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How to Be Mighty at a Wedding

Voodoo dollDear Chump Lady,

I appreciate your advice and wisdom. I read your blog every day. At almost two years from D-Day, I’m looking forward to Tuesday and getting closer.

I’m writing because of an upcoming family wedding. My stepdaughter (FW’s daughter) is getting married next month and she just alerted me that FW would be bringing his homewrecking-adultery-committing-POS-ink-not-dry-on-the-divorce-papers skank to the wedding. And another of his affair partners will be there too. Oh, goody.

I know what I have to do. Be mighty. And normally I am. I have a good life, happy home and good friends. But this is setting me back for a couple of reasons. For one, I’ve never seen her (current AP) and I don’t want to. I was saved from the mind movies because I never knew what she looked like. But now …

The other thing is I’m really hurt that my stepdaughter would even want her there. This is a child I helped raise from the age of 5! I think she buys into his narrative that he didn’t start seeing the married co-worker POS until after we split. And she doesn’t know about the other AP (a former friend) at all. I might even wind up seated with her.

After months of peace, I’m back to not sleeping or eating. I’ve gone to the doctor for anxiety meds. What else can I do? Can I get some chump nation wisdom? I know we’ve all had to face these situations.

Trying to be Mighty

Dear Trying to be Mighty,

Had you considered not going? That’s an option. Your step-daughter is an adult, and you could level with her, “Look, I love you, kid, but I’m still not a place where I can attend an event with your dad and two of his affair partners.”

If you go this route, don’t huff and puff and demand different guest lists. Just admit that you’re still processing the recent end to your marriage. Maybe you feel like you must shield her from this knowledge? Protect your ex’s image at the expense of your own mental health? That’s not fair to you.

Perhaps you eat that shit sandwich to protect your step-daughter, so she doesn’t learn the truth about Dad’s cheating, right before her Big Day? Lest it put her off a festive, catered celebration of monogamy.

I admit, you could choose better moments to drop that truth bomb. There is the likely result if you deliver the news now, you’ll be seen as the Big Bummer who shouldn’t be invited, not Dad, the Big Asshole who broke up the family. If she’s like most kids of divorce, she just wants you both there. The day is about HER, not everyone’s messy heartbreaks and polarized seating charts.

So, if you decide to go, some pointers:

Discuss the seating chart and the photo lists with the wedding planner (or whoever serves in that role). I have a friend who is a high-end wedding photographer and these requests are totally normal. You don’t want a photo with your ex-husband. You don’t wish to sit near ex, his new supply or Former Schmoopie. Get it out there ahead, so you aren’t put in awkward situations on the day of.

Don’t go it alone. Can you bring a date? Do you have a handsome cousin that looks nice in a suit? Or better yet, a supportive girlfriend with a vicious sense of snark? Strength in numbers. Are there any allies in the crowd you can sit with?

Find your bitch shoes. I know it’s still raw, and seeing these people will rock your meh, but please trust that they suck. They’re pathetic people with less moral sense than God gave sea slugs. What could a celebration of love-forsaking-all-others mean to them? They’re probably there for the cream cheese filling in the canapés. If commitments actually meant anything to them, they’d die of shame on the spot.

They’re not dying of shame? Well, what sort of creatures are they? Puffs of impression management. You’re a solid person who walks among the shallow. They are not expending deep emotions on you, so why expend deep emotions on them?

Find your inner bitch. Stand tall.

I find it helps to visualize the bitchiest person you know. Whenever I’m faced with people intent on intimidation, I summon my grandmother Vi. The iciest ice princess who ever iced. She was beautiful and rich and casually cutting. (“You’ll die alone.” “That maternity outfit is not very slimming.” “He’s a dumb Pollack from East Detroit.”) Oh, you amateur mean girls? Meet the Mother of All Mean Girls — Vi.

She feared no one and was haughty to all. Go put some ice in my drink. That’s the energy you want around monsters.

Feel free to summon my grandmother at that wedding. And ask yourself What Would Vi Do?

Meet a Schmoopie? Vi would judge. And judge cruelly. “If you stood up straight, you’d lose 10 lbs.”

Would Vi collapse in on herself with self-loathing? Compare herself? No. Because Vi was the baddest bitch that ever bitched. She’s worth 100 of you. She’d have on her best shoes and her eye-popping bling and a fixed look of boredom.

Schmoopie, she’d say over a languid vodka and tonic, you bore me.

Because Vi can’t be bothered with stupid, disappointing people, she’d find the dance floor and join the lively, fun folks.

And you should too.

Don’t let them in your head. Vi wouldn’t.

And she’d probably have a vicious little story about it afterwards. Schmoopie looked like a limp wash rag. So wrung out. The girl should wear more lipstick. 

Then she’d shrug, “But I suppose Edward isn’t very discerning.”

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  • I honed in on the “two affairs”. He is a serial cheater and has probably been a pos all his life. Go get a good look at what schmuck has him now. You don’t need to give thought to him with one more moment of angst. He, and his shallow pool of morals, moved right on along. Ever met anyone who constantly has a “new best friend”? He does that with people. Once the shine wears off he is moving on. Be thankful she has him. He is no prize. Underneath the shine is dross.

    • New best friend thing hits home. I have had the same little core group for a long time. I might change jobs and add one here or there but I keep the same friends forever. My ex-wife would have a new bestest friend in the history of friends every 6-12 months. She would then morph into this person and start acting like them.

      • I’ve met a couple of women in my lifetime who have decided we were “best friends” way too fast and they all caused so much drama in my life I had to cut them out completely. I believe they have personality disorders.

        The multiple best friends thing is a huge red flag to me now and I avoid the hell out of people who do that. Too much too fast in a friendship or talk of several previous “best friends” and I completely ghost that person. I won’t even explain it or let them down nicely because that just inspires the personality disordered to attack and I’m not dealing with it anymore. It’s the biggest red flag I look for when making friends with other women.

        I’ve only ever had one best friend in my life and we’ve been friends over 20 years and are like sisters. It’s always unnerved me when someone referred to a new, casual friendship as something comparable to what I have with my best friend. That was my gut warning me, I should’ve listened to it.

        • Yeah, BIG red flag. My X went through “bestie’s” like a 21 year old sailor goes through whores and booze on shore leave.

        • Not besties, I am too cold for someone to try that on me. But women that are overly friendly, who address me with “dear” and the kisses, all of this “show” screams fake to me. They repel me, despite all their shine. Am I the only one feeling that?

      • This has big RED flag written all over it. It would be one thing if she was just clingy and really desperately wanting friends.. but the morphing into them shows that she never had a true self and like a soul sucker morphed into the people around her, constantly changing herself. Personality disorder?

    • I’d stay home and send my good wishes.
      Attending the wedding would be providing entertainment for ex and the AP.

      • I would probably beg out on the grounds of”jury duty.” Many courts wouldn’t exempt for family events involving a blood relative, much less a non-blood relative.

        I’m not sure I’d want to give FWs centrality by offering the “staying home because not really over it” reason. Plus it’s fun to lie to liars.

    • I’ve stayed home for for plenty of weddings. I always send my kindest regards and a fat check (the equivalent to what my flight, hotel, daily living costs and a generous gift would have been). The couple is always very appreciative – I know I would typically prefer that to another guest any day!

      • What a great idea!

        I was going to suggest she send her regrets and, if the bride and groom were living in the same town, host the couple for a dinner out, because on the day of the wedding the bride is going to be distracted and focused on things other than noting every single guest in attendance.

