Wedding Blues

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Dear Dr. Darcy:

I’ve been living with my partner for almost 7 years and I’ve been out to my family double that amount of time.  The only reason we’re not legally married is because we live in Austin.  Next month my niece is getting married. The invitation came in the mail a week ago. My partner was not invited. I’m so embarrassed that I haven’t told him.

My family has embraced my partner as a member of the family. This comes out of nowhere. I don’t know how to deal with it, but I’ll tell you this: If this doesn’t get worked out, I’m not going. Should I speak directly to my niece? Your advice on this matter would be deeply appreciated.

ANSWER

I don’t know what your relationship is with your sibling, ie, your niece’s parent, but I would recommend starting there. It is possible that the family she’s marrying into is at the core of the issue. Still, blaming the future in-laws (which is so easy to do that even I can’t resist) doesn’t make this any less hurtful or easier to navigate.

You’ve made up your mind that you’re not going unless your partner is invited.  When you speak to your sibling, feel free to withhold that information until and unless it turns out that inviting your partner is not going to happen, as it will sound like an ultimatum and generally speaking, people like to have choices in life and don’t respond well to either-or scenarios.

I would not speak to your niece unless she and/or her fiancé are footing the bill for the wedding.  In America, it is tradition for the parents of the bride to pay for the wedding. And whoever writes the check holds the power over invitations. Speak to your sibling, see if by some chance it was an oversight and in the (likely) event that it was done with intention, politely explain that you won’t be going to the wedding. I would then, however, have a warm conversation with your niece explaining to her your feelings and that your absence from the wedding is no reflection on your love for her or your support for her marriage. I would also still send a gift, since I know you want to be the bigger person.

Writer’s stats: Gay, male.