A Little Overwhelmed

Christmas was a study in contrasts.  The day itself was quite lovely, restful, and calm.  Spending the day at home with my parents, we opened presents.  We relaxed.  I cooked a beef tenderloin and made a chocolate cheesecake that actually turned out beautifully.

The next day, I had plans to go to Arthur’s family in the morning (they live about an hour away from us) so the girls could play with their cousins, then Arthur would join us in the evening after work for gift exchange and time with family.  I arrived at the house, got the girls ushered in, and started talking with the adults.

Arthur’s middle sister MC recently got engaged with a wedding scheduled for the summer.  I knew MC was – naturally – excited about the wedding.  To make conversation, I asked her how things were going and about plans, etc.

I did not expect to be asked to be a bridesmaid.  MC and I have had some conflicts on and off over the last year or two, and I figured that she’d have friends and Arthur’s two other sisters to round out the bridal party.  MC asked if I would sing and if E would be a flower girl.  I told her yes, of course, and then asked if she had picked bridesmaids’ dresses and such.

Socially awkward introverts’ worst nightmare ensued: a smooth sailing, seemingly shallow conversation suddenly pitched into unexpectedly deep waters.  “Well,” MC told me, “SC [Arthur’s oldest sister] is my maid of honor, LC [Arthur’s youngest sister] is going to be a bridesmaid, my friend V, and, well, F.”

F, for the record, is married to Arthur’s brother D, so an in-law like me.  I sucked in a deep breath and tried not to react.  While I hadn’t been expecting to be asked to be a bridesmaid, I also hadn’t expected to be the only female in my generation to be left out of the wedding party.  I smiled, tried to be polite, and left the room a few minutes later with the baby to calm down.

MC followed me.  “Look,” she said, “I hope you’re not too upset about the bridesmaid thing.  I didn’t ask F just because she’s a sister-in-law.”


I’ve been with Arthur for around 20 years at this point, engaged or married for 15 of those years.  I’ve attended MC’s band concerts, events, graduations, and sent things to her at college.  It’s true that we’ve had a few moments in the last couple years – which I fully acknowledge to be partly on me – but to be told, essentially, “well, F is a friend and you…are just my sister in law” felt absolutely devastating.

It’s not even so much not being a bridesmaid.  It’s being close enough to hear all the inside jokes and far enough away to be left out of them.  It’s being the only female of my generation in the family photos that will be dressed differently and obviously not part of the group.  It’s that in Arthur’s family culture, this is a huge, huge slap in the face.

I spent the day trying not to cry.  When Arthur arrived, however, I lost it.  Seven hours of sitting on strong feelings was too much.  Instead of doing what I had planned, which was keeping things quiet and working it out later, I just felt the sobs pouring out of me and I could not bear to cry in front of everyone.  I ran out of the house and drove home, leaving Arthur and the girls to do the gift exchange and come home later.

Sh*t ensued.

It came out that at least three people had known about MC’s plans and had advised her that she would hurt me by making those choices.  Everyone is still insisting that MC didn’t mean to hurt me, that she’s stubborn and not as emotionally aware, but I’m having a hard time believing it.  I mean, MC is absolutely entitled to have whoever she wants in her wedding party, but she needs to own her decisions and not hide behind “oh, I asked you to sing and I never thought you’d be hurt”.

At this point, I’m just trying to take a step back and calm down a little.  There’s a lot of pressure on me to forgive, reconcile, and sing.  Truthfully, while that might be possible eventually, it’s hard to do when it’s all so fresh.

We closed on the house yesterday.  And it is glorious.  I am so, so excited about starting to paint and moving in.  A little overwhelmed, too, honestly.  To add to all of this, a driver rear-ended us yesterday as well, so creating another task.

So that’s how 2017 ended and 2018 is starting.  Lots of good, but plenty of delicate, difficult circumstances thrown in.


9 thoughts on “A Little Overwhelmed

  1. Oh my gosh…so stressful. I would feel hurt, like you, in that situation with MC. I’ve been there in something similar: when Mr. Big’s brother (who is actually a step brother but they’ve been together since they were two so they’re brothers) got married and they scheduled the family photos with all the parents and siblings, they told us not to come…. Even though Mr. Big’s Dad was there, and Mr. Big’s half brother (the link between the two brothers). It was heartbreaking to not be included because Mr. Big certainly considers them brothers, even if his brothers new wife *clearly* does not.

    Families can be messy, and hurtful and inconsiderate and sometimes downright cruel. Sending you lots of hugs!

