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To feel sad about fiance's thoughts re wedding?

(81 Posts)
squishytomato Mon 12-Feb-18 17:14:02

Sorry for long post in advance... Background: fiance is divorced (amicable split, no kids) and we've been together nearly 2.5 years (got together after he split with his ex). We have a 3 month old son who we both adore. Talked about marriage before I got pregnant - we decided it was important to both of us and we would eventually get married, but as age wasn't on my side we'd try for a baby first. Fiance proposed while I was pregnant, and now baby is here we're starting to talk about wedding plans. Problem is that it is my first marriage and his second.

I am pretty easygoing and definitely not a bridezilla - for instance we've been engaged since August and there's no ring or talk of wedding logistics until recently (baby was no1 priority obviously)! I am fully aware the MARRIAGE is what counts, and the day is after all, just one day. I can easily dispense with much of the 'fluff' that accompanies your typical wedding. Having said that, there are aspects of a wedding that are important to me. My fiance has said he wants to be married but doesn't like the idea of a ceremony/celebration. As it is his second time round he thinks it should be a very small understated thing (his first was full church white wedding 100+ guests etc). I think the whole saying the vows part freaks him out, given he said them before and it didn't last. For me, the ceremony marks the start of married life, and expressing those vows is supposed to be a meaningful moment. Of course it's not ideal that he's said them before and it didn't work out. But surely the point is it's his first time saying them to me? He claims no men are interested in the wedding day but most just won't admit it.

As to the logistics, his ideal would be to elope and not have anyone present at all - the thought of this makes me a bit sad TBH. I've compromised and I'm happy with a small registry office / pub lunch type thing with a small guest list, but now it seems he doesn't want to invite any of his friends/family other than his parents. He has said he will compromise by letting me invite "who I want" as long as he can invite who he wants, i.e. just his folks. AIBU in not being happy with this? It would be my core family and friends and just his parents on his side, i.e. basically a wedding party that is nearly all on my side? To me it feels like he is almost ashamed/embarrassed about it being his second time round and he doesn't want people who came to his first wedding to see him say the same words to someone else. He claims shame/embarrassment are not a factor, and it's just that he feels inviting his side would make him "seem blasé about marriage/divorce". I don't mind about having a small wedding, but what is important to me is us standing up in front of our nearest and dearest and proudly saying 'I pick you'. It might be sentimental, but that's how I feel.

I don't doubt for a moment that he is over his ex (he says he is much more sure about me than he was about her), or that he feels ending his prior marriage was the right thing to do, but nevertheless I feel that there is some sort of an unresolved issue with simply being divorced (I think he thinks of it as some sort of failure) that he's not prepared to admit. Am I crazy in thinking there is a difference between accepting the fact that the marriage failed and moving on, and being blasé about divorce? AIBU for thinking the fact he was married before is intruding too much into all of this? I'm starting to feel like I can't get married to him at all while he isn't at peace with how things turned out last time. Of course I wouldn't split up with him (we have our baby to think about), however the thought of not being married to him makes me miserable.

But then again, I've never been through a divorce - so maybe I am being unreasonable?!

honeylulu Mon 12-Feb-18 17:49:06

I get what you mean OP because my husband was married before - big white wedding, lots of guests - marriage was short lived and no kids.
I think he'd have been happy not to marry again but he agreed that it was better to be married since we were planning to have children.
He was reluctant to have another big wedding (it was medium sized!) and not very interested in the planning. That was disappointing to me and we had a few words. It was a combination of blokish not being very into weddings; embarrassment at all his extended family turning up again and buying another wedding present; and not particularly liking being the centre of attention.

We had a nice day in the end and are still happily married 18 years on which as you say is what counts.

I would say that I'm pretty sure the marriage vows didn't mean as much to him as they did to me because, as he said, he'd made the vows before and meant them to be forever but ... they weren't. It made me sad but i couldn't argue with that really.

He's a good husband, loyal and faithful and forgiving - all the things he vowed to be but that's because of our relationship and our kids rather than "because we made vows". I can't really complain!

I had a very romanticsed idea of marriage before. Not so much now. I feel more like he does about it. It's really not a bad place to be.

Good luck!

PlanNumber Mon 12-Feb-18 17:53:59

Would lot of his friends have know him and ex as a couple and been there last time? I can see why he might not want to have them there watching him make the same promises as before.

I don;t know what the answer is for you though,as you're entitled to have the wedding you want too.

Idontdowindows Mon 12-Feb-18 17:59:09

I would talk to him about the fact that basically he's denying you an experience that you would love to have, just because he has already had it.

Minxmumma Mon 12-Feb-18 18:02:55

I would say don't force it. Talk about it occasionally and find a compromise that works for you both. Starting wedding plans under stress isn't good for either of you.

I am getting married this week and there will be 12 of us. He wanted to elope, I didn't think this fair on parents & children. It's his first and my second. For my OH it was about the focus being us not a performance for all and sundry to ogle at. He is very private about things so we found the middle ground.

Our compromise was a small wedding with a big party later in the year to celebrate.

