Post # 1
I was browsing wedding stuff and came upon this forum. Everyone seems so nice and supportive that I thought I might reach out for some advice.
I recently became engaged to a man whom I’ve been dating for two years. We’ve decided to have a very small, family-only wedding. All of my immediate family and aunts and uncles are coming. My family adores him and he has a great relationship with them. My problem is his family. My fiance’s relationship with his family is very complex. When he was younger, he made a lot of bad choices and ended up in a very dark place. He’s been clean and sober for eleven years now, but he talks a lot about the guilt he feels about hurting his family in the past. Because of that, he rarely talks to them. I’ve never met them, though I would love to. His father died several years ago and his mother lives in Canada. His sister and her family only live a few hours away from us. I think the last time he really spoke to his family was a year ago when I became pregnant and then once more again when I suffered a miscarriage.
I really would love for them to attend, but whenever I try to bring up the subject, he shuts down. Although I would never do this to him, part of me wants to contact them and invite them. From what I get through talking with him, they love him a lot and want to see him, but his guilt keeps him from being able to do that. I guess I’m looking for advice on how to help him overcome that guilt and ask them to the wedding or if I should just leave the issue alone?
Thanks for reading and for any advice you can give! 🙂
Post # 3
Considering your Fi’s background perhaps he did some really bad things and there is still bad blood. I think the most you can do his support his choices and perhaps if he is willing work on including his family. Speak to him about how important it is and how much you want him to have family support there, and that perhaps he should try one last time.
The last thing you should do is go behind his back. That could cause all types of issues in your relationship, and it’s crossing several boundaries.
Also be realistic, perhaps the relationship can’t be fixed because family doesn’t want to be engaged and work on forgiving. Trust me this hurts him more then you, and all you can do is respect his choices, and be as a supportive as possible after you raised all your points and triedto make it work with his family. Then you just have to let it go.
Post # 4
First of all welcome to the hive! Secondly I definitely wouldnt contact them behind his back, the only thing you can do is bring it up to him and let him make the decision. Explain to him that it would mean a lot to you if they were there. Im sure he wants them there too its probably more hard than any of us can imagine as to what hes feeling. Surprising him with family is really not the way to go though, this could make things worse if he’s not expecting them. I hope you guys can find out a way to have both your families there, it would make the day so wonderful. Make sure you keep us posted. All the best of luck!
Post # 5
@TwoCityBride: Thanks so much for your advice! I completely understand and would definitely never go behind his back to invite them. I just entertain these stupid fantasies in my head of surprising him by having his family there. Realistically, though, I would never, ever do that to him.
I think I will try one final time, then drop it. While I feel badly that only my side will be there, I don’t want to force him to mend things if he isn’t ready.
@LauraRose : Thank you for the welcome and the advice!
Post # 6
- Wedding: February 2013 - Mansion House at the MD Zoo
Did your FI do any kind of 12-step program when he got sober? One of the steps in AA, NA, etc is reaching out to people who the addict has hurt and apologizing. (and i think asking for forgiveness, but you can’t expect it, it’s more about the addict’s personal growth and change.) Anyway, if he did that and they did not respond positively, that may be what is going on there. If he did not reach out to them, maybe having the first contact be inviting them to the wedding is a lot of pressure on him. Maybe he would want to just start with calling or writing them a letter and talking about what is going on and the guilt he feels and see how they respond. Then he/you two can make a decision about whether to invite them at that point. Basically, take it in baby steps not start with wedding stuff which can add a lot of extra emotion and pressure. (even though it’s a happy thing!) As a PP said, he may have tried reaching out to his family already and been rejected, and that hurts.
You may want to talk to someone from Al-Anon as well–it’s a support group for loved ones of addicts. Even though he is clean and sober, it’s clear that what he did when he was using impacts his life still. It might be helpful to you to talk to people who have been there with someone they love to see how they handled things like this.
And you should be proud of him–it is an incredible thing to get sober and stay sober, especially since it sounds like he’s been through a lot.
Post # 7
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
I would encourage him to try to open th elines of ocmmunication but it’s ultimately his decision. My ex-FIL forced my now ex-husband to invite his mother to the wedding even though he has a really bad relationship with his mother. He regreted it and ultimately I took the blame for it which really affected our relaitonship. It was not the main reason we eventually got divorced but his relationship with his mother really affected our relationship.
Post # 8
I think this decision is going to have to be his. And you should respect it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t discuss your feelings about it with him.
Post # 9
Welcome, first don’t go behind his back. It sounds like he could use some counciling, if he hasn’t really talked to you about it. Talking with a neutral person even once could do him a lot of good. Someday his mom will be a grandparent and I’m sure she would like to know you and her grandchildren. I would really start pushing for him to talk to some one.
Post # 10
@soontobeMrsBoo: Yes, he did complete the 12 steps, but I do not know what the response was on their side. Al-Anon is a wonderful idea–it’s not something I had even considered. I am immensely proud of him each and every day. He has mainatined his sobriety through a lot–including the loss of his job (luckily, he has a new one now, but it was a serious blow) and the loss of our baby. He is such a humble person now, and I know it pains him to think of his past actions. I know part of the problem is that I see him as the man he is today since I did not know him when he was an addict and he sees himself as the man he was then. We both need to reconcile the two.
Thank you everyone for the wonderful advice–it has helped me tremendously to talk about it and hear perspectives from other people! 🙂
Post # 11
I think inviting them to the wedding is a really huge gesture for him right now. How about discussing a meet up or even a phon call instead? You could see how that goes and then re-visit the wedding discussion.