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Am I selfish for banning my bridesmaid’s autistic son from my wedding?


Dear Jane,

I feel like a horrible person for saying this, but I don’t want my bridesmaid’s son with autism to come to my wedding because I’m freaking out that he’s gonna ruin what’s supposed to be my special, once in one day life.

I’m getting married this summer and I’ve worked so hard to make the day absolutely perfect. My fiancé and I decided early on that we didn’t want kids at our wedding, but we made some concessions for immediate family members whose kids will be part of the ceremony.

But now my close friend insists because she can’t find anyone to take care of him and he hates that she leaves him with other people.

I understand that it’s really difficult for her, but I also know that her son tends to cause such a scene whenever he is at big events. Because of his condition, he’s overwhelmed, he’s screaming, he’s acting out and I just don’t want that in my marriage!

Dear Jane, I forbade my bridesmaid from bringing her autistic son to my wedding because I’m afraid he’ll mess it up – but now she says she won’t come without him

I feel like she had plenty of time to find someone to look after him and it seems like she just assumed that I would comply with her wishes, so she didn’t take the trouble arranging child care – and that doesn’t seem to be my problem?

I told her in the nicest way possible that we just couldn’t accommodate her and she is now threatening not to come to the wedding at all. She says I’m selfish – but surely she’s the selfish one here? She knows how much this day means to me and how much I want her to be here when I get married.

What do you think?

From, Bewildered Bride

Dear Confused Bride,

A big congratulations to you for your wedding which I imagine you have been dreaming of for a long time. Of course you want it to be a perfect day and I’m sorry you’ve found yourself in what seems like an impossible situation. All of us who know people raising autistic children know how difficult it can be.

We also know that children with autism are often overwhelmed by new situations, new people, overstimulation and crowds. In fact, an occasion like a wedding seems like something that is likely to turn out to be quite problematic.

The international bestselling author offers expert advice on DailyMail.com readers' most burning issues in her weekly column Dear Jane agony aunt

The international bestselling author offers expert advice on DailyMail.com readers’ most burning issues in her weekly column Dear Jane agony aunt

I think there are two options here, given that I don’t know the finer details. You’ve already said you can’t accommodate it, which doesn’t lead to the result you want. Your first option is to keep this limit firm, as this is supposed to be the only day of the year when you can dictate whatever you want.

Some would say that you are not selfish, or a Bridezilla, but rather set a clear boundary, which she must respect. No matter what she accuses you of, keep repeating that you’re sorry you can’t accommodate her.

When we set a clear boundary, people often oppose it, hoping to make us capitulate. Once we start responding to them with anything other than this clear boundary, it will explode into a much bigger fight. If, on the other hand, you constantly repeat, calmly and kindly, that you cannot welcome her, she will end up running out of steam.

I would add that this option makes it unlikely that you will remain friends.

If, on the other hand, you are really close friends, you will know how difficult it is to raise a child with these challenges. A normal babysitter or regular childcare is not an option for many autistic children, and finding the right helper, who your child is comfortable with, can be a huge challenge.

It looks like your friend tried and there may not be any other options available to her. Even if you’re worried about potential behavior at your wedding, put yourself in your friend’s shoes and think about how difficult it is for her.

Ask her how you can work together to put her son at ease and how you could support him in your marriage. perhaps there is a separate space that can be created to relieve her child’s anxiety, filled with toys or devices that help her feel safe. Maybe he has a favorite movie he can watch in a quiet place.

I don’t know the solution, but I suspect your friend does. As important as your wedding day is, our friendships and how we care for each other is perhaps the most important thing of all.

I hope you have a wonderful wedding and that the day is filled with joy and peace for all.

Dear Jane,

I have been married for 16 years and have two divorces under my belt. I am 65 and my wife is 67 and throughout our marriage she told me that she was also married twice before we met. However, I recently found out that this is actually not the case and she was in fact divorced four times before and I am her fifth husband.

Honestly, it really pissed me off that she hid this from me for so long. My feelings are really hurt, but when I tried to talk to her about it and explain my thoughts to her, she just shut up and said it was “none of my business”. She’s the kind of person who responds with verbal abuse whenever I try to bring up a subject she doesn’t like.

At this point, I feel like divorce is my only option. Then she can find another guy to lie to about her past marriages.

Of, lie the shame

Dear Jane’s Sunday Service

Healthy relationships can and should both affirm and validate.

Sure, we can’t always be on our best behavior, but that’s the beauty of a healthy relationship: every moment is a choice, do you let your emotions take over or do you choose kindness and gratitude? Do you distinguish your partner’s faults or focus instead on his good qualities.

Remember that the grass is greener where you water it.

Dear lying shame,

It’s a bit of a shame, isn’t it, that you got yourself into this mess.

None of us deserve to be lied to. We’re all human, we all make mistakes, and maybe that’s not a terrible lie: as far as you know, the first two marriages took place when she was very young and may have drifted to l ‘insignificance.

However, the fact that she was unable to apologize for the deception and tell you the full story is concerning. Verbal abuse is much more of a concern whenever you bring up something she doesn’t want to discuss.

Honestly, I think we owe you a trophy for sticking with someone like that for as long as you did. It’s not a healthy relationship, Lying Shame, and you deserve better.

While I often worry that life will get a lot lonelier as we get older, I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we’re all better off alone than in a relationship where we’re verbally abused.

You’re young enough to have a second chance at life, and maybe at love. Who knows if she’ll get a sixth chance at love, but it seems she doesn’t know much about healthy love, and I’d leave that to be someone else’s problem.

I wish you much kindness and honesty in your future.

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