DEAR AMY: I am a mother of two daughters, 13 and 15. I have been divorced since 2006.
I am engaged to be married this August. My daughters were furious when I told them I was getting married. They told me they would not be here or support the marriage, but they won’t tell me why.
They were angry to the point that I haven’t even told them the date of the wedding because I’m afraid they will try to argue their way out of being here or try to get their dad involved.
He tells them I should never have moved on in my life if they weren’t ready for it. My fiance and I have been together for more than three years and lived together for the past 21 / 2 years.
I am confused if I should force them to be at our wedding or let them skip it. I just don’t know what to do.
My family has tried to talk to them about the wedding in the hopes that they would get excited about it.
I never expected these kids to welcome my fiance as a stepdad, but only to respect him as an adult. They are fine with the two of us when they are getting what they want; I feel they use him and then will turn around and be rude to him.
I don’t want to strain our relationship anymore, but I don’t want my girls to regret their decision later in life. -- Confused Mom
DEAR CONFUSED: Everything you are doing is the opposite of what you should do. Obviously, your kids have noticed this and are acting out, which is their juvenile way of conveying how confused they are and how little empathy and authority you have.
It is a tough job to get kids ready for a parent to be with another partner (and some kids never quite get there), but by now they should trust you, trust your judgment, and trust it when you say that everything will work out in the end, for all of you.
You are giving your kids power when you should be calmly asserting your own. And you are either unable or unwilling to imagine this from their point of view.
You hiding the date of the wedding from your children is sneaky, rude and confusing.
Ideally, you and your partner would try to talk this through with both kids. Tell them the date of the wedding and say, “Obviously, we can’t imagine doing this without you. So take some time to think about it and we hope you’ll choose to participate. If you want to be with your dad that day, we understand.”
DEAR AMY: I recently became engaged, and the wedding will be in a year. I will have four of my best friends as bridesmaids.
My fiance, “Brian,” has a younger sister in college, and I have only met her a few times. I also have a brother who Brian knows and likes, although they are not exactly close friends.
Even though Brian’s sister and I do not know each other very well, should I ask her to be my fifth bridesmaid? And should Brian ask my brother to be a groomsman? -- Flustered Fiancee
DEAR FLUSTERED: Yes on both counts. There is no requirement that you include future in-laws as attendants, but it is the kindest, most inclusive thing to do.
Your bridal attendants are meant to represent the joining of your families, as well as being representatives of your lives as single people.
A great way for you to get to know your future in-laws is to experience the work and rituals of the wedding together.
For a best/worst-case scenario, watch the movie “Bridesmaids” before you take the leap.
DEAR AMY: Your advice to “Worried” was not specific enough. He was concerned about his fiancee’s drinking. You wisely told him to go to Al-Anon meetings. You didn’t tell him, “She is an alcoholic. Run!” -- Been There
DEAR BEEN THERE: One benefit of the Al-Anon model is the emphasis on truth, clarity and choice. “Worried” definitely needed to face some tough realities — preferably before marriage.
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