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Dad's wife at wedding AIBU to ask for advice how to handle this

(596 Posts)
ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 11:05:38

N/C regular...

I'd prefer not to have my Dad's wife at my wedding.

My Dad remarried about 5 years ago after my parents divorced when I was an adult. I have a very good relationship with him, but his wife is pretty much a stranger to us. Their relationship strikes me more as that of convenient companionship as opposed to any great love match. When I have encountered of her, I've felt she is someone to whom I wouldn't ordinarily warm regardless of circumstances. We have never really had the opportunity or desire to build a relationship, which suits all parties fine for the most part, but when it comes to our (intimate, close friends & family) wedding, it poses a problem as I'm not sure I feel comfortable having a virtual stranger there. Particularly one whose presence is certain to make my Mum feel extremely uncomfortable and for whom my sister and Grandma have very little time (to put it mildly)

I'm also concerned that my Dad will be fulfilling a traditional role on the day, escorting me to the ceremony - giving me away, and helping host the reception, so his wife will be on her own for big swathes of time. The only people at the wedding she knows are my aforementioned sister and grandma, neither of whom will be falling over themselves to make her feel welcome. It's hardly likely to be an enjoyable occasion for her, but she's a bit emotionally neutral, so I think she would just get through it without feeling particularly bothered.

I know I need to have a frank conversation with my Dad since as it stands, I have no idea what his expectations are regarding her attendance. He could be completely in tune with my concerns and have assumed his wife would not attend anyway (although rather unlikely), or equally not have given any thought to any potential issue and be put out at the suggestion she doesn't come. It's very hard to gauge. I know I just have to tread very carefully to ensure this doesn't blow up into a massive, upsetting issue for everyone...

How am I going to handle this? AIBU to ask the advice of strangers on the internet?! Don't want to dripfeed but reluctant to drone on so feel free to ask me to expand on stuff.

squeakytoy Mon 23-Jul-12 11:09:49

I do feel a bit sorry for his wife here, unless there is more to it. Was she involved in the break up of the marriage?

whois Mon 23-Jul-12 11:12:33

If I read your OP correctly, you don't activly hate her you just don't have much of a relationship with her?

In that case why would you want to offend your Dad and cause a massive issue by NOT inviting her?

CeliaFate Mon 23-Jul-12 11:13:03

I think you have to invite his wife, or risk a monumental falling out with your dad.
She may refuse the invitation, but at least you've done the decent thing.
Can you put her on a table with elderly relatives, who are probably at ease making general chit chat?
Don't be the woman who didn't invite her dad's wife. Invite her and don't worry about her. It's your day, she can look after herself.

snuffaluffagus Mon 23-Jul-12 11:13:27

Well it would be a bit of a slight to her to not be invited.. it would probably upset your Dad not to invite her.

PilchardsonToast Mon 23-Jul-12 11:13:48

I think you know you've got to invite her and expect her to attend. After five years of marriage she's not a new girlfriend she is his partner.

If your worried about how her presnence will affect the dynamics of the day and how she will feel then you should talk to your dad beforehand, tell him what you are planning - where she'll sit, who she'll know and ask him if she'll be OK or if he has any suggestions but be firm on the bits that matter to you i.e she doesn't get to sit on the top table etc (if thats the case!)

Hope it works out OK!

Mrsjay Mon 23-Jul-12 11:13:56

HAs his wife did anything to offend you or do you just not know her very well maybe she doesnt know how to talk to her husbands adult children. Invite her to your wedding you will offend your father , how would you feel if your husband was invited to a wedding of somebody you both knew and they just didnt like you ,

LilBlondePessimist Mon 23-Jul-12 11:14:12

Don't be surprised if your dad doesn't want to come without his wife. Could she be 'emotionally neutral' to mask the fact that she is hurt at being quite obviously disliked?

Jackstini Mon 23-Jul-12 11:14:15

YANBU to ask for advice, no. Probably do need some more info though...

How many people in total will be at the wedding? If it's a dozen, is very different to it being 60.

When is the wedding - have you got time to get to know her a bit better? (Not sure whose choice it has been not to get to know each other so far)

Re how you see their relationship - this is really none of your business and should not have an effect on your decision; It is their relationship & it doesn't sound like you see them together enough to comment tbh.

How close are you to your Dad & has this changed since he married her?

Presume he met her after your mum and nothing to do with the split?

What have your sister/Grandma specifically got against her?

How does your df feel about it?

sleeplessinsuburbia Mon 23-Jul-12 11:14:17

I would invite the wife and assume everyone will act like adults. Do you have reason to suspect they won't?

Noqontrol Mon 23-Jul-12 11:15:12

Id just invite her, I'm sure she will manage to look after herself. She can always choose not to come. I don't think it would be worth the fall out not to invite her tbh.

Cluffyfunt Mon 23-Jul-12 11:15:18

Invite her and leve it up to her wether or not she comes.

To snub her would be unforgivably rude IMO.

