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I can't wait to get married - but family issues putting a dampener on it.

Tagged as: Dating, Family, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (9 October 2017) 8 Answers - (Newest, 11 October 2017)
A female United Kingdom age 30-35, *osycheeks writes:


I'm looking for some advice. My fiancé and I are engaged and are soon to start planning our wedding.

I have an extremely difficult mother, and because of that she has pretty much damaged all family ties I have with aunts/uncles/cousins.

I'm in my 30's, when she cannot control me, she tells false stories to my family of ''bad things'' I do, and sometimes they even start contacting me to tell me how disappointed they are in me etc etc, I try to explain the haven't heard the actual story. Deep down, I know; they know mum's not fully with it, but they just find it easier to put the expectation on me to keep fixing things with mum, because its too draining to get her to see fit.

In the last few years I've put a much needed distance with my mum because it was just eating me up inside all the time, and I finally got a grip and took control of the situation rather than always trying to please her. I've kept in touch with mum, I've kept a momentum of once a month phone call, and every 4 months we meet for brunch, and so far in 9 months, its stopped any arguments. For me, its to stay in touch, but its not a real relationship. I do it because she is my mother and id rather see her than not at all, but every time i sense she tried to begin the next argument, but i manage to nip it in the bud and get off the call before she manage to create the next argument. I can sense one building up as she keeps demanding to come to my house, but i say lets meet for brunch in a restaurant in town and she's not happy, but keeps pushing it.

Because of this, I've barely seen any family in years, and none of them ever reach out to ask how I am. I used to make the effort before, but it was always me who would ring them, they would always be happy to hear from me and talk, but no one has ever reached out to me to see if I am doing ok. After they started criticising me, i just lost motivation, as it felt like they couldn't be bothered to listen to me, just gave me a hard time based on mums story. I'm an only child and my parents split up when I was 10.

I have a relationship with my dad, but its only with him and his partner, i don't really know my dads family well at all.

Previously my mum put a 'sanction' on me, that the day I get married, if i invite my father, she will not come so it is my decision. At the time i reversed it and said, when the day comes, it will be my decision who i invite, so it will be your choice if you want to come or not.

So now my fiancé and I are beginning to plan a wedding, I just don't know how to proceed with my family. I don't know who to invite, if i even want to invite them, do i just invite them and feel awkward on my day? Weddings cost a lot of money and i want to be happy on the day, but i just can't see how it can work at the moment.

If i just invite dad and partner, and mum +1. wouldn't it just look weird i have no family at the wedding.

It's putting me off wanting to plan it. My partner knows the situation too, but he think's it'll all work out fine..

I do keep running the idea past him to elope, or elope and have a party when we get back. But he doesn't really take the idea seriously, he thinks he will let his own family down if we don't do a proper wedding. (His family are also separated but his dads side are pretty close nit family (and lovely) so its really the dads side and his brother he wants a big day.

I'm just so lost for what to do , i want it to be a memorable day where him and i get married, however it is done. Not a day where we burn lots of money and i spend the day feeling miserable but faking happiness/worrying if mum will get drunk and start a fight or do something stupid. She generally behaves infront of people/strangers, but if her anger gets too much she would lash out, especially if drinking. ( i won't be able to control this on the day)

Any one else had similar issues?

View related questions: drunk, engaged, money, split up, want to be happy, wedding

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A female reader, rosycheeks United Kingdom +, writes (11 October 2017):

rosycheeks is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thanks - yes you are right, that makes sense, whether eloping or planning a day.

Weddings do cause drama's, but i suppose only if you let it.

My family tends to have high expectations(never understood why), but also very judgemental and selfish. As a clan they tend to get their own way by ganging up on 'wrong do-ers' which is intimidating, then you have to be 'accepted back in' by going out of your way.

Not in a mean way, but hardly any of them finished school, so they have quite a narrow view on the world and what they feel they are owed.

I told one aunt about a year ago, with regards to her opinion on a made up argument she heard from mum, if she doesn't want to be helpful or supportive or hear both sides before judging and critiquing me, I told her butt out and keep her opinions to herself.

She was probably the closest aunt to me out of the lot. And she never spoke to me again after that !

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (11 October 2017):

N91 agony auntThis is YOUR day.

Do whatever you want to make it the happiest possible, don't invite anyone you don't want to just for the sake of making up numbers. If your family have shunned you then why would they deserve an invite? You don't NEED any of them there really.

Of course it would be lovely to have a nice loving, close family but that unfortunately isn't the case here, therefore don't bring anyone that would be likely to cause drama. If you only invite 5 people, who cares? That's your decision. Your partner understands the situation and assures you everything will be okay, that's because it will be.

