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Carolyn Hax: Stepparent is off the wedding guest list, per ex’s orders

(Nick Galifianakis/For The Washington Post)
3 min

Adapted from an online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: My 27-year-old stepdaughter has made it clear that I am not welcome at her upcoming wedding. She’s blaming it on her mother not wanting me there.

But I’ve been married to her father for more than 10 years, and although we live in different states, I have tried my best to be kind to her. I certainly don’t expect any role except to watch and enjoy her happiness and her father’s pride.

How do I get past my hurt feelings and anger at her?

— Not Invited

Not Invited: How fabulous a trip/adventure/staycation of your own can you plan for the time you would have been at the wedding? Because she and this and they and it all sound utterly not worth a moment more of your angst.

It’s hard and painful, yes, and you probably have some emotional details to work out with her father on this step-relationship going forward — but, really, after All We Have Been Through lately, I am coming to lean hard toward the … how can I say this in a Washington Post-friendly way … “no ducks left to give” family of answers. Take this as license not to care about her or her mother’s crap for multiple days. Pencil in some bliss. Live the dream.

Re: Wedding: What does the father have to say about excluding his wife?!? Not just her stepmother, but his wife. Or is he not getting a plus-one?

— Anonymous

Anonymous: That’s part of what I meant about tidying up emotional details with the husband. He can certainly refuse to go to the wedding on his daughter’s terms, but even with a bride taking emotional hostages like this, that’s such a hard call for a parent that he’s the only one who can make it. So if he hasn’t made it, then a pragmatic spouse will respect the pull he must feel toward going, and find something else to do that weekend, and clean up any resentment in the process, so it doesn’t come back at them later.

There are shortcuts and horse-tradings here, for sure. But, again, at the moment, I’m inclined against taking big stands — besides standing up big for living one’s best life using the materials at hand.

Other readers’ thoughts:

· Talk to your stepdaughter directly. Tell her that you’ll respect her wishes but that you’re hurt that she doesn’t want you to share the day with her. See what happens from there, and proceed with the relationship based on her response.

· Can you try taking your stepdaughter at her word that she’s excluding you for her mother’s comfort? If that’s the situation, then that could be really tough for a young woman who has already been through her parents’ divorce. I understand feeling hurt, but I would take this as a sign she has stuff to work through with her mother and do my best to graciously step aside.

Play the long game here, and let this go. She will probably love you more for not making this harder, and a wedding is just one day.