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What would you feel your husband should do?

(148 Posts)
tolstoy Thu 24-Nov-16 00:23:53

Help me understand how you would feel? Imagine you have been happily married 12 years and have 3 children by your husband (7, 9 and 11). Your husband has 3 adult children from a bitter divorce decades before he met you. (They resent him divorcing their mother when they were children and his ex wife despises him.) You are friendly but not close to any of your step sons, whom you see about 2 times a year. Your husband sees them about 4 times a year. Now your husband's 35 year old son has invited your husband to his registry office wedding service and celebratory lunch and evening booze up. However, you and your 3 children have been sent a formal written invitation to the evening booze up (this written invitation does not include your husbands name i.e. written as if you are separated or divorced from each other.) Your step son has not called you or sent you an email explaining his decision. What would you feel and what would you do? What would you feel your husband should do?

OohhThatsMe Thu 24-Nov-16 00:35:26

To be honest if you and the mum's partner are treated equally then fine. If there's no other partner then fine too. The boy just wants his parents there. And I know he's a man but a bad divorce will mean he's reacting lije the child he was when they split up.

bumpertobumper Thu 24-Nov-16 00:36:53

It sounds like this arrangement is DSS trying to keep the peace with his mother.
It is a shame that the young siblings aren't invited to the ceremony, but as you say you aren't close and if you being there would cause his mother to make a fuss I can see why he has done it.
I don't think that it would be fair to expect your dh to miss his sons wedding ceremony because you and your children aren't invited to that part.
The situation is unfortunate and upsetting for you to be left out, but it is his wedding and you will just have to rise above and get on with what it is.

Hotwaterbottle1 Thu 24-Nov-16 00:37:22

Id have no problem. I'd think the service & lunch were for very immediate family only and the booze up for everyone else.

cowbag1 Thu 24-Nov-16 00:39:03

His mum hates you but his dad will want you there. This is the compromise.

Big occasions like weddings can be a nightmare to organise when your parents are divorced so try to be understanding.

cowbag1 Thu 24-Nov-16 00:40:59

Sorry read that as she hates you, instead of her exh. Either way I'm guessing he's trying to please everyone where possible.

SorenLorensonsInvisibleFriend Thu 24-Nov-16 00:44:58

The son doesn't have to have any of you in his life. He's inviting his dad to his wedding. And as a courtesy, he's inviting you to the evening do. I think the lack of inclusion of his dad's name on your family's invite is just so it doesn't seem silly that his dad has been invited twice. That's how I'd regard it.

forumdonkey Thu 24-Nov-16 00:54:19

I get it. If there has been previous animosity I can understand why

goddessofsmallthings Thu 24-Nov-16 01:10:55

I'd think exactly what Hotwaterbottle has said and I wouldn't have a problem with it as, etiquette wise, it's a socially acceptable way of dealing with the angst that can arise over who sits where at the top table for the wedding breakfast, or in this case the 'celebratory lunch', when the dps of the bride or groom have divorced and remarried.

This eminently sensible arrangement also allows the bride and groom to decide who features in the formal weddings photos without causing any offence on the day.

It goes without saying that, as the groom's father, your dh should attend all of the celebratory events - pre, post, and on the day.

Under the circumstances, I see no reason whatsoever for your stepson to email/phone you to "explain his decision", and more especially as you don't have a close relationship with him.

Either go with good grace and a congratulatory smile on your face, or send your apology for being 'otherwise engaged' on the date in question with a gift for the happy couple.

VimFuego101 Thu 24-Nov-16 01:15:07

I would think it perfectly reasonable given the limited space in a registry office and the fact you say you're 'not close'.

hoddtastic Thu 24-Nov-16 01:18:16

I'd go graciously to the evening do and not cause a problem for anyone involved, if I couldn't do that I wouldn't go- but it's a line in the sand for the future inc any grandchildren etc.

Kr1stina Thu 24-Nov-16 01:18:46

It's fine, you only see them twice a year

notangelinajolie Thu 24-Nov-16 01:20:51

He is supporting his mum. He is inviting his dad because he is his dad and he should be there to see his son get married. He is inviting you as his dad's partner to the evening do but doesn't feel comfortable inviting you to the ceremony because his mum will be there and he doesn't want to upset his mum. It's a shame his half siblings haven't been invited to the day bit but maybe he feels a bit awkward about that too. I don't think you should be too upset - you aren't close to his son so I think you just have to accept it. I do think your DH should go on his own and you and the kids go later as per the invitation. It is the bride and groom's day so let them have the day they want.

DoinItFine Thu 24-Nov-16 01:41:05

I would feel he should go.

Whether my children and I should go I would be less sure about.

