Dear Annie: Abandoned wedding plan leaves stepmom feeling left out

Dear Annie: I have been in my stepson’s life since he was 6 years old and I have been married to his father for 20 years. He has lived in our house full time for most of the years. So I consider him not only a stepson, but one of my sons. He and his girlfriend at home got engaged last year. They have a wedding planned for the fall. My husband felt that since he was out of the house and alone, they would have to pay for the wedding themselves. I disagreed and gave them both money for the wedding, as far as my husband knew. (We don’t share the money; it works for us.) They were both very grateful. I told them that I understood that I was not the mother of the groom; I just wanted to feel included in part of the planning and help in any other way I could.

Then they got pregnant and brought the marriage forward. Then COVID-19 hit. The wedding date has been changed several times. Ultimately, they ended up getting married in a small ceremony at their home and were planning to have the wedding and reception after the baby was born. I totally understood.

But recently one of the other sons told me that they had just called off the wedding completely and were planning to have a baby’s first birthday party at the same location because they signed a contract and can’t get back the money they deposited. .

I have to say I’m so hurt that my contribution to the wedding (which was actually a lot of money for me) meant so little to them that they didn’t feel the need to tell me in person that the wedding was called off. and explain the situation that they could not get the money back. I don’t want my money back and I fully understand the circumstances, but I think I shouldn’t have heard this through a third party. I am sure the other mothers have been informed in person.

So my question is, should I tell them about it at some point or just let it go? Normally, I’m the type to keep to myself, and if someone hurts me, I “get over it” without saying anything. But this hurt lasts a lot longer and I can feel resentment building in me. – Unappreciated stepmother

Dear Unappreciated: Maybe sometimes we can just want to ‘get over it’, but most of the time it’s a recipe for resentment. It seems to be the last. So there is no other choice but to speak with your stepson. Make it a conversation, not a confrontation. Using ‘I’ statements, let her know that you weren’t expecting to be part of the wedding planning process but felt a little hurt when you heard about someone’s plan change. one else.

Go there with an open mind. There may have been miscommunication or a context that changes your understanding. But you seem like a caring and supportive mother-in-law, so I have no doubt that you will be able to handle this carefully.

Dear Annie: Not long ago you printed a letter from “Nearing the End”. They were thinking about lost loved ones and were embarrassed that it seemed like a lifetime of memories just vanished when someone died.

Most lives leave ripples in the pond of life. The writer might try to seek out these positive ripples from grandchildren, a circle of friends, a church, former coworkers, neighbors, or anywhere else. –Mike L.

Dear Mike: I love that comment, and I remember the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” and this quote from Clarence: “Strange, isn’t it? The life of every man touches so many other lives. And when he’s not around he leaves a terrible hole, doesn’t he?

Thanks for writing.

Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected].


James B. Helms