Ask dad not to bring new gf to cousin's wedding?

by Jessica H
(Vancouver, Canada )

My cousin (my dad's brother's daughter) is about to get married! I am fairly close to her, her sister and my other cousins on my dad's side that will be in attendance. However, my parents are recently divorced (finalized this year, but have been seperated for 5 years) and I have not spoken to my dad in over 2 years as a result of terrible, damaging things he has said and done to me and my brother through this process. I would very much like to go to the wedding, and think that I could be civil with my dad with some advance conversation, however the problem is that he has a girlfriend of 2 years that he would bring, which I am not prepared to deal with given the shaky ground we are already on. Would it be fair for me to ask my dad not to bring his girlfriend to the wedding? I would really like to be there for my cousin, and to see all of the rest of my family, however do not think I can mentally handle dealing with/meeting "the other woman" from my parents marriage at this particular event, having to introduce her to my kids, etc etc ... Especially when my dad and I are barely on speaking terms. Advice!

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Wedding Attendance
by: Ms P Etiquette

Hello Jessica,

Divorce can certainly deal a heavy blow to any family. If one wants to move past all the damage from the past in order to move forward, the residual resentment must be dealt with.

You sound hurt and angry, which is understandable. However, trying to control who is present when you see your father is highly impractical. My suggestion is you make a decision to attend the wedding, no matter who else is there or you send your regrets. The wedding day is about the bride and groom only. Good manners dictate we put aside anything that may cause discomfort in any other guest so there is no distraction from the celebrants. Tall order. Be honest with yourself so you feel good about your actions when the event is over.

Thank you for your interesting question. I would love to know your decision and how it worked out for you.

Ms. Practical Etiquette

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Be the Better Person
by: Anonymous

It sounds like your cousin, whom you say you are "close" to, would be the one hurt if you don't attend the wedding. After all, a wedding is supposed to be about the happy couple and NOT about you and your Dad and the past history of a failed marriage. My advice would be to go and be as polite as you possibly can - it may take some practice at home before the event. I don't know how old your children are but if they are older than toddlers, and have never met their grandfather, then a polite introduction should suffice. Rise above your feelings of hurt and abandonment and if your Dad is a jerk, he will expose that in front of everyone. Be the better person in this situation - even if you have to grit your teeth to do it.

And, I will add this, you really have no way of knowing the truth of your parents' lives together and if they were separated for 5 years then maybe your Dad's new girlfriend is NOT the "other woman." My ex got married the day after our divorce was final!

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