For today’ post I am going to respond uncharacteristically by breaking down the submitted story and replying to each paragraph individually…..
Hi, can I ask your and your readers’ advice?
You certainly may.
I’ve been divorced for 3 years. My ex and I were married for 30 years and were friends until just a few months ago when we had a falling out. Part of the falling out was I don’t like his new girlfriend, and neither does most of the family. She is cold and snobbish. They have been dating for about 6 months. Our daughter, Lucy, is very angry with me for “breaking up” the family just before Christmas and blames me for the divorce and a lot of other things. Other things she shouldn’t even know about that my ex told her and spun in ways to make me look bad and himself look like poor Mr. Nice Guy. I am completely avoiding him, since I would really like to rip his head off. Lucy is barely talking to me and has been really hateful.
It is unfortunate when children become the battleground upon which their adult parents fight.
Lucy is getting married in 4 months. She has decided to have a very small wedding with just parents, siblings, and grandparents — about 20 people. I want her to include aunts and uncles, as my SIL (ex’s sister), who I am very close to, is very disappointed. Lucy’s other aunt will be heartbroken to not be invited. This would be bring the count to around 30.
Lucy is going to invite the ex’s girlfriend. I don’t want her there, especially since the party is so small and immediate family only. I really don’t want her there since my SIL isn’t going to be invited.
The ex’s girlfriend being there and the bride’s aunt not being invited are two separate issues. Be careful to not take up the offense of your sister-in-law at not being invited. You are justifying rude behavior in retaliation for your sister-in-law not being invited. If most of the family dislikes the ex’s girlfriend, trust me, it will be more awkward for her than it is for you. Imagine being in close quarters with a family that universally disdains you. The best revenge, imo, is to play the part of the gracious mother of the bride and enjoy the family connections that are there. If ex’s girlfriend is truly cold and snobbish, you want to present a totally opposite image of civility, graciousness (defined as kindness to the undeserving) and pleasantness.
Here’s the kicker. My daughter is keeping her wedding tiny so she can use the money the parents are contributing for a house down payment. I had intended to contribute 5k, my ex 3k, which is what we contributed to another child’s wedding last year. Lucy’s wedding is going to cost less than $1k (previous child’s was over $10k).
I really only want to give $1k since she doesn’t have any interest in my wishes. I know this probably makes me sound small and selfish, but I am really hurt and angry about this. Part of me does want to get back at her for being so hateful lately. But mostly I can’t stand the idea of having to be polite to my ex, much less his GF, when people we love are excluded. How bad is it to gift different amounts to children when their expenses are so different? Or can I say to Lucy, if you want my money you have to expand the guest list?
While I appreciate the transparency of your motives, I would caution you to seriously consider the ramifications of what you are pondering doing. You are considering using money to exert your preferences which will come across as manipulative and petty. You will confirm to your daughter that you really are the evil creature her father has portrayed you to be and she is the latest “poor Nice Daughter”. Why behave in ways that plays right into people’s poor perceptions of you?
As for being polite to your ex, you would do well to engage him in what I refer to as “business civility”. A person can be formal, civil, even pleasant to business associates in order to get a job done but that doesn’t mean there is any depth of relationship beyond that. Your job is to get your daughter married with as little drama as possible and that means you will greet the bride’s father with a polite “Good morning” and then interact with him throughout the day in a business-like manner which may include having to chat about very superficial topics and stand in proximity to him for photos.
It is certainly within your prerogative to decide the parameters of your monetary gift. But be careful, if you did not have these parameters in place with the other child’s wedding last year, you will come across as the evil mother who rewards one child and punishes the other. There is the real possibility of creting divisiveness between your children.
What you can do is state that your offer for Lucy and the other child was to pay for a wedding, not a down payment for a house. But if the money for the other child’s wedding was presented as a gift to do with as he/she pleases, I think you are stuck with the obligation to be consistent.
On Ehell there’s been the steady belief that he who would holds the purse string calls the shots. But in your case, I would be very careful how you call those shots because this is a situation where it can backfire rather spectacularly with repercussions well into the future.
To add detail, the original plan for 20 was due to a very small location, but Lucy intended a big casual BBQ celebration a few months later. That plan has been dropped due to cost, and now it’s just a restaurant dinner following the ceremony for the 20 guests (location can accommodate 30, easily).
One last thing, if Lucy insists on ex’s GF attending, can I insist on a plus one, too? I’ll take my SIL as my guest.
Sure! I wouldn’t “insist” but merely make the observation that since the father of the bride has the liberty to bring a “plus one”, you would appreciate the same opportunity.
Thank you. 0131-17
You are welcome.