  • Dear Trying,
    Thanks for writing in to CL with this. Having to attend family events with FW/Wifetress is one of my biggest nightmares (although I’m holding out that I may be pleasantly surprised by feelings of meh?) and I can see it’s a struggle that many of us chumps must weather. For me, the next event that I may have to attend, where FW/Wifetress (whom my children love very much) will likely be my childrens’ high school graduate, but I’ve got three more years to keep busy and work on my meh before that happens. Worse than that, I worry about the death/funerals of FW’s parents who are older and in poor health. That event is going to suck because my children will be losing grandparents, I (may) be forced into another prolonged FW/Wifetress encounter (under awful circumstances, not celebratory ones), and, no matter what I do, I’ll be easy pickings for FW/Wifetress to vent on: if I attend the funeral I’ll be a monster (“You stopped talking to my parents! Why are you even here?!”; if I don’t attend I’ll be a monster (“Fourleaf didn’t even attend the funeral! She’s heartless!!”). It’ll be a slice of bagged salad; no matter what I choose to do, it won’t matter because it’ll be “wrong.”

    Which is pretty freeing when you think about it.

    Trying, I hope you find your mighty; I’m still working on mine too. I have much more doormat than bitch in me but maybe I should start channeling Vi as well.

    Stand tall no matter what you do because you’re awesome.

    • Do you still have a relationship with your ex in-laws? I haven’t heard a peep from mine in 5 years; my ex FIL died a month or so ago and XW didn’t inform me of any funeral arrangements, so I’m sure she had (correctly) zero expectations that I would participate. You may be projecting your own expectations onto XH – he may be perfectly happy with you staying away. IMO your obligations are to the kids: as long as you help them deal with it (be available for them to talk to you, agree to custody changes for a service, make sure they’re appropriately dressed for a funeral, etc.) I don’t see what further duties you have.

      • I agree, unless there has been a close relationship, I just wouldn’t go.

        When my ex mother in law died, I didn’t go to the services. It was just a grave site service, but still. I sent a sympathy card to my son with a check to use as he saw fit. They requested no flowers etc. I am guessing since his dad had filed bankruptcy, my son likely had to pay for some of the stuff.

        When my fw and schmoops lost her son in a motorcycle accident, I sent flowers to the funeral with my/and my husbands condolences to the family. It just seemed the right thing to do. He was after all my sons step brother.

        It is a personal decision, but generally I think if I am not feeling like I should, I won’t.
        In my case I lived out of state for all these events, so that might make it easier than if one is living in the same area.

        When my husbands wife died, we went to the services. In that case she was never married and my husband helped pay for the services as she had no money. She had received a really good settlement, but had blown through it, mostly from drinking.

        I came to the visitation a little late to give them some time together before the services started.

    • “I have much more doormat than bitch in me…”. Same here but this gives me an idea of what I need to reverse. Thanks for that thought.

      • One of the magnets on my fridge reads “I can dish it out and I can take it. I’m just a little more efficient at the former.” It’s been a learning experience for me. People can wipe their muck covered boots elsewhere.

    • Almost hate to say this but…there is always that “positive” COVID test. Cough cough.

    • My Ex’s dad died literally last weekend. I straight up told any one that asked if I was attending that I had no place in their lives anymore so I would not be. I said my children loved their grand father so I would be dropping them off and picking them up from the funeral and providing them with the emotional support they needed at home because their emotional well being was the only thing about this that concerns me in any way. I could care less what anyone had to say about that. I did exactly what I said I was going to. My kids are doing ng fine, and so am I.

  • Well, the bottom line is always that you don’t have to go. It’s nice to have that option in your back pocket.

    But then I think, it would also make it easier on the Wrecking Balls to not go, and I would hate to do that!

    I have decided in similar situations to go and keep my distance from the Mr. Kryptonite. I have not had to face him accompanied by any rancid arm candy, so I am speaking beyond my experience, which I don’t like to do.

    The kids get jammed by this, and my plans for handling situations in the future are to find a way honor my daughter’s wishes and protect myself. I doubt she’d get married and allow her dad to bring his co-homewrecker.

    (Did your ex pay for the wedding? If so, that may have put your stepdaughter in more of a jam….)

    It may not be very evolved of me, but I would go because 1) my stepdaughter asked me and 2) The cheater committee would be happier and more comfortable if I didn’t go and I don’t want to give them the satisfaction.

    I would also DEFINITELY be having a straightforward convo with the bride.

    • The cheaters acted like you didn’t exist. They would prefer it if you didn’t exist.

      I say, Exist!
      Exist in their presence
      Exist loud and clear and strong and free
      And beautiful
      Exist and shine and see how your bright light casts them in darkness and shadow and steals their shrouds of false dignity.


    • Hello,

      I’m the letter writer and I really do have to go to the wedding. Besides the fact that my stepdaughter asked me to specifically, my two biological daughters are in the wedding party. And also very upset about the affair partners being there.

      I almost laughed out loud when you asked if FW paid for the wedding! That would be a definite no. He doesn’t get off his wallet for much.

      In any event your point is well taken. Might not being there would simply make them more comfortable.

      • I had almost an identical situation. My stepson got married (helped raise him since he was a toddler, as well) my biological daughters were in attendance, and the toxic ex and his homewrecker (we were not even divorced yet) were also invited to the wedding (the groom – my stepson – is my ex’s son). So, I went. I enjoyed speaking with the in-laws, ignored the homewrecker but felt a little sorry for her as she was not near as wonderful as my mind had imagined! And, that was that. My only regret is that I was so keyed up about the ex and the homewrecker being there (we were still married and they were living together so I was so upset to see them – I had also never seen her before until the wedding) that I did not engage and was not as “present” as I wish I had been for my stepson and my biological daughters throughout the wedding. So, if you go, my advise is to FOCUS on the ones you love. They are the ones that matter to you.

        • Frankly I find it shitty that the homewrecker’s are invited to these events. They really don’t have to be. People could take a stand. I find it’s such a slap in the face to the people who raised you. I just overheard two women having coffee. And one grandmother was telling the other that she’ll have a relationship with her grandkids but she doesn’t want anything to do with the 0W. I don’t know what I would have done, but I would like to think that if my parents had been married on my wedding day, and if one of them had left the other for their cheating partner… that I would not have included the cheating partner at my wedding. If we say that cheating and especially cheating and discarding is abusive, then we need to teach people not to include the culprits ( the non parent home wreckers) at these events – out of respect for the parent who did nothing wrong.
          I feel for everybody who has to go through this, I can’t imagine. I’m so glad I didn’t have kids with my FW.

    • My daughter swore for years my ex-friend-who-screwed-my-husband-in-my-bed wouldn’t be invited to her wedding…until she was. I’m back in counseling over that and a virtual charcuterie tray full of wedding-related poop delicacies served to me.

      When the time comes, don’t assume your kids will have your back. I wish I’d had those pre-event conversations about photos and seating charts.

  • the new wife would enjoy it if you didn’t come. You could arrange a conversation about a successful loving relationship. Considering she didn’t know what that meant. she won’t trust him. It’s all about image management. you probably ate too many shit sandwiches. the stepdaughter needs to know the truth. your ex is loving this. could ask him which one he preferred, or who lied to him the most. ask your ex does his behaviour affect his daughter, that would shut him up. the treatment of women by your ex he has serious issues with women.

    • Or maybe give a toast and wax on about how lovely a couple they are, and honesty and loyalty to each other will carry them through etc.

      I am not good at toasts, but you get the idea.

  • Tell step-daughter you will atttend the wedding service, but not the reception? Say you would love to see them exchange vows, but the reception would be too much at this point in time.

    If that is possible. And buy them a lovely gift.

    Or go, and make sure you are seated as far away as possible from FW. Leave as early as socially acceptable.

