How to avoid traumatic encounter at wedding?
June 7, 2015 12:00 PM   Subscribe

The sister of my boyfriend of 10 years! (yes i know...) is getting married and her close friend is likely to attend. This close friend and my boyfriend dated briefly before we met, so over 10 years ago - everyone was very young. About 5 years ago my boyfriend slept with her one night and I found out about this 2 years ago and was extremely hurt. I have thought a lot about it and I feel like i don't want to put myself through encountering her at the wedding. More details inside - apologies for the length.

My boyfriend and I have broken up a couple of times in the last 10 years, over the course of which grad school, jobs, the recession have kept us in a long distance relationship for about 8-9 years. We have finally been living together for the last 10 months in the same city.

My boyfriend and I have had and continue to have a rocky relationship. 5 years ago he chose a job in different country and we nearly broke up, he severely stonewalled my questions about our future together. During this time he visited our home country before starting his new job and had a one night stand with his ex-girlfriend - which he did not tell me about. A month later after starting his new job he asked for a break from out relationship over the phone, to which I agreed. About 3 months later he asked to reconcile to which I also agreed. After which he confessed that in the time we were on a break he'd had a one night stand in the town where his new job was (he claims in a drunken stupor) and he was extremely regretful of it to me.

He repeated this act one more time after we got back together, and was extremely regretful again. He gave up drinking for a while and even now is a very light drinker. He also sought counselling for himself. He offered for us to do it together but I wasn't ready. I have always seen these 2 transgressions as purely sexual and honestly have been less bothered by them than I thought I would be. I do not expect sexual fidelity to never waiver over a lifetime, and in a fraught long distance relationship that is even more likely to happen. He seemed repentant enough and it hasn't been repeated since.

2 years ago, I found out about this one night stand with his ex-girlfriend, which happened a couple of months before the other two. I have not been able to let go of this one as easily as they other two events. I see this one as not just as betrayal but also lying and with me in the dark he continued to be in touch with her and talk about her casually with his sister and with me. I found out when I stumbled upon an email she had written to him with some graphic details of their night together. I was livid - we were in 2 separate countries when I found out. I was in his sister's house and she was the first to see how knocked-out I was by the discovery. I yelled at at my boyfriend for over 2 hours on the phone, he was briefly repentant but he avoided meeting me after that - we broke up again for 8-10 months and got back together just before his father's untimely demise - though which I really stood by his family . Soon after I found out about their night together my boyfriend cut off communication with his ex-girlfriend, purged all her emails but did little to actively heal us, he went off to a new job.

We now live together in the same city as his sister, who back then graciously let us stay with her during bits of the economic recession while we were job hunting - I am indebted to her for this. She also was the first to find out about her brother's indiscretion with her friend and see how devastated I was, yet she has been insensitive to my pain about this betrayal. In last 2-3 years she has repeatedly talked about the friend in my presence, even calling her over the phone and arranging logistical matters that I was helping with. I told my boyfriend to tell his sister to not repeatedly bring up the friend in my presence, but his sister had not taken it seriously until I had a huge blow-out with him and he probably spoke to her firmly. I see it being deeply insensitive to me.

Now his sister is getting married and the friend is likely to attend (we're not sure yet) - I have thought long and hard about it and I do not want to encounter this person. My boyfriend is waffling about our own marriage citing our instability after 10 of being together through many family and professional upheavals and a now ticking biological clock for me. I feel no desire to suck it up for him, his sister or their family. Having said that I also don't feel good about myself saying to his sister that if her friend attends - I won't be coming, but I see no other solution.

My boyfriend and I are working on making our own fraught relationship - which we have not been able to definitively walk away from. Yet in this matter he thinks I'm crucifying him - he has already broken off all contact with her - it was one night - what more do I want? He also naively (and conveniently) thinks since there will be 90 odd people at the wedding, there will be plenty of diversion. I think I will just have a face and real person to flesh out the trauma that frankly my boyfriend has not addressed properly. Added to it there are 3-4 days when all the out of town guests will be doing activities together in the city that she will be a part of, and I don't wish to hang out with this girl, and I don't wish my boyfriend to hang out with her either. His sister has always had a hard time seeing things from other people's perspective - and I expect this case will be no different. My boyfriend doesn't like rocking the boat with anyone except me, but he says he's going to discuss this his sister - but I doubt it will go down well.

