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  • Wedding Question/Dealing with Divorcees

    Hi all,

    I'm getting married in October and I've got a concern to share. My brother is recently divorced. We don't talk much and he lives out of state. His ex-wife lives in the same town I live in and they have two children in common. His oldest daughter is in our wedding. My fiance invited his ex-wife because her daughter is in the wedding and also because she has been nothing if not kind to us.

    My mom called me the other day and told me that my brother's ex-wife was uncomfortable with attending the wedding. She then went on to say that my loyalties should be with my brother instead of his ex-wife. While I do feel some sense of responsibility for him, I also didn't think it to be fair to have his daughter in the wedding and not invite his ex-wife to see her do her thing.

    I called my brother's ex-wife and spoke to her about this. She said that she did feel uncomfortable but that she was glad that we invited her. I told her that if she's going to feel uncomfortable then she shouldn't feel bad about not coming. I told her that we just wanted to allow her the opportunity to attend if she wanted to.

    My brother called me tonight and completely lost it. He said that there is a child custody battle going on. I was previously unaware of this. So far as I knew, it was a relatively smooth break between the two of them. He told me that I was sh***ing all over his life. I explained to him why we did what we did and then told him that being civil for one day with someone he has a problem with is something that adults do. He replied by saying that I have no idea what an adult is and that I wouldn't know what marriage means if it jumped up and smacked me in the face.

    Well, that's about as objective as I could make it. If anyone has any comments or suggestions, I'd appreciate it. From what I understand, I've been making myself unwelcome in my extended family, so I guess I'm just looking for some stories of similar experiences here.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Sheepdog110; 09-16-2009, 01:25 AM. Reason: Re-worded the last sentence in the last paragraph.
    "To know that you know what you know and that you do not know what you do not know; that is true knowledge." - Unknown

  • #2
    You are right on, your brother and his ex wife made babies together these babies tie both your families together forever. The brother and the ex wife need to act polite at these events.

    I have a brother and sister who married a brother and a sister. My sister divorced and when the extended family gets together all act polite.

    Tell your brother that the only side you are going to take is the one that does not cut you off from your nephews and nieces that you don't stop being an Uncle just because his marriage did not work out. When he speaks ill of his ex wife to you, just tell him that is between him and her and none of your business to be involved in their private emotional baggage.

    It's not going to work but that is what should happen.

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    • #3
      Good luck on your wedding.

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      • #4
        My cousins had the same situation, except the genders were reversed (ex-husband). He came a little late to the wedding and slipped in the back, so he saw the ceremony and his daughter (she was flower girl). She saw him there when she came down the aisle. When the wedding party walked out after the ceremony, he slipped out and talked to his daughter for a little bit and then left. So the divorcing parties never actually saw each other, but he got to see his daughter in the wedding.

        I don't know if that was right, but that was what he chose to do. Eventually they all got along well enough to be together at family events, but this wedding took place during the roughest part of the divorce. That they eventually were able to share in the daughter's events and be nice to each other was good, because the ex-husband recently died unexpectedly and I think the ex-wife would have felt pretty bad if she had kept him from being a part of those moments.

        Your brother is understandably emotional, I would just remind him that you're only thinking of his children, whom you both love, and that the child may want both her parents to see her in a wedding.
        "Of course America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up."

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        • #5
          Dave, Nikk; Thank you both for the replies.

          I just got off of the phone with a guy I went through the Academy with. He said that, regardless of the outcome, I need to protect my soon-to-be wife. I agree with him with all of my heart. The really "weird" (probably more common than I know) part about all of this is that my family tends to put the emphasis on the extended family instead of the immediate family. This is evidenced by the extremely high divorce rate in my family. I feel that this is detrimental to the immediate family because it tells your spouse that you've never completely adopted them as an important part of your life. If I were to tell my soon-to-be wife that my mother was more important than her, I would be single in the same day. Not worth it. Plus, this is the same woman that saved my job, nearly by herself. (We recently went through a reduction in force proposal in my city and it was being pushed very hard to lay off the cops around there in an effort to reduce the budget. She rallied the town, which we live thirty miles away from, in order to save the remnants of the Department.) She spent hundreds of dollars on materials and many sleepless nights keeping the town informed while I was going from call to call. Yes, she did have to drive an hour round trip to do this - and that was just to get to town.