    • I also thought about the idea of just attending the service (the real marriage part of the wedding anyways) and not the reception. At least the service is typically everyone facing the front and focused on the bride/groom. It’s brief and over. The reception is more a landmine to navigate over the course of hours.

      Some have mentioned telling the stepdaughter the truth. I think there is merit to this. Without going into massive details that may look like trash-talking her dad, maybe just saying, “It’s a long story that can be discussed at some other time, if you wish, but you likely are not aware that there will be two affair partners at your reception, and I will be very uncomfortable in their presence. I love you and am so proud to see you married. I will come to the ceremony for sure, but I think it’s best that I not attend the reception.”

      • Wonderfully put

        You could add that her father is free to live his life as he sees fit, but it’s out of your comfort zone.

        The ceremony is the important part, the vows.

  • “A dumb Pollack from east Detroit…”. That’s gold.

    We’re all put in so many “no-win” situations by these pricks. If it were me, I’d chose the behind the scenes orchestrating of the photos and seating charts but also plan for the worst. Basically, do you want your shit sandwich with it without cheese?

  • Give your step daughter your regrets, telling her you’re feeling anxious about the drama of seeing ex and just aren’t ready for that emotionally. Send her a really nice gift.

    I had to miss a cousin’s wedding not long after D-day becsuse I was too traumatized to go to any wedding at all. Weddings are a trigger and I would have spent most of the time crying.

    • I hear you. At this point I’ve chosen to attend just the reception portion of the wedding day. I cried at weddings even when I was married. Ex always had an extra tissue in his pocket for me & would squeeze my hand when the vows were recited. I hate him for ruining even joyous occasions.

  • I’m more like Vi. I’m that chump that will make sure that I’m on point at an event like that. I have my daughters baby shower soon and my ex and his AP will be there. Yesssssss! He’s shorter than me and that always bothered him. He’s going to be so excited to see my new man that stands almost a foot taller than him and is wayyyyy better looking. He will also see the ex wife that he left for his whore looking and feeling better than I ever did during our 20 year marriage. You see, I’ve already got my Botox appointment booked, hair, nails and a romper that snugs my body in all the right places! My heels are ready so in passing I can tower over his short ass and ignore that fucker like 20 years didn’t even happen!!! My point here is, fuck them all. They are cheating scum and they all deserve each other!!! Maybe suggest a 3som in small talk with the current AP referencing the other woman he fucked that will be there. Point that hoe out to her. Let her have that to enjoy the entire time… yesssss, I’m Vi, I’m that bitch!!!

    • When I had to see my ex (and all his flying monkeys) at a funeral I found a lovely little shop run by a brilliant woman in the city near me, and told her I needed a great outfit to get me through a horrible occasion, and she went to a lot of trouble and found me the best clothes imaginable. They flattered my figure, were really sophisticated… All through that funeral i felt like I was wearing armour, completely invincible. There just are times in one’s life where it is worth spending a lot on clothes.

    • ‘Maybe suggest a 3som in small talk with the current AP referencing the other woman he fucked that will be there. Point that hoe out to her. Let her have that to enjoy the entire time’????????????????

  • My son was married this past June and I was nervous about being in the same room with my cheating cold ex husband with his second OW. ( the original ow who he left me for has passed away) For my son’s sake I was polite and civil towards him which my son said “thank you Mom for being the better person “. My ex has never apologized or spoken to me the few times I’ve seen him at family funerals. I didn’t want a date with me for I had cousins and friends for support.
    His present schmoopie is 10 years older than him and she looks it at 80 years old! I’m proud of myself for doing the right thing for my son and wife on their special day. Although I cried the next morning to release the stress I had to hide. He destroyed 35 years of a marriage
    that meant everything to me but I wasn’t going to show any pain. Hope I never have to see him ever again. He’s a sick old man now and he deserves anything that may negatively affect him. ????

    • Enh. I aspire to be warm and fuzzy. She wasn’t warm and fuzzy. I don’t think she’s a person to aspire to. She was actually a very intelligent, thwarted woman at a time women couldn’t go into business or college. She would’ve made a great CEO of mergers and acquisitions. Just ruthless with money. But pretty heads don’t get those life choices then, so. Untangling the skein. Fact is, she was pretty narcissistic and mean. But she didn’t suffer from lack of self esteem. And she had killer style.

      Sometimes I think we chumps can take a note from the narc playbook. Why do we suffer? Care? They don’t. Take the power seat. Stare ’em down.

      I am grateful for her bitch DNA. (and some very nice jewelry she left me.) But it’s not a happy way to go through life — haughty and superior. But it’s a very useful skill set around fuckwits.

      • I thought of my Grandmother (Bernelle) when I read the original post, and I completely relate to your comment about your Vi. My Oma was smart, ambitious, and very judgmental. She also could not do the things she wanted to in her time, and she rode my Aunt, her oldest daughter hard to make sure that she accomplished everything that she was denied. My poor Aunt was lucky that she was very smart herself and my Grandmother was able to live through her, until my Uncle cheated multiple times and my Aunt left him, my Grandmother never told any of her friends that my Aunt divorced.

      • When in any situation that has the potential to cause me anxiety (work, personal, whatever) I remind myself that I’m the granddaughter of two extremely brave men (WW1 & WW2) and also of one of the bitchiest snobs ever to sashay on this planet (Grandmama Diana). Helps no end.

        • Yep. I can see her badassery in the pic. I’ll do my best to channel Aunt Vi!

        • My gosh, I can see your resemblance to her, CL. Raising a toast to you, her and all the bad ass ladies of snark.

          I, too, had a grandmother with a sharp tongue and regret over the choices that life denied her. My cousins and I joke that yes, we do know the person that never got over it and died mad. In fact, we are *descended* from her.

          Trying to Be Mighty, wear those bitch shoes, hold your head high and know that they always, always affair down. You be the classy and sane – it won’t take much compared to FW and AP.

        • Omg. She is the spitting image of former MIL. She could throw barbs with the best of them and was also a Class A meddler.

  • I think if you feel that terrible, to the point where you’re back on meds, that’s a pretty good time to listen to your body and not go.

    It’s perfectly fine to heal on your own terms.

    And sometimes least said is soonest mended. I liked Chump Lady’s simple explanation at the beginning: that’s a great script.

    Next time, you might be able to be bolshy. Just maybe not this time.

    • Yes! My thoughts exactly! You’ll be seen and she will know you were there to support her! Be sure and sign the guest book too. In REALLY BIG LETTERS! Everyone will respect that you came and were smart enough to avoid any reception drama.

  • i wouldn’t attend. it’s too much work to emotionally prep in advance, strategize how best to manage seating, be on guard for all possibilities. i know you’re a hard worker because chumps are always hard workers, but this is too much.

    i wouldn’t send a gift on the actual day either, i’d go to the spa/box a few rounds/?? then i’d invite stepdaughter and her partner over for dinner and spoil them with dinner and a gift then, one-on-one.

  • Whenever future fear shows up, I say out loud, “That is not happening right now and I will decide how to respond when it happens.”

    When I’m driving on the freeway, it’s good to be aware of the exit I need to take, but I need to pay attention to the road.

    Also, having an EXIT STRATEGY, rehearsing what to say or not say, is always on my list of preparations for difficult social situations.

    You may want to rent Robert Altman’s “A Wedding”, a movie about all the crazy dysfunctional family drama that goes on behind the scenes of those Big Days. It’s always good to know you’re not alone!


    • Love this phrase. I’m going to borrow it with one tiny change. “This is not happening right now and I will decide how to respond IF it happens.”

      • I get the tweak but if you think about it, it’s not even necessary.
        ‘When’ and ‘if’ are both in the mysterious uncontrollable Room of the Future which we never get advance tickets to…..

