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STBMIL refusing to attend our wedding

(606 Posts)
OliviaBensonOnAGoodDay Wed 24-Aug-16 23:03:22

Posting on behalf of DP. He wanted to try it in AIBU but I'm not that, er, brave.

So DP's parents divorced almost 20 years ago. It was a very acrimonious split - MIL discovered FIL was having an affair, they tried for a while but it all fell apart. Of course there's three sides to every story - his, hers and the truth - but by all accounts no one covered themselves in glory. I know it was an extremely difficult time in MIL's life.

FIL married the then OW soon after and they have been together ever since, at this point longer than he was married to MIL. DP has obviously spent lots of time with her during contact with his dad as a child, and as adults we've stayed with them several times too. It's not always been easy, but until now I think DP felt that everyone's lives had moved on.

We've been engaged for a while but recently booked our wedding venue. DP called MIL to let her know and she asked who's on the guestlist. DP reeled off a list of his family, including FIL's wife.

MIL told him straight away that she would not be attending the wedding if FIL's wife was there too. She is adamant she will not be there and will stay at home. She wasn't angry, or bitter - she said she would be happy for us, and think of us all day, but she just would not be able to come. DP says it wasn't an argument.

She says she would rather do this than be around FIL's wife (not FIL - that she would do, and has done in the past) and that she would not be able to hold back all the things she's wanted to say for the last 20 years.

DP is, understandably, pretty upset. He says MIL hasn't given an ultimatum, but I rather feel she has. My opinion is that, as it stands, we should calmly accept her choice, while reminding her that it is hers only and that we would love her to be there. DP wants to try and beg her to come, and convince her to see the error of her ways. He says he thinks she feels we've betrayed her.

How do we deal with this situation? Has anyone else been in similar? Any advice on handling it very much appreciated!

ImperialBlether Wed 24-Aug-16 23:06:08

I think it just shows how badly one person can hurt another.

The OW should say that unfortunately she can't make it, if she hears that his mum won't attend if she's there. The price you pay for an affair can last decades, and why shouldn't it?

LostQueen Wed 24-Aug-16 23:09:13

She is being selfish and immature. It happened, it was a horrible time in her life but it is done now. She needs to move on, even if it just for one day for the sake of her son.

Lunar1 Wed 24-Aug-16 23:09:17

What imperial said.

Glitterkitten24 Wed 24-Aug-16 23:10:30

I'm sure MIL has been treated shabbily by FIL and the OW, but to not go to her sons wedding is a big decision. Given how hurt her son is likely to be she could put a brave face in for a few hours and ignore them both.

I think all you can do is graciously accept her decision.
Is your gut feeling that she's emotionally blackmailing your DH?

BackforGood Wed 24-Aug-16 23:11:01

I think, like you have suggested, you say that you (or your OH particularly) are very disappointed, and sad that she won't be there, but the choice is hers.

I would think After 20 yrs she should be able to cope with being in the same room for a few hours at her son's wedding. Quite frankly, she needs to grow up and realise this isn't about her. But I wouldn't fuel any drama by saying that, just let her know that your OH will be sad, and that she is welcome to change her mind, but that you are not going to be blackmailed by her.

Iflyaway Wed 24-Aug-16 23:12:02

Sounds complicated.

I would elope. Getting married in the Caribbean is nice I hear.

Really, life is hard enough without the family drama around.

PerspicaciaTick Wed 24-Aug-16 23:14:07

I think you are right that you need to calmly accept her decision. I think it is incredibly sad that she is unable to support her son in person on the day, but she is behaving with dignity and actually seems to be trying to make things as simple as possible for her DS.
Is there something you could do to let her know how much you appreciate her?

Somerville Wed 24-Aug-16 23:14:09

I agree with Imperial, too.

Indiaplain Wed 24-Aug-16 23:15:42

Oh god.. I had to reply as this happened to us! Dhs dad said he was unable to come to our wedding as dhs mum would be there. They had split 30 years ago due to her affair. 30 years!! And both happily re married. Is your mil re married? Will there be lots of people there to dilute awkwardness? It astounds me that adults can't put this kind of thing aside for one day.

OliviaBensonOnAGoodDay Wed 24-Aug-16 23:17:11

I don't know about the emotional blackmail. I don't think she would do that consciously, but subconsciously, perhaps. Who knows. People behave strangely when they're hurt, I get that. I'm trying to put myself in her shoes.

I do think though that she's cutting off her nose to spite her face, and I think she'd massively regret missing this (hopefully!) once in a lifetime event. But I agree I shouldn't fuel the drama by saying such things.

QuackDuckQuack Wed 24-Aug-16 23:17:40

I agree with Imperial too. The OW isn't actually his parent and should have the grace not to attend.

