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Bride breaks news to best friend, 'Your mentally ill wife is NOT invited to my wedding.' AITA? MAJOR UPDATES 2X

Bride breaks news to best friend, 'Your mentally ill wife is NOT invited to my wedding.' AITA? MAJOR UPDATES 2X


When this bride is annoyed with her best friend's "insane" wife, she asks the internet:

"How do I (33F) make it clear that my best friend's (34F) mentally ill wife (48F) is not invited to my wedding? AITA?"

I am getting married in December and my partner and I are looking to have a mid-sized party, probably about 75 people, comprised of our social, familial, and professional circles. I am 33F, partner is 34M, and my friend, Anna is 34F. Her wife, Bernice, is 48F. We are in Canada.

Anna is my best friend from uni. Anna is divorced with two kids, and has been married to Bernice for five years. Bernice loves Anna, and that's about it. Bernice is happily and consistently unemployed.

Bernice has never attended or hosted a social event in anything other than a crop top and knee-length pencil skirt (neither fit). Bernice has two points of conversation: alien abductions and the 2008 blockbuster video game, Lego Indiana Jones.

Attempts to gently lead conversation beyond those points proves futile, unless Bernice thinks the person in question may want to have se%, in which case, she suddenly develops the cognizance to switch topics and ask them so directly.

I don't think anyone has ever taken Bernice up on her offers to have se% with them at random, largely due to the above, but also likely due to the fact that she rarely, if ever, showers or grooms.

I have seen this happen at birthday parties, game nights, bar crawls, grocery stores, and school events. Nobody in Bernice's social circle has ever excluded her from participating in anything.

It's probably pretty obvious that Bernice is neurodivergent, but to nobody's surprise, she leverages neurodivergence as a means of asserting how special she is, instead of using it as a pathway to improve her relationships and sense of self.

She is perfectly content to exist exactly as she has in the past and will likely do so until she dies. Lately she has explored whether she has dissociative identity disorder. It's a dead-end road.

Anna is happy, per her own admission, and I trust that. I don't have any reason to doubt that she is making the right decisions for her relationship and family. She has told me many times that she loves Bernice and that she intends to stay in the relationship. I appreciate that she is direct with me.

But I can't earnestly be around Bernice for more than five minutes, and that sincerely impedes the amount of time I can spend with Anna, as Bernice attaches herself to Anna so intensely that it's like having a third child around when we get together.

To Anna's credit, she is aware that I do not like to spend time around Bernice, but is sad that we can't all socialize together well. She has never made me feel badly for this.

I love Anna's two children. I would like them at my wedding, and I would love Anna at my wedding, too. It wouldn't be the same without her. But imagining Bernice approaching a colleague, or a friend makes my stomach churn. I am struggling hard with a tactful way to say...

"Your wife will suck the life and energy out of my party by monopolizing the attention of either you or my guests, and potentially making them feel se%ually harassed" while still inviting Anna and her two kids to the event.

I am considering coming at it from a boundary-related standpoint and tell Anna that I can't have Bernice at the event, given how she makes people feel uncomfortable. I don't know if it presents a mean double-standard to let other guests have a plus-one and not Anna, but I can't have Bernice at my wedding.

Before we give you OP's major update, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

weirdcomp writes:

Be honest. Tell her that while you would love for her and her kids to come, you feel very uncomfortable around Bernice because of her history of overstepping sexual boundaries and will not extend her an invite.

Say it apologetically and tell Anna that you completely understand if she would rather not attend at all, and if so then you will be happy to reconnect with her separately sometime after the wedding.

OP responds:

Thank you!! I agree that the random, unsolicited se%ual requests are probably the most obvious fault to point to when justifying her lack of invitation.

I know I don't owe anyone a justification, but she is my friend and I do want to be honest with her. I think it's important to keep in perspective that Anna might not attend and I want to make it okay for her to tell me that.

candyshop writes:

It still isn't appropriate at all no matter how open the marriage is or what arrangement they have.

It's just disrespectful to do that to your partner no matter what. Sleep with as many other folks as you agreed is acceptable between yourselves, but you still need to be kind and respectful to all your partners- especially your primary/ongoing/live-in partner.

You can solicit other partners, but only when it's an appropriate place and time to so, and as long as you do so in a way that respects your primary partner's feelings.

Even the most emotionally healthy polyamorous relationships can have jealousy issues that everyone needs to be