Should I just go and use it as an occasion to let go of the whole thing (how?) - I'm conflicted. What should I do (besides dtmfa)?
posted by whatdoyouthink? to Human Relations (46 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
His sister has always had a hard time seeing things from other people's perspective - and I expect this case will be no different.

There are very few circumstances in which I could imagine disinviting my close friend from my wedding. This is not one of them.
posted by feral_goldfish at 12:06 PM on June 7, 2015 [34 favorites]


Skip the wedding and get away from these people. If he's waffling about the two of you getting married after being together 10 years (!!), you should know where you stand. I'm sorry.
posted by jabes at 12:07 PM on June 7, 2015 [33 favorites]


He's cheated on you three times. He's not a man to be proud of.

Dump him, skip the wedding.
posted by arnicae at 12:08 PM on June 7, 2015 [91 favorites]


She also was the first to find out about her brother's indiscretion with her friend and see how devastated I was, yet she has been insensitive to my pain about this betrayal.

Or ... maybe she notices your pain, but attributes it to your choice of boyfriend rather than her choice of friend?
posted by feral_goldfish at 12:19 PM on June 7, 2015 [50 favorites]


You're blaming the sister and her friend where you should be blaming your boyfriend. I understand all those intense hurt and angry feelings but they are completely misplaced. I'm sorry - I know it's hard to face - but you have a chance to act in a way you can be proud of, here. Break up with your boyfriend and send his sister a lovely wedding gift. You will be so glad you did. I promise.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 12:23 PM on June 7, 2015 [114 favorites]


I'll be blunt. The reason the sister has disregarded your feelings and included her close friend in her wedding is because she doesn't think you're going to be in the picture much longer. She is only concerned with the feelings of people she anticipates continuing a relationship with--her close friend, and her brother. She wants them both at her wedding. You're welcome too, but because she probably thinks you will eventually come to your senses and break up with her brother, she's not consulting you about the guest list.

She's probably wondering why you have not dumped her brother yet, given that he has consistently indicated he is not interested in a long-term relationship with you.

Your boyfriend seems to be acting like a jerk to you in hopes that you'll just break it off with him and then he doesn't have to look like the asshole who dumped you after you hung in there for 10 years.

So in answer to your question--if you choose to stay with him, you're going to have to accept that this ex-girlfriend might be at the wedding. No one is going to disinvite her, and your boyfriend isn't going to refuse to attend out of loyalty to you, because he isn't loyal to you.

I am sorry--I know it must feel like you've invested so much time in this relationship, but it's like supporting a bad investment at this point--you're throwing good money (time) after bad.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:33 PM on June 7, 2015 [47 favorites]


You know deep down that you and your boyfriend are never going to get married and that you're eventually going to break up for good, but you don't want to face that yet so you're pretending that whether his sister disinvites her friend from her wedding is the big issue here. It's not.
posted by MsMolly at 12:33 PM on June 7, 2015 [21 favorites]


You have two choices: break up with the boyfriend or go to the wedding and be civil to the ex. Adding another round of drama to the stew that is your already fraught and lengthy history does not advance the cause of building a healthy relationship together. If, after all this time, you can't manage a day-long awkward situation with grace and generosity towards all three of them (BF, sister, ex), you can't handle the relationship at all and should break up.

For what it's worth, in a similar situation I ultimately became close to the ex in question. I lost contact with her when that relationship ended and, to be honest, I miss her friendship more than my former partner.
posted by carmicha at 12:36 PM on June 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


So let me get this straight: you've been in a supposedly-monogamous repeatedly-on/off relationship for ten years, during which he has cheated on you at least three times --- and frankly, if he's cheated three times that you know of then he's probably cheated several more times you don't know about --- and after all that, you're unhappy he's "waffling" about marrying you..... yikes.

