Post # 1
I need some help figuring out how to deal with my divorced parents. They split 4 years ago and are very civil towards each other (we all get together for bday’s and christmas). My dad has been living with his girlfriend for the past 3 and a half years, and my mom has no interest in dating. The problem is I’m not sure what is going to happen when my mom and my dad’s girlfriend have to be in the same room together.
Okay, that’s a lie. I do know what is going to happen. My mom is going to cry and it won’t be the happy kind of tears. My mom is very emotional and cries very easily. When we spoke of my dad’s girlfriend being at the wedding, she was shocked that she would be invited and cried.
My mom has never seen this woman, and my mom will not take it very well that the girlfriend looks a lot like her, only 15 years younger.
I am very close with my mom, and if she is upset, I will be upset. And I don’t want to be upset on my wedding day. It is easy to just expect my mom to just suck it up and deal with it, but i honestly don’t know if that will happen.
It would be a slap in my dad’s face not to invite her, and I like her a lot anyways. So my question is: How do I avoid unhappy wedding drama?
Post # 3
I think now is the time for a heart-to-heart with both your mom and your dad.
With your mom, I would tell her you love her and don’t want her to be upset, but explain the reasons why it’s important for your dad’s gf to be there, and ask her if there’s anything you can do to make it more comfortable for her, given that situation. Maybe your parents don’t have to be seated together (I will be seating my own divorced parents at separate tables with their respective families). Or maybe you can lessen the shock by inviting your dad’s gf to some of the pre-wedding events, so that your mom gets used to being around her.
Make sure your dad’s on board too–if he’s aware of your concerns he may be able to help.
Good luck!! Issues like these are pretty much the bain of my wedding planning.
Post # 4
I second HannahT’s advice, especially the part about pre-wedding events. Are you having an engagement party or wedding shower that they could both come to? An all-women wedding shower might be a good place for them to meet, with other people around but not your dad so your mom won’t have to see her with him at first.
For our wedding, my parents had over to dinner a bunch of out-of-town guests who arrived early, on Thursday. It was mostly my now-husband’s family and his parents are divorced. There is bad blood between the two families, but they were on neutral ground and the tension was dissolved early in the weekend. After that, people seemed to be comfortable around each other (if not exactly buddy-buddy).
Hopefully everyone will be so happy for you and your guy that they can put aside the past and just focus on the joyous occasion.
Post # 5
My wedding was this past Friday, and I had a very similar situation. My mom and dad were divorced 3 years ago and my dad has been dating another woman for the past 3-4 years (I know; do the math). While I am not super friendly with my dad’s gf, it would have been extremely rude to not invite her to things. She was invited to the shower, etc, and on my wedding day (this past Friday) everything was fine. My mom and dad each hosted their own table, my dad’s gf knew enough to stay far away from my mom, and while my mom wasn’t thrilled that the gf was there, she was completely fine. I think that if you do invite her to some pre-wedding things, the shock will wear off and your mom should be fine. I def. wouldn’t wait until the wedding for them to meet; it’s already an emotionally-charged day and the shock of meeting her ex’s gf might be too much to handle on your wedding day. Goodd luck!
Post # 6
I agree with everything ktdid23 said. it seems like the time they split up and the time your dad started living with new gf is very close….I am sure this has a lot to do with negative feelings as well. But, the gf should be invited to the shower, rehearsal, etc. anyway, so your mom will hopefully get over it by then. I know that might sound harsh….my parents are divorced, remarried and not civil, so I kind of had to be harsh with that whole situation as well. The fact is, they are grown ups. They are the ones who could not make their relationship work (I’m really not trying to be mean!), so for one day I really think they can all suck it up. I know it sucks. I know it really sucks for your mom. Honestly though, she is the one who has chosen not to move on – she can’t expect your dad to have not done the same – otherwise they’d still be together. I hope that you do make the effort to have a sit-down with them all together, or at least introduce them at these pre-wedding events. Out of curiosity, you said you all celebrate holidays and bdays together – why is the gf not part of this? Who doesn’t invite her? This may be some of the reason your mother hasn’t moved on. It also seems like maybe no one else is moving on either?
Post # 7
I am also interested in the fact that you "all get together" for birthdays and holidays, but this has not apparently included your dad’s girlfriend. He has been living with her for 3 1/2 years, and has yet to spend Christmas with her? If that’s the case, perhaps asking him to come to the wedding without her isn’t that big a deal.
I’m also wondering if this would really be the first time your mom sees him with his girlfriend, or whether it would just be the first social event they all attend together. We live in a good sized area (about $150,000), but my husband and I see his ex and her boyfriend (who was the reason their marriage ended) probably at least once a month (in Starbucks, in Target, in restaurants). If we had to sit at the same table with them it would be pretty uncomfortable – because honestly we just have no desire to socialize with them.
I agree that having some kind of earlier event at which your mom gets to at least see the girlfriend is probably a good idea. But it also seems to me that a sort of artificial situation has been created – where you and your mom and dad still interact like a little family even though your mom and dad aren’t together. While it would be really nice if your mom wanted to have birthdays and holidays with your and his girlfriend both there, and her eventual new man as well, I wouldn’t necessarily expect that. So this may be the start of what is probably more usual, which is that you get to do small family gatherings with one or the other, but not both together. That may preclude having your dad’s girlfriend at a shower or other small party, and if your mom’s not comfortable with that I wouldn’t push it. But I do think that after four years, she should be able to spend a few hours with the both of them, as long as the venue is big enough that they can sit at different tables (so I would think not only the reception but the Rehearsal Dinner should be okay).
However – I would say (from my position on the parents’ side of this type of situation) that this is one area where you should get to politely excuse yourself and let them work it out. Talk to both your mom and dad about your concerns, or talk to both of them together, and then suggest that they work out a plan of action that is acceptable to both of them. I don’t think that you should be in the position of having to try to orchestrate acceptable meetings, or trying to juggle guest lists while wondering if somebody will be crying through the event.
Post # 8
Thank you everyone for your responses. It sounds dumb, but I would have never thought of making sure my mom and my dad’s girlfriend meet before the wedding. My natural reaction is ‘avoid, avoid, avoid’ so that was very helpful.
I should clarify- my family gets together for my brother’s bday and my own, not for either of my parents, and we got together for the first couple christmas’s they were separated. I wouldn’t be surprised to see both of them at the same place on christmas day, but I wouldn’t be surprised if i didn’t either.
My mother has created an artificial situation- its a very good way of describing it. I know that, my brother knows that, but my mom doesn’t want to so she doesn’t admit it to herself. I think that is why I’m so worried about it. I would like my mom to move on, so maybe this isn’t such a bad thing if this helps her do so.