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Saturated_Brain's avatar

What do you do if your parents tell you they don't want to attend your wedding?

Asked by Saturated_Brain (5233 points ) January 10th, 2010

As quite a few of you should know by now, I’m currently in a fight with my parents over my homosexuality. It’s been covered extensively in this thread (I just updated the situation all the way at the bottom with the latest answer).

Right now, I think we’re at this stance where my parents will accept me for being gay, but they won’t accept that part of my life. My mom even went so far as to say that if I’m going out with my boyfriend, she doesn’t want to know about it. They have told me that while they’ll still love me, I should put the idea of involving them in this part of my life out of my head. They don’t want to see my boyfriend, they don’t want to know what I’m doing with him, and worst of all, they tell me that they would not attend my wedding.

Family is one of the most important things to me and even though I know that marriage is something in my life which is going to happen only far far faaarr in the future (university is just one of the hurdles I need to clear), it really hurts to think that my parents wouldn’t want to see me celebrate what would be one of the happiest moments in my life.

Hence, I’m asking you guys on Fluther. What would you do if your parents tell you that they don’t want to attend your wedding? Has anyone gone through this experience before? What did you do? Would would you do?

I know it’s kinda premature for me to ask this right now, but part of me thinks that this is gonna happen eventually, so I might as well see advice I can get (I also will admit that I want to let those who’ve been following my story know that there is an update on the situation and would also like it if others can give input on this issue).

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19 Answers

shilolo's avatar

It isn’t clear to me how long it has been since you’ve come out. It might take them a while to come to terms with it and accept it (which they hopefully will). After that, it should be much better and I would hope that they would “see the light” and realize that missing out on important milestones in your life will be something they will regret for the rest of theirs.

kevbo's avatar

Saying and doing are two different things, especially when it comes down to family. Don’t worry about it for the time being. For now, just look for the small opportunities to reconcile the differences between your life and your parent’s beliefs. Try to become a happy or contented person and be that person around your parents.

That doesn’t mean necessarily telling them what makes you happy. It means carrying yourself with a happy demeanor in their presence. Focus on that and allow them space for their own reaction. Over time, it will at least get a little better.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I would not tackle this one until you have to. You would probably have the same fight with your parents if you were heterosexual and decided to get married in Vegas—nothing but a religious ceremony will work for them. No matter how much they love you, this will be a hard one for them, but you will need to give them space and permission to do the right thing, even at the last minute. Don’t box them into a corner by judging them by what they will or will not commit to before the fact.

Your parents need to get used to the idea that you’re gay and you’re still the same person you were before, with the same core values. A little more liberal perhaps, but still the same person.

Darwin's avatar

While we say “No man is an island, entire of itself” at least, John Donne said it and we all tend to agree with it we realize that we do care about other people and that we need them. Someday your parents may be able to bring themselves to realize that whether they believe in the classical Christian heaven or not, you only get one shot at life. Excluding important events in your child’s life hurts them as well as you, especially if you are an only child.

Right now your parents are hoping this situation isn’t “true,” that the child they created isn’t “different,” and that you can just change if you want. Realistically, none of this is true, but right now they are hurting and confused, their dreams for you have been dashed against the rocks, and they need time to sit and think about the consequences of their choice.

Tell them you love them and will pray for them, and then go ahead and conduct the parts of your life they can’t bring themselves to accept because it is your life, not theirs.

Many of us can cite examples of in-laws who don’t accept their child’s spouse or family members who have to agree to disagree in order to spend holidays together. In fact, my parents have now been married 60 years, but to the day she died, my father’s mother refused to accept that my father married my mother because he loved her. Grandma always believed that my mother somehow “tricked” my dad into marrying her. And his parents did not attend their wedding either. But somehow life went on.

One of the things family members do for each other if they can is to cut other family members some slack when they do or believe something different. Cut your parents some slack now. Maybe they will eventually be able to return the favor.

tinyfaery's avatar

A lot will happen in the coming years. The best thing you can do is live your life well and openly. Don’t push, but don’t hide.

dpworkin's avatar

I think it is far too early to be concerned about this. Given the amount of time that must pass until the event, your parents may very well change their minds about the whole issue by then.

Pandora's avatar

My mother in law hated me and she attended my wedding. Even though it was special for me and my husband, we both know it would’ve been better without her apparent disapproval. We actually didn’t invite her. She just came anyway. But I think you are putting the cart before the horse. Give them time to come to terms with things. I’m sure they are going through a boat load of emotions and they just don’t know how to deal with them right now, except to exclude any thing that makes them have to dwell on it. Like Darwin said, everything they dreamt for you has been altered by reality.