The problem here isn't his sister/the bride inviting her friend, or even you possibly encountering someone you know has slept with your boyfriend: the problem is entirely your boyfriend.

The kindest thing he's ever done for you is that "waffling" about getting married: marrying this dude is the very worst thing you could do to yourself. DTMFA, because what you see now --- the on/off stuff, the cheating, the drinking, the general self-righteousness --- is all you can ever look forward to with him. He'll continue to lie, cheat and gaslight you; he'll keep you around as long as its convenient to him, and not one second longer.
posted by easily confused at 12:36 PM on June 7, 2015 [28 favorites]


To answer the question directly, you should go. If you take a few deep breaths, focus on people you like and love at the wedding, avoid direct contact with the exGF, and be cautious not to drink too much, you should be ok. The wedding is not your day, it's your boyfriend's sister's day. When you're having trouble with this, take a few deep breaths, put a smile on your face, look at the flowers and everyone dressed up and decide that it's not about you. Then, afterwards, find some way to reward yourself for keeping your shit together and acting like a grownup.

Seems pretty obvious that you and your boyfriend need work of some kind. You either need to get through this or you need to move on. This probably won't be the last time you'll have to interact socially with the exGF if you stay together. It's not about her.
posted by vunder at 12:42 PM on June 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


You're directing most of your ire at the wrong person. The ex girlfriend behaved badly by sleeping with someone in a relationship, but she hadn't made any promises or commitments of fidelity to you. Your boyfriend is the one who lied and betrayed you, but you're still chugging along with him. And the sister doesn't have any obligation to dump her friend because you're taking your angst about your troubled relationship out on the wrong person. Either suck it up and go to the wedding or find a way to politely decline (maybe by finally breaking up). It's unclear what exactly you want your boyfriend to do aside from "not hang out with her," but it would be unreasonable to ask him to skip the wedding or deliver a her-or-me ultimatum to his sister. It's his sister's wedding, and she has every right to have her brother and friend there without you stirring up drama.
posted by Mavri at 12:54 PM on June 7, 2015 [37 favorites]


Can I ask why DTMFA isn't on the table? Because this is a DTMFA situation if I've ever seen one - not because of this wedding situation, but because you have a fraught relationship that has not settled into something secure and comforting after 10 years, but instead causes you a lot of anxiety. I get that you love him a lot - but someone who has caused you this much pain is probably not the best choice of life partner. I'm so sorry.
posted by superlibby at 12:58 PM on June 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


He's cheated on you three times.

That you know of. Why are you still with this dude who seems to look at you as a backup plan? Your instability after 10 years is due to him cheating on you all the time. First of all don't go to this wedding, second of all move the fuck on.


During this time he visited our home country before starting his new job and had a one night stand with his ex-girlfriend - which he did not tell me about. A month later after starting his new job he asked for a break from out relationship over the phone, to which I agreed. About 3 months later he asked to reconcile to which I also agreed.


Just to clarify, do you understand what happened here? He slept with his ex and then broke up with you so he could try to get back together with her, and when she said no he got back together with you instead, after sampling the available women in his new location and likely finding them unwilling to let him walk all over them.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:06 PM on June 7, 2015 [75 favorites]


DTMFA aside, if I were you I'd just not go to the wedding in any case, if the friend goes or not. It doesn't sound like you'd have fun either way, and you'll definitely piss the sister off if you say you're not coming if the friend's coming, so even if she doesn't come you'll have already created tension.
posted by sweetkid at 1:10 PM on June 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


the best thing for you to do is to move on from this shitstorm. best of luck and my condolences. it sucks, but sunk cost fallacy is definitely a thing and when you don't have to carry this weight anymore you'll be so much happier.
posted by lunastellasol at 1:15 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you absolutely cannot stand to be around the friend, all you can really do is skip the wedding. Any other course of action makes this poor woman's wedding all about you, which is a monumentally shitty thing to do.

