- 1 year ago
- Wedding: July 2017
I have a problem and I have no idea how to approach it.
I have a group of friends who have been extremely close for a long time. Myself, “Beth,” “Mary,” and “Sally.” Mary and I have been friends the longest and have the strongest bond. We’ve been friends since early high school. We are all 29 now. Beth, Mary and I were college roommates all four years, and we met Sally in college as well and she became like an honorary roommate. So I’ve known Mary for 15 years and Beth and Sally for 11 years. Since college we’ve all moved away to different places, gotten married, bought houses, and now Mary is the first of the group to be expecting a baby. We would all say a hallmark of our friendship is that despite the distances, we’ve all always been so supportive of one another and have really enjoyed walking through life together.
Over the past two years, Sally has slowly been coming out as gay. Let’s just say it’s been a surprise to no one. We’re all really happy for her to finally feel free to be herself and we’ve all remarked how deeply happy she seems now that she’s out. Over the past 8 months, she’s started dating her first girlfriend openly, they’ve gotten engaged, bought a house together, and are now planning their wedding for this October. It’s been a whirlwind!
Here’s the problem. Mary is a very conservative and religious person. She’s been like this her entire life. I admire her values and her character. Sometimes I even look up to her as a role model. Well Sally asked all three of us to be bridesmaids in her wedding to her fiance, “Mariah.” All of us have been bridesmaids in each other’s weddings so her asking us was a no-brainer. Beth and I quickly and gladly said yes! I just found out last night from Sally that Mary declined to be a bridesmaid. The reason she gave is that her first child is due in June and with the uncertainty of having a baby and being a new mom, she just doesn’t feel comfortable committing to being a bridesmaid in a wedding in October. She said she asked her husband and her mom for advice about the realities of having a 4 month old and needing to travel (2 hours) to a wedding and be in the bridal party. Apparently they both gave her the advice that it would be too much and she should decline. Sally and her fiance are convinced this is a cover and the real reason is that while Mary has been outwardly supportive of Sally coming out and being herself, that inwardly she does not approve and this is her way of dodging a moral bullet.
Sally is asking my advice about what she should do. She’s rightfully hurt and I told her so. But now she thinks their friendship is effectively over and she does not want to even invite Mary and her husband to the wedding. She specifically thinks it’s Mary’s husband pulling the strings. And now Beth is angry because she thinks Mary handled this all wrong and just hugely changed the dynamics of our longstanding friendship between the four of us. I’m trying to stay neutral. On the one hand Mary has always been a very cautious and hesitant person, and once she’s made up her mind she sticks to her guns. I can totally see her deciding that she should not commit to anything until she has her feet under her as a new mom and nothing will change her mind on that. I also know she is a very serious Catholic and her husband is a very serious Baptist, and they’re both quintessential rural Southerners…it would not surprise me if she did not feel “morally” right being a bridesmaid in a gay wedding.
And now today we are all attending the wedding of a fifth friend, “Ella,” and Sally is incredibly anxious to see Mary for the first time since this all blew up. And Beth and I are feeling caught in the middle.
How should I approach this?? I want to be supportive of Sally because they’ve had a really hard time coming out and deciding to get married. But Mary is my oldest friend and I am much closer to her…and knowing her personality I know broaching the topic with her is a no-go. Beth is angry at Mary and fully supporting Sally if she decides to end the friendship. I wish I could shake Mary and ask her what she was thinking.