          I've never known another person who has fought as hard for me as she has. In my head, the person you CHOOSE to live you life with deserves more consideration than the person who CHOSE to give birth to you. Perhaps I am incorrect in this thinking, but if everyone is being mature about what circumstances exist, then there should be no issue at all.
          "To know that you know what you know and that you do not know what you do not know; that is true knowledge." - Unknown

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          • #6
            Regardless of the outcome of your brothers' and sister-in-laws' marital breakdown, their children are still family and you are the Uncle in the kids lives unless you choose to hav enothing to do with the kids. I reckon you are showing class by involving the kid and her mother in your wedding party. If your brother wants to winge, moan, groan, b1tch, etc about it, he has a problem.

            If they wan tto join you in the stakes, they could put aside their differences to enable you and your wife-to-be to have your day. All the best with your future
            If at first you don't succeed, remove all evidence of your attempt.

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            • #7
              If your extended family took it far enough that you had to choose between them and your wife, then you choose your wife, but taking care of loved ones both yours and hers, will show her that you do not walk out on loved ones easily including her and hers.

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              • #8
                Congrats on getting married next month.
                As for advice....
                I feel your pain. I am taking the plunge in May, myself. Both my fiance and I come from broken familys. We have family members that cannot abide each other. Simply put she and I straight up told them if you cant act civil don't even bother to show. ie My mother and stepmother. Or my dad and step dad(My dad is his Captian talk about akward).
                This is your day not your familys and you should drive that home. They are there to show love and support not for an episode of Maury. It sucks to have to give loved ones an ultamatum like that but if your cool and professional they should take it well. Anyway best of luck to both of y'all.
                Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.

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                • #9
                  Congrats on getting married!
                  Dispatch: "All units be advised, he's on foot in a red dodge pick up truck."
                  Me: "Ummm, control..."

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                  • #10
                    Thank you for the well-wishing, brn2reign! We appreciate it.

                    Bushranger: That is part of what I am concerned about. Given that my side of the family is very close to disowning us, I don't doubt that we would be completely excluded from the lives of my nieces. Granted, I rarely see them as it is, but this is looking to be the coup-de-graux (sp?) for ties with that side.
                    "To know that you know what you know and that you do not know what you do not know; that is true knowledge." - Unknown

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                    • #11
                      Your fiance made the right choice in inviting mom, since her daughter is part of the wedding party....something she will always remember and cherish.

                      You are right to stand by your fiance.
                      Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.

                      sigpic

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by willowdared View Post
                        Your fiance made the right choice in inviting mom, since her daughter is part of the wedding party....something she will always remember and cherish.

                        You are right to stand by your fiance.
                        Oh, I agree completely. One thing I've learned is that my fiance is much smarter than I am, especially when it comes to things like this. Since I grew up in the same family as my brother, I would have once sided with him instead of her. My fiance has done WONDERS in teaching me what it means to love and about not being walked on all the time. She, having a somewhat dominant personality, has also had to make some concessions to not treat me like a doormat because I make it so easy and tempting to do. I cannot express in words how impressed I am with how well she has handled everything. She deserves so much, and I hope that I can deliver everything she has ever wanted in a spouse. The other awesome part about that is that her parents and I get along famously. I can't believe how lucky I am to have her!

                        NOTE: I don't think I've mentioned this, but the ex-wife told me that she does not plan on coming to the wedding because of the discomfort that it could cause for everyone. I told her that we are completely okay with that, but wanted to at least extend a welcoming hand to her.
                        Last edited by Sheepdog110; 09-16-2009, 01:35 AM. Reason: Added the "NOTE"
                        "To know that you know what you know and that you do not know what you do not know; that is true knowledge." - Unknown

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                        • #13
                          Stay single!
                          I make my living on Irish welfare.

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                          • #14
                            Relis49, I will take that as a failed attempt at humor.
                            "To know that you know what you know and that you do not know what you do not know; that is true knowledge." - Unknown

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                            • #15
                              Not much to say here that has not already been said as fareas advcie goes. I think your handling it as best as you can under the circumstances. It's tough spot to be in so I hope it all pans out for you bro. Good luck and Congrats.
                              sigpic
                              Formerly Username k91376
                              " They Took the BAR!! The whole F%$#ING BAR! "

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