I would also have a word with your DSis and ask her to be nice to your Sm if only for your big day.

If your Sm has done nothing nasty to any of you, I can't understand why you would consider leaving her out.
You never know, you may get to know each other a bit smile

Mrsjay Mon 23-Jul-12 11:16:17

My friends had this with her dads wife her parents dicorced when she was 20 he remarried she still invited her anyway , and she sat with some relatives on her husbands side , there was no fuss or anything ,

patosullivan Mon 23-Jul-12 11:16:41

I think that it would probably cause upset for your dad and his wife if she was not invited, even if she doesn't want to come.

Could you put her on a table out of the way?

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 11:17:32

No she was not involved.

I just read that back and you're right, it does portray her a bit as the victim here. I guess I'm just trying to present the situation as fairly and neutrally as possible.

My sister and Grandma don't like her because she's quite odd, cold and difficult to engage with. I found that to be the case too, but have had less occasion to gauge an opinion, so have been reluctant to be too prejudiced against her. She is also a born-again Christian, with some extremely divergent views and values to my family's. I have nothing against her choices in this respect in particular, but my family see that as further evidence of her peculiarness.

She was also quite rude to my Mum at the one family occasion where everyone has been there together, making comments about the nature of the occasion and how in her community things are done such-and-such a way, and heavily implying that the way things were being done on the day were inferior. Again - I wasn't privvy to all this so have just tried to remain neutral.

emsyj Mon 23-Jul-12 11:17:47

I think it depends how your mum feels about it (since you seem fairly neutral about her). If the new wife had any part in the break up of the marriage, it would NBU to speak to your dad and explain that you want your mum to be able to enjoy the day and that he is very much wanted there, but can he find a way to come without his wife for your mum's sake. But you'd have to be prepared for him to say, 'both of us or neither'.

If your mum is prepared to put on a brave face, and you have a nice bridesmaid or friend who can be nice to the wife on the day and give her some company/keep her discreetly away from your mum, gran & sister, then you should invite her.

There's no good way to handle split parents where the break up is still raw IMO. In an ideal world, the parents would put aside their own needs, wants & feelings for one day to make sure the couple are happy, but this isn't an ideal world.

The other alternative is to just invite everyone (including the new wife) and then let everyone decide whether they want to act grown-up and be pleasant on the day, or not come.

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 11:18:47

sorry, wrote that reply after 1st response - thread's moved on a bit since! Will read & reply now...

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 11:18:53

I can't understand why you don't want her there, sorry. If she had been out-right vile it would be a different matter. But it sounds to me that the lack of a relationship with her is in large part down to lack of effort from your family.

You are right to think it would be a massive slap in the face to your father, and you love him, don't you? For that reason, I'd want a bit more justification for excluding her than you seem to be giving.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 11:19:39

X post. Will read what you have written again.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 11:22:20

Right, have read now.

I have relatives who some of my family find annoying/difficult - for reasons of their own. I don't have the same issues with them that my relatives do. I think you should take her as you find her and be the gracious host.

Sorry this is causing you stress, but the implications of not inviting her would probably be worse.

NarkedRaspberry Mon 23-Jul-12 11:24:13

Sorry but I think you have to suck it up. She's been married to your father for 5 years. She wasn't involved with the break up. She needs to be invited.

If you have a relative/friend coming who is good at dealing with tricky people could you ask them to 'mind' her for the day? Sit with her in the church and try to steer her away from your mother?

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Mon 23-Jul-12 11:24:42

.... P.S. I am sure your mum is lovely, but she's not exactly an unbiased voice, is she?

Mrsjay Mon 23-Jul-12 11:26:16

just out of curiosity did you go to their wedding ? if she donly knows your grandma and sister sit her somewhere else maybe ,

ComeBackasaFlower Mon 23-Jul-12 11:27:53


How many people in total will be at the wedding? about 80, comprising about 60 close friends our age, 25 DPs family and 15 my family (all Mum's side - Dad has no family except Grandma in question - his mum, but he is very close & friendly with all of Mum's side - no animosity, apart from none of them having much time for his wife)

When is the wedding? next May. Plenty of time, but Dad lives the other end of the country and tends to visit here (where my Grandma and we all live) without her - probably because he knows none of them like her.

Re how you see their relationship - this is really none of your business and should not have an effect on your decision; It is their relationship & it doesn't sound like you see them together enough to comment tbh. Fair enough - I only added that to emphasis that my Dad doesn't give the impression that he would feel unhappy without her around on any particular occasion.

How close are you to your Dad & has this changed since he married her? We're actually much closer now, We fell out big time around the divorce as he had had an affair for which I really struggled to forgive him at the time. Over the years we've made an effort and get on great now.

How does your df feel about it? He doesn't really appreciate the dynamics of the relationships involved, and is trying to stay out of it.

Sighingagain Mon 23-Jul-12 11:28:47

Appalling to be even considering not inviting her - she hasn't done anything wrong.

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