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home : columns : dear harriette June 24, 2018

6/12/2018 8:04:00 AM
Mom won't go to son's wedding if ex attends

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am getting married in three months in Napa Valley, California, at a beautiful vineyard. As I was going over the guest list with my mother, she told me that she won't attend if my father goes. My parents got divorced because my father came out the closet and ended up leaving her for another man.

My mother has never forgiven my father for leaving her, but I was hoping she would drop the bad blood for my wedding. She will not budge. I've expressed how much it would mean to me to have her there on my special day because she's always been there for me, but she's having a hard time putting her pride aside. I want both my parents there, but I'm not sure how I can change my mother's mind. -- Mama's Boy, Detroit

DEAR MAMA'S BOY: Weddings can be hard for families. When parents are divorced, it can get prickly. In your situation, the prickles are pretty sharp! Still, this wedding needs to be about you and your partner. Your job is to talk to both of your parents and encourage them to be there to support the beginning of your journey into married life. Explain how important family is to you, even though your parents are no longer attached to each other. Appeal to your mother directly: Tell her how sad you will be not to have her at your side. Remind her how much you love her -- and your father. If your father is not married, ask him to come solo so as not to rub his relationship in your mother's face.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am upset that my mom is making me move from Los Angeles to Arizona. I don't want to leave LA, but my parents just finalized their divorce. I can't stay with my father because he is always going on business trips, and they both agree that me being alone all the time would not be in my best interest. They feel that it's best that I live with my mom, but my whole life is here, and starting at a new school going into my junior year of high school is going to be the worst.

Being away from my dad is going to be hard because he already doesn't spend that much time with me due to his business travel. If I move with my mom, I feel like I'll never get to see him. It seems like I'm irrelevant to him, and I wish I could talk to him about how I feel, but I'm not sure how to approach him. -- Hesitant to Move, Los Angeles

DEAR HESITANT TO MOVE: Now is the time to speak up. Request a face-to-face meeting with him. Let him know how much you wish you could spend more time with him and your concerns about becoming more distant if you move with your mother. One solution might be to ask him if he can commit to FaceTime with you every week -- starting now -- and a certain number of visits per year. You have to be the one with the plan, as it's possible that the reason for the divorce is that he was never around.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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