Christian95's avatar

Do you marry your parents?
You marry your love one so if he is there than why do you need some else to be there?

DrMC's avatar

LOL me and my wife got married for 25$ at the court house. It was expedient.

Parents puritanical?

We’re still married and we put up with each-other.

What matters, is can you keep your commitment?

Parents are over-rated. If they don’t want to be with you at an important moment that’s their loss.

BTW – my aunt was majorly pissed that I didn’t include her, and my wife’s family was pretty angry.

It’s better to invite if you don’t want people mad.

ninjacolin's avatar

I’ll tell you what i think about humans at face value. I won’t provide a lot of “proof” for my opinions, but I will ask you to just assume that i’m perfectly right since I live this way and it works for me. Here it is:
– Humans are creatures who can’t choose whether they believe whatever they happen to believe.
– The sum total of whatever a human believes necessarily will coerce his or her actions.
– Therefore, since your parents have no choice but to believe that homosex (and the like) is bad, they will be physically unable to attend your wedding.

By this formula, however, if your parents begin to believe either that homosex is cool or that attending a gay wedding for their son’s sake is greater than not attending.. then they will be physically unable to miss it.

The action of their attendance is going to be caused by their beliefs about whether they ought to go.

The last thing I’ll tell you is this: Your parents don’t believe anything by choice alone. Anything at all. Even their beliefs about whether they ought to believe in homosexuality are unchosen and utterly out of their control. If they receive sufficient evidence to convince them that they are wrong INCLUDING sufficient evidence to convince them that denying it would be wrong they will have no choice but to attend your wedding.

Whatever happens, just don’t hold it against them that they can’t believe it’s okay. As time goes on, they may receive new evidence that coerces their beliefs. So, be patient and good to them, and lead an honorable life over the years so that your lifestyle reflects the inherent goodness of your path. The way you turn out will most likely be the #1 evidence that will convince them to soften up.

Sophief's avatar

Firstly I would like to say that I really feel for your situation. I have an issue (not as awful as yours) at the moment. My partner and dad fell out before Christmas, really badly, to the point where my dad just kept hitting and hitting him. Now my partner has said he doesn’t ever want to see my dad again and vice versa. That hurts me loads because what happens if we get married, obviously I want my dad to give me away. Then what happens if we have a baby, obviously I want my dad to be a Grandad.

kevbo's avatar

I gotta say. This QnA is inspiring for other parent defying-endeavors.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I agree with others that it is worth a wait and see. Like you said, marriage is quite a way off in the future and a lot may have changed by then. If it hasn’t however, I would just focus on why you are getting married in the first place. Because you love your partner. That’s all that matters and so providing he turns up what does it matter if other people don’t. I know that is probably hard for someone who is family minded like yourself but the bottom line is, if your parents choose not to come you can’t change that and so why let it ruin your day.

lonelydragon's avatar

I agree with the others who say that you should cross that bridge when you get there. But if the situation does come to a head, you could be honest and tell them that because family is very important to you, you would appreciate their presence at your wedding. If they still refuse to come, it’s their loss for failing to appreciate the wonderful, devoted son that they have. In the end, the only important people in your dating or marital relationship are you and your partner.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I figure their close mindedness is their problem and that they are failing as parents and let it go – my father didn’t show up to my second wedding, the one I considered ‘the’ important one – he worked instead…my mother showed up only to watch my oldest child and had a sour face all ceremony…no one in my family was happy about this because they still haven’t gotten over the fact that I was the one to leave my first husband – how dare a woman do such a thing, especially when she has a child? I had a wonderful wedding, so many loving friends were there and I didn’t remember much that my family wasn’t there.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Oh yes, how dare a woman think for herself and make a decision to make her life a better one for herself and probably her children!!! I am glad to hear that your parents decisions didn’t manage to ruin your happiness on the day and I hope that you are proving to them that you made the right decision. GA.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Leanne1986 thank you! I made an absolutely wonderful decision – the man who fathered my first child barely sees him once every two weeks for an hour – the man I am married to now is his real father and is a father to my second son and our family is all the better for it – my father has passed away now but I think in the months before his death, he wished he would have been more open towards this ‘American’ that I chose to marry.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

Thanks for the replies guys. In that case I’ll just live and see what happens first. If the situation does come then I’ll go back to this thread (or more realistically, start another one of my own [assuming that this place still exists by then]) =)

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