Inviting One Spouse But Not The Other

by admin on May 10, 2012

I wrote out this entire thing and then realized I had vented for pages, so here it is cut down to the essentials:

I have a very serious problem. Over the summer I got an apartment with my sister and took a summer job as a bartender. I became extremely good friends with an older coworker. We would hang out all the time, occasionally with her husband there, but it was really “Meggie” that I was friends with and didn’t have a great deal of interaction with “Ron”. Meggie and I would talk often about our men, and she was very excited to meet my bf. She was convinced we were going to get married, and asked me nervously and earnestly to include her when I married him. I promised her warmly that she would be invited. When he and Meggie did finally meet, he liked her as much as I did.

While my bf was visiting, the four of us went to a ballgame together. He and I didn’t have a very good time at all, because of Ron. I won’t go into the details of his behavior, but I was turned off by it very much. My bf apparently had just as bad a time. At the game, Ron pulled my bf aside to give him his father-son, man-to-man talk. Now, he may not have any sons of his own, but I felt this was entirely, completely inappropriate. This was not his nephew, but the significant other of his wife’s friend. My bf came back from this conversation with cold fury on his face. He refused to tell me what was said, just held my hand. My bf is now my fiance. To this day, he won’t tell me the specifics of what Ron said to him, but I gathered that the gist was that he should show his woman her place and be a man, he should not be tied down at a young age regardless of how great I was, that Ron like me very much but it wasn’t about that and my bf should leave me to go sow his wild oats, when he did get serious enough to marry a woman make sure she knows who is boss and not to mingle money, etc etc. My fiance is an extremely noble, moral, and chivalrous man. He was appalled and quite unimpressed. Based on this and Ron’s other horrifying behavior from that night towards us and particularly towards Meggie later, I explained to Meggie that I was worried for her and uncomfortable around Ron. She said she understood he was kind of rough but you can’t pick who you fall in love with.

The summer is long over and I still talk to Meggie. My fiance thinks I should cut her out of my life. When I said she was a generous, genuine and sweet lady and he liked her too, he said he revoked his good opinion of her because she chooses to remain Ron’s wife. I respect his opinion and strongly dislike Ron myself. I don’t want him at our union as a matter of principle, and don’t want to have anyone at our wedding that I, and especially that my fiance (since he’s more forgiving and far less judgmental than I), actively dislike. But, I do want my friend Meggie there and even apart from that, my word is important to me and before all this went down with her husband and I saw his character, I promised her she was invited. Married guest’s invitations should include their spouses. What should I do? 0507-12

You answered your own question.  You gave your word and you know that married couples are to be invited as a unit.   You don’t have much of a choice at this point.  Besides, as you go through life, you will encounter other friends or family’s spouses that either you, your husband or both of you will not particularly like but must tolerate nonetheless.  A wedding is a bit different than a ballgame double date in that there are many more guests that you will be interacting with.   Seat Ron and Meggie in the far corner of the reception hall and don’t worry about it.

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

--Lia May 10, 2012 at 9:04 am

So many issues. Let me try to take them one by one.

If you have real reason to believe that Meggie is being abused in a domestic violence sort of way, please do not abandon her. She needs you. Abusers do what they can to keep the abused isolated from until they have nowhere to turn when the light slap turns into a full punch.

If the problem is just that neither of you like Ron because you don’t like his manner and disagree with him on the meaning of marriage, then the admin is right. Let’s guess that there will be plenty more people at that reception with whom you disagree on a number of basic issues. You’re not disincluding them.

But you also say that there was other “horrifying behavior.” A lot depends on what that was. If you have reason to think that he’ll be violent or will get drunk or will start an argument that will ruin things for your other guests, then I’d say that the rule about attending to the comfort of all your guests supersedes the one about inviting married couples as a unit.

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AMC May 10, 2012 at 9:19 am

Admin is right on. If I cut everyone out of my life whose spouse I didn’t like, I’d never see my sister again. If you get pictures with them at the wedding, just make sure Ron stands on the outside so it’ll be easier to crop him out later.

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Katie May 10, 2012 at 9:30 am

I agree that it depends on some of the other stuff that you haven’t included (I would have liked to have read the full story, tbh). But this is just based on what you’ve said so far.