Wearegoingtobedlehem Wed 24-Aug-16 23:17:41

I had a very similar situation with my grandma- she wouldn't attend my wedding with my grandpa there. It really was a great shame but she was adamant she wasn't going to be in the same room as him.

OliviaBensonOnAGoodDay Wed 24-Aug-16 23:18:26

MIL not remarried, no. So he didn't come then India? How did your DH feel?

Mine's reached a bit of an angry stage now.

LostQueen Wed 24-Aug-16 23:21:09

I don't agree that OW should decline the invitation. Wouldn't that mean that his father should decline too??
I think if 20 years have passed, you should be in a position to exist under the same roof in situations like this. Nobody is saying she has to attend Sunday lunch with her Ex Husband and his OW forever more, it's a case of sucking it up and putting your best foot forward for a significant day in her sons life. She is putting her own feelings before her son and that is not right IMO. Why should he be put in the position where he feels like he has to choose?

sglodion Wed 24-Aug-16 23:21:46

I think she's a grown woman and should be able to put aside her issues with being in the room with FIL wife in order to make her son happy. If she can't do that then it's her loss tbh.
What if you have children and birthday parties or christenings or graduations? Will FILDW be unable to attend any occasion because MIL cannot bear to be in the same room as her? This will set a precedent for every important event in the future.

It's completely unfair on your DH and you and also FILDW. She was not the person who vowed to be faithful but MIL Seems to not have an issue with FIL who was the one who made a promise.

user1471734618 Wed 24-Aug-16 23:21:51

I must say that if my mother had been alive when I got married, then SM and therefore probably dad too would NOT have been on the guestlist, and that was 20 years later too,
Some things are just too hurtful.
I agree with what others have said, dis invite the SM.

Alwayschanging1 Wed 24-Aug-16 23:23:01

I agree with Imperial, too.
Sounds like she wants you to have a good day but knows she can't face being there with OW pretending everything is OK.
I would respect her decision and be gentle with her. Maybe ask if she could face the ceremony if you could make sure she was surrounded by people she knew. Or could you ask your FIL to come to the reception only so she could do the ceremony?

Hughpughbarneymagrew Wed 24-Aug-16 23:23:16

I went to a wedding recently where the bride had the same problem with her parents. They solved it by mother attending the ceremony and father (plus OW) attending the reception. Very sad situation, but it seemed to work ok for them. The bride and her sister seemed genuinely close to the father's new wife.

Lindy2 Wed 24-Aug-16 23:25:02

We had similar. My husband's mother refused to come to our wedding if his father and new family were there. I left the decision up to my husband as it was his family's issue as far as I was concerned. In the end he didn't invite his dad's side of the family as he is much closer to his mum.
However, when our first child arrived a few years later we made it very clear that our children would not be involved in their issues and no grandparent juggling would be taking place. All family members were invited to the christening and it was entirely up to them if they came or not. They all came and it was fine. They have all been together at several family events since and whilst they are unlikely to be very chatty with each other, manage to behave politely. I think my husband does regret not taking the same approach with our wedding and I know my FIL's family were set at being excluded. If it had been my side of the family I'm pretty sure I'd have invited everyone I wanted and left it to them to sort their issues or miss out.
If you change what you want to do now it might be something that you continue to have the same issue with for other future events. I think my MIL did try to stop my FIL being invited to the Christening as well but I had already made it clear to my husband that I didn't want his family issues to involve our children and he fully agreed. I think I am seen as the hard nosed DIL by my MIL because of it but that doesn't bother me.
Remember this will be your and your fiance's day not your MIL's. Make the choices you want. You can only control what you do not the actions of others.

Ninasimoneinthemorning Wed 24-Aug-16 23:25:10

She is trying to make you choose sides - whether knowingly or not.

I'd accept it and leave it there. This day is about you and your dp everybody there is a spectator. Don't get wrapped up in other people's hurt.

Your dp can beg, plead ect.. thats his choice as its his mother but I really don't think it's fair to univite people because of what happened years ago.

Alwayschanging1 Wed 24-Aug-16 23:25:12

Do not expect the OW to have any grace in this situation - she will enjoy being there as the wife and rubbing MIL's nose in it.

FrancisCrawford Wed 24-Aug-16 23:25:35

Another one who agrees with Imperial.

Alwayschanging1 Wed 24-Aug-16 23:28:58

When I got married, DM refused to come if DF was there. She was trying to manipulate me and I did put my foot down and told her no - she did come in the end. But we did not invite the OW.

user1471734618 Wed 24-Aug-16 23:29:15

" I really don't think it's fair to univite people because of what happened years ago. "

there speaks someone without divorced parents thanks to an OW.
I suppose I may be projecting my own experiences but that is just such an unfeeling comments.

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