  • My son’s wedding was twenty months after the divorce was final. I went. Wore two different gowns. Sat far away from ex. Refused ANY interaction with anyone from HIS family (I mean really, never a phone call after being in your family thirty five years?) Told photographer no photos with ex and also told hotel to make sure that his room was no where near mine.
    The whore was not invited.
    I prepared a beautiful toast but did not give it as I did not want to one-up her mother. (I wrote it out and included it in their card.)
    One thing that I did was to not wear my eyeglasses. This way it was easier to avoid them all (plus, I looked better).
    I danced and danced. I felt so wonderful as this was the son that I gave birth to and raised. (My son, a successful attorney paid for this over the top wedding.)
    My gift was no where the amount of my ex’s, but, I reasoned that that was a small part of the money that he stole from me.
    I left at 10 pm and sat in my hotel room and bawled my eyes out!
    One final note. At the rehearsal (which was the first time that I was under the same roof as my ex), I asked my oldest son: “Don’t you want to check my purse for a gun?” He responded, “Mom, it’s worse if you let him live!”

  • I emphasize with you. Both of our sons married post divorce. The lead up to first wedding had me getting a full work-up from cardiologist. I thought I was having heart attack symptoms, but they were from anxiety. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself. I got through it and my impression was that she was trying too hard to be that sparkliest turd in the room!
    The second wedding was in the middle of covid, so it was quite small. I was at full meh. I just kept my distance, grey rocked and enjoyed the magical evening.

  • When it comes to your healing, you do what you need to do… in every situation. The abuse you survived and how you need to process it and heal from it is yours.

    I, too, have stepchildren that I have raised from young ages – I’m now a “Gigi” two times thanks to my eldest stepson. I’m 7 years out and while I’ve gone to showers – it is because the OW is long gone and the current GF and I keep a respectful distance (I sit with the other ex-wife/mom who was cheated on) because I don’t know what she’s been told, I just know it’s lies. Not my monkey, not my circus… can’t save them all.

    I think Mitz suggested above… is there a middle ground… what can you do that acknowledges the love you feel for your step-daughter and her groom. Discuss it with her, without miring her in the “why” but rather a simple “I’m not able to attend xyz, but how could we enjoy time together to celebrate”… maybe you can go for a nice meal together when they return from their honeymoon? Maybe gift them a couples massage and wish them well? Maybe attend the wedding, but not the reception. Seek to understand what YOU can handle and then offer that and feel comfortable with learning how to set boundaries that honor your needs… it’s a new skill and takes practice.

    Your life jacket goes on first.

  • It may help to look at this from the perspective of “what is the best way to keep this a special, drama free, event for your step daughter?” You care about her and you want this to be her big day. You also want to protect yourself. If you feel that being there would be too painful you can legitimately bow out as Chump Lady suggests. You can be honest with your reasons without making her feel bad for inviting people you don’t like. Address it from the perspective of “It’s too soon for me to be around your Dad and see him with somebody else and I don’t want to be a downer on a day that I know is important to you. I still wish you the very best”. Still send a gift along with your regrets.

    Alternatively you can chose to go, but still with the goal of avoiding drama for the sake of your step daughter. Yes, try to arrange to not be seated with people who might be emotional triggers. Beyond that avoid those you wish to avoid to the extent possible. If you have to say hello be polite, say hello, make some comment about the weather and then move along and go talk to someone else. Put your best acting skills to use and act like you are not bothered at all and are merely disinterested in them because they are not interesting. Avoid drama, even if they try to start some. This will make you look good. You might be surprised to find that one or both of the Schmoopie’s chose not to go because they know you will be there. They may be the ones throwing fits over “why is the ex who isn’t even a blood relative invited to this thing?”. Then they will be the ones who look petty. Going may actually be good revenge as it may put the evildoers on edge. They will be anxious thinking that everyone is staring at them and gossiping about them behind their backs (even though it likely isn’t true). They don’t have to know you haven’t told everyone all about their shenanigans. Let them sweat while you la di da along with not a care in the world (as far as anyone else knows).

    P.S. It was the fears mentioned above that caused Schmoopie to refuse to go to a funeral to which I was invited. Ex then threw a fit over me being invited and making Schmoopie feel unsafe. I went, she didn’t, and she and Ex were the ones who ended up looking bad. I didn’t do anything but show up and promise to be polite to Schmoopie if she showed up. I never actually had to follow through on that because Schmoopie chickened out. Meanwhile, my only real motivation in all of this was to support the bereaved and honor the person the event was supposed to be about without making a scene.

  • I suppose it depends on how close you are to your step daughter and the groom. As in, have you seen them in the last six months? In the last year?

    Also, the event is a wedding – the beginning of a marriage. So that can be triggering.

    My step daughter was in my wedding ceremony and photos. She even was invited (as a little girl) to sign the marriage certificate. But we are not close and, even if we were, going to her wedding would be very difficult.

    Is his first wife going to be there, too? What a rodeo. Absolutely your call.

  • Oh, how I wish I could get away with using this description of a Vi as an example of characterization for my middle school students. Amazing!

    Some of my own grandmother in Vi. She was a bad little bitch, too. All 100 pounds of her. I think it’s what killed her and helped her survive! I loved her and admired her tenacity, wit and resilience – but I definitely did not aspire to be like her. FOO…

  • I’m usually an advocate for honesty and directness, but in *this specific case* I’d go back to my stepdaughter – who is in a very, very difficult position, it’s her dad – and say that unfortunately you absolutely cannot make the wedding, though you’d truly loved to have been there, because you have tickets, already deferred a few times, dang pandemic, to (insert somewhere plausible that you’d love to go to) and you are out of options to change them. So sorry!! Then go to wherever that awesome place is, ideally with friends, family, a lover, whoever floats your boat, and make it true. Be super-regretful at missing her wedding (which you genuinely are, obviously), send an amazing gift, something memorable and wonderful, and then insist on going for dinner with the happy couple after their honeymoon, so you can look at pictures and talk about the day.

    This is what I’d do. I know money is not endless, but this would be my action plan.

    • I like this^. Truly, during a large reception, it’s almost impossible to have more than a minute or 2 with the bride & groom anyway. Truth is, she won’t miss your presence all that much and you’ll avoid any possible drama (she may be very relieved, after all). A invitation to dinner after they return from honeymoon would be much more personal and fulfilling. Send a card and a lovely gift. “I’ll be on an extended trip in another time zone that week, sorry!”

  • I’m in love with Aunt Vi. Tucking her voice and attitude away to draw upon as needed.

    I wouldn’t go. Sending a card and a check and maybe inviting the bride out for a stellar lunch after all of the big showy stuff is over would be nice.

    For me, the showing up to show them all is just not a thing. Nobody cares, for one thing, and it isn’t a worthwhile use of my time or cuteness, for another.

    Definitely the time in life to do what feels good and right to you. Not up for an encounter with ex and assorted mistresses? No problem. Unless you are legally obligated to deal with them, you have total freedom to decline.

    This is the glorious thing about divorce. You can choose unilateral no-contact just because that is nice and healthy for you. The days of dancing to his tune are done.

    Enjoy the peace.

    • ‘For me, the showing up to show them all is just not a thing. Nobody cares’ Exactly. If it were me I would save myself a night of uncomfortable shoes and a boring time. I’m really not a fan of big weddings I think they’re kind of stupid… I personally would have more fun celebrating with the bride or bride and groom at a later date.
      Please consider your own feelings here. As much as the bride loves you, she surely would be happy to avoid any drama on her wedding day as well.
      But if you want to go, definitely go and have a great time. It’s your right and just keep your focus on other things /not the piece of shit Fuckwit and 0W.
      However, you have a chance to take yourself out of this really bad movie of the week- you don’t need to be a bit player / or the poorly treated extra.