I would not invite them, but I would privately tell Meggie why- maybe through a letter or leaving her a confidential note at her workplace (from the sounds of things, it wouldn’t be a good thing to post this to her home). I would say that it saddens you greatly, but you are going to have to break your promise of an invitation to your wedding, because of Ron’s attitude to your marriage, based on what he said to your fiance (I don’t think you have to be specific, but you can say that it was entirely inappropriate and suggests that he does not support your marriage entirely). I am not normally one to confront situations in this way, but I think that this is the best way of handling this. That way, you’re still leaving the door open for friendship with Meggie, rather than the alternative, which would be to allow her to ‘drift’ out of your life.

I don’t think it would be appropriate to invite only Meggie, and I certainly would not allow Ron into your wedding.

Good luck xx

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Katie May 10, 2012 at 9:33 am

PS- I’d also add that I disagree with Admin’s comment. Of course you have a choice! You can choose exactly who to include or not include at YOUR wedding. It may not be as simple in other walks of life, but you absolutely can choose not to invite them- even if this does mean breaking a promise.

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AnyMouse May 10, 2012 at 9:33 am

I agree 100% with –Lia’s last statement that the comfort of the majority of your guests supersedes having to invite a married couple as a unit.

One of my bests friends in the world is the sweetest most fun guy and I couldn’t imagine him not being there for a big moment in my life like my wedding.

He married a MONSTER. His wife is rude, crude and the queen of sticking her foot in her mouth. I don’t know that I’ve ever spoken to her without her saying something horrid about my clothes, hair, job or home. She gets incredibly high before coming to any event and she chain smokes cigarettes, so she’s always in a cloud of the smell of drugs and cigarettes. She gets so drunk at parties she will smash things and make a show of herself. She insults total strangers, belches out loud and curses to the point a sailor would blush. I’d bet money that she’d wear a white ballgown to a wedding too.

If I get married anytime soon and my friendship with this guy is still strong (may not last with her around…) I would have to take him aside and make it clear that I want him to share in this special day, but she is not to come. If he’s not agreeable to slipping out secretly to my wedding (she’d crash it if she knew about it) without that woman, then that is his choice. He’ll know I wanted him there. He’s aware of my feelings (or lack thereof) for his wife already.

I know it doesn’t follow the RULES, but my other guest’s happiness and comfort is more important that worrying about being rude to my one old friend.

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MiseryLovesYou May 10, 2012 at 9:34 am

I vote for not inviting either of them. My experience is that it is impossible to be real friends with people whose significant others are unacceptable to you. Why structure the rest of your relationship with her as some kind of a dance where you have to avoid the husband? There’s no reason not to be direct here, and tell her that you don’t feel comfortable inviting Ron because of his behavior. If she says she’s fine with it and would still attend on her own, then you have your solution. If she takes offence that you are standing up against bad behavior, then you have a very clear indicator that you probably don’t have as much in common as you think. The only reason I can think of that you wouldn’t want to have this conversation is because it could be uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean that it would be an impolite conversation to have.

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Library Diva May 10, 2012 at 10:26 am

I read this one with interest, as my fiance is on the horns of a similar dilemma. He has a good friend that he works with (let’s call him Ron). Recently, he discovered that Ron is dating another co-worker, “Pansy.” Ron, Pansy and fiance all work for a large human services agency that forbids dating others at the same worksite, and if you choose to do it, you have to transfer. Fiance agreed to keep Ron and Pansy’s secret, and he did, but management found out anyway, and Ron is transferring soon.

Pansy is furious, is convinced that fiance betrayed them, has been sending fiance nasty text messages at home, and was even attempting to twist some jokes fiance had made to her into sexual harrassment allegations (she knew she wouldn’t get far, and dropped it). Pansy also caused drama at work for him in the past, including refusing to respect him when he got promoted a year ago and trying to turn othres against him. We don’t want Pansy at the wedding, naturally, but I would really like Ron to be there for fiance, as he doesn’t know a whole lot of people in this area. Fiance is planning to invite neither of them at this moment. Do you guys think he has to stick to this course of action? Ron and Pansy have been seeing each other for about 5-6 months, and the wedding is in a year.

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Chocobo May 11, 2012 at 10:30 am

This one is easy — it sounds like Pansy isn’t married, engaged, or in a significantly long-term relationship to Ron. You aren’t under any obligation to invite her. However, if Pansy is going to create more trouble at work when she finds out that Ron was invited and she was not, it might be wiser to A) transfer to another area or department or B) not invite either of them.

