Year 1, Month 7, Day 5
I had an interesting conversation with Alex yesterday.
I believe I have mentioned that one of his daughters is getting married at the end of July. He had not mentioned anything about my attending with him, and I was certainly not going to mention it. Since I have not met this daughter yet, I can totally understand why she would not think to invite me. Besides, I have only been dating her dad for three months (four by the time of the wedding) so it’s still in the early days. All perfectly logical reasons and nothing for me to get upset about.
Last night, we were on our usual weeknight date, enjoying dinner at a nearby restaurant. I was filling him in on which of my family members (and old friends) he would be meeting this weekend. (My brother, his crazy ass wife, his youngest daughter, and my brother’s BFF.) Somehow we got started talking about my brother’s wedding and elopements (I think it was because we could overhear the young couple sitting across from us discussing their wedding plans) and he seized the moment and said…
I want to let you know why I haven’t said anything about you coming with me to ‘Mary Beth’s’ wedding. It’s a sensitive issue with her, and I want you to know the back story. When she got married for the first time a few years ago, I was engaged to my wife. My daughter did not want my then fiancée sitting with the family on the first row. My ex threw a fit at the rehearsal dinner, and really showed her ass. I made the decision to support her (since I really just wanted her to be quiet) and it pissed off my daughter. Because of my bad decision, I didn’t see her or my grandson for two years. I don’t your feelings to be hurt that night if you are not included. She and I haven’t talked about it yet…so I’m not sure which way she is going to go.
First, I was astonished at how SELFISH Alex’s soon to be ex is. it sounds as if this woman already considered herself a part of the family even though they were “engaged” and not actually married. And since this was not even a couple of years after his first wife had passed away, it was incredibly insensitive of this woman to insist on being treated like “family.” Secondly, he is still legally married to that woman, so his bringing a girlfriend could be awkward for his extended family (sister and in-laws). And third, this day is about his daughter…not me…and not my relationship with Alex. So her and her fiance’s wishes are what’s important… not me.
So, I said:
Alex, it is entirely up to you and her as to whether I am included as your guest. I haven’t met her yet, so I can understand why she may not want me there…especially if your soon to be ex caused drama at her first wedding. This is Mary Beth’s day, and her wishes are what’s important… not me. I think you know me well enough at this point to know that I certainly wouldn’t insist on being treated as a family member or step-mother. If I am included, I am perfectly fine sitting behind the family on the fourth or fifth row and not being included in any pictures.
I also suspect “Cathy” and “Becky” (the daughters who have met me) told Mary Beth I was nothing like that woman, and she wouldn’t have to worry about any drama from me. But, again, it’s her decision….and I won’t be upset if she doesn’t want me there.
He had a bemused look on his face when I told him this. He replied, “I am not used to hearing this kind of thing from a woman. I can’t believe you wouldn’t feel hurt if you weren’t included.”
I replied, “I wasn’t included in the Father’s Day cookout at her place…and it didn’t bother me. That was father-daughter time and that needed to be family only. Granted, it was odd not spending the evening with you, but I was okay with it…and totally understood why I wasn’t included.”
He just looked at me and grinned, and said, “You have a point there. And Cathy asked me if Mary Beth had included you…and I told her ‘I didn’t ask her if I could bring Lizzie. I didn’t want to push it.’ She wasn’t happy about it, but understood why.”
I replied, “I was properly raised…and know better than to force myself into family situations. All I ask is that I have enough time to pull together an outfit so I don’t embarrass you.”
“It’s a deal!” he said…and we shifted the conversation to less sensitive subjects.
I now realize how hurt Alex was by his estranged wife. How eager he is to avoid confrontation. He lost contact with oldest daughter and only grandchild for years because he chose to keep that woman happy and put his children second.
It gives me a sense of his priorities.
Children (even if they are grown up) come first. It also lets me know he trusts me enough to tell me his family issues. And that he cares about my feelings.
Since I am no stranger to dealing with family issues, I’ll just sit back and let decide what they want to do.
Stay tuned….we’ll see what happens next…