  • How can we all not be so pissed for you. And of course the nerve of OW, she can’t just sit this out – oh of course not. She’s starring in her “I’m better” movie. Do what is best for you. I’m feeling angry, and I might tell fuckW (if this was my story) that if he brings 0W I will be talking to the bride. Because you have a right to be there, she doesn’t. I’m not saying you should do this- it’s probably bad advice. But it gets exhausting having to be the bigger person doesn’t it?
    So that’s what I would do in my dreams. Tell fuck wit that you don’t want to see the OW, and that you will tell his daughter The reason you don’t want to go. So it’s not on her to change the guest list it’s on him. Otherwise I just wouldn’t go. I would save the money I would spend on a dress and an expensive gift and do something fabulous for myself.
    The step daughter you raised isn’t considering your feelings. Her loyalties are with her dad and I get that. But it still sucks. ???? fuckwit and 0W are entitled -lacking in empathy -self-centred asswipes.

  • I agree with the responses that suggest you go to the ceremony, but decline the reception. The best way you can honor your relationship with your step-daughter is to inform her of your attendance at the ceremony and that you will be unable to attend the reception. No explanation. It is not necessary for you to emotionally vomit your reasons or feelings to her.

    Don’t be a shrinking violet at the ceremony. Hold your head high. You have no reason to feel ashamed. I’m assuming you’ll see some of your step-daughter’s childhood friends. There will be plenty of people to focus your attention on during that time, in addition to the bride. Practice the skill of looking through people. You don’t need to really set eyes on your Ex or his current OW if you don’t want to.

    You can support the occasion and the bride without joining the party afterward.

  • I love CL’s advice. The one piece I would really emphasize–actually a dealbreaker–insist on being allowed to bring someone. Having a supportive friend, relative, or date there will make a tremendous difference. The person should know that their role is to stick to your elbow because celebrating anything with your EX and his new partner and the former AP in attendance is both difficult for you and that you do not trust any of them not to engage in passive or overt troublemaking.

  • I’m guessing Step daughter will be so wrapped up In Her marriage and new life she will not care a whit about who is there. Send a gift and don’t think about it. Make an appearance and again gift at bridal shower or put on a bridal shower for her with your friends who were part of her life with lots of pictures for you and her to remember. 2yrs is still early and raw. Don’t do that to yourself. Honor her marriage without exposure to FW.

  • Dear Trying:

    I think your body is already telling you this is too much for you. Too much stress, too much drama, too much angst, too much pressure. We chumps have had a lifetime serving of that toxic stew, and it is really OK to pass. What if you simply let the bride know it is too much for you, send a nice present with a lovely letter about how much happiness she brought to your life and all the blessings you wish for her and her husband. Then on the Big Day, do something for you, like a weekend trip to a day spa or a yoga retreat, maybe with a good friend, and just relax and enjoy, or whatever makes you feel good.

    P.S. Go or don’t go, you are still mighty!

  • Carry an extra business card from your divorce attorney, just in case you run into Schmoopie in the ladies room. Then you can give it to her since she will be needing it.

    • Hahaha! Oh, yes the ladies room encounters do so happen. I would look at her, LAUGH IN HER FACE after reapplying my lipstick, turn on heal and LOL all the way out the door.
      She will die trying to guess all the reasons why you laughed. Letter stew in her own shit sandwich.

  • Honestly, whatever you wind up doing, none of it is going to feel that great. It all sucks and will throw you back in your healing journey some, as many triggers have a way of doing. That’s okay, you are going to make it out!
    Whatever your decision with the wedding, it will be the right one for where you are right now. It’s all okay, it really is. Try not to overburden yourself with the angst and pressure it causes or give any more of your precious mental real estate to people who fully don’t deserve that space. ( easier said than done I know!)
    ‘Tuesday in the land of meh’ is a monumental life project that doesn’t just show up for us. It’s a slow, painful construction that feels almost impossible almost all the time. I think having faith and love for ourselves is what keeps us moving forward with it, and the support of people who are real and deeply care, like CN for starters. It all feels like a battle between good and evil going on and for some reason completely unbeknownst to us, we have been thrown into this battle! ( can’t I just make dinner, or take the kids to their activities!?) No! You are now in some war between good and evil and it’s up to YOU to win, not allowing evil to succeed. Holy hell, we didn’t ask for this, but here we are just the same! It’s having to be stronger than you have ever been in your entire existence at a time when you have never, ever felt any weaker.
    But the strength has never left us and has always been there, even if we can’t see it, we have what it takes to get through this. We never had to call on it to this level before, but it is there waiting for us just the same.
    Narcissists get off on the “ erratic, dramatic chaos” they stir up constantly, taking relaxing bubble baths in the slimy filth they’ve created as they happily blow up peoples’ lives. Sadly, mostly the ones that have loved them the very most. How sick it all is, stranger than any movie plot we’ve ever seen becomes our very own lives.
    If you wind up going to the wedding, think of that while he’s up there on the dance floor “appearing” happy and so in love. He is actually blowing up her life, with a couple of different twists than he did to you is all. His phone is over on the table receiving texts from other women he is involved with that he will arrange some adventure with when he can figure out the latest scam. His mind is racing to line it all up, is he present in her world on that dance floor and taking in the fun space and time they are sharing? It sure looks that way, but the true answer is hell no, never. He is always in more than one place at a time in his mind with more than one woman, no matter what he is doing. He is never where he seems to be. That’s who they are!! It can’t be fixed with a new victim, it just keeps the con going longer until she can figure it out. He had to get rid of you, you figured it out.
    Knowing all that, does that couple on the dance floor look completely loved up and in paradise to you anymore? Hardly, it’s all a fake life, there is nothing real about the man. It wasn’t you, it’s totally HIM, and a leopard doesn’t ever change its spots. The games will go on and on and on, he uses people every single day of his life, but luckily, it’s not a game being played on you. All the best on your healing journey.

  • Dear Stepdaughter, I’m so thrilled that you’ve found someone you consider your life partner. What a lovely wedding it will be, I’m sure! I’ve made the tough choice to not attend because of all the many complicated relationships involved. In no way would I ever want to detract from your special day! I’ll be thinking of you and will send along a gift and can’t wait to take you and your new husband out for a lunch or dinner soon to celebrate!

    Much Love Always,
    Your Step Mom

    THEN…go do something super awesome for yourself that day and avoid all the drama. High road, every time.

    • Exactly what I was thinking. I’m in with the “don’t attend” crowd for a couple of reasons. The main reason being your health. The not eating, sleeping and back on meds mean you are no where near ready to deal with your ex and his skanks. The other is the lack of or no role in the wedding. You have been invited as a guest, which is lovely, but since you have no role it’s an easy out. Why make yourself miserable, self conscious and sick? Don’t go, but bow out with style. Send a great gift along with an invite to a lunch or dinner to your stepdaughter and her new husband.

      • Yep. I also think too that, under totally normal “everyone gets along” circumstances, this is a strange situation. That’s not to say that having your ex step-parent at a wedding is bad or that it can’t or shouldn’t be done, it’s just complicated in MOST situations.

        My current partner is an ex step-parent to some really great young people, with whom he still has an ongoing positive relationship (maybe even better than they have with their bio parents), but he did not attend the recent wedding of one of the kids. It was a little emotional for him to not be there, but it’s what made the most sense and what was going to make the day easiest for his step-kid. Everyone agreed it was the right call and since the ones making the decisions (he and his step kid) are rational thoughtful people, no feelings were hurt.