Also you should dump this jerk but that's another story.
posted by Itaxpica at 1:19 PM on June 7, 2015 [13 favorites]


I also don't feel good about myself saying to his sister that if her friend attends - I won't be coming, but I see no other solution.

There's no way your sister is going to disinvite her friend, and no reason for her to do so.

I'm sorry, I know this is hard to hear, and probably not what you were expecting when you posted. But it's clear all this anger towards the friend, and by extension the sister, is totally misdirected. You'd be justified in being angry at your boyfriend for cheating on you repeatedly and wasting a decade of your life. You can explore that and act on it without bringing undignified and unjustified drama to his sister's wedding.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:35 PM on June 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


I might have the timelines wrong, but reading through your account, he has cheated on you exactly once (that you know of) over a period of 10 years. The other two times was during a time when the two of you "were on a break", i.e. after you broke up.

I don't know what kind of perfect relationships everyone else is having on this list, but I'd say a lot more information is needed before giving you the advice that you should leave the guy. Yes, sure, he cheated on you (at least once), but for all we know, he could still be a perfectly nice guy, he might be honestly sorry about it (like he said) and regard it as a mistake, etc.

The fact that he's "waffling" regarding commitment does not sound good, but I don't think we have the entire picture here. Maybe it's because he's an asshole who's waiting if he can get a better "deal". Or maybe it's because of some issues with yourself that you haven't told us about. Maybe he asked you for a break because he wanted your permission to go after other girls. Or maybe the situation is entirely different.

But to answer your question: What do you want more? Enjoy yourself at the wedding or run away from it? If you don't want to meet "that person", you don't have to go. You could either be honest to BF's sister and tell her that you don't feel comfortable with "that person" around. Or, if that is awkward, you could just come up with an excuse ahead of time (conference, family issues in a different city...) or if that is difficult, fake an illness on the big day and just don't go. Everyone will be too busy with the wedding anyway to give much thought to it. But you don't need anyone's permission not to go.

Anyway, it's refreshing to see that everyone seems to have so high standards, but I feel that it's really difficult to give sound advice on the basis of what little information we have.
posted by sour cream at 1:46 PM on June 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


The number one rule in situations like this is that you do not get to dictate who is invited or excluded to another person's event. You just don't, ever. So telling your friend that she can't invite the ex is simply not an option. If you give her an ultimatum, the only proper response from her is "We will miss you at the wedding." I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but them's the rules.

So your options are to go or not, and that's a decision that only you can make. I personally would suck it up and go, using it as an opportunity to show how classy and gracious you can be. You don't have to stay for hours and hours, just for as long as you can maintain your composure. If you decide that you just can't go, it would be kinda shitty to insist that your boyfriend must skip his sister's wedding, so you'll have another opportunity to be classy and gracious by not making him feel guilty about attending his sister's wedding.


You are kinda in a no-win situation here, and sometimes that happens in life and you just have to deal with it.
posted by raisingsand at 1:49 PM on June 7, 2015 [15 favorites]


Don't go. It sounds to me like you are in an unhappy, long term relationship. Just stop and move on with your life. You only get one chance at it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:03 PM on June 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Directly on point with the question: decline the invitation graciously and gracefully.

If you suspect that you will be traumatized by your attendance at an event and cannot avoid making someone else's wedding day about yourself (whether by trying to dictate the guest list or by attending and being anything but happy for the bride and groom) then do not attend.

Stop your boyfriend from asking about it. Politely decline. Send a wonderful gift. Most of all, keep the real reason for why you are not attending to yourself. Book a separate family trip if you have to have an excuse. Do not allow your personal drama to cast a dour on someone else's wedding day.
posted by Karaage at 2:32 PM on June 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


Yet in this matter he thinks I'm crucifying him - he has already broken off all contact with her - it was one night - what more do I want?

He's right, you know. Considering that this is a friend of his sister's, she will be in your life for the rest of the time that you are in his. This wedding is just one small example of how the rest of your lives will go.

