Q: My fiancé and I met through two mutual married friends, one of whom has been my best friend for many years. This couple (let’s call them Jason and Alison) has had their fair share of ups and downs, to say the least. They have been volatile from the very start and Alison had made it clear that she was not completely over her ex-boyfriend even before she decided to marry Jason, who is the person I consider one of my best friends.
Less than two years into their relationship, Alison cheated on Jason with her ex-boyfriend. Of course Jason found out and it almost killed him. Literally. He got so drunk in his despair that he ended up driving on the wrong side of the highway. Luckily, he hurt no one (including himself), but was taken to jail that night and struggled for quite some time to come to terms with his wife seeking out her ex to sleep with him (she is the one who initiated the encounter).
For various reasons that I will never understand, Jason chose to stay with Alison, and it actually seems like their relationship has improved in the year since then. But (and here’s where my fiancé and I come in) Alison’s ex also happens to be a friend of my fiancé. And he’s invited to the wedding. As are Jason and Alison.
I know Jason is not completely over what happened and I hate to be the source of a reminder of a time in his marriage that he’d rather forget. I’ve discussed this with my fiancé, and he does not feel that he should not invite this friend, even though he acknowledges that what he did with Alison was wrong. But my fiancé blames Alison more for what happened, and Jason for staying with her. Which I get, but it frustrates me that he is still inviting this friend when even my fiancé admits that they are not super close anymore. The issue for my fiancé is that this friend is an integral part of a larger group of friends that my fiancé is still close with, and he doesn’t feel that he can invite the rest of them without inviting this guy.
Moreover, our wedding venue is not particularly large as we are only expecting a hundred people, so it’s not going to be super easy for Alison and Jason to avoid her ex. I’m doing seating charts, but I’m not sure how much that will help.
I’m just stressing over unnecessary drama on my wedding day. I’m not sure if Jason realizes that Alison’s ex is being invited, and I worry if I tell him he will choose not to attend our wedding, which would devastate me.
So my question (or questions) is/are: Should I try to convince my fiancé not to invite this friend given that they are not that close and we would risk hurting someone that we (especially me) are close to? If this friend gets invited, should I tell Jason and risk him choosing not to come (which I honestly think would cause me to feel some type of way toward my fiancé)? Should I not say anything and hope that either this friend doesn’t show or everyone behaves on my wedding day? Please help!
A: Dear Anonymous,
For the most part, yeah. All you really can do is hope everyone behaves. Invite them, give them the opportunity to be adults. Hopefully, in working to move past the cheating, your friends have also planned for what happens when they run into this guy.
But, you’re right that you should give your BFF a heads up that he’ll be there. It’s true that Jason might choose not to come, but more likely, he’ll just need to mentally prepare himself. Ask yourself, is the chance that he may not come really a worse outcome than him being at your wedding, but being emotionally wrecked the whole time? Is that better for him? For you?
That’s the answer about your guest list. Invite folks, trust them to behave, but also give your bud a bit of a warning. And then stop worrying about it. This isn’t your problem. These three are in this mess and figuring their way through it, and you don’t need to be involved.
I just want to real quick mention something on that note. A lot of stuff happens within a marriage that doesn’t make sense to the folks outside of it. It’s easy to hear snippets and assume you have the whole picture, but the reality is that you don’t. It sounds like both you and your partner are doing a bit of judging here, and I’m surprised to see you’re pinning a good share of the blame to Jason. Honestly, we’re all human, we all make judgy side-eye at things that don’t concern us, I get that (believe me, I get it). Just make sure your bias about what you think should or shouldn’t have happened isn’t impacting how you treat your friends. Reading over this letter, I have to wonder if your partner is standing firm on inviting this inconsequential acquaintance only because he thinks Jason is at fault for sticking around, and somehow deserves to be stuck in a room with the people who hurt him. And if that’s the case, it’s not cool.
Invite them. Give your friend the info he needs to prepare himself. And then back away, quit the worrying (and while you’re at it, try your best to quit the judging).
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