All the best for the future

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A female reader, chigirl Norway + , writes (11 October 2017):

chigirl agony auntYes, I've had the exact same dilemma. It's been sort of resolved now, because I went to the police and reported my father, so that's now all out in the "open" and a burnt bridge. I was heavily set on the eloping-idea too. I still am, because even if the issue of my father is now resolved, the issue of my fathers side of the family is still very much there. My dad played heavily on the "loyalty"-scheme, meaning you were either with him or against him in all things. So now that I am clearly against him, no doubt all members of his family will be given the same ultimatum by him, to choose sides. I can just smell the drama. So I have been avoiding them and waiting for them to reach out to me, which they haven't, so there's still that.

Eloping sounds like the perfect wedding. Really. You are marrying this man for you and him, not for the sake of your families. It's about you and him! Not about everyone else. I get that your boyfriend doesn't want to disappointing anyone, but if he's only throwing a big wedding because of not wanting to disappointing anyone, then he's not doing it for the right reasons. Especially knowing that you dread it and it will only make you nervous.

I know the feeling of being sad because you have to give up that dream of the happy-ending wedding you see in movies. The big wedding with all family surrounding you, smiling, sun shining etc. It's hard to let go of those dreams. And at the same time, it's good to face reality for what it is, and avoid unecessary drama. By eloping, you avoid the stress and the drama and focus on what is actually at play: the beginning of a marriage. By throwing a big family wedding, you are sort of going into a mining field while blind folded. You KNOW there's mines that can go off everywhere. Yet you keep walking because of not wanting to disappointing people? It's crazy, if you ask me.

Anyway, who cares if it looks weird for him to have his whole big family there, and for you to have only two or three people. I say either elope, or go for an off-balanced wedding with his big family, and then you only invite the few people you feel ok with inviting. So what if it's off-balanced. Who cares. You're marrying your boyfriend, keep that in focus. This isn't the opening of a new restaurant where everything needs to be perfect so you will get good reviews.

I still have my mind set on eloping, and then only invite whomever I feel comfortable with. That way, it will sort itself naturally. It puts restrictions on how many you can invite, and how much guest are going to have to pay themselves for the trip narrows it down naturally.

Talk to your boyfriend again about why throwing a big wedding for the sake of not disappointing anyone, isn't the right way to go about it. If HE wants it, for himself, then fine, compromise. But if he only wants it because family is putting pressure on him, then he needs to think twice if it's the right thing to do.

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A female reader, rosycheeks United Kingdom +, writes (10 October 2017):

rosycheeks is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thankyou :-) your words help me to focus on the positives and stop worrying about what people think.

I was in a situation the other month, where we were at my partners mums house, and some guests came over fresh from their own sons wedding, and they just completely ripped into their sons new wifes' family ! I was so shocked, and it made me cry when I left the house.

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A male reader, Billy Bathgate United States + , writes (10 October 2017):

It's sad that your mother is still controlling you.

Plan your wedding;invite your father and his partner and any other relatives you want to invite. If you choose to invite your mother invite her; although I cannot imagine why you would. If she says she's not coming because of your father tell her you will miss her. Then have your wedding and enjoy the people who care about you and are there to celebrate your new marriage.

If you are worried about your mother getting drunk ask your husband to assign a couple of his relatives to escort her out if she begins to get out of hand.

Best of luck to you.

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (10 October 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntHonestly do what makes you and your future husband to be happy. Don't worry about how things will look or upsetting others, the main thing is that you are both happy marrying each other and enjoying the day.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 October 2017):

I agree it’s your wedding, so don’t feel forced to invite people who will potentially make you stress unnecessarily on your big day, like extended family members. .

I also agree you should invite at least mom and dad and their plus ones. That way you know you put the ball in their court, and it’s their choice to come.

Finally I just want to say I had a wedding, and I only had my mom and dad there among only my friends. You know why? Because that’s all I have! I have no extended family members who live in the country, and I’m not at all close to the ones who live far away. Did it look weird, and did people talk? No. They don’t want to embarrass themselves and assume by asking me questions on my wedding day.

The only person I actively chose not to invite was a childhood friend I had a falling out with. Along the same lines as you, I chose in the end not to invite her because why give myself stress in a happy day?

I know it’s easier said than done but don’t stress too much about the guest list. Think about who you actually want to be there to celebrate and don’t let the must-invites like your mother and father ruin your day. You’ve got great insight: your mom will always be your mom and she can’t control you.

Congrats and wishing you the best!

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A female reader, Aunty BimBim Australia + , writes (10 October 2017):

Aunty BimBim agony auntThere are a few options available o you, it really comes down to what YOU want.

Dad and his new partner get invited. If his parents are still alive they get an invitation as well. Mum gets an invite, with a plus one ... she can bring a girlfriend if she prefers, again any grandparents receive an invite.

Any siblings you might have lurking around also get an invite.

IF you really feel you would like some family there you could tell each parent you can budget for X number of guests (4 or so) and ask them which family member they would like invited. Personally unless there are Aunts or Uncles you have fond memories of, or exchange Christmas cards with, I wouldn't bother. Just invite your friends and accept your husbands family as being yours too now.

it will all work out, don't worry about it looking weird to have no huge mobs of family, some families are just naturally small.

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