Post # 1
So a little back story before I state the dilema I’m having…My dad has been with this woman for over 10 years – let’s call her “Alice”. I never considered myself SUPER close with Alice, like I don’t consider her my step-mom even though that’s how my mom refers to her as, but we get along well. We chat and we have no problems at all, but I’ve always just thought of her as my dads girlfriend (again, nothing against Alice, it’s just I never spent loads of time with her and it never grew into a stepmother/stepdaughter relationship). She’s been good to me and my sister and we are close to an extent…just not a stepmom kind of relationship.
I am getting married in July and I have my bridal shower and dress fittings coming up, and like most brides, you want the women in your family involved (mom, future MIL and of course Alice because she’s been around so long and I respect her). Here’s where things unravelled for me recently…I was out with just my dad and I had mentioned that Alice turned down the invite to my bridal shower (she also turned down the bridal dress appointment, but she legitimitely has something to do that evening). I JUST found out it is because she feels awkward and really uncomfortable around my FH’s parents and also doesn’t feel like she fits in (I have also gotten close to my biological family – I’m adopted. Which means bio mother, adoptive mom, MIL and Alice – I totally get that’s a lot, and it’s hard for me too, giving all of them attention). I had no idea! My dad said Alice had tried to talk to them during the stag and doe and was brushed off. I have NEVER noticed anything weird between them and my future MIL AND my mom (even though I think it’s hard for her) always asks if Alice is joining us for stuff. My dad even said she probably won’t show up to the rehearsal dinner because of this. (I should note my dad also said she’s not great in social situations when there’s not really anyone she knows) My dad has asked me not to say anything to my fiance about it, which I haven’t done, but I feel like I should! I don’t want Alice to think she’s not welcome or that she doesn’t fit in. She may not be my “stepmom” but she’s been around long enough for her to be an important role in my life and this wedding.
Should I tell my fiance and have him say something to his parents without Alice knowing and try to make her feel more welcome? Should I keep my mouth shut? I feel like if I don’t say anything, nothing will get better and I won’t be able to help her. She also doesn’t know my dad said this to me. I’m seriously stuck..I don’t want to go behind my dad’s back and tell, but I don’t want Alice to feel this way – she has been very good to me.
Bees! What should I do?
Post # 4
First of all, congratulations on having such a loving family, and props for being the sort of person who cares about them in return and wants to make these things work.
My suggestion is to reach out to Alice and let her know how important it is to you to have her there during your wedding process. It may give you a chance to talk through whatever’s been going on, and to try to smooth the path for better interactions between everyone. Surely Alice can find a way to deal with her own insecurities in order to make this a happy time for you. At the next event at which everyone’s there, keep an eye out to see how Alice and the ILs interact.
Good luck with this, and I hope it works out well. There shouldn’t be any reason why everyone can’t come together to celebrate you and your FI.
Post # 5
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
Find a polite way to mention to your in-laws that Alice feels a bit unwelcome and ask them to help make her feel more welcome.
Post # 6
I can understand why this feels awkward for you, and I think it speaks highly of the respect you have for your family. Everyone in this situation, however, is an adult. You can certainly say something to your FI’s family directly or indirectly, but I wonder if that’s necessary (and your father asked that you did not). I think it’s most important to communicate to Alice that she’s a welcome part of these celebrations, and then let her choose from there.
If she does show, it might be helpful to make some introductions, either to your FI’s family or to other guests around Alice’s age. Introductions are most useful when you briefly share 1. Who each party is (“Barb, this Alice, my dad’s wife. Alice, this is Barb, my aunt”); 2. Something interesting about each party/why they are important to you (“Alice is a fantastic baker. Her lemon bars are to die for! And Barb has been my favorite hair stylist for years . . . “) and 3. one thing they have in common (“Since Alice was talking about starting a garden, can you, Barb, share some of your secrets to delicious tomatoes?”) and then let them take it from there.
Post # 7
Are you close with your FMIL? Maybe you can just casually mention to her that Alice is shy and a bit uncomfortable in new surroundings/with new people, so you’d really appreciate if she could go a bit out of her way to be extra friendly and make her feel welcome. I wouldn’t mention that Alice already said she felt brushed off or anything. That could be an exaggeration from Alice (or excuse), plus it may make FMIL feel offended or put off if she didn’t think she did anything wrong. Really no need to state that.
Post # 8
I suggest you speak with Alice and hear her feelings straight from her. Maybe she just feels ignored becaue of her personality. I think it’s best to do this before others are made to feel uncomfortable about the situation. Maybe once you talk with her you can fix things without involving everyone else. Good luck to you.
Post # 9
I would leave it alone. Maybe say something to Alice to make it clear you want her at the events, but I def wouldn’t say anything to FILS. Alice is an adult. Whatever insecurities are keeping her from being there are not your problem to solve. She may have social anxiety in larger social settings and is just more comfortable staying home. Maybe plan a day for you and Alice to go out alone, lunch & veil shopping…something like that, so she feels included. Maybe she’ll change her mind afterwards.
Post # 10
I would definately talk with Alice, one-on-one. I wouldn’t bring up what your dad said right away, but maybe work it into the conversation (sorry you couldn’t make the fitting, but would love for you to come to the shower…) It might mean more if it comes from you.
I would trust your instincts about your in-laws. If they don’t seem like the type to brush anyone off, maybe it was just a misunderstanding. Especially if Alice is uncomfortable in these situations, maybe she just read them wrong.
If you can get her to come to something, maybe you could start with just a small group (instead of this mother, that mother, the other mother, etc.) Try something with just you, your fiance, your dad, her, and another couple. Or maybe just you, your FMIL, and Alice. Maybe she would be more comfortable in large groups if she had a chance to get to know some people, individually first.