  2. Damn it. Lady, I’m wrapping you in a huge virtual hug. I get this so much on so many levels. The fact that family advised MC not to do this means she understands how cruel she was being. Not only does that suck, but shame on all of them.

    Here’s my thoughts on the issue. I think you and Arthur need to decide how you want to handle this so that you are feeling united. And then Arthur needs to sit down with his sister and inform her that not only is he unhappy with how poorly she treated you but also how things will proceed. His family will not like it. They will likely try to blame you. But I also know that this was an attempt to divide as MC treated you like an outsider. And sadly it has to come from him in order for them to take it seriously.

    In the meantime, do what you want to do with the wedding. If you don’t want to sing, don’t. Just don’t. As far as E being the flower girl, that’s up for you and Arthur to decide, but I would also stipulate how that arrangement will go down. And if you and Arthur decide to completely bow out of the wedding, no guilt. Just do what is best for your family.

    So much love coming your way.

  3. She sounds immature and self-centered at best, and a “mean girl” at worst.
    I would have *Aurthur* say say:
    “E you knew my wife would take it personally–you even said you hoped she wouldn’t be upset, *knowing* she would be. And with that in mind, you decided to tell her *on Christmas* around our entire family–minus *me*. That was really awful of you, and if you had done it intentionally then I’d never forgive you. However, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt–that you were being inconsiderate and not intentionally cruel. And under these circumstances, we must decline to participate in the wedding.”
    So no singing and no flower girl. And *if* E apologizes then you might consider going as guests. And if she doesn’t apologize then you can rightly assume she doesn’t want you there. Do not involve the rest of the family–tell them you don’t wish to discuss it and Aurthur is handling any issues with E. And Aurthur needs to hold the line about this. XOXO

    1. Also you are newly postpartum and shit like this can really give you PPA/PPD, as I know because the f*ckery of Mr. MLACS’s family really hurt me at my most vulnerable. We actually have not spoken to them since BG was born (3 years in March). So Aurthur needs to protect you at this time and tell his family to BACK OFF because E’s wedding is HER problem, not yours, and you are adults with a family who refuse to be dragged into whatever *soap opera* she is trying to create. They can all f*ck off if they try to badger you in the slightest.

  4. I have no advice for you, but I get it. My sister & I grew up across the street from a family of three sisters, and we were all as close as if we were one family. The middle sister was the same age & in the same classes at school as me, and I always considered her my very best friend. I asked her to be one of my bridesmaids, and I asked her other sisters to sing & to mind the guest book. Not long after I asked her, she got engaged herself. And she asked my younger sister to be her bridesmaid. Her only other bridesmaids were her two sisters. In other words, I was the only one of the five of us not in the wedding party. She told me over the phone that she was asking my sister, and said, “Oh, I would have asked you too, but it’s such a long way to ask you to come…” I’m thinking, “TRY ME.” I went to the wedding anyway, partly out of stubbornness (“She doesn’t think I’m going to come? Here I am anyway! — even if it’s a long way & I’m a broke newlywed who really can’t afford this trip, because that’s how good a friend I am.”) I still love her, but I’ve never forgotten.

  5. Emma

    It’s her wedding and she can do as she pleases, but personally, i would politely decline to sing. Whether true or not, you feel that it’s a tokenistic gesture. If you feel uncomfortable doing it, you shouldn’t in this case imo. I am also a singer and get nervous about it. I would need to feel comfortable to pull it out on the day. You should do what’s right for you. She has done what’s right for her without care of your feelings. What trouble would it have been to have one more bridesmaid?!

  6. Oh, wow, what a cluster. I am so sorry that MC acted so hurtfully, and that it was a holiday suckerpunch without your husband around. I give you great kudos for holding it together after she FOLLOWED YOU and didn’t even give you a moment to process the fact that you were being left out of the bridal party proper because you are “just” a sister in law. I don’t buy it when people say, “Oh, she didn’t mean it, she’s oblivious…” If a ton of people told MC that she was going to hurt you and she did it anyway, she’s hurtful. I don’t know what the right thing is to do here at all, I am terrible with confrontation in these situations, but I am here giving you a virtual hug and hoping that Arthur can help you figure out the right thing to do to move forward in whatever way possible, whatever that looks like. She sounds awful. This is just plain sucky. 😦

  7. L

    Big, big hugs! Kudos to you for being the adult. In your position, I would decline to sing. She’s acting like a little kid and I hope she realizes it eventually.

    I hope your move goes smoothly!

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