Hax: Son’s wedding is his, not dad’s

The Washington PostFebruary 7, 2014 

Carolyn: My son is planning a small wedding for June. This will be his second marriage and also his fiancee’s. They are planning a ceremony on the beach in California near where they will be joining a bike ride for AIDS.

My husband does not like the idea of the wedding in California nor does he approve of the AIDS event.

He also feels that our son has been disrespectful and he does not feel like supporting his choice of venue.

My son was legally adopted by my husband more than 20 years ago, and my husband has always been a responsible parent.

There is a lot of love, but it is not expressed, and my husband does not show physical affection.

I know that his refusal to attend will hurt our son very much, but I don’t know what to do about it.

ANONYMOUS

Step 1: Make sure you didn’t leave something out of your letter, because this seems like an extreme reaction to the state of California.

If your husband truly is harrumphant against beach ceremonies/AIDS rides/second weddings perhaps?

Then, Step 2: Point out to your husband that sometimes all it takes is a single choice to cement one’s legacy as a complete jerk, and that he’d best recognize this wedding boycott as one of them.

The wedding is about love, the ride is about charity — and what would your husband’s huff be about? Self-righteousness? The superiority of his values over his son’s? Your husband’s superiority period?

Ask him if he believes his causes legitimately supersede his son’s. Ask if any of them is worth the damage, which likely would be permanent, his boycott would do to his relationship with his son, daughter-in-law, and any children they have.

And with you, no?

If his answer to these questions is yes, then there’s little I can advise you to do, except be darn sure your son knows that you deplore his father’s choice, and that you’ll be there with bells on yourself.

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

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