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Carol May 10, 2012 at 11:14 am

@ Library Diva – I think the rule is, if they aren’t actually engaged or married, you can easily not invite her to your wedding. It isn’t automatic that all wedding guests bring dates. I would just tell Ron that due to space/finances/whatever he is getting a solo invitation.

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Outdoor Girl May 10, 2012 at 11:17 am

I would not invite them. The risk of Ron being inappropriate is too high for my liking. But I would tell Meggie why I was reneging on my promise.

If I had another single friend (male or female) that also knew Meggie, I would be tempted to ask them if they would bring Meggie as their +1, thus circumventing the couples must be invited together rule. And make it very clear to Meggie that Ron was not invited.

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Justin May 10, 2012 at 11:18 am

In my mind it comes down to a question of civility and the ability to behave like adults. There is no obligation to like the friends and significant others of your friends, and sometimes things don’t click. The question is can you and that other person both behave with civility when in the same social function. If you can than don’t close out a friend over that person. If you cannot social functions should be avoided until both parties are able to behave as adults towards one another. I would certainly test the ability to be civil at less significant events than a wedding first before making a decision.

When I was in college my roomates GF (now ex-wife) and I never really cared for each other. We never really formed a friendship and did not socialize outside of get togethers with my roomate or other mutual friends. However we both acted like adults, treated each other politely and with respect. I even participated in their wedding as a groomsman.

However if the person proves that they cannot act as a civil adult for the duration of a social function, they should not be invited, the drama isn’t worth it.

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Striving For Sense May 10, 2012 at 11:24 am

Ron and Pansy have been seeing each other for about 5-6 months, and the wedding is in a year.

Committed couples need to be invited together. Unless Ron and Pansy are living together, or engaged (or get married between now and the wedding), they do not need to be invited as a couple.

And between now and the wedding, there is plenty of time for them to break up. My advice is to wait and see. It may become a moot point. It may be that they will beat you to the altar.

Perhaps, though, your fiance can make it clear to Ron that he has been very hurt by Pansy, and while he loves and supports Ron, he doesn’t want to have anything more to do with Pansy. He can enlist Ron’s assistance in that with a sort of “I’ll stay out of your relationship, if you’ll keep her away from me,” arrangement. Fiance needs to point out that Ron’s relationship is his to choose, and he’s not trying to break up Ron and Pansy. He just wants to hang out with Ron on a single basis, without Pansy. Set that up now, before Pansy becomes truly linked in a committed relationship, and then Ron may voluntarily attend events without her.

If Ron has the understanding that Pansy has worn out her welcome (and make sure he knows why), then if he gets an invitation for them as a couple, he’ll know to accept only for himself.

Alternately, he might just talk some sense into Pansy, and help her get her act together. Insecure people like Pansy can do terrible things, and make people think they are horrible all-around. However, with work, they can become quite charming companions, and worth knowing.

So, don’t give up hope, but take steps now to ease the passage, if it does become an issue in the future. You have a whole year to set it up.

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Laura May 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I think it boils down to how much your friendship with Meggie (and Meggie herself) mean to you. As long as you don’t have any reason to believe he will make a scene, it’s probably likely that their presence will be a non-event. However, if you don’t invite them, you may very well have ended your relationship with a dear and valued friend. Best of luck to you!

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--Lia May 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm

There’s something else disturbing in this letter that goes beyond the question of wedding invitations and Ron’s opinions of marriage. It’s that the LW’s fiance refuses to tell the LW what Ron said but also expects her to drop her friendship with Meggie based on it. I’m all for married people not having to tell each other absolutely everything and not having to agree on absolutely everything. But am I the only one here who thinks there’s something wrong with this picture? It’s a weird mix of trust-me, plus agree with me but I’m not telling you what I want you to agree with me about, plus do something you wouldn’t ordinarily do based on a situation where you don’t have all the facts. He’s changed his opinion of Meggie for staying with Ron, but the LW doesn’t know the whole story.

I had a friend do that to me once. I was supposed to hate a 3rd party on her say-so, but she wouldn’t tell me why. Good-bye to that twisted situation.

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Bint May 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Absolutely. How very controlling. I would want the facts before just dumping a friend on his say-so!

