Step-parent at the Wedding(5 Posts)
I need to attend my stepdaughter's wedding later this year and I am dreading it.
This is partly because I'm an introvert so can cope with a few hours socialising - especially with friends and kindred spirits - but longer events can be challenging for me. I'm not sure of the exact programme but it will involve two nights at a remote rural location
It's a fairly conventional largish do - rather aspirational, with a lot of City bankers/business types present. My husband will be doing a speech and my daughter will be a bridesmaid. soI need to be there to support them.
My main difficulties are that, naturally, my stepdaughter's mother will be there, and it is very much her 'big day' as well as her daughter's. Though she and my partner split well over twenty years ago - by mutual agreement and with no other parties involved - she cannot stand my husband and will not speak to me. She looks through me or gives me the faintest of nods if I speak to her. So from her point of view - though not that of my stepdaughter, my husband and daughter - it would be better if a) I did not exist or b) were locked in a cupboard.
I was a full-time carer/step-parent for her daughter at various significant periods during her daughter's life, when she decided to move away and (try to) start a new life elsewhere , so it could be argued that I have actually been quite a lot of help.
I also have real doubts - as do other members of the family - about the man my stepdaughter is going to marry. While not overtly uncivil he has made no effort to get to know the family he is marrying into, and seems rather controlling in his behaviour towards my stepdaughter. He mainly respects/likes people who have a lot of money and or/are highly successful in business. In his terms I am therefore far from successful.
Any advice for how to get through this social nightmare. (Alcohol helps in some situations but for health reasons I can't drink.)
Smile, be polite, avoid the people you don't want to talk to by socialising with those you feel most comfortable with. Tell yourself that it won't last forever and you are doing it for your SD who you must have affection for. It's only one day, so even though not one you are looking forward to, just accept it and get on with it, looking forward to when it's over.
Does sound difficult. I'd make a list of people who will be there who you like and then spend as much time as possible talking to them.
One bonus of it being a large do should be that you're not really going to end up in the company if the ex wife too much of the time. It's also usually possible to skip out of things for a bit at weddings of you need a break. Take some comfy shoes and go for a bit of a walk if there's nowhere nearby.
If your step- daughter and DH want you to be there, that's great. Your focus is in the right place - supporting others but also including some self-care. Is DH aware of how you feel and supportive?
I'm wondering what opportunities the venue offers and what you might enjoy doing there if you weren't attending a wedding. Assuming you're staying in the same venue, you will probably be able to slip out discreetly to re- charge your batteries, especially if it's a big do. What could you take with you? Nice bath oil? A book you've been looking forward to reading?
My DM thinks my DSM should not exist or be locked in a cupboard too, and the run-up to my DB's wedding was tense as a result. My DF dealt with it badly. The day itself went absolutely fine though. In fact, thinking about it, everyone handled it badly except my step-mum who was calm and dignified throughout, one of the many reasons I love her.
Lots of good advice here.
I shall take walking shoes and a good book - on the basis there may be some periods where 'quiet time' is an option, and aim to catch up with some of my stepdaughter's old friends.
Calm and dignified sound ideal!
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