I Am The Only Family Member Not Invited To A Wedding—What Should I Do?

Dear Newsweek,

This has never happened in our family before. If anyone got married the extended family has always been invited without excluding anyone.

There have been no harsh words, and no real fallouts among anyone, it's important to note. Some family members are closer than others and that's about it.

The situation I was looking to get some advice on is about my cousin (with whom I am not close with at all) who is getting married this fall.

Despite not being particularly close, I invited her and her family to my wedding five years ago. My father paid for half my wedding and he is best friends with this cousin's father, as well as being brothers, and he said inviting her was the right thing to do. Their close relationship makes this whole fallout all the more sadder.

family feud
Family feuds. Stock Image. A woman is asking for advice on how to deal with not being invited to her friends wedding. Getty Images

After hearing that everyone else in my family and extended family received a save the date besides me, my husband, and our children, I honestly thought it was a mistake. My father and my sister received an invite.

My dad called his brother to inquire and all that he said was that, "Mila (my cousin) was very selective." That was the word: "selective." What does that even mean? It feels like my cousin literally went cherry-picking, dividing siblings. My sister was invited, but I wasn't. She is also not close with my cousin. It makes no sense.

The worst part is this: people who are invited HATE the cousin getting married. They say she's vain, does beauty pageants, is superficial, etc. She got engaged in Paris and 3 people (who are invited) were hating on her photos saying how cliché it was. I was the only one defending her saying I'm glad she looks so happy.

I feel completely slighted, embarrassed, and taken advantage of. How can the people who actively talk badly behind her back be invited but somehow me and my husband and two kids are the only ones snubbed??! Why did I go out of my way to include everyone and invite her back in 2017, even though we had no relationship?? I feel stupid and really hurt.

My father feels like his relationship with his brother is destroyed. He feels completely disrespected. Even recently my father pulled some strings and went out of his way to help out my uncle's kids. I obviously don't ever want to look at them again. What resolution could ever come from this?

Kathy, Florida

All Of Your Feelings Are Normal

Emma Cullinan is a therapist in private practice in London, working with individuals, couples and families

Dear Kathy,

This sounds so painful for you. We, humans, have a primal need to belong to groups, and when we are ostracized - pushed out - it is one of the worst feelings we can have. This response often seems surprising because ostracization looks like nothing - it is not a visible attack - but, as you say, it hurts more than you would like to admit.

On top of this, you are also experiencing public humiliation, which makes us feel shamed and small. As you say, you feel embarrassed. All of your feelings are normal. That does not make it easy but it will help you know - especially if anyone accuses you of this - that you are not overreacting.

You are able to rationalize your cousin's decision: knowing some family members are closer than others. Yet parts don't make sense, such as your sister being invited, even though she is not close to your cousin. It also seems unfair that people who criticized your cousin were invited while you, who defended her, weren't.

This has brought up very difficult feelings: you talk of being: snubbed, embarrassed, disrespected and conclude you're "just not important enough." To get through this you need to guard against thoughts that this is due to some character flaw in you. Do not take yourself down with the situation. This is your cousin's issue.

One good thing to come from this is that your dad stood up for you. You are loved.

Have You Considered ALL The Reasons You May Not Be Invited?

Wendy O'Neill is a clinical psychologist based in London, U.K., who works with individuals and families with emotional difficulties.

Dear Kathy,

I hear you are feeling rejected, angry, and hurt by the situation that has occurred and the impact that it has had on your father's relationship with his brother. I wonder what you understand as the reason why your father and sister have been invited to the wedding and not you? Might there be other reasons that may not have been considered?

There appears to be a contrast in the values you and your cousin adopted with respect to the wedding invites which can mean that it feels harder to understand the rationale behind the decision. You mention not having a close relationship with your cousin, and I wonder if something like this has happened in the past as you describe not feeling important enough and perhaps this may be why the emotions are felt more intensely.

While acknowledging the hurt, can you take a step back and notice what you are responding to within the situation? Accepting the situation whilst acknowledging the difficult emotions, instead of wishing the situation could be different or holding onto regret, can be a really helpful step in moving through a difficult experience to bring about more meaning.

Could you ask yourself what you might like from the situation considering whether the relationship with your cousin is important to you? Can you or your father speak to your cousin/ uncle and express how you are feeling, this may help you feel heard and seen and may contribute to you moving forward within the situation. Wishing you well, Dr Wendy.


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