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Ange May 24, 2012 at 11:08 pm

I’m glad someone else noticed the red flags. Now fiance also doesn’t like Meggie because she chooses to stay married to Ron? That to me was far more judgemental than the OP says she is. People aren’t perfect and if he can’t see that he has no business being married.

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KB May 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Does anyone know how to handle the spouse situation if one spouse is not legally allowed to attend? (because they are a sex offender or have a protective order against them)
Someone asked me the other day and I had no idea how to respond. Do you invite the one and not the other or invite both with the understanding that the offender will not break his parole, or send a note explaining there are children present…..
What does one do?

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June May 10, 2012 at 6:54 pm

I think a phone call would work better than a letter. They know their restrictions, and hopefully they will abide by them.

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Cat May 10, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I don’t know how old “Maggie” is, but I do know how my generation of women was raised. Take a look at “I Love Lucy” whose husband spanked her when she was “bad”, who governed her money and had her on an allowance, who she had to trick to get what she wanted. In her time,that was not abuse, that was marriage. You took his name, bore his children, cleaned his home, cooked his dinner, etc.
Look at “Leave it to Beaver”. Wife stays home, children go to Dad in his “study” for problem solving and for discipline. His word is law and his wisdom is the wisdom of the house.
What “Maggie”s” husband said was what men of my generation were taught as being “men”. The man was head of the house; the woman was head of the household. He picked where they lived and paid the bills; she chose the china pattern and the thread count of the sheets.
My mother told me never to get good grades, but to aim for “C’s”, never to best a man at any game, I could not wear glasses because they were not attractive to men, she had methods for “handling” dad, and she frequently lied to him to get what she wanted.
I think your generation missed all this. I taught sociology in Miami, FL, and explained chaperoning to a class in 1983. A Hispanic lad said he was certain that his parents never had to put up with that-until he went home and asked. He was shocked to his core when he learned his parents had never been alone together until their wedding night. They had had to sit with her grandfather in the living room of her house when they saw one another. He was allowed to call his grandmother in Cuba to ask her what it was like in her day because he was so fascinated that he knew nothing of the rules of yesteryear.

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Enna May 11, 2012 at 10:23 am

Just because something was accepteable once upon a time does not mean it is right now and even when it was acceptable there would still be feelings of how wrong it is otherwise things would never change. One of my firends at univeristy her grandmother got a divoce from her husband because he would never give her enough money to look after the children – she found his stash of money and kept a record of the date and how much he had etc.

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Cat May 11, 2012 at 11:19 am

You missed the point. The point was not that this behavior is what is currently acceptable, but rather that this older man may have had it so ingrained in him in his youth that he does not understand that this is unacceptable this young man does not think that way.
My grandmother was convinced that marital relations was something done to a woman without her consent, that she was not supposed to enjoy, and, indeed she went along with Queen Victoria’s advice to “close your eyes and think of England!” though with Grandmother, it would have been Georgia and not England.
Do I see it that way? No, I do not. Am I greatly offended and furious with her because she thought that and would I exclude her from my wedding for it? No, I accept that her generation had different values, beliefs, and that, when she tried to pass on these values to me, I smiled and nodded.
If you go through life demanding that all other people believe as you believe you will be very unhappy. There’s a wonderful cartoon wherein a man of my generation (1960’s) is advising a young man to: “…join a commune, smoke some bananas, find yourself.” The young man replies, “Dad,you don’t understand! I want to be rich and fat and drive a Volvo!” Dad’s reply, “Bummer, bummer!” and Mom chimes in with, “You’re killing your father!”

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June May 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm

For those who are advocating just inviting one spouse to a wedding: it makes you the bad guy. You commit the rudeness and it gives the other spouse more ammo against you. If the person you want to invite is married to a controlling jerk, what are the chances they’d be “allowed” to go on their own?

We are getting married in a few months. One of the groomsmen is married to an absolute beast. We’re talking the kind of person who would throw temper tantrums when her husband didn’t want to go to bed as early as she did. No kidding. But we’re going to invite her and hope for the best. If she does something awful, it reflects poorly on her.

If the person you don’t want to invite has, say, a drinking problem, then ask the spouse to have a serious talk with them about expectations before the wedding. You could even ask a few people to keep an eye out for trouble at the reception.

