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Kate McCoy
Kate McCoy, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5509
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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My oldest daughter Loryn (age 29) is getting married and has

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This should be a therapist question.  I inadvertently sent it to a lawyer.


My oldest daughter Loryn (age 29) is getting married and has not invited my wife Susan. My wife Susan has been Loryns stepmother since Loryn was 2 years old. Susan and I have two young teenagers whom Loryn adores, her brother and sister. Loryn has invited me and the kids, but not my wife Susan. My wife Susan and I had a difficult couple of years and came close to divorce. Also, Loryn let me know some time ago that she did not want to invite Susan to her wedding, but I kept that information from Susan (that Loryn didn't want her there), hoping Loryn would change her mind. Meanwhile Loryn has been getting our kids ready to be "in" the wedding. Susan has supported this (without knowing that Loryn planned on ‘not’ inviting her) Susan said some time ago to Loryn that the kids would go “only if the parents were invited” meaning BOTH her and I. I did not commit one way or the other, leaving it open to interpretation, and furthering the potential for a mess.. Further, my wife Susan does not want the kids near my birth family who will all be at the wedding. Susan will not talk to my birth family. Susan may have almost no one to connect with at the wedding. My wife Susan will likely be angry and hurt if I go alone, and she won’t let me take the kids. If my daughter Loryn invites Susan and we all go, it will be incredibly stressfull as my wife Susan and my birth family are at complete odds. I may not be able to talk to my birth family, otherwise my wife Susan will feel threatened. If I don’t go at all, then I’ve skipped my daughters wedding. I have asked Loryn to invite Susan, but I have not yet told her that it is all of us or none of us. Being married, my wife is my most important relationship, yet I am conflicted no matter what choice I make. (1.Don’t go to the wedding versus 2. Go and risk divorce or my kids feeling betrayed that I go and they do not) Advice???

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Kate McCoy replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like no matter what you do, someone's feelings are going to get hurt. And that is a difficult position to be in. The conflicts created in a blended family can be difficult and makes loyalties a very tough choice.

From what you described, it seems that this conflict is not just between you, your wife and your daughter. It also includes the kids and your birth family. So there are many people influencing the decision on what to do.

It also matters somewhat who paid for the wedding. If your daughter paid for it, then she can invite whoever she pleases. If you paid for it, then you can have some say so in what happens, though not as much because it is your daughter's wedding and you want her to be happy. This does not take in to account, though, everyone's feelings and the results of what you decide to do regarding who comes to the wedding.

You are right in the middle of the whole situation. And you are trying to make both sides get along without the other side knowing what you are doing. But with the situation as it is, it is going to be impossible to make every one happy. You need to stop trying to deal with this on your own. What needs to happen is that you let everyone work this out between them with you influencing the decision but not being in the middle of it. Be honest and open with your wife and daughter. They need to know where this stands so it can get worked out.

One way to do that is to get your wife and daughter talking to each other. See if they can work this out. Your daughter may be fearful of her step mother's relationship with your side of the family and in an effort to keep your relatives happy, she is trying to reduce the amount of stress between everyone. This is a valid consideration. So it might be that in order to invite your wife, your daughter needs to seat her away from your family or at least as much as possible.

You may also want to consider a mediator or counselor to help both sides work out their concerns. By having someone mediate, both sides can be heard and a solution worked out.

If those solutions do not work out, then you may need to attend alone. It may hurt your wife and kids, so you need to keep the attendance short. Let your daughter know that you have no other choice but to attend briefly so you can keep peace in the family yet not miss her big day. Maybe she will be able to overlook her feelings and invite your wife and your kids along.

I hope this has helped you,
Kate
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

At this point I have talked to both my wife and my daughter and information is at least not obscured.


My wife thinks I need to "get my priorities straight" which means be ready to cut ties with my daughter and my birth family in order to keep ties with my wife. I believe that one's loyalties belong with their wife, but I am also afraid of cutting all these ties and the precedent it sets for all of us.


