Who do I invite to my 40th wedding anniversary, my son's estranged wife or his new partner?

Who do I invite to my 40th wedding anniversary, my son's estranged wife or his new partner?

by Sarah
(UK)

My son left his wife six months ago for a woman he said was the love of his life. They have been together six months and seem very committed to each other despite the difficulties of living together with the 'baggage' of their previous relationships.


My husband and I are supportive of our son and although we didn't want to see him break up his marriage (he has a 2 year old girl) we like his new partner and she has invested in a commercial venture of ours.

We have invited her to social occasions in the past months to make her feel welcome. However, we are having our 40th wedding anniversary party coming up and feel that we should invite our daughter in law, and mother of our grandchild, for fear of her feeling rejected. She gets very angry at the thought of us having anything to do with this woman and we feel very torn mainly because we don't want her to start being difficult about bringing our granddaughter round.

Inevitably, our son's partner is hurt that when push comes to shove the wife takes precedents. She feels her absence at the party sends a signal that their relationship is somehow not bona fide. She doesn't want to think of her partner playing happy families as if she is invisible. I do feel bad about this because i don't want to damage my relationship with her because one day she could be my daughter in law. I'm worried that I'm letting my guilt about the breakup of their marriage mean that my daughter in law is always laying the law down to me.


Jul 27, 2011
Family Invites
by: Wendy (Modern Manners and Etiquette)

Thank you for your question.

You have a difficult situation facing you right now. It is hard to balance an ex with a grandchild and a new partner who is making your son happy. It is understandable that you would like to include both of them (however not at the same time) for the reasons you have listed.

It seems to me that your main concern with your ex daughter in law is how she will react and what that will do with your time with your grandchild. I would not want to compromise any time with a beloved child or grandchild. It must have been very painful for her to lose her husband and it takes a lot of time to work through these emotions. As much as you would like to maintain a good relationship with her, it is not a good idea to bring her back to family functions. These tend to re-open the wounds and cause more pain.

As for your son, it is best that you support the relationship he is currently in. It sounds like his new partner is one who you all enjoy having around. They both need to feel your love and support during this transition.

Congratulations on your 40th wedding anniversary! It is a wonderful accomplishment for you! Best wishes with this situation and I truly hope that your celebration is just that.

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