Hidingtonothing Thu 24-Nov-16 01:51:02

I have DSC and try really hard to put myself in my DH's shoes if issues like this arise. Looking at it from his perspective it must be incredibly hard to feel you're being put in a position where you have to choose between upsetting your child or your partner.

I've always felt it's my job to make his relationship with his DC easier, not harder and if that means stepping back sometimes and putting my own feelings to one side it's a small price to pay for him staying on good terms with them.

I wouldn't make a fuss about this and I wouldn't make my DH feel bad about something he had no say in or control over. Ultimately he was their Dad before he was your husband and his responsibility to them didn't change because he got married again. Rise above any feelings that you've been slighted OP, this honestly isn't about you and your DH will appreciate you being the bigger person more than you know.

Out2pasture Thu 24-Nov-16 02:06:51

Sounds like the wedding is well thought out and planned.
Husband/father attends all parts.
You the later event.
I'd leave the children home.

CouldIHaveIt Thu 24-Nov-16 02:21:22

You sound pissed off and appear to think you & the kids should have been invited to the wedding & lunch?! I get that, but you really have to look at it from DH's DS's point of view. You're not close, he's not even close to his Dad, and it will upset his mum if you are there, though not ideal, this is his best option and it's not personal.

I would talk to my DH and see if he wants chat with his son about the evening invite. I'd go if he wanted me to, but if it was easier for him if I didn't I'd stay home, same with the children. I'd see if they wanted to go for a meal or something to celebrate at a time that suits them.

tolstoy Thu 24-Nov-16 02:27:19

Your objective responses are really helpful. I have got myself into a state feeling slighted and believing my husband thinks it's acceptable. I must be an extremely emotionally unbalanced woman, because I thought your responses would be the opposite. I had told my husband that I felt that he was being disloyal by planning to go e.g. if the shoe was on the other foot I would tell my son I loved him but wouldn't be able to attend the service or lunch because he was not accepting my choice of partner. Your responses make clear that I am wrong, therefore, I must tell him to go. This I will do, but sadly for our relationship I feel unable to forgive him for what I believe is disloyalty and don't want his sons to have anything to do with my sons or me. I will find it extremely difficult to be gracious so I imagine I should not go to the evening booze up. Incidentally, my husband and I got married in a registry office with strangers as witnesses (we had a ceremony and party 8 months later), therefore, I didn't really feel that it would be such a big deal if he didn't go. Does anyone have any magic fairy dust that would make me feel happy about it all...or even just ok with it all.

Mysterycat23 Thu 24-Nov-16 02:35:31

It hurts, but forcing DH to choose between you and his DS is not going to make you feel better. That's your magic fairy dust - think through the long term impact on DH and on your relationship with DH of forcing him to choose between 2 people he loves. A few minutes honest reflection and you'll soon feel better about DH going to his son's wedding.

CouldIHaveIt Thu 24-Nov-16 02:41:22

No love, I don't.

It's EASY to be objective when you're not emotionally involved. I'm sure I'd feel exactly the same as you if I was actually in your shoes 💐

However, (objectively) it's NOT that his DS is not accepting his Dad's partner, it's most likely that his Mum isn't accepting ANYONE being his partner. It's not personal. She doesn't know you. He's probably already had the mother of all rows or upsets with her because he's invited his Dad. He's trying to compromise & sort it the best he can.

You feel what you feel & obviously I have no idea of the history, BUT really, do you really think your DH is happy about it? Do you think his relationship with his DS is how he wants it? Do you really think he doesn't wish he, you and your children were close to his eldest 3? If I was him it would cause me great pain. Then for my wife to say I was being disloyal & want nothing to do with my sons? Want my eldest children to have no contact with my youngest children? It would be heartbreaking surely?

Leanback Thu 24-Nov-16 02:49:30

I'm sorry dp, this all sounds very hard for you. But as someone who has divorced parents who struggle to get on both with new partners, I can tell you that if my dads girlfriend stopped him coming to my wedding because she wasn't invited to the small intimate ceremony I would be devestated and would never forgive my father.

I get that your dh is not close to his children, but if you get in the way of their relationship you will be very unreasonable.

NinjaLeprechaun Thu 24-Nov-16 02:56:04

When my daughter's dad got married, none of their 4 children (his 1, her 3) were invited. In fact, none of them knew about it until after the fact. Daughter and her step-sister were both living with them at the time, ffs.
If actual children can manage to get past that, then I think you (an alleged adult) can manage to get over whatever imaginary slight you seem to think you've suffered.