My kids have no relationship with my birth family because my wife will not let it happen, but my oldest daughter has a close relationship with my birth family. I had a reasonable relationship with my family, but have had to cut off communications to appease my wife.


 


I may be able to get my wife and daughter in a room and will try, but I doubt my daughter will attend.


 


Is it reasonable for me to not attend the wedding to honor my wife, sending that message to the kids and all? I think that is what my wife prefers, but it doesn't sit well with me.

Expert:  Kate McCoy replied 2 years ago.

It is a lot to ask you to cut ties with your daughter. That is asking you to ignore an important part of your life and it puts you in a bad position. Unless your daughter has done something awful to your wife or to you, then it may not be wise to end the relationship. It will be very difficult to ever repair if you desire to do so because of the hurt and pain it will cause.

You can decide to not attend the wedding, but that also sends a message to your daughter about who you prefer. That can affect your relationship with her in the future. The issue here is that your wife and daughter do not get along and each is trying to get you to pick them over the other. It is a no win scenario. So either getting them together or making a choice are the only options. Given that your daughter has this one special day maybe once in her lifetime, it might be a good idea to try to attend, no matter how you have to work it.

Kate

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

So after just speaking with my wife on this I wanted to reach out to you again.


My wife wants me to say to my daughter "Invite my wife Susan or none of us are going". Susan believes this would be a display of showing honor for her (my wife). I said I felt it was too confrontational, but my wife got angry and said "so you're not willing to show that you support your wife". I tried to explain that I do support her, but not going to the wedding wasn't the way to "show support". And around and around we go.


This is a common theme and clearly part of a bigger problem... and that is for therapy, but I guess in this exchange with you Kate I am using it as a metaphor for our bigger problem.


 


So how am I to resolve this successfully? Am I being insensitive to my wife? Or is she being unreasonable?

Expert:  Kate McCoy replied 2 years ago.

There is no way to resolve it successfully if your daughter and wife will not compromise. It is a no win scenario in that case. If they will not compromise, it will be up to you to decide if you can miss your daughter's wedding to please your wife or go to your daughter's wedding at least for a while to please her.

Kate



May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or more stars? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer.
Thank you so much!

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Kate,


You have been helpful and I will report as such. I'd like one more exchange if that is ok.


My wife feels that my daughter and I are not considering how this will affect the kids. She feels we are being "selfish".


 


You are right that I will have to make a decision. From what I have shared, do you think that I and my daughter are being selfish?


 


See my wires Susans note to my daughter Loryn below:


------------------

And a few days after sending this, I pulled from your dad

1) that he knew all year that you had already decided you didnt want me at your wedding.

2) that you knew he was not going to tell me.

3) all year you have both been sharing that secret while exploiting my love and good will toward you, our family and your relationship with the kids.

4) knowing that you intended to win them to join you in your very public punishing, disrespectful exclusion of their mother.... an act that would ultimately plant a seed of self-loathing and possibly corrupt their relationship with me.


Have you talked with your therapist about what this might feel like for the kids? Clue (imagine that when Sofia and Roman grow up...they tell you that no one in their family likes you so because of all the ways you hurt them and their mother, so they dont want you at their wedding, but they do want your kids.)

Good bye.

------------------
Expert:  Kate McCoy replied 2 years ago.
It sounds like your wife is upset that she may not be chosen over your daughter. Competition between step parents and their spouse's children is one of the biggest issues in blended families. The trick is to not give in to the fighting and try to be as objective as you can. You are caught in a very bad situation and no one in the situation is considering where you are with this, only what they feel. The ideal solution would be for each side to compromise some so you could go to the wedding and be with your wife and kids. But since they will not do that, they leave you to make a choice which no matter what you choose, everyone will be unhappy. So in a way, everyone is being selfish.

Kate
Kate McCoy, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5509
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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