Allthewaves Mon 12-Feb-18 18:04:12

How long ago was his first wedding?

squishytomato Mon 12-Feb-18 18:14:58

Thanks everyone for your replies. The first wedding was 9-10 years ago, they were married for 6 years.

Honeylulu - thanks very much, reassuring to hear someone's POV who has been through something similar. Glad to hear all worked out for you!

Idontdowindows, I have spoken to him about that - his response though is that by giving me free reign to plan what I would have wanted means he would be ignoring his own feelings. And I get that, but it doesn't make it any easier to come to terms with.

PlanNumber, you're right that the friends/family he would invite were there last time round. He's not especially close to many of his family and doesn't get to see friends often (they are scattered round the country and have small kids) so tbh it would have been nice to meet them at the wedding!!! (Only met a handful of them).

Minxmumma, thanks - I think we will probably end up with something very small like you're having. Find it gutting that will probably mean no friends present and only immediate family - but as you say I have to compromise and find something we're both happy with. Maybe we'll do as you're doing and have a big bash later.

DeathStare Mon 12-Feb-18 18:40:48

OP I'm divorced. Like your DP I had a big fancy wedding first time. and if I was to marry again I would feel exactly the same as your DP.

It's not that your wedding is less important to him, or that he's not moved on from the divorce. It's that going through all that has made him realise what is important.

I look back to the fuss for my first wedding and the emphasis put on things that really don't matter. A wedding/start of a marriage is about 2 people making a commitment to each other. Anything else on top of that is purely superficial. This is not meant to condemn those who want a bigger wedding, but please don't condemn/pathologise the one who thinks the only bit that matters is the two of you and your commitment to each other.

If I got married again I would want absolute minimal guests and minimal fuss. Not because I'd be ashamed but because I now see marriage differently. That commitment made to each other is intimate and special. I would no more want a crowd of people watching it than I would want a crowd of people watching us have sex or share a romantic moment.

For me (now) inviting people feels like putting on a show and if I was to get married again I wouldn't want to feel like I was part of a show. I would want a genuine,honest, intimate commitment. And for that nobody else is needed. And for me personally it would set off alarm bells if a partner wanted a show more than they wanted a genuine, honest, intimate commitment.

WhoAteMyBiscuit Mon 12-Feb-18 18:54:38

This sounds similar to me and my (now!) husband. He was divorced with two DS when we got together. He popped the question in 2013 and we got married in 2015. He was against a "big" wedding but because it was my first, he said just do what you want. There was a lot of heated discussion compromising but we had an amazing day. Friends and family from his side attended that had been to his first wedding, didn't bother either of us. A couple of his friends have since said to me that he was so much happier on our wedding day than his first! Your fiance is possibly having old (and potentially painful) memories coming back up. Be gentle and patient, he will open up about his feelings in time and allow the two of you to both have the special day you want. He must want to commit to you and your child (I don't see that he would have proposed if not!) so keep the faith. Wishing you all the best OP! Xx

MagicFajita Mon 12-Feb-18 19:05:32

Tbh op , I do understand how your dp feels.

My first marriage was big, big dress , big cake and a big party afterwards. I didn't want any of that and just agreed to keep the peace. That marriage didn't last.

I recently married again and had the best day. We invited immediate family only, had an intimate register office ceremony and had pasta and cheesecake and pinot grigio to celebrate. It all felt much more meaningful because the focus was on us rather than the expensive trimmings. What was most important to me was that my dp listened when I said I hate speaking publicly and that gatherings make me nervous.

Maybe you can find a compromise with your partner so that you both get your dream day.

Growingstuff Mon 12-Feb-18 19:10:52

Idontdowindows, I have spoken to him about that - his response though is that by giving me free reign to plan what I would have wanted means he would be ignoring his own feelings. And I get that, but it doesn't make it any easier to come to terms with.

But it's ok by him for you to have to ignore your feelings? That's not ok either! Seems to me you are the only one who is compromising ...

ChaosNeverRains Mon 12-Feb-18 19:18:11

TBH I think neither of you is in the wrong, but I can see it more from your DP’s point of view.

As another poster said upthread,the whole serimony etc is completely superficial anyway, and having done it once before I imagine that wanting to do it again wouldn’t be at the top of his priorities. Not least,to be absolutely blunt, because of the cost of it all.

When I got married we had a lovely day,but we spent out money on stuff like dresses, hotels, cars, all stuff which was lovely for us both first time round but to be brutally honest, if I get married again I’ll just pop to the registry office and have done with it. Could do a wedding for about 500 quid and the meaning would still be exactly the same.

LemonShark Mon 12-Feb-18 19:22:07

I do understand his side: to be planning to say those vows again to someone only three years after his divorce must be embarrassing and I get his reluctance. Sounds like he wants to be married to you but doesn't want to go through the whole public thing again. He's prioritising the marriage this time, not the wedding. It's sensible and understandable but I can understand your side too.

Not sure what you can do now given you know he doesn't want that!