I don't really see what else can be done here. He already slept with her - it's done! It can't not be done. This is the situation as it stands. So, if you, personally, don't ever want to interact with her, you can go to the wedding and not speak to her. Or you can not go to the wedding. And for the rest of your life with him, you can ignore this ex, or not attend functions with this ex. But you can't make other people shun her for something that they were not even involved in. (You couldn't even make them shun her for something they WERE involved in. You can't make anyone do anything).

This is why people are giving you the DTMFA advice above. This is something that is not acceptable to you but it isn't going to change, so you either have to find some way to accept it or just move on.
posted by chainsofreedom at 2:48 PM on June 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


You're damned if you do or don't. If you go, it sounds like you won't be able to contain yourself for the three days; drama will happen. If you don't go, and give some excuse or other, I doubt your boyfriend will be able to keep the real reasons (which he obviously already knows) to himself for three full days, assuming people will be drinking; drama will still probably happen, it'll just be a slow burn.

You could go just for the wedding, smile and nod through it, and leave early the next day, with the excuse of work obligations. You'd come across the best with this, I think, if you could handle it. (For all of these situations, definitely don't actually mention your reasons or make any kind of demands - it really is about the bride, and she's of course going to prioritize her close relationships.)

However, I agree with everyone that you should break up, for reasons given by superlibby and roomthreeseventeen.
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:49 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I get why this is a stressful situation for you, but you seem to feel offended that the bride invited her good friend to the wedding; it sort of seems like you think everyone should be shunning her for something that happened years ago, which is especially odd because your boyfriend, whom you're still with, is the one who actually harmed you. This is incredibly self absorbed. You have issues that you need to take responsibility for working out,rather than being upset because other people aren't revolving their decisions around you.
posted by metasarah at 2:55 PM on June 7, 2015 [20 favorites]


If you marry him, then that ex-girlfriend of his will continue to be in your life somewhat as the close friend of your new sister-in-law. So having her uninvited would only delay the inevitable.

But there's no way, if I were the bride, would I follow the request of the on-again, off-again girlfriend of my brother to uninvite my close friend.

Decline the invitation or get your head in a place where you can go and appear to be having a wonderful time.
posted by Ink-stained wretch at 3:08 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is my first time using Ask Meta Filter and I'm probably violating the rules by posting on my own thread (Not sure - is this ok?) I just want to clarify a couple of things that I did not in the original post.

I do NOT want the ex-girlfriend uninvited, I have no desire to influence the guest list. His sister has every right to have her friend at her wedding - I do not wish to sully her wedding with any drama caused by me. Nor do I want my boyfriend not be at the wedding. I'm just looking out for myself and asking for advice on how to deal with what is clearly a tricky situation for me. When I say if the Ex is coming I won't go - I mean if she elects to come - not if she's invited (ofcourse she's invited and should be) I'm asking if there is some way around the quagmire for me. And if I go - what can I do to cope. What can my boyfriend do to help me cope.

The DTMFA advice - its well taken and it's not off the table nor am I certain about dumping him, I don't want the sister's wedding timeline to dictate what is a huge decision for me. Yes my boyfriend is the centerpiece of this arrangement - I have told myself this from the day I found out. The ex-girlfriend is a trigger I want to avoid, neither she nor his sister are the focus of my blam.
posted by whatdoyouthink? at 3:28 PM on June 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


When I'm indignant, I often get caught up in seeing myself as blameless. These feelings of indignation often change or dissipate if I recognize that I'm not blameless, and especially if I recognize that others involved have made good faith efforts to improve the situation for my sake. This makes it easier to develop sympathy and solidarity with these other people, and hence to interact more smoothly with them and our shared world.

He also sought counselling for himself. He offered for us to do it together but I wasn't ready.

I found out when I stumbled upon an email she had written to him with some graphic details of their night together. ... I was at his sister's house

he thinks I'm crucifying him - he has already broken off all contact with her

his sister ... back then graciously let us stay with her during bits of the economic recession while we were job hunting - I am indebted to her for this.


So ... you 'stumbled upon' this email how, exactly? It's difficult to do that sort of thing accidentally while the person who owns the email account is in another country. If you were in the sister's house at the time, she presumably knew you were snooping on her brother, but was still sympathetic to your pain.

