Resolving Name Blame

Resolving Name Blame

Moderated by Rachel Stein /

Recap of dilemma: Amy, a devoted wife to her second husband, Bruce, constantly opens her heart and home to Bruce’s children. When her second stepdaughter prepares to wed, she sends out invitations without any mention of Amy.

Terribly hurt, Amy wonders whether she should confront her stepdaughter and ask her to change the invitations or just let it go.

Write a Letter

The omission of your name from the wedding invitation feels like a slap in the face. This is your thanks, after years of unconditional giving, even when you weren’t up to it? Not to even be acknowledged as a member of your new family, to whom you have devoted your time, your efforts, your life?

This error may have been inadvertent, or perhaps it was intentional. You’re not sure.

Here is my suggestion: Take pen or keyboard in hand and write out all your feelings. Pour out your waterfall of frustration and anger at your stepdaughter’s ingratitude and insensitivity. What are you, a wall? You don’t exist? Or perhaps you do, but only at her convenience?

There is no question that this was a major and inexcusable goof, and your feelings are justified. Take your time with the letter and make sure you express every nuance of fury.

And then — shred your letter into smithereens.

Because, my dear Amy, as you wrote in your letter, mothers are synonymous with giving. Does it really matter if your name doesn’t appear on the invitation?

You are doing what’s right. You are building a home for your new family with devotion and dedication. As long as you’re secure that you are doing everything you can in the best possible way, is there any real significance in your name appearing on the invitation?

You know. Bruce knows. Your family knows. And G-d knows. Who cares about anyone else?

Turning the invitation into an issue may cause an irrevocable breach in a relationship you have worked so hard to pave with warmth, love and understanding. Is it worth the risk?

Even if your stepdaughter makes the change and reprints the invitations so that you win the battle, you might lose her.

And who knows what ripples could be created between you and Bruce? Even if he takes your side, if he sees his daughter in pain because of you, a visceral reaction is inevitable.

Good luck with your letter. Mazel tov on your stepdaughter’s engagement, and a bigger mazel tov for overcoming a challenge in the name of family peace and unity.

— Naomi Star

Have an Honest Conversation

What chutzpah! It would be my pleasure to have a word or two with your stepdaughter to teach her respect and appreciation.

My suggestion is to invite her over for coffee and a heart-to-heart conversation. Small things can be overlooked in a relationship, but this is no small matter. I don’t believe for a moment that leaving your name out was an accident; the omission is too glaring.

Because this caused you such severe pain, keeping it inside will just cause the wound to fester. Ultimately, this will erode the fabric of your relationship, as it will inevitably come out at some point, probably at an inopportune time.

As you said, you are devoted to building your home. Relationships take work, and brushing real feelings under the rug is unhealthy. If you speak lovingly and honestly to your stepdaughter, she should understand your position and do her utmost to achieve reconciliation. Typically, when mature people exchange feelings, not accusations, the result is greater closeness.

I wish you the best of luck in your conversation and will be rooting for you.

— Dave Fuchs

Let Bruce Take a Stand

You are frightened to confront your stepdaughter; I don’t blame you. You have no idea how she will react, and you don’t want to create conflict in your tenuous relationship.

Here’s what I would do: Let Bruce handle it. Husbands should support their wives (and vice versa). Bruce should tell his daughter that you are his wife and must be treated as an equal and valued member of the family. He can even offer to pay the cost for reprinting the invitations.

In the scheme of a wedding, another few hundred dollars probably won’t make a huge dent. Besides, who can put a price on family harmony?

— Danielle Cohen

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