Idontdowindows Mon 12-Feb-18 19:29:02

Idontdowindows, I have spoken to him about that - his response though is that by giving me free reign to plan what I would have wanted means he would be ignoring his own feelings. And I get that, but it doesn't make it any easier to come to terms with.

The thing is, is he going to veto every experience he's already had just because it didn't work out the first time? I can't imagine his wedding day was awful, at all.

At the moment he is prioritising his feelings over yours and if that happens for every experience he has had but you haven't, you're going to be looking at quite a few experiences you're going to miss out on, just because his didn't work out perfectly the first time around.

What happened to "learned from the first one, vow to do better the second one"?

OutyMcOutface Mon 12-Feb-18 19:35:45

When I got married (first wedding for both of us) I was in the same boat as yourfiance-an elopement would have been ideal (not a fan of weddings). In the end I only invited two people (for various reasons but largely motivated by not wanting a wedding). We did have a wedding and my husband invited about 40 people. But I wasn't involved beyond turning up on the day-I didn't even buy a dress, just worse something I already had- and picking a cake design-because DH couldn't be bothered-this involved three minutes on google images and an email. Some people just don't like weddings. Maybe he was forced into it the first time and doesn't want to go through it again.

Nomorechickens Mon 12-Feb-18 19:39:04

Would it be feasible in terms of logistics, cost and religious beliefs to get married in Scotland and have a humanist ceremony? So much more warm, relaxed and personal than a church or register office, and might make your fiance feel more positive about the ceremony, and wouldn't be the same as his first wedding.

Ummmmgogo Mon 12-Feb-18 19:45:06

he does have a point as a wedding guest I would be massively eyerolling about having go to 2 weddings in a decade for the same person. but you are e titled to be a princess for a day too. It's a tricky one, but I think your wish for the perfect wedding does trump his wish not to feel slightly awkward, so go big!

fusushumi Mon 12-Feb-18 19:49:52

I have never been divorced but I have noticed that a number of close friends who have, including my sister, all said at some point that they felt a failure. So I think this must be quite a common thing to feel. So when you say I feel that there is some sort of an unresolved issue with simply being divorced perhaps you are right that he needs to work through this first?

expatinscotland Mon 12-Feb-18 19:50:49

'AIBU in not being happy with this? It would be my core family and friends and just his parents on his side, i.e. basically a wedding party that is nearly all on my side?'

Yeah. Just go with what you've got in place already. He's not bothered about not having a lot of people on his side there. I've also been divorced, DH had never been married, and we got married at a registry office. I don't really get people who have a big do for a second wedding , personally.

The important part is being married.

newyearsameme80 Mon 12-Feb-18 19:51:19

Nomorechickens you're not a teesny bit biased here?
I don't think you should have a shite ceremony OP because he has had one before. I was in the same position but had the wedding I wanted (dh would freely have admitted he wasn't bothered much about the ceremony so I feel I was planning it, it obviously met my wishes mostly). We had a registrar office wedding, and meal in a private room in a nice hotel, no evening guests or anything just close family and friends, about 30 of us. It was brilliant and although I believe it was smaller than his last wedding it was the size I wanted - space for all my closest friends was essential to me.
I would not go through with a wedding with someone who though my wishes were irrelevant and wanted to deny me the (only, I hope) chance to wear a meringue (or whatever floats your boat).
If you told him you weren't wanting to get married now, would he be bothered?

expatinscotland Mon 12-Feb-18 19:54:38

'he does have a point as a wedding guest I would be massively eyerolling about having go to 2 weddings in a decade for the same person.'

Yeah, seems to be a trend, though (Harry and Meghan, for example, she's already had a big ol' white wedding), and you see it on here - couples issuing evening do invitations with demands for money as a gift for a second wedding.

HappyFeet1212 Mon 12-Feb-18 19:54:53

The thing is, is he going to veto every experience he's already had just because it didn't work out the first time? I can't imagine his wedding day was awful, at all.

This is overly dramatic. He's not vetoing everything, but he is vetoing a big wedding. How would you feel if he just said no I'm not doing it at all then?

The uncomfortable truth is that you are with someone who has been married before, the consequence is that he doesn't want to go through all the theatre of that again. You have to respect that. He's compromising by having the wedding in the UK as he wants to elope. I think he's meeting you half way already.

It sound like he wants to be married but you want a wedding.

newyearsameme80 Mon 12-Feb-18 19:54:58

Expat it's not the OP's second wedding though. When I married my family had not had the opportunity to be at my wedding before - it seems a shame to not have a happy family occasion just because dh had made a rash choice at uni.

McTufty Mon 12-Feb-18 19:55:10

If he doesn’t want to invite his mates then he doesn’t have to - don’t feel awkward about inviting yours. It sounds like the best compromise as you get to have a wedding celebration with a few people that matter to you whereas he gets to keep it smaller than he would if all of his friends came too.

McTufty Mon 12-Feb-18 19:56:31

It sound like he wants to be married but you want a wedding

No. It sounds like OP wants to be married and wants to celebrate this with her family at a modest registry office and pub wedding.

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