#13 Mother doesn't want gay son's friend at daughter's wedding / Daughter foments bigoted fight

Dear Ann Landers: I'm a gay man who reads your column regularly. Now I need your advice. "Tom" and I are in our 30s and have been partners for six years. "Janet," Tom's sister, has invited me to her wedding. Tom's mother, however, sees this as strictly a family event and has told Tom that she would rather I not attend.

I have always gotten along well with Tom's family, including his mother, so I am somewhat baffled by this. I suspect she is uncomfortable about explaining me to her family and friends. I am clearly not part of the picture she had planned on for this occasion.

Tom has told his mother her position is unreasonable, selfish and hurtful. He has assured her that we will be discreet and anyone who does not know us will assume that I am just another guy at the wedding. The rest of Tom's family agrees with us. Tom's mother, however, insists that her wishes be respected and thinks the family has turned against her. She doesn't realize that she is causing lasting damage to her relationship with Tom, which until now has been very good.

I would love to attend the wedding and be a part of the celebration, but since his mother has made it known that she doesn't want me there, I'm not sure I should go. I really don't want to make her miserable on such an important day. I need your advice. GAY SON'S PARTNER IN MARYLAND

Dear Maryland: You have been invited to this wedding by the bride. This is HER day, and her wishes should prevail. By all means, go and be sure to ask Tom's mother to dance. —ANN LANDERS

Gabby's Response:

Gabby’s Response:  

Hi Maryland: What comes to mind is something L. Ron Hubbard (Scientology-Dianetics) said, I'll paraphrase: Whenever you see a conflict between two, look for the third party pretending to be an ally, who is in fact intending it for whatever reason. In your case you have two "third" parties (Tom and Linda).

It's obvious Tom and his mother have an incomplete between them and that they are using you to bring about resolution. What Tom should have said is, "Mother, you tell him that you don't want him to attend."

Tom's sister Linda is an instigator, acting as your ally, sitting in the background unwilling to verbally take a stand. The result she has produced with her leadership-communication skills (turning another against another) is not a healthy communication model for a marriage. She should have handled this with her mother before inviting (hurting) you. At some level Linda's ulterior motive (that which is hidden even from her) is to have everyone loving each other.

Mother is playing a "miserable" adversarial game in which there is little joy. Her position, the non-verbal ultimatum by which she lives—either you support my prejudice or I'll force you to issue me an ultimatum, and then I'll say you are picking on me—is a set up, on her part, to get caught.

My sense is that both Tom and his mother have been doing their "very good" relationship act since you came along. Underneath it all we now see that she was neither happy, nor proud, nor supportive of your relationship, of you being/becoming a member of the family.

Re: ". . . explaining me to her family and friends." doesn't jive with "family event." —catching everyone up on what's been happening is what one does at family events.

Now let's look at your cause in this matter. What's also true is that you are using that family to complete some issue for yourself. My thoughts are you'll rue the day you didn't say, "Tom, give me a call when your family can communicate to me that they absolutely support our relationship and that they are willing to work through whatever comes up for them." Until you are willing to not have a relationship you will be cause for these adversarial kinds of frictions.

I'm suspect of Tom who would submit you to such abuse; it's not a gift of love.

Why you would want to attend this intimate social event, ostensibly to celebrate love, at which there's a likely chance you'll be on the receiving end of a non-verbal abusive stink-eye, worse, that many would be withholding certain truths from others; it suggests that you might be addicted to drama, even abuse. Notice that you, with your present leadership-communication skills, have caused division and squabbling—it's not how you picture yourself, yes?  —Thank you, Gabby

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Check back occasionally for minor edits (last edited 11/9/15)

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