Do you have issues with your no-longer-best girlfriend? Is your coworker driving you crazy? Megan Carpentier is here to give you the life advice that you don’t want to hear, told in the way you absolutely need to hear it.
My sister got married earlier this year (I was a bridesmaid) and she didn’t allow me to bring my boyfriend of 8 months. My other sister (also a bridesmaid) was allowed to bring her boyfriend and my cousins and the bride’s friends also brought dates. My sister’s rationalization for not allowing me a guest was that at 8 months (and serious) we had not been together long enough to warrant a plus-one invite. Granted, I wasn’t the only one treated this way, the groom’s brother also wasn’t allowed to bring his girlfriend, but she made an exception for my cousin, who has been seeing his girlfriend for the same amount of time. I talked to her about it before the wedding and she wouldn’t budge. Now that the wedding is over I’m still angry, but I don’t know how to bring it up and I seriously doubt that she will apologize or even admit she was wrong (which is ultimately what I want). Being at her wedding alone with my whole family asking me where my boyfriend is was horrible, but I did my job and entertained people and made it look like I was having fun, thus not ruining what is obviously her day. Do I just eat my anger and get over it or confront her now that she’s married?
Heads up: your sister doesn’t like your boyfriend (or, apparently her current brother-in-law’s girlfriend) — or she doesn’t like the way you act around your boyfriend. Either way, she didn’t make exceptions for all the other people you listed who were allowed to bring their significant others: she pulled 8 months out of her ass because that’s how long you were dating and she wanted to justify not having him there.
Wanna have a conversation about why she hates your boyfriend or thinks you act like an asshole when he’s around? Great, bring up how she wouldn’t let him come to her wedding while you’re pissed about it — that’s right, she wouldn’t let him come to the wedding, not that she wouldn’t let you have a date — and let the chips fall where they may. Hell, tape it and send it to me, it should be a pretty spectacular screaming match.
But, as you say, you already know she’s not going to apologize or admit that she was wrong, and just because it’s not the day of her wedding (which, granted, she did possibly treat as her Special Princess Day) doesn’t mean she’s going to think that arguing about her special day with her sister isn’t somehow ruining her memory of it. So, you just want to vent your spleen? Have a fight with your sister about how she was a bitchy McBitchster on her wedding day because she didn’t allow you to canoodle with your boyfriend and you didn’t want to tell people that she specifically wouldn’t allow him to come? Want to yell and scream and potentially damage your relationship with your sister over a boyfriend, serious or not, that you’ve been dating for less than a year and who may well himself be relieved that he wasn’t required to attend a wedding with your entire family? Awesome. Just be aware that you’re potentially sacrificing your relationship with your sister for the rest of your lives to complain about her attitude about your (now-) current boyfriend’s attendance at one of her life events.
On the other hand, you made your case before the wedding, she blew you off and you did what you considered the right thing — sucking it up and being a good sister — by putting on a happy face and going to the wedding. So, obviously, you didn’t want to do that kind of damage to your relationship with her (or the rest of your family), and you’ve just stewed on it and focused on that part of the day and nursed your kernel of resentment until it’s blown up like a piece of popcorn. You might want to let go of the resentment and anger, and focus on what really bothered you: she decided your relationship wasn’t sufficiently serious and consigned you to an evening of explaining your singlehood to your entire family.
Maybe, after the post-wedding blues have worn off and the thank-you cards have gone out, take her to brunch, sit her down with a mimosa and say, “I’d really like to understand what it is, or was, about my boyfriend or our relationship that you disrespect or hate so much that you were willing to hurt my feelings and potentially damage our relationship just to keep him away from your wedding day? Because I really wanted to celebrate your commitment to your husband with the person to whom I’m committed, and my memories of that happy day are clouded by his absence and my constant need to explain that to all our relatives. And as much as that hurt my feelings, I knew it was more important to have a relationship with you than to make a big deal of it at the time, but in order to let go of my negative feelings, I need to understand why you did it — and I need you to be honest with me. Obviously, given who else was allowed to bring dates, it wasn’t about bringing a date or how long we’d been together, but it was about him, or me or us. So, just tell me, because I’m your sister and I’m here to listen.” And then listen, rather than yelling at her or demanding an apology, and figure out a way to move forward. You can’t change the day and you know you’re probably not going to get her to admit she’s “wrong” — so all you’re going to possibly get is an explanation of why, and only then if you ask nicely, calmly and without judgment.
If you have a problem with a friend, relative, coworker, or other person in your life, email Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a problem with your boyfriend, you should probably just try talking to him.