Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Divorced Parents and How to Swing Them

I'm getting a lot of divorced parent management questions this week. I tackled it in an article last year on the Broke-Ass Bride, and the post got, well, a LOT of emotional responses. What do you think?

Divorced Parents and How to Swing Them
August 12, 2011, by Liz

You’ve been dreading it since you got the ring on your  finger – “Wow, it’s so pretty, I’m so happy, oh, man, what am I going to do about Mom and Dad?” There’s gonna be parental dissension on your side of the aisle. They haven’t talked in years, or maybe they finally started talking after a few years, but either way, your wedding is a whole new ballgame. Mom re-married and Dad’s still a little bitter, and needs reassurance that he’s the one walking you down the aisle. Or Dad is going to help pay, but wedding costs can stun the most generous of fathers, which is triggering alimony PTSD for your mother. Whatever the day’s current conflict is, not only do you get to hear about it (all of it) but you have to mediate too, because as usual, the only common denominator between them is YOU.

Yeah, I’ve seen this many, many times before, so the good news (such as it is), is that you are not alone. It is a truth universally acknowledged that weddings make families do the wacky. Relationship pressure becomes priority, since it’s the one day when it’s all going to play out in public. And, of course, each parent has a different idea of how it should go, usually with the other side backing off… as they should, darn it.

What a complete pain in the ass. What do you do?

Here comes the hard part: Treat everyone like the adults they are, whether they’re acting like it or not. This is how most of my brides have gotten through it. It also means that you have to be a mature adult, too. Don’t tell them that their fighting is ruining your wedding, because they both feel they’re being perfectly reasonable, not to mention completely right. No choosing sides, because that’s just going to bite you back in the butt. For one thing, 9 times out of 10, whatever they’re butting heads about is not about you. At all.

So, when Mom starts grumbling, again, about Dad bringing his 25 year-old girlfriend to the wedding, suggest that she take it up with him. Engage in the speculation and irrational mind twirling as little as possible, and change the subject often.
As I’ve said before, I… have parents. But at the end of the day, they love you, and they will both be there on your wedding day, and that’s all you want. I can just about promise that there won’t be a fist-fight, either. But, unfortunately, hoping they will chill in the meantime might be too much to ask for.

It’s not about you, It’s not about you, It’s not about you, I swear. Good luck and hang in there!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

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