Please keep in contact with “Meggie”. She needs to know people care about her, and doesn’t need to hear criticism about her spouse. She might distance herself from you if she only hears negativity.

Bottom line: take the high road.

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Enna May 11, 2012 at 10:29 am

I disagree, I think if the husband could cause trouble then he shouldn’t be invited and that is him being th ebad guy. Maybe the OP tells her firend not to tell her husband? Sounds to me like the husband doens’t approve of the marriage anyway so he might not want to go or even bother going. If OP’s firend is being abused then she needs all the help that she can get.

I disagree with the OP on one thing though: if her finance is a less judgemental person then why does he want OP to cut her firend out of her life?

I can see where Admin is comining from to a degree but I think if someone’s spouse or partner is really objectionable then just not involving them is the best idea.

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Amanda Kate May 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm

I agree. Also, by inviting Meggie but not Ron, you run the risk of offending Meggie as well and you definitely don’t want that!

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Patty-O May 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Sorry, I disagree with Admin. I would NOT invite Meggie. Promises get broken. If Meggie inquires as to why, I would come up with a harmless white lie and bean dip.

I’m the furthest thing from a bridezilla, and people consider me pretty easy going. BUT, you do not get to say bad things to my finace about me. Not only that but OP’s finace doesn’t feel comfortable with them around. Is it not his wedding, too? Doesn’t he get a say? If he doesn’t want them there, OP should take that into consideration.

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Wren May 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm

I wouldn’t invite Meggie since it would mean having to have her husband there, too. Doubt that this is the first time Meggie will have had to deal with the result of her husband’s insensitive, rude, boorish behavior. Ron has already made it clear he isn’t supportive of this couple, so he should not be at the wedding. If that means Meggie won’t be invited either, so be it. As I understand it, the promise to invite her was made before the bride to be met Ron and in my opinion Ron makes the promise void, since they are a unit.

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MellowedOne May 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm

OP, it sounds like you became good friends with Meggie. So much so, after a few months of friendship you “promised her warmly that she would be invited”.

Life would be a breeze if every person we interacted with was like that. In the real world however, society is also comprised of young fools, grumpy old men and the like. What maturity (hopefully) does is enable us co-exist despite generational and behavioral differences.

Please don’t renege your promise to Meggie for the indescretions of one man’s actions. To invite them both would show that you are above all that. It may even show the man that he was wrong about how he acted. But if not, you can still have peace of mind knowing you did the right thing.

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Bint May 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm

My husband was invited to a wedding and I wasn’t. The bride didn’t know he was married – she just invited a list of his teammates. I didn’t care. I didn’t go.

However, my husband’s cousin is married to a total racist pig who hates people from my country. He likes to say so! To my face!

We just invited them anyway. Ron would be one of many guests, so it comes down to how much does Meggie mean to the bride? Frankly I would tell my husband to stick her vile one for one day, because Meggie chose to marry him, and get over it unless fiance told me exactly what Ron said to him. If it were that bad, I would tell Meggie I’m sorry but I cannot invite a man who would say such things.

They may well not come. Racist Man did not come to our wedding. We didn’t invite kids and he wrote us a manky letter (although he didn’t at his!) declining as a result. Hurrah!

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Cat May 11, 2012 at 11:23 am

A friend of mine had a perfect reply when confronted with a racist like the one you describe. When he began to rant and rave about what terrible people they were she would smile and say, “What a shame you feel that way when they are so fond of you!”

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Bint May 11, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Ha ha ha! I should have used that one! Not but what anything an English person says to him is proof of what an arrogant evil imperialist they are. Ironically my husband isn’t English but Racist Man doesn’t like his country either. We were so glad he didn’t come!

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sv May 10, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I am married to a wonderful man, so perhaps I don’t have the same point of view that Meggie would. Or maybe I do – it’s very possible she does not mind her husband’s behaviour and attitudes. Regardless, I cannot imagine choosing to attend a wedding that my husband had been specifically not invited to. We are a couple. Unless you suspect Ron will behave in a violent, uncomfortable or otherwise horrifying manner you should invite them both – otherwise, invite neither. You need to ask yourself this – do you want Meggie to attend more than you want Ron to NOT attend?