If you force your husband to choose between you and his son and he chooses you, then his relationship with all his children will suffer. Including the children he has with you because they can never be sure that he won't do the same to them. If you force your husband to choose between his son and you, and he chooses his son... then, good news, only half of his children will be negatively affected. Bad news for you is that it will be your children.
Up to you.

Hidingtonothing Thu 24-Nov-16 03:46:39

I just think you have to try really really hard to put yourself in the shoes of the other people involved here. Your DH obviously who, as previously mentioned, must be hating being in the position of effectively having to choose who to upset out of you and his DS. His DS who will be feeling the strain of trying to keep everyone happy on a day when he should really only be having to think about himself and his wife to be and, lastly (and probably the most difficult for you to empathise with) his DM, who, regardless of whether her bitterness is justified or reasonable, will undoubtedly struggle with even your DH being there let alone you and your DC.

Families are complicated when there's been a split, there's no way round it and (and please don't think I'm being nasty when I say this) I just think you have to recognise that your feelings just aren't the priority here. This family was complicated before you were ever a part of it and the decisions which have been made about this wedding won't have been made with your feelings in mind. I think it would be a huge mistake to put your DH in the position where he has to decide where his loyalty lies because this isn't about loyalty, it's just about making his DS's wedding day as stress free as possible, primarily for his DS but also for the immediate family members.

This really isn't a slight on you, it's nothing more than the path of least resistance, the easiest way to make sure there are no arguments or upsets on what's meant to be a happy day. I just think (and again I'm not meaning to upset you by saying this) you can't afford to have an ego about it, it's obviously been a delicate balancing act to come up with something which won't upset the people closest to the groom and it seems like your DH is just trying to do what's best for his DS on his big day.

It would be a lovely thing to do for both your DH and his DS if you could manage to be generous enough to just let them do things the way they've decided would be best without taking it as some kind of personal insult or competition for your DH's loyalty. I doubt very much he's relishing the idea of having to go without you by his side and I suspect your unselfish support would mean the world to him on a day he's likely to find difficult for all sorts of reasons.

sofato5miles Thu 24-Nov-16 03:50:54

I am the daughter of divorced parents and a happily married mother of 3.

With this in mind, I am much more sensitive to children's loyalty from their parents.

The proposed wedding program looks like an excellent solution. You may have become so competitive with the ex and her children that every interaction seems like a point scoring exercise. I'd stop that rot right now, if i were you. There are only losers. Not 'forgiving' your husband for accepting the invite to his son's wedding is fairly damning. He is his blood.

My step mother was like you, though she died. Finally, we now have a relationship with our half sister but i have had to have conselling to cope with my father's actions of keeping my step mother happy and ignoring us.

goddessofsmallthings Thu 24-Nov-16 04:34:42

They resent him divorcing their mother when they were children and his ex wife despises him

It seems to me that your dh is going to have summon a lot of courage to attend this wedding and act as if there's been no rancour between him and the fomer wife wife who "despises him" and the adult dc who "resent him" for divorcing her and, far from accusing him of disloyalty, you should be supporting him every inch of the way in going along with the wishes of his son.

If "the shoe was on the other foot" I would think you were unhinged wholly and thoroughly unreasonable not to attend your own ds's wedding if your new partner wasn't given pride of place. What kind of narcissistic mother would do that to her child on the child's wedding day?

Has it occurred to you that the wedding has been arranged in this particular manner for reasons entirely unconnected with you? It may be that bride's dps are also divorced and/or the number of guests at the celebratory lunch has been curtailed for reasons of cost - inviting you to attend would mean paying for an additional 4 meals as it would be unfair to leave your dc out.

As for the invitation to the evening event addressed to your sole name; this is perfectly correct etiquette as practised at Buck House and it is not intended as a slight. Your dh has an invitation to the day and evening events, while you and your dc are cordially invited to attend the evening event.

What is really going on in your mind? Are you coming from a place of such irrational jealousy and suspicion that you imagine your dh and his ex will fall into each others' arms over the wedding cake if you're not there to police him?

sadly for our relationship I feel unable to forgive him for what I believe is disloyalty and don't want his sons to have anything to do with my sons if you persist in maintaining this negative attitude you shouldn't be surprised if your dh begins to emotionally withdraw from you and that 12 years of happy marriage is all you have with him as the remainder will be tainted by your unrelenting bitterness.

Give yourself a good shake; be glad that your dh is an honourable man and make sure you do nothing to upset his equilibrium or that of his adult dc.

I have no doubt that after an arduous day of putting on a good front, your dh will be immensely relieved to see you at the evening event; why not buy a beautifully boxed horsehoe and one of these for the bride and tell her you hope that she enjoyed her registry office wedding as much as you did yours and wish her and her groom a long and happy marriage.

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