  • It has taken a long time for me to internalize who the traitor really is. It has helped immensely that I no longer see him as the person I thought he was. That was a story I wrote, that I thought I was true. It wasn’t and it isn’t now. No one is with my mental fantasy man.

    I love visuals and it helps me to think of this like the crooks in the movies who steal the duffel bag thinking it’s full of money. It’s a great moment when they’ve laughed their way down the road on their getaway only to unzip it and find newspaper. Watch that scene at the beginning of The Sting with Robert Redford and his partner for the full visual.

    This is really the same. I do actually laugh now because our daughter caught him on Tinder while he was living with the Craigslist Cockroach and telling our daughter we were not getting divorced but working things out. Of course it was devastating for our daughter for her dad to reveal himself to her as a total dick rather than the Nice Guy Hero Fun Dad she thought he was, so I keep my laughter to myself. She got blindsided too.

    Cheating and lying and affairs prove the emotional intelligence and ability to love of a gnat. Maybe gnats have more emotional intelligence and ability to love.
    (Love as a verb).

    I have every confidence that they got the wrong duffel bag and chaos ensued and is still ensuing. We get the results of our choices in life and choosing to fuck over your family is never going to lead to a superior situation no matter what anyone thinks.


      Trust that they didn’t win, they didn’t get away with anything. There is no prize or benefit to partnering with someone who fucks over other people, especially their own family.

    • Exactly right. Anyone who fucks over their own family is extremely disordered. That is a life sentence and their continued choices make their own internal happiness grow.
      In life, if you do not love and cherish your own family, nothing else counts. Successful business man? Define success. $ doesn’t cut it. Raising a happy healthy family does. In the words of Bon Jovi, “It’s a shallow pool.”

  • I was not invited to my own daughter’s wedding. This just about broke my heart. wife #2 also AP was not t there, but since AP had divorced him (grounds ; adultery) and his most recent girlfriend broke up with him due to him being indicted on felony porn-passing charges, his ‘plus one’ was a former college roommate. Sucks how if one is indicted for a porno felony it makes the news even if they whitewash it.

    • I have been to 2 of my children’s weddings since d day 2013 and 14. I enjoyed myself but didn’t have to worry- no other woman there so can’t say how I would have felt in your case. I decided to be my best and I was. I did ask about seating- never at table with ex and even in church pew- had to request we be in different pews. I regret not making more of a strong statement about pictures well before and during the wedding. Ex butted into photos whenever possible but I did manage a good family photo and also one I can cut him out of !
      Being your best self at the wedding , you could openly request not to sit with the ex or either of his affair partners- that’s factual and you’re still supporting the child. Spend some money on yourself in preparation- go all out for you and the child. The affair partner and wife are often more jealous and concerned about the ex. You won him earlier and gave him away. If you cannot go to enjoy yourself, then be honest with kid but I hope you can go- to enjoy and support NOT as a sacrifice or because you’re chumpily following rules and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. You WILL take your life back from these disordered people at some point. You can take it now if you decide to. Good luck.

      • Photoshop is a gift from the universe. For pre-digital / actual photos, use an Exacto knife or plaster smiley face stickers over the cheater’s mug.

  • Your answer is in the first paragraph of CL’s response.

    Personally, I find it ridiculous, and not fair to her, that you haven’t told stepdaughter that AP is an (married at the time) affair partner. And that shmoopie “friend” was an affair partner, also.

    If you’re so worried about continuing with the deception of stepdaughter, looking like the problem, or seeing these fuckwits up close…why don’t you (at the very least) just say to stepdaughter…”I am very much looking forward to being at your wedding. However, I’m sure you can understand, I would appreciate it if you could arrange for your father’s two affair partners, Kibbles and Shmoopie, to not be seated near me. Thank you. Please let me know if I can help with anything before or during the wedding. I know you must be so busy.

  • I’m at full meh but if I were in this situation, I wouldn’t go. Not worth the drama or feeding the ego of the ex and his whore….I dread when my 3 kids get married but I know that none of them will permit their fathers girlfriend/wife/whatever she may be to attend with him. They will welcome my boyfriend because as they say “mom, we know you didn’t break up our family to be with him”… Good luck whatever you choose!

  • This is why I told my adult son everything. And people told me I was wrong for it. Even on the chump lady reddit and facebook group I got told I was so, so wrong for it and how dare I inflict that on my (adult) child!

    But I’m not going to have to deal with this. Sorry to sound smug but I went through the pain and awkwardness then so I wouldn’t have to go through it later when my son says something like, “Oh hey mom, I invited you and dad’s close friend to my wedding and you can sit next to her!” when that friend is one who slept with him behind my back and said terrible things about me.

    Anyone who is struggling with this, I urge you to tell all the people you are going to keep in your life the truth. If you’re cutting them off, you don’t need to tell them shit. But if you want to maintain a relationship tell them so it isn’t a shock when you say I’m sorry I can’t go that event because the woman who gloated in text messages about rubbing her vaginal juices all over my pillow is going to be there and I just don’t want to be around her, If they know this already, they probably won’t even invite the pillow humper because ew. But they have to know.

    Even children need to be told in age appropriate ways. “Mommy and daddy’s friend “Aunt” Sue started dating daddy while he was married to mommy and that’s not ok, friends don’t do that to each other. So she isn’t my friend anymore. We don’t tolerate friends hurting us like that, it’s not healthy.”

    Keeping the secret only serves the cheater and AP. There are times when you have to. My life was threatened so I cut off most people and I’m laying low. But I damn sure told my son. I damn sure told the couple of friends I totally trusted. I damn sure told my family. I’m not going to scream it publicly because I don’t want to poke the aspiring murderer but everybody in my life knows. They understand why we aren’t going to go to events together and play happy family. They understand why he can’t know my address.

    You need that support. You were a parent figure to this girl from the age of five? Tell her if you want to keep her in your life. You don’t have to make her choose you or her dad. If she cares about you she’ll understand those relationships just need to be separate. And she may appreciate knowing that a “family friend” loves screwing other people’s husbands and orgasmed over causing grief in her family. I think she has a right to know that woman is not trustworthy so she can keep her away from the new family she’s building. Tell her, at least give her a warning.

    • Oh my goodness KP, did that actually happen to you. I mean I get that most of these women are skanky, so it wouldn’t really surprise me.

      My fws whore spent several weekend with fw at our river property before I knew he was fucking her. I found her perfume there when we went down there the last time. I wish I had emptied it and filled it with toilet water, but I didn’t think of it. I just left it.

      I was pretty much in shock/frozen mode by then, he was treating me like shit.

      • I would have replaced it with pee. I did mix in 50% pee with the favorite limoncello I left for him…

        • Talk about making lemonade from ???? Brilliant ! ????????????????????

        • I wish I had thought of it. I wasn’t thinking straight right then. I was caught right square in between scared to death he would leave me and scared to death he wouldn’t.

          And I was in a cabin by the Ohio River, with no witnesses; with a man I was fairly certain by then hated me.

  • I went to my mother in law’s funeral about 18 months after my ex left for his schmoopie. I was dreading it, I went because she and I used to be close over our 20 year marriage and also my kids wanted me there for them. I took my mum who is also pretty good at snark. Anyway, I walked in and my former brother in law got up and gave me a huge hug in front of everyone and all my ex’s family and friends were very pleased to see me. Schmoopie was running around pretending to be in charge and was horrified by this display of affection for me. Apparently she retired to her room after the funeral sulking. I was glad I went as I felt after 20 years of being her daughter in law, why shouldn’t I? As a result, whenever I see schmoopie now, she doesn’t rattle me. I remain haughty and in control. I think you will regret it if you don’t go. But definitely don’t go alone. Take a friend, rock up and channel your inner bitch. I’m naturally a nice person but it comes surprisingly easily once you get the hang of it! Good luck.

