got married. No one knew not even my grandparents who were devastated.

My half siblings never liked my mum anyway so would have boycotted it. I was happily enjoying a day at school unaware that they were getting married. I don't remember the photos being done at my grandparents either even though I have them in an album.

However my dd is most put out that we didn't wait until she was born to allow her to be part of the wedding. How dare we get married without her.

So damned if you do and damned if you don't.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 26-Aug-13 07:35:05

there's a number of people on this thread that have been similarly excluded from their parent's wedding at the same stage in their lives who have said they were very hurt, despite trying hard to come across as nonchalant to their parent at the time.

Isn't that a good thing though? That the DCs behaved appropriately despite being hurt? Or should parents expect bad behaviour, rejection or rudeness from their DCs when they disagree with a decision their parents have made?

I do not believe for one moment that a parent should sacrifice their own lives in order to avoid hurting their DCs feelings.

SilverApples Mon 26-Aug-13 07:57:30

I would assume that anyone that did this had a very dysfunctional relationship with their children. I can understand adults getting married elsewhere and not inviting anyone at all, odd but some might prefer it.
But not to tell your children? Why would you exclude them?

Picklepepperpiper Mon 26-Aug-13 08:03:45

It's truly selfish behaviour to exclude your children from your wedding. My dad did this to me when I was 12, 20 years later I still feel angry and upset about it. His whole family were there and it was a big wedding.

Their excuse was that they were worried my mum would turn up and ruin the day - get over yourself as if someone would humiliate themselves in public like that!

Never an excuse!

AnitaBlake Mon 26-Aug-13 08:06:12

I guess its hard to think of this sort of thing generically, each set of circumstances is entirely different.

I wasn't invited to my dads wedding, and I found out about it on the rumour mill much later. That was very upsetting as a teenager. But I was still happy for him, and its never been discussed really.

My mum planned to go on a cruise with my stepdad and get married without telling anyone. It didn't happen for various reasons, and I certainly would have said 'thanks for the invite ;)' and ribbed them about it for the rest of their lives and mentioned it at the funeral!

I was quite frankly shocked to be invited to my auntys wedding, as despite the closeness, I honestly thought she would elope.

SD was invited to our wedding. But contact was refused by her mother, who is apparently planning on eloping without her anyway.

For me, a wedding is about two people, the bride and groom, no-one else, and their choices alone should be fully respected. As an adult I can see why my dad did things the way he dud, and happily respect the wishes of the happy couples involved.

HurricaneWyn Mon 26-Aug-13 08:13:33

My father did this - in fact still hasn't told me. But, he left when I was 9 and has pretty much disappeared since I was 15. I found out on Facebook. I don't think much about it - he doesn't really feel like a relative now, as he's been out of my life for so long.

I can't imagine doing it to my DC - my DS was so excited when we told him about our wedding. In school, when asked to write about his favourite memory he wrote "My favourite memory hasn't happened yet. My mum & dad are getting married soon and that will be my favourite memory."

Mind you, I can't imagine just leaving & never seeing them again either.

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