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Christine May 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm

My mom and stepdad had friends like Meggie and Ron. Our “Ron” was a horrible, nasty, mean, miserable drunk. His wife was one of the kindest, sweetest women you would ever want to meet. She married her first boyfriend, back in those “I Love Lucy” days that @Cat described. Divorce was not an option for her. I can’t even think of how many times her “Ron” embarrassed her and humiliated her in front of their friends, and I heard years later that worse happened at home. I asked my stepdad once, long after all the other players were gone, why he and my mom stayed friends with them when he was so horrible. Dad said it was for her sake, and that when it was just the guys, he wasn’t so bad – still obnoxious, but he had no one to aim his abuse at when his wife wasn’t present. It was also that, in their day, people didn’t get involved in each other’s marriages. I still to this day don’t get why my parents continued to socialize with them, except that the wife really was a lovely woman who needed her friends and the social outlet they gave, despite her husband’s unpredictable and nasty behaviour (he asked my cousin why she was so fat at my mother’s funeral – and kept talking about her “fatness” even after he was told to shut up – for that, which made one of the worst days of my life that much more terrible – I would never forgive him – not to this day).

Invite Meggie by herself and tell her directly that Ron is not invited. I doubt it would be the first time she heard objections to her husband’s behaviour. Just don’t be surprised when she doesn’t show up. Even in the 21st century, there are still women who “stand by their man” no matter what the cost, personally and socially.

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MeganAmy May 10, 2012 at 8:34 pm

I wouldn’t invite someone to my wedding who I disliked, or who my fiance disliked, this much. A friend’s spouse who you’re not so fond of, fine. But someone who makes me totally uncomfortable, and isn’t married to a blood relative, no. I wouldn’t want that feeling at my wedding, and I certainly wouldn’t want to subject my other guests to someone like that.

First, I’d find out from my fiance exactly what was said. But if my fiance really disliked this man and didn’t want him at his/our wedding, I would respect that. It’s my fiance’s wedding too. And if my fiance thinks that it’s disrespectful to participate in a ceremony while having someone present who is unsupportive of those vows, I’d support my fiance’s decision.

Things and circumstances change. When I was a freshman in college, I had a few close friends and we told each other we’d invite each other to our weddings. By the time we graduated, we weren’t close or we actually disliked each other and didn’t invite each other to our respective weddings. I like to honor promises, but that doesn’t mean I can’t change my mind and tell the person who I promised that the circumstances have changed.

In your shoes, I would be honest with Meggie. I would tell her that I adore her, and that I got a really bad impression of her husband. And that I’m afraid I and my guests would be uncomfortable having Ron there because of his past behavior. I’d tell her that I want her to be a part of my wedding and wedding planning, but I don’t want Ron at all involved or present. And then I’d be silent and see what she had to say about it and see what she suggested. If she suggests that she’ll come alone, great. But I wouldn’t have him there, even if it meant breaking my promise to her.

I believe you should stay close to her in case she’s in abusive marriage and needs help. But I wouldn’t sacrifice my fiance’s comfort, mine or that of my guests in order to stay close to her on the off chance she ever came forward and asked for my help getting out of her marriage.

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Kate May 11, 2012 at 6:48 am

My fiance and I really dislike his brother’s girlfriend. She’s rude, crude and has made a number of disparaging comments about both of us (never to our faces, of course, that would require her to show a spine). Unfortunately, as others have said, committed couples are usually invited to weddings as a unit and we are inviting his brother, so she will have to be invited as well.
We’re having a child-free wedding though, and they have one kid and another on the way, so I am hoping she decides not to come so she can stay home with the kids. Do Ron and Meggie have children? If so, perhaps you could suggest to Meggie that she attend and have a ‘night off’ from the children, with Ron at home to look after them.
Alternatively, you could tell her that due to financial or space restrictions, you have had to limit your guest list to family and long-time friends only.

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Katie May 11, 2012 at 7:16 am

I agree 100% with MeganAmy here.

The attitude that a promise, made some time before a (then) hypothetical event- is somehow more important than a person’s comfort and happiness on their wedding day is baffling to me.

I do think that perhaps you could offer Meggie the option of attending alone (which I think she will refuse). You could be very honest and tell her that your fiance won’t tell you exactly what was said in that conversation, but whatever it was upset him so much that he is unwilling to allow Ron to be at the wedding.

I really don’t think you should invite Ron, under any circumstances!