    • I love that for you! I like that you used his family’s kind acts as armor that you can pull out when you have to interact with her.

  • I’m guessing that the step daughter knows exactly what is going on . And that she actually has spent quite a bit of time thinking about who she would invite . And that the current situation is a compromise .
    Go, make sure that the stepdaughter has a nice wedding day. As much as you can influence that of course. And that could just be that you enjoy yourself and have a nice time.
    You love the stepdaughter. The food will be good. There will be nice people.
    About the ex and schmoopie. They will go there and wondering if you are going to make a scene.
    They’d love that.
    Never show them what you think of them.
    Keep neutral. Keep them guessing .
    The notion of the upcoming wedding has thrown you back into emotional turmoil .
    There are three potential outcomes.
    One is, that it will be a disaster.
    Two is – that it will be ok.
    If you remain neutral with the ex, don’t show any emotions and focus on the good things, it can be ok.
    The third option is that you don’t go – and that is better than option 1.
    Luckily my kids are young, so I’ll have a bit of time to practice for this sort of bullshit

  • Here’s some middle ground:

    1. Send your gift early.
    2. Attend the wedding. Sit on the “groom’s side about 2/3 of the way back, on the aisle if you can.
    3. Snap a couple of good photos of the bride coming back up the aisle. Post the photo on Facebook with a cheery “Congratulations to Ethel and Fred!” That way, step-kid knows you made the ceremony.
    4. Don’t follow the crowd out of the ceremony. Take a side exit.
    5. Skip the reception. Go out to dinner with a friend at a restaurant you love. You’ll be all dressed up so why not? You’ll have a better time. If you are only going to the wedding, you can indeed take a friend as there is no need to RSVP for the catering count.
    6. Let DStepD know that you aren’t coming to the reception because you don’t want to make things awkward for her father and his GF.

    I often do the “attend the wedding,” skip the reception part. It shows you care, it costs the couple less money for the catering, and I’m not bored out of my mind.

    • Yes, that is a good compromise- and like I said in my 2 cents . The stepdaughter surely knows what is going on, so your suggestion allows everyone to enjoy the day. And for the stepdaughter – she knows that her stepmom cares

  • This is the letter writer again. I knew Chump Nation would come up with a wealth of wisdom, and you didn’t let me down!

    The wedding is out of state. And my stepdaughter lives in the location where the wedding is being held. She has reached out a number of times to ensure I was coming. Because of that, and the fact that my own daughters are in the wedding party, I am planning to attend. I have a number of supportive family members who will be there. And the first ex-wife (bride’s mom) and I are quite friendly since FW left.

    I did some goal setting with my therapist. The number one desired outcome being a lovely, drama-free day for my SD. A secondary desired outcome would be for FW to realize I’ve completely moved on and nothing he does can phase me. This tacky decision of his to bring his affair partner to a celebration of monogamy, as Chump lady pointed out, really does solidify how bad he sucks. It has also occurred to me that current AP knows she can’t let him out of her sight. That brings me joy!

    I have an exit strategy if the seating chart puts me near an AP. And I have some thoughts on what to say if either of them thinks they need to talk to me for any reason.

    I truly appreciate all the comments about not helping protect his image. I just feel that if I put SD in a position of having to believe me or her dad, it might damage our relationship. However, I could have a frank discussion with the bride’s mother and clue her in as to who is who at the wedding. What’s a little chitchat among the ladies, eh?

    That way I won’t be dropping a bomb on the bride right before her special day. And I’m confident that the discussion about her father’s cheating will be had, and I don’t have to be the one to broach it. Thoughts on that?

    • I wouldn’t bring anything up around the wedding time.
      You and your therapist have set wonderful goals.
      Any discussion will make you look “bitter” and probably distract from your goals.

      Leave it for when the wedding is over. Make it your SD’s day

    • Why engage in triangulation and lies ? That’s what cheaters do. I would tell your stepdaughter the truth about why your marriage to her father ended but after her wedding day.
      Go, enjoy as much as possible and ignore your ex and his side pieces, current and past. You got this.

    • “A secondary desired outcome would be for FW to realize I’ve completely moved on and nothing he does can phase me.” I’m not sure this hits the marks of “meh”…I mean, it’s good if this gets him to leave you alone and stop trying to antagonize you. But, aside from those specific goals, meh is about not caring what they realize or don’t realize. Who cares if he lives the rest of his life thinking you’re not over him? That has nothing to do with you. Fuck that guy.

      I see now why the decision is more difficult. That your daughters are in the wedding is a reasonable reason to go, despite my firm belief that, even with that fact, not going is still your best option.

      In any event, I wouldn’t try to use conversation with your step-daughter’s mom to convey information to her. That’s a type of passive aggressive, better to be direct and honest. And I certainly wouldn’t bring up anything like that around the time of the wedding. This is your step daughter’s sacred event.

      But, depending on the type of relationship you have with her, it’s probably a decent idea to convey to her why you and her dad split and what role the other women in his life had in that. That’s honest. And, as someone else pointed out on this thread, she is now building her own family and has a right to decide who she lets into that family…and knowing this kind of information matters. But, as you know, she may not see it this way and with a conversation like this, even if you say everything just right, you run the risk of alienating her from your life. And that’s just part of the ongoing shit sandwich we all have eat because we paired with fuckwits.

  • Some cheater assholes are going to find themselves fancy shmoopies when they learn of an upcoming event. So don’t feel LESS if she sparkles because more than likely he PAID EXTRA for that.

  • Speaking of Grandma Vi…. This reminds me of Maggie Smith as Violet Crawly on Downton Abbey.

    You wanna see savage? YouTube a few clips of this character to put in you arsenal for a reference of how to bring it to a potential cat fight.

    I channel that woman ALL the time.

  • Even though it’s step daughters big day you truly must love yourself first. In doing so, I would consider going ONLY if there will be many warm, supportive, family and friends of YOURS there. If so, I would go and hang out exclusively with the supportive peeps. Laugh, dance and have fun but look right past FW and Whore-worker. If you are outnumbered and there are only flying monkeys there, DONT GO! You can disclose your reasons to Bride AFTER wedding, if necessary. I agree, don’t bring it up before hand as brides don’t need added stressors before the big day.
    If you go, buy a sexy flattering new dress, heals, clutch, get your hair done and makeup on point. Smile ALL NIGHT LONG! Never lettem see you sweat. You’ve got this Darlin’. We are behind you. Hugs.

    • I just read your comment that your daughters are in wedding party. Then definitely GO!

      Just remember, it would be surprising if FW doesn’t approach you at some point during the day or evening. Assholes like him always want to say something to get under your skin especially when they see you’ve moved on, are doing well and are HAPPY without them.
      DON’T BITE! Don’t give FW or AP the time if day. Even if they ask you a question. Just keep smiling and just keep walking! You owe them NOTHING!

  • … the thing with opting to “not attend” is where does it end? If he knows you come undone he will bring her to your daughters weddings too. FW loved bringing AP to all my daughters dance competitions and recitals. He enjoyed sending a pre-amble email to me to let me know she would attend because “she wants to come.” Firstly, I give zero Fucks about what AP Whores “want” and secondly I ignored his every attempt to get under my skin. NO CONTACT is always applicable even if seated close to assholes at a wedding. IGNORE THEM. they live for centrality. Don’t feed that.

    • … all the “firsts” can hurt like hell and definitely a shit sandwich. But, with each hurdle we do heal, bit by bit. Sooner or later you will become unflappable.

  • … oh and I can do snark like a Boss if I wanted to.
    Bumping into AP in Ladies Room could go something like this:
    “Oh, is that what you look like? I would not have recognized you without my matrimonial mattress strapped to your back.”
    But I still think ignoring her is best. It’s a wedding.

