My Partner Won’t Ask His Groomsmen To Be In The Wedding

...And now it's three months away

Q:Our wedding is less than three months away. All of the wedding plans have been set, except for one major detail: my fiancé has not asked anyone to be a groomsman. In the early planning stages we discussed who would stand on both of our sides, and he easily came up with a list of five men that he would like to ask. I have a total of five bridesmaids, two of whom are his sisters. He has made a number of international and cross-country moves, leaving his friend group slim, which makes him feel insecure. And here we are with three months remaining, with five maids and no men.

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When I ask him what is the hold up, he says that I’m pressuring him and being insensitive to his insecurity. I suggested that if he’s uncomfortable asking that many people, we can have an uneven wedding party, or have his sisters stand on his side and the other women stand on mine, but the optics of an uneven party really, really bother my fiancé, and I don’t know what to do. My concern is that he’s waited far too long to ask the men in his life to fulfill the role, and he’ll be really disappointed that he has no one on his side. I want the thing he remembers about that day to be the joy and love he felt, not the disappointment and insecurity of having an uneven wedding party. At the same time, I am not willing to continue the same conversation: “Have you asked your guys yet?” “No, but I will.” “When do you think you’ll ask them? It’s getting close and people need to make plans.” “Don’t you think I know that? I said I’ll do it.”

It’s such a sore subject for both of us that I don’t bring it up anymore, but it stresses me out immensely, and I just want him to decide whether or not he’s genuinely planning on asking these men, and if so, do it quickly. How do we resolve this without more arguing in circles? Help!

—Uneven

A: Dear Uneven,

Being forced to nag a partner into doing something is such an unfair position. It’s lose-lose.

But notice, your reasons for wanting him to hurry up and do it already are all for his benefit, to protect his feelings from being hurt. So, just don’t take that on yourself. Maybe risk one more brief conversation where you can say, “Hey, if you don’t give everyone enough time, they won’t be able to be in the wedding, and I’m worried then you’ll really be hurt,” (only because it doesn’t sound like you’ve communicated that rationale just yet). And then let it go.

There are definitely going to be things in your marriage that you need him to do for your combined mutual benefit, and those situations always suck. But this isn’t that. If he has no groomsmen, your wedding will be fine. You’ve tried to help him protect his own feelings, and he’s not taking you up on that offer. So drop it.

Meanwhile, when things aren’t so tense, prepare yourself for a conversation where you lay out that you’d like to respect him enough to allow him to do things on his own timetable, but he needs to respect you enough to do them in a timely way. Not for this situation, but for all the others that are sure to follow.

—Liz Moorhead

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