DEAR AMY: I am getting married soon. We chose a destination wedding. I asked my family and friends in advance of inviting them, and the responses ranged from “Yes!” to “maybe,” to “no.” I understand not everyone can afford the time or money to get away for a week’s vacation and destination wedding. When it came time to put deposits on the houses we rented for the week, my family ALL backed out. It really hurt my feelings. Every single person (outside of my parents and my sister) backed out. My fiance’s family is overflowing with people who want to come. I truly can’t wait to become a part of that family, they are amazing! We are also throwing a local reception. Many of the people who backed out of the destination wedding are now declining the local reception. These are people who told me that “they wouldn’t miss it for the world” and that they “will definitely be there!” All declined, with no explanation. I’m just stunned and hurt. I have attended every single event I was invited to in their lives, and I just don’t feel the loyalty is being returned. I want to write off those people and not attend future family events, unfriend them on Facebook and ignore them. But I also feel that it is petty, that they must have their reasons for not attending and that they aren’t intentionally hurting me. How should I approach the relationship with the family I feel abandoned me?
DEAR JILTED: You are correct — asking people to spend a week’s vacation in order to attend your wedding is asking a lot. You don’t mention why the commitment is so lengthy, but you can assume that it was just unworkable for some of your invited guests.
All the same, I cannot imagine why family members are also declining to attend your local reception. Perhaps your mother — or another close family member — can provide some insight. You could also ask them directly: “I totally understand why you didn’t come to our wedding, but why aren’t you coming to our local party? I was looking forward to seeing you.”
Celebrations seem easy on the surface, but they are actually complex and reciprocal. You will never forget those people who went to a lot of trouble to attend your wedding. It is endearing and important. You will also never forget those who let you down.
You should NOT punish these people by behaving like them. All the same, you should rethink your social obligations toward them: attend their celebrations if you want to, but decline promptly and politely if you don’t.
DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I were ready to move in together, but we had trust issues we could not work out. He has told me a lot of lies in the past, and I admitted that I hadn’t been completely honest with him. I told him I wasn’t going to try to make this work if he wasn’t 100 percent committed, and I ended it. He begged me to reconsider. We met up and he was upset and crying. We ended up having sex. I noticed fake tan marks and lipstick marks on his bed, which didn’t belong to me. I felt weirdly suspicious, so I asked him to be 100 percent honest with me. He came clean and told me he’d had sex with someone else the day before. He admitted he didn’t use a condom with her and hadn’t washed before he slept with me. It killed me to think he had been with someone else. I love him so much. He’s been begging me to get back together. My family and friends are telling me to move on, but I just can’t. Do you have any advice?
DEAR UPSET: Get tested for STDs. Be aware that the other woman might have gotten pregnant from this glorious one-night stand.
Listen to your friends and family. They love you more than he does.
DEAR AMY: “Loving and Blessed” described the challenges of having her ex-husband’s wife refer to herself as the mother (not stepmother) of Loving’s adult children. When I married my husband, I insisted that his ex-wife be part of all birthday celebrations and Christmas as a large family group. I’ve been referring to myself as a “Bonus Mom” all along to our adult “kids,” and we now share two fantastic grandchildren. Everything has gone really well.
DEAR LORI: That’s the best way to be in a family.