  • Unless you are asked to be IN the wedding, you have no obligation to go. No, I wouldn’t make up a lie or excuse for it either. Lie’s don’t serve anyone and are never the answer. “I’m sorry, I won’t be able to be there” should suffice. If they want more details then I guess you can be more candid. I doubt, they’ll even question it. If they truly are concerned about the why’s and wherefore’s you can discuss that at a later date.
    I’m at a different stage with My X. I remember dreading the first time I had to attend an event with her and “insert random guy”. I hated the thought. Now I’m just at the point were I stroll in like I’m at Mcdonalds ordering food…….”yawn, Do I want a Big Mac or Chicken nuggets…….oh hey….X is here…….oh sorry, yes I want honey mustard with my nuggets please……thanks! Moving on!!!

    • Same. If anything I end up leaving events feeling sorry for my ex, and my kid who’ll have to deal with him and his personal issues. He’s truly trapped in a mental prison. He can’t be happy. That’s sad to watch.

  • I did the wedding! When my daughter was married a few years ago I faced my homicidal ex and we didn’t have to interact beyond a word or two and I was totally meh. I had an absolute ball with my best friend and her husband plus my wonderful man who knew what I was up against and had my back all the way. I felt so free! Turns out my ex was glaring at me from all points in the room. I caught him at it once and had 0 reaction. My friend caught him and glared back at him. To prepare for this day, I got meds from the doctor just in case and didn’t use them. On the day of the wedding, I jumped out of bed like I was spring-loaded. I had all my wits about me and needed them – I had a feeling before the wedding that something really awful would be revealed and I had to be ready for ANYthing. Turns out my other adult child wasn’t there because he was hospitalized shortly before and nobody told me because (here’s where my best friend comes in because she asked the right person, who told her) because I had “abandoned him and didn’t deserve to be told.” She set the story straight and came and told me. The true story got out and caused my ex and his wife much trouble in their town over the next months. It was easy for them to hide it from me because I live in another country. I learned the story five minutes before the ceremony and there’s a lovely picture of me beside the bride and groom with sunshine on my shoulder and a look of glorious peace. I gently asked my daughter a few days later and she had been convinced it was best to tell me after the wedding and she told me which hospital he was in. FYI, son is recovered.

  • Trying to be mighty,
    You don’t owe anyone anything. If it helps your sanity to skip it, you can always give yourself permission to do that.

    For what it’s worth, I had a similar nerve wracking experience … but I was the one running it and HAD to attend. It was my son’s Bar Mitzvah. In that case, I was supposed to coordinate the actual service and the party. I realized that our agreement only obligated me to to do the service with FW. Did I need to do a joint party? Not really — but friends of mine thought it would be awful if I excluded his dad (because they included their exes and thought everyone should — even though it was awful for them)
    I decided to work with the Rabbi and get the service together in cooperation with FW (FW is useless anyway so it was all on me) … but I’d do my own invites for family and friends and my own party (regardless of judgey friends)

    FW was pissed! He kept trying to get flying monkeys to go after me to force me to include him and his family on the invites and the party. When that didn’t work, he gave a sob story to the Rabbi … the Rabbi called me, I explained my side and I showed him all the emails where I was fully inclusive of FW and his family for the service itself (and he agreed the party did not need to be together. He also so sad in black and white that FW looked to him).

    FW even sent his attorney after me… and my attorney showed her the agreement that only included the service. Both attorneys agreed that we only needed to share the service.

    But at the service. I would still have to face FW, AP and his awful parents who completely support is shit choices. With our shul, men and women sit separately. It was making me really uncomfortable that I was going to have to sit near FW’s mom and AP. So I let my friends and family know… and my mom, sister, and friends all formed a fortress around me… they stayed near me and sat right next to me.

    I made myself focus on my son — this was his day.

    In the End… AP didn’t show! FW only brought his parents and one brother for his son’s momentous day — and son was very disappointed in dad.

    And I held my head high. I even walked over to his parents and brother and welcomed them and then walked away to talk to other people. We had a great party that night — with only my friends and family.

    So do what YOU are comfortable with. Ok? Only you know what you can manage. And you should be able to feel peaceful and safe.

    • “ He also so sad in black and white that FW looked to him).” was supposed to read:

      “The Rabbi also saw in black and white that FW had lied to him “

  • TTMB,

    Your issue resonated with me, as I know that I’ll face a similar situation down the road. My stepdaughter is in her early 20’s and, I assume, will marry one day and I will attend. I’ve pondered (worried slightly) how that will go down, considering my ex-FW (her mother) will undoubtedly be there despite their dysfunctional relationship. Similar to you, I helped raise my stepdaughter; I’ve been in her life since she was 2 yrs old. When she turned 18, her mother gave me the ILYBINILWY speech, left and never looked back. That was 3+ years ago, and, in the interim, I’ve navigated all the resulting heartbreak, devastation and emotional/mental fuckery. At this point, though, I’m pretty much at “Meh”.

    So, here’s my knee-jerk reaction and advice to you:

    1) Your stepdaughter loves her Dad; she always will, just like she loves you, but the relationships are separate. It would behoove you to recognize and accept that. Importantly, over time, she will forgive her Dad and come to accept the AP as part of his life. That’s not supposed to make you feel better, but it’s a fact. And it doesn’t mean she loves you less, it’s just that, again, her relationship with them is separate and distinct from her relationship with you.

    2) Don’t give your ex-FW and his AP the power – i.e. don’t waste emotionally energy on them, as I guarantee you that’s not a reciprocal arrangement. That’s easier said than done, I know, but it’s only hurting you.

    3) Ultimately, if the whole issue proves emotionally taxing, then, as others have suggested, go to the wedding ceremony only; skip the reception. That’s what I would do!

    4) Remember, this day is about her, not you, not your ex-FW and not his AP. It’s her day! And, hopefully, it will be her first and last time marrying, so you don’t want to miss it. Point being, put on your big girl pants, don your bitch face/attitude, witness your daughter exchanging vows in front of god, family and friends, and do not give ex-FW the power over you. Be mighty! In the long run, I think you’ll be glad you did.

    Good luck!

  • Oh I would be there hair done glowing lovely dress (accompanied ) If the ex and AP approached (unlikely) I would stick my glasses on the end of my nose and look them up and down like they were a piece of shit on my shoe. Then walk off in the opposite direction.

  • You could go to the ceremony to show support, and skip the party. Go to the cocktail hour if you want to. Bring a date and hang with them. Or just don’t go. Who cares right? Do what you feel comfortable doing, you don’t have to defend yourself.

  • “Look, I love you, kid, but I’m still not a place where I can attend an event with your dad and two of his affair partners.”


    Unless you can bring yourself to go, look amazing (which you would), and avoid them or bring someone with you, I think I would bow out. This event represents too much stress, at least it would for me.

    Giving the daughter the statement above is honest. You don’t need to be there. It’s not cowardly that you don’t go, it just may not be the right thing for you right now and that’s ok.

    Two affair partners at a wedding? Please. He’s an asshole.

  • 2 years is too soon for a real person. For a shallow character, 2 seconds is not fast enough.
    This event is important to you, it’s clear from your torment and the time you took to ask for advice.
    You want to be there for the daughter. If you decide to go this route, leave behind the feelings of loss and go as a winner! Make a plan, prepare the seating, as Chump Lady explained. Make sure there are no gaps in your shield. And then go and be awesome!
    If you choose not to go, think about the regret you’ll face for not going. Is it something that will torment you in the future?
    I think sometimes we need to fight a battle. Choose yours.

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