Your boyfriend slept with his ex, but then made major efforts to change himself and improve your relationship, and his continued lack of alcohol dependency shows that at least some of these efforts were effective. You declined an invitation to do such work yourself.

If your boyfriend's ex-girlfriend is also a close friend of his sister's, it sounds like she is not an insignificant figure in both their lives, quite apart from the sex. So breaking off all contact with her, for the sake of his jealous snooping girlfriend, is kind of a big deal. That's the kind of effort he was still making three years later.

He also naively (and conveniently) thinks since there will be 90 odd people at the wedding, there will be plenty of diversion. I think I will just have a face and real person to flesh out the trauma that frankly my boyfriend has not addressed properly. Added to it there are 3-4 days when all the out of town guests will be doing activities together in the city that she will be a part of, and I don't wish to hang out with this girl, and I don't wish my boyfriend to hang out with her either.

90+ people is A LOT OF PEOPLE. There is no reason to think your boyfriend is saying this in bad faith.

Seeing the ex as a flesh-and-blood person, rather than a mythical monster, might actually help you put past events in perspective.

What exactly should your boyfriend do to address your trauma, that he hasn't already done? Marry you? Even though he may think that your relationship needs work, and that you are not necessarily willing to do this work?

By your account, the only way for your boyfriend not to 'hang out with this girl' (if by 'hang out' you mean 'be part of a large group of wedding guests') is for him not to attend his own sister's wedding, which is CRAZY, or for his sister to disinvite her close friend to appease her brother's jealous (and snooping) girlfriend, which would be really uncool of her.

Understanding others' perspectives is something you ought to do for your own sake. If you are dumping the boyfriend, it may give you insight useful for your next relationship. if you are going to the wedding (which you should, if you're staying with the boyfriend) this may help you to dislodge some of your anger and treat other people as if their lives were just as real and complicated and emotional as your own.
posted by feral_goldfish at 3:31 PM on June 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think you can use this as the occasion to get over this situation. You don't have to forgive or forget. But you can show up with a smile and a brave face and the baddest dress/shoes you can afford and one strong drink but no more, and you can be polite, but tell your boyfriend that this is killing you so he'd better run interference when he can and leave 30 minutes early with you because HE is tired and grab ice cream on the way back to the hotel and generally be really appreciative of how cool you are being even though you don't feel cool you feel like Flamethrowering the proceedings but if you go and keep your shit together you win and you will feel a bit like a winner and that helps.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:32 PM on June 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


Oh but neither one of you has to go to any pre-wedding stuff other than the rehersal dinner. That's not necessary.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:33 PM on June 7, 2015


Other than being upset with his sister for not being more considerate of your feelings regarding her friend/your boyfriend, you don't talk at all about having any sort of relationship with her. Would she be upset or feel slighted if you didn't attend? If so, I'd suck it up if I wanted to stay in this relationship.
posted by sm1tten at 3:34 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Based on your update, can you clarify what you mean when you said " His sister has always had a hard time seeing things from other people's perspective - and I expect this case will be no different. My boyfriend doesn't like rocking the boat with anyone except me, but he says he's going to discuss this his sister - but I doubt it will go down well. ?

What do you expect will be the discussion here and what you expect the ideal outcome to be?

I stand by my earlier statement. Do not let your own personal issues add to drama with someone else's wedding.

Even if it's as simple as you asking "could you let me know if [your close friend] doesn't attend so I can decide if I want to attend?" is inserting yourself into someone else's wedding planning. You either attend for the sake of the bride and groom (and specifically being happy for what may be your future sister in law) or you bow out graciously, without making a big fuss over the ex and who is allowed to interact with her, for both your sakes.
posted by Karaage at 3:40 PM on June 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


For the record, this is more than normal drama. Anyway...

If you ARE NOT going to dump him (you should, honestly) then don't approach the bride about RSVP's and go to the wedding. Hide in the corner if you need to. Pretend. Suck it up and plaster a smile on your face. Be happy for the bride and groom.

