Dear Carolyn: I am soon to be married. I just found out that my fiance’s friend, who is in our wedding party, said my fiance “could marry better” and I just “drag him down.”
When this friend was having marital problems, his wife was always turning to my fiance, asking for advice and a place to sleep, which he never allowed. He kept his loyalty toward his friend. This couple has the most toxic relationship. She’s had affairs throughout their marriage and is just an utter mess.
I feel this friend shouldn’t even be invited to our wedding. My fiance was obviously upset about his comment and hesitant to tell me, but still wants him in our wedding. I think it’s a really bad idea and “he could pick better.”
Trouble in Paradise
I’m sorry you had to hear this friend’s assessment of you. We all understand (I hope) that friends and family aren’t universally thrilled by every romantic pairing, but that’s not the same as actually hearing a scathing review.
Since I don’t know you, I can also say this without getting too personal: There’s nothing wrong with his warning. I’m the one who actually advises people to speak up – once, gently – to loved ones they fear are making a nuptial mistake. Plus, you and your fiance can be both lovely people and drags on each other, if you’re mismatched.
That’s why my issue here, to the extent I even have one, is with your fiance for disclosing what his friend probably said to him in confidence. He was upset and no doubt needing to talk to someone, but he didn’t have to pick you.
To be fair, it’s a common mistake, because sharing feels honest and honesty feels right – but the result was to hurt you. And, he didn’t confer any enlightenment: You apparently didn’t think much of this friend or his wife to begin with; you now just have a guest-list issue and a grudge to manage.
So instead of creating more drama with a campaign to disinvite him, please consider not reacting at all to this guy. That’s what you do, right, when conditions are fundamentally unchanged? He was and still is your fiance’s mulligan, the person you wish would go away but you put up with because he matters to someone you love.
If you think, yeah, well he’ll be at my wedding when he thinks my fiance can do better! Then you can remind yourself, every wedding has those. Every. You just have the disadvantage of knowing versus suspecting it, and there’s but a fig-leaf’s distance between them.
The answer does change if this guy is actively working to undermine you two. That would make this more a matter of trust between you and your fiance, and so the advice would be to talk to your fiance, in depth, no deflecting, about the point where keeping a friend becomes disrespectful to you.
Assuming it was just the one remark, though, not reacting could be both a loving gift to your fiance and a powerful statement that you won’t get snared by irrelevant things.
It also, oddly and retroactively, would make his sharing the right decision. How you respond is key to any calculation of how much truth is wise to tell.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org or chat with her online at 10 a.m. each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.