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Dear Amy: My ex-husband’s 38-year-old niece, “Clare,” is getting married next month and has chosen not to invite me to her wedding.
During our 30-year marriage we lived three to four hours from his family and visited at major holidays. I was present in Clare’s life from the time of her birth and during all the years of our marriage. I have seen her at my daughter’s wedding, graduations, funerals and on Facebook over these years.
The bride has blindsided me and my ex-husband by excluding me.
My ex and I have stayed close, and he asked why I wasn’t invited. She reported that she is mad at me because she feels I favored another younger niece who was my daughter’s age over her as a teen, which I did not, and she doesn’t want me at her wedding.
Her mother, my former sister-in-law, wanted me included, but the bride refused. My adult children will be traveling a long distance to attend this wedding, just as Clare attended my daughter’s wedding five years ago — along with many members of my ex-husband’s family.
It really hurts to be excluded and to miss a rare evening with nieces and nephews (along with my own children).
Although my feelings are very hurt by this slight, I’ve made peace with the fact that a bride can invite whomever she wants. Now I am unsure how to navigate this going forward.
Should I send a card? Act like it never happened? Or do I tell this niece that I am sorry she has held onto this resentment that I was never aware of, and wish her well?
This niece and her parents will be invited to my son’s out-of-town wedding next year, and she attended an engagement party this spring. I saw the parents of the bride at a family funeral just last week and didn’t bring it up.
— Hurt and Puzzled Aunt
Aunt: I assume that you’ve arrived at one important destination, in that you no longer would even consider attending a wedding where the bride so steadfastly does not want you there.
“Clare” is quite obviously resisting very kind urgings by both her mother and uncle to include you. Ouch.
You could send her a card, expressing your concern about your relationship with her, which has only surfaced now. You could state that you had no idea she was holding onto a resentment leftover from her teen years, and say that you wish you had been aware of this so you could have addressed it with her.
I suggest you also include wording like, “Your uncle Bud and I have managed to remain close friends even though we are divorced, and will always consider our families to be linked and loving. I hope you and your new husband enjoy the same sort of closeness with one another’s families.”
This exclusion has already been addressed by both your ex and the bride’s mother. At future family gatherings, there is no point in bringing it up again with them.
Dear Amy: These days, it seems as if Americans can’t agree on anything. I have a bunch of close family members who have extreme political views. I’m more moderate.
I’m looking for a good one-liner to help stop disagreements politely. The cliche line is “Let’s agree to disagree.”
How about making it more positive and saying, “We agree that we have different beliefs.”
I’d appreciate any one-liners you could recommend.
Stumped: I like “We agree that we have different beliefs.” I suggest that you add a line to that: “ … but can we all also agree to change the subject to a more neutral topic?”
Dear Amy: Thank you for your response to “Disappointed,” and your advice that couples should each have separate money to use or save, as well as a joint account for joint expenses.
My partner and I have set things up this way. We discuss our shared expenses and enjoy total privacy over our own accounts. I can quite honestly say that we have never argued about money.
Harmonious: You’re dodging a major trigger for breaking up. Good for you.
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