If you ARE going to dump him (yay!) don't go to the wedding. Or go to the wedding, but keep out of the family pictures as best you can. Then, who cares if you meet the cheater ex? You're dumping the guy soon, anyway. Meh. Hold your head high.


Sadly, I agree with everyone who thinks your guy has cheated more than you know, because the kind of drama you describe goes hand in hand with lots of cheating. This would be another reason why the sister seems uninterested in your feelings. Distancing herself from you is a way for her not to feel complicit in her brother's dishonesty towards you.

Fuck these people. Dump all of them. Get out, get away. Run.

Then, therapy.
posted by jbenben at 4:02 PM on June 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


I haven't read most of the preceding posts, chances are they are all saying the same thing but here goes;

You are asking the wrong question. The question you should be asking, is why are you still with this guy? The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour and by this, I mean, this guy has cheated on you constantly and you keep taking him back. He has no reason to stop doing this. If you want a guy who cheats on you constantly, by all means, stick with him. The sister and the friend, all a distraction from the real issue. Deal with that and the other things will go away.
posted by Jubey at 4:06 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you want to stay with him, you have to go to his sister's wedding. Marry him, marry the family. Do you want them to reminisce about this wedding together for 50+ years and you weren't there? You weren't in all the photos? No, you don't. And they don't.

If marrying this guy is still "on the table" for you, you have to shut up and go to the wedding. You can try to just be there for the ceremony and the pictures and then "get sick" or "have a family emergency" (because seriously, it's got to be on that level to justify skipping your possible future husbands's sister's wedding.)

If you skip the wedding, your relationship has no future. If you go to the wedding and cry and scream and act weird, your relationship has no future.

If your inner voice is really telling you "I cannot do this" then listen to it- and believe that it's telling you you can't do this relationship any longer either.
posted by quincunx at 4:18 PM on June 7, 2015 [20 favorites]


When I mentioned drama, I didn't mean people throwing cake around or tearing out each other's hair. In close quarters, over three days, even you and your boyfriend arguing as privately as you think you can (which seems like it's got a high probability, given your hurt and his responses to your hurt and your responses to his responses) is going to get around. You getting upset and coming out of the bathroom with red eyes is going to get around. Even just being "unfriendly" (because you're upset and trying to control yourself) is going to draw opinion.

Look, it's an upsetting situation. I'd be challenged by the sight of the Other Woman in this situation, too. There's a lot of hurt, though, that has nothing to do with her, and it's going to take some masterful acting to pretend there isn't.
posted by cotton dress sock at 4:28 PM on June 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


My boyfriend is waffling about our own marriage citing our instability after 10 of being together through many family and professional upheavals and a now ticking biological clock for me.

Holy shit, wait, what? No. Your concerns about the woman at the wedding seem entirely based on your insecurity about the relationship, which seem entirely warranted.

You can do better than this and if you think you've already wasted too much time and now you're stuck, you're wrong, there's lots of life out there to have.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:29 PM on June 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


Having said that I also don't feel good about myself saying to his sister that if her friend attends - I won't be coming, but I see no other solution.

I think your anguish has blinded you a little - this is not the only solution, indeed if you are a considerate person this is not a solutionat all. Ultimatums are bad at the best of times, and this is unambiguously an ultimatum.

You have 2 options:

1. Don't go, whether or not ex is there. Sister has no obligation to tell you who has rsvped, and it would be very rude to ask. So you don't go. This may make relations with her a little frostier - I would invite a plausible excuse; out of state for work, some of your own family committments, something. And stick to that excuse like glue.

2. Go. I get it, meeting people you are stressed about in big social functions is unpleasasnt, but... I don't know what kind of wedding this is, but when I go to weddings, I hardly mix with people not on my table, at all. They are easily avoidable. I'm sure your sister in law would not be so oblivious to put you on the same table as this lady (if she does, oops, you're feeling sick, have to go home). If you're not seated together, you will see this lady only at very select times in the wedding, when everyone else is up and avoiding her will be easy.

