How can I deal with the fact that my best friend is not inviting me to her wedding?
posted by anonymous to human relations (90 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I have known my best friend for more than a decade. We went to the same high school and then became very good friends in College.
We have been very tight for the last 10 years. We have many of the same friends and the same interests. She has vacationed with my parents, siblings and I (with no other friends present). She has an open invitation at both my house in my current city as well as at the home of parents and family members. To be blunt, her family-life has been less than stellar (with histories of borderline mental illness and alcohol abuse on both sides) so I have always made an effort to treat her like a sister. We have also been on numerous trips together - the latest one to the Middle East in February which we had talked about doing ever since we became friendly and for which we had finally saved up enough money for.
We communicate daily – either in frequent emails through the day or in phone calls.
While my love-life has been less than super active (coupled with the fact that I am an extremely private person when it comes to matters of the heart), I have always been a main confidante of hers when it came to her relationships. In university, I was the one who held back her hair as she threw up repeatedly after having a bad reaction to the morning-after-pill. I was the one she cried with when a particularly nasty boyfriend did anything particularly nasty. When Mr. X came into the picture two years ago, I was thrilled for her. She insisted on bringing him to me to get my approval. He was a delightful man – uncomplicated, down-to-earth but truly caring and a good match for her. When she asked if he could come with us on our much-planned trip to the Middle East, I agreed and we all had a wonderful time without any awkwardness. I would now qualify the three of us as being good friends.
I have teased her in the past about their getting married and the two of them openly talked about a future wedding while around me. Last summer, she asked me if I would consider being a bridesmaid at their wedding (they were not yet engaged at this time.) She indicated that the maid of honour role would likely go to her other friend, Ms. Y, who she grew up next to and who is her *oldest* friend. I was slightly disappointed with this, but understood and could live with her choice as long as I would be included in a different role.
Over the last six months, they continued to talk with increasing likelihood of their becoming engaged and moved forward with plans to purchase a house. She would email me houses they were looking at and ask for my opinion. We talked about the future and plans and I always teased Mr. X about when he was finally going to propose so that I could arrange to send them some champagne.
Then a month ago, I got a phone call from my friend which started off with: “time to go get the champagne – we just got engaged”. This phone call happened less than hour after he popped the question and followed only calls to both of their families.
I expressed my happiness to them both and offered my congratulations. When I asked whether they knew the approximate date they would be looking at getting married on, there was a pause which was followed by: “oh sometime in the fall. We’ve decided to do something really small with only about 10 people – just our immediate families, Mr. X’s friend and… of course… Ms. Y. She’s my best friend after all.”
I was hurt by this, of course, since I always considered my friend to be *my* best friend… when clearly I was not hers. I did not want to spoil her happy day by saying anything so continued offer my congratulations and left it at that.
The next week when I visited them (bringing the champagne), she was all abuzz with wedding details and spoke about them with me frequently about venues, religious ceremony discussions and locations for their tiny reception. She also made a point of repeating that I would not be there and how it would only be for their immediate families and their two “best friends”. I felt tears come to my eyes (something that never happens to me), excused myself to the washroom and, after composing myself, did not return our conversation to the topic of the wedding. Anytime she mentioned it afterwards, which she did, I would change the subject.
Meanwhile, Mr. X’s mother was very unhappy about such a small wedding – it which her large, extended family would not be included. I held out hope and was bombarded with dozens of emails from my friend about their discussions with her future mother-in-law and how unreasonable she was being.
Finally, I got a note from my friend saying they had reached a compromise where they would have a wedding with 50 people – all relatives, Mr. X’s best friend and Ms. Y. They were also planning to have a “pub night” with about 10 friends around the time of the wedding.
I decided that unless I said anything, she would not know how disappointed I was. So I asked whether it made any sense to not expand the guest list to 60 people – to include family members plus the people at the “pub night”, since the friends list was so short anyway and that they wouldn’t be much additional cost (since anyone with any class would leave behind a gift envelope to cover the cost). I got back a long, but formally-written diatribe (think: “Dear Anonymous, thank you for your email.”) about how this wasn’t about cost and that they were treating this wedding like Christmas or Thanksgiving – as a family only celebration. I was shocked – especially since she had celebrated Christmas AND Thanksgiving with my family in the past. She also went on to say that Ms. Y, as her best friend, was being included because she was a “friend of her family”.
She also went on to say that while they would love to have friends there “in a perfect world”, that if she included me or any other friend, they would have to open things up to other friends who they hardly ever see and their parents’ friends. As a final jab in the belly, she said “if we invite you, I have to invite my mother’s priest’s sister – and you know I can’t do that”. I took that to mean that our friendship had the equivalent value of her relationship with her mother’s priest’s sister. Lovely.
She has shared everything in her life with me, and I with her, and yet now she is withholding this most public of celebrations.
I have cried numerous times over this situation. Like it or not, she has been my best friend (even if it turns out I am not hers). I want her in my life. I want to be able to normal around her and know that she will treat me with the kindness I have always shown her and which she has always reciprocated. But I can’t.
She is now pretending as though nothing has happened and that, not only am I not hurt, even if I was, I have no reason to be hurt.
So, hivemind, other than boring you with the details of my life, what I am looking for is this:
1) confirmation that I have a right to be hurt by this and that I am not being selfish
2) advice on how to proceed with our relationship
3) advice on what to say to get her to appreciate how hurt I am
4) advice on whether I should send a gift when they get married (she continues to share details about the event so I know the date). I increasingly think that by doing so, my intention will not be to celebrate the occasion or to be generous, but rather will be out of spite to make her feel guilty