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Enna May 11, 2012 at 10:31 am

P.S I also think the OP’s finance should tell OP what was said. If Meggie can’t take coming on her own then the circumstances have changed, since the promise was only made on the pretext that there would be no bad behaviour.

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Meegs May 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I don’t understand why people are coming on an etiquette website with the suggestion that the OP invite one spouse and not the other.

Without knowing what the other horrifying behavior is on Ron’s part towards the OP, based on just the one example at the ball game, this would not be a reason to exclude a good friend, IMO. There will be plenty of other people at the wedding, you won’t even have to talk to Ron. As far as him making other guest uncomfortable, again without knowing some of the other things he’s done, I’m sure your other guests will be fine. We’ve all had to deal with an obnoxious person on occasion, it’s really not that big a deal.

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June May 12, 2012 at 8:39 am

THANK YOU! Also, just as a point of interest: I see at least one person here is calling the OP’s significant other her “finance”. Hopefully he means more to her than just his bank account and is her “fiance”.

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wallaby May 14, 2012 at 3:52 am

Completely agree with Meegs.

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MellowedOne May 12, 2012 at 7:39 am

Very good point Meegs. All the personal details are a distraction from what essentially boils down to, “I have personally invited a co-worker who is married. Should my invitation include her spouse?”

It’s hard not to let the details cloud this issue, but they have to be removed when the question is on a site dedicated to correct etiquette. Which, in this story, is that etiquette requires spouses be invited. No, ‘except if they are rude/ugly/bad dressers/tacky/drive up the guest count too high’.

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Library Diva May 14, 2012 at 11:38 am

I think people are more looking to see if this rule is absolute, or if there are excpetions that can be made. Etiquette requires you to RSVP to an invitation, but it also forgives you if your home was wiped out by a tornado along with the piece of paper you need. Etiquette requires you to send thank-you notes promptly after a wedding, but it would forgive you if you spend three months in the hospital following the wedding. Etiquette says you’re not supposed to discuss parties in front of people who haven’t been invited, but the rule is not so inflexible that you can’t discuss it with the people at the party supply store, nor are you expected to refrain from discussing it with a group of invited guests at (for example) a restaurant, where strangers can overhear. So I think it’s reasonable to wonder if spouses HAVE to be included if they’ve personally insulted you in the past. Consensus seems to be yes, in fact.

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acr May 12, 2012 at 7:21 pm

I agree with the poster who said that if the fiance feels that strongly against Ron, he needs to give the OP some specifics of what was said that he finds so objectionable.

Despite the OP’s promise, I do think her fiance’s feelings trump Meggie’s. Perhaps OP could say to Meggie, “I know I promised to invite you to my wedding, and I would love to have you there. But Ron said some vile things to my fiance, including X, Y, and Z. Because of this, I am not comfortable having him at my wedding.” Yes, Meggie will probably be crushed – but it’s not the OP’s job or society’s job to put up with her jerk of a husband because she has poor taste. Maybe if the OP were to put it like that, Meggie might say, “Oh, he hates weddings. It will just be me.”

I think this is especially true if the guest list is limited. I would NOT be willing to bump someone I actually liked in order to accommodate a co-worker’s vile husband.

If the OP is having a large wedding with lots and lots of people and space isn’t an issue, I would probably go ahead and invite Ron, unless I thought he was the type to track us down and pester us at the wedding.

BTW, people keep saying, “Their behavior doesn’t reflect on you.” I think that actually, yes, it does. Especially if it’s a friend. A family member, I think a lot of people will say, “Oh, the HC had to invite Drunken Uncle Bob,” but a friend? People say, “Wow. They choose to be friends with people like that.”

At my sister’s wedding, some of my BiL’s friends behaved like jerks. And, yes, I judge him for it. They were HIS friends, after all.

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Platty May 18, 2012 at 6:55 pm

I wouldn’t invite someone who actively encouraged my fiance to dump me to my wedding unless they were blood. Definitely refrain from inviting Meggie and tell her why. I have little patience for weak women who love their jerks.

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Filiagape November 8, 2012 at 2:44 pm

How many married people would attend a wedding where their spouse was specifically NOT invited. I would never attend a wedding at which my husband wasn’t welcome, and my husband would never attend a wedding from which I was excluded. Either invite the both or accept your friendship with Meggie will take a serious if not fatal blow.

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