Wednesday, September 27

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 autistic son to come to my wedding because I’m terrified he’s going to ruin what should be my once-in-a-lifetime special. day.

I’m getting married this summer and I’ve been working really hard to make sure the day is absolutely perfect. My fiancĂ© and I decided very early on that we didn’t want children at our wedding, but we made some allowances for close family members whose children are going to be part of the ceremony.

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

I understand that it is very difficult for her, but I also know that her son tends to cause such a scene whenever he is at big events. Due to his condition, he is overwhelmed, yelling, acting out and I just don’t want that during my wedding!

Dear Jane, I've forbidden my bridesmaid to bring her autistic son to my wedding because I'm worried he'll ruin it, but now she says she won't come without him.

Dear Jane, I’ve forbidden my bridesmaid to bring her autistic son to my wedding because I’m worried he’ll ruin it, but now she says she won’t come without him.

I feel like he’s had enough time to find someone to care for him and it seems like he just assumed I’d go along with his wishes, so he didn’t bother to arrange childcare, and that doesn’t seem to be my problem. ?

I told him in the best possible way that we just can’t accommodate him and now he threatens not to come to the wedding. She says I’m being selfish, but surely she’s the selfish one here. She knows how much this day means to me and how much I want her there when I get married.

What do you think?

Of, puzzled bride

Dear bewildered bride,

Congratulations on your wedding, which I imagine you have dreamed of for a long time. Of course you want it to be a perfect day and I’m sorry you find yourself in what seems like an impossible situation. Any of us who know people who raise children with autism know how difficult it can be.

We also know that children with autism often feel overwhelmed by new situations, new people, overstimulation, and crowds. In fact, an occasion like a wedding seems to be something that is likely to be very troublesome.

The international best-selling author offers sage advice on the hottest topics for readers in her weekly column Dear Jane, Dying Aunt

The international best-selling author offers sage advice on the hottest topics for readers in her weekly column Dear Jane, Dying Aunt

I think there are two options here, since I don’t know the finer details. You have already said that you cannot accommodate it, which does not lead to the result you want. Your first option is to keep this limit firm, since it is supposed to be the only day of the year that you can dictate what you want.

Some would say that you are not being selfish or a Bridezilla, but rather setting a clear boundary that she must respect. Regardless of what she accuses you of, she keeps repeating that you’re sorry you can’t please him.

When we set a clear line, people often push against it, hoping we’ll capitulate. Once we start responding to them with more than that clear boundary, it’s going to break out into a much bigger fight. If, instead, you keep repeating, calmly and kindly, that you can’t accommodate him, she will eventually run out of energy.

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

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

It sounds like your friend has tried and there may not be other possibilities available to her. As much as you worry about possible behavior at your wedding, put yourself in your friend’s shoes and think about how difficult it is for her.

Ask him how the two of you can work together to make your son feel comfortable and what support he could provide at your wedding; Perhaps a separate space can be created to relieve your child’s anxiety, filled with toys or devices that help him feel safe. Maybe you have a favorite movie that you can watch somewhere quiet.

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 most important 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 years old and my wife is 67 and throughout our marriage, she told me that she too was married twice before we met. However, I recently found out that this was not the case and that she has been divorced four times before and that I am her fifth husband.

Honestly, it really bothered me that he kept 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, she just shut up and said ‘none of my business’. She’s the type of person who responds with verbal abuse whenever I try to bring up a topic she doesn’t like.

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

Of Lying Shame

Dear Jane Sunday Service

Healthy relationships can and should be both affirming and validating.

Of course we can’t be on our best behavior all the time, but that’s the beauty of a healthy relationship: every moment is a choice, do you let your emotions override or do you choose kindness and gratitude? Do you separate your partner’s flaws or focus on their good qualities?

Remember, the grass is greener where you water it.

Dear liar shame,

It’s a bit embarrassing, isn’t it, that you found yourself in this mess.

None of us deserve to be lied to. We’re all human, we all make mistakes, and this may not be a terrible lie: for all you know, the first two marriages were when she was very young and may have fallen into irrelevance.

However, that he was unable to apologize for the deception and tell you the full story is cause for concern. A much bigger cause for concern is verbal abuse every time you bring up something she doesn’t want to discuss.

Honestly, I think they owe you a trophy for being with someone like that for so long. This is not a healthy relationship, Liar Shame, and you deserve better.

While I often worry that life gets a lot lonelier as we get older, I also know, without a doubt, that we’re all better off alone than in a relationship where we’re verbally abused.

You are 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 she’d let someone else’s problem.

I wish you much kindness and honesty in your future.

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