Additionally, I would reframe why she's there. She probably doesn't think about a years-old one night stand with your boyfriend at all, certainly far less than you do. She is unlikely to notice or care, and if she does, she'll want to avoid you as much as you want to avoid her. In this sense, it's a few hours of your time with something mildly unpleasant. This is something people regularly do for family events, and if you want to be a part of this family, you should consider doing it too.

Best of luck, OP.
posted by smoke at 5:00 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I do not wish to sully her wedding with any drama caused by me.

Then, simply, don't cause any. When two people are getting married, the entire event is about them and them only, and guests are rightfully expected to leave grievances at the door. So if you run into her, be polite, be quick; "oh hi how nice to see you, I'm sorry I was just on my way to the loo/get another drink/answer my phone, I'll see you around, take care" and move on.

You can't control her behaviour at the wedding; you can control yours. So avoid without being rude or obvious, be quick and polite when necessary. Keep drinking to a minimum, if drinking is a thing you do.

Or, don't go to the wedding. Whether you do or you don't though, don't bring it up with anyone--it'll almost certainly get to the couple, and that'll just add more stress for them.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:30 PM on June 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


Well, one way to look at it - he goes to the wedding by himself, with his history, he's almost certainly going to cheat on you again.

About all you going to the wedding will accomplish is 1) make you feel bad, and 2) reduce the chance he'll cheat on you.

Far better off to remove this whole bit of nonsense from your life.
posted by stormyteal at 7:08 PM on June 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Don't go to the wedding. Tell your boyfriend that you love him, have fun, but that you don't want to cause any unnecessary drama and you don't feel like seeing the ex. Tell him it's no big deal that you're not going. Don't stew over it. Deciding to dump him or stay in the relationship is a different decision and you can make that another time.
posted by gt2 at 7:52 PM on June 7, 2015


And if his sister asks, just tell her that you want this to be her day with no excess drama and give her a great present and card.
posted by gt2 at 7:54 PM on June 7, 2015


If you're trying to engineer a situation where your boyfriend is not around his ex it's not going to work. If he's going to cheat on you, he's going to cheat on you regardless of what you do to try to control the situation.

I've been there. It's easy to project your feelings onto the ex (or other woman)
You don't know them like you know your boyfriend and it's easier to point the finger at them because the stakes are much lower. Admitting to yourself that he's the problem has much bigger implications.
posted by prettypretty at 8:44 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


My wedding had drama potential. I had a friend designated as the drama police, whose job it was to gently steer 'troublemakers' away.

Do you have a friend who would be willing to run interference for you?

(also dump the boyfriend)
posted by corb at 11:03 AM on June 8, 2015


My boyfriend is waffling about our own marriage citing our instability after 10 of being together through many family and professional upheavals and a now ticking biological clock for me.

Did you actually mean what A Terrible Llama parsed? Is it indeed YOUR BOYFRIEND, rather than yourself, who is expressing concern about your ticking biological clock, and saying this is a reason NOT to get married?

If so: your boyfriend doubts this relationship can ever stabilize, and is urging you to get out now, for your own sake.

If we're reading you correctly, please take pretentious illiterate's advice:

I'm sorry - I know it's hard to face - but you have a chance to act in a way you can be proud of, here. Break up with your boyfriend and send his sister a lovely wedding gift. You will be so glad you did. I promise.

Sauve qui peut. But, y'know, gracefully.
posted by feral_goldfish at 4:47 PM on June 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I do not wish to sully her wedding with any drama caused by me.

But you wouldn't cause any drama, right? I mean, a toothy fake smile and handshake are part of being grown up and it's how we as a society (or corporation) avoid blood feuds.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:29 PM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Thank you for all the responses, I do appreciate them. I've decided to attend the wedding and not hide from life in general. I don't hold the ex girlfriend responsible for anything, I just don't want to meet her if I can help it. Anyway I've decided to go largely based on the responses here, so you all did help resolve my quandary. The rest of the comments are also well taken.
posted by whatdoyouthink? at 11:51 PM on June 20, 2015


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