Who to invite to graduation ceremony

by Barbara
(Hebron, CT)

I am in an uncomfortable situation. My oldest child is the first to graduate from college. The graduation is one state away from my own home state, so I know my exhusband, his mother and sisters and families would most likely attend if invited. I have been divorced for over 20 years, remarried for 19 years, I do not see or speak to my exhusband who has not financially supported my son growing up or paid for any of his college expenses. I am still on good terms with his sisters and mother. I plan to have a graduation party at my home a few weeks after graduation and will invite my ex-husband and his family to the party. If my son invites them to attend the ceremony, am I obligated to include them in our plans for after the ceremony? I would like to take my son and his girlfriend to dinner that evening, and do not want to have to invite my ex and his family to join us. My own mother and sister and family will be joining us for dinner, but I do not want to include the ex and his family. Is it ok to invite them just to the ceremony and to the party at my home a few weeks later?

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by: Ms P Etiquette

Dear Barbara~

Your question brings up a familiar family dynamic, one that can often be uncomfortable for many of the participants. However, there is a way to handle this with good manners and graciousness.

You have the right to invite or exclude anyone since you are hosting the affair. The important aspect of this situation is to examine your motives. This is an event that represents an important passage in your son's life. Therefore any decision you make must be one with which he is comfortable.

If you have generously included your ex-husband and his family in the party at your home you have been more than fair.

Let your son know that you want the special dinner to be attended by your mother, sister and family only so you can be certain by his response, he is in agreement. If, for whatever reason, your son wishes his father and family to attend this dinner, then you have to decide what to do.

In any case, please resolve all of this before the graduation so this is a joyful event for you son and others.

Congratulations to you all!

Ms Practical Etiquette

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