Dear Abby: Girlfriend left on sideline at small family wedding

Dear Abby
Jeanne Philips

Dear Abby: My boyfriend of five years calls me his “partner.” I care about his family, and they are happy we are together.

His daughter had a small wedding with just a few family members and the wedding party. I sat alone in our room for hours while they took pre-wedding photos. Not a problem. But when no voices were heard, I looked out, and everyone was gone! I texted my partner asking where everyone was. I had heard him walk by our room several times earlier, but he didn’t respond. Should I have chased after him, asking to be included?

Before and after the ceremony, the photographer took individual and group photos, as well as the tables, the caterer and venue staff in addition to the family and wedding party. Although I was standing with everyone, no one invited me to join a group photo or take one with my partner. My brother said I should have asked to be included, but I didn’t think it was my place. The bride and groom had already decided who they wanted photos of.

Jeanne Phillips

One of the groomsmen could tell my feelings were hurt. He came over and sat with me and asked if I was having fun. I did some grunt work for this ceremony, so it would have been nice to have had my presence acknowledged with an official photo, not a selfie. What do you think?

— Left-Out Lady in Virginia

Dear Lady: The bride and her husband may have been distracted, but your “partner” should have made sure you were included in at least one of the photos. The treatment you received was not only rude and thoughtless, it was also callous. Have there been other occasions in which he has been similarly thoughtless? If you plan to continue this romance, accept that you will have to become more assertive, rather than wait at the mercy of others.

Dear Abby: About three years ago, I got into an argument with my sister-in-law because of the verbal abuse she aimed at her children, who were 3 and 10. She swore at them and still puts them down constantly. I finally had enough and told her I didn’t want to be around her if she was going to talk to them that way. She told me they were her kids so she could talk to them how she wanted. I haven’t spoken to her since.

Now, three years later, I have two boys of my own. She wants to be in their lives, and my in-laws are upset that my husband and I don’t want her around them. She has since apologized for her behavior, but neither of us trusts her, and we don’t want her influence on our children. Should we accept her apology and spend time with her to appease my husband’s family or do what we think is right for our kids?

— Avoiding Her in New York

Dear Avoiding Her: Your sister-in-law has apologized. Give her one more chance, and if you catch her berating her children or using foul language in front of your boys, take a giant step backward and do not expose them to her again -- or at least until they are old enough to understand that behavior like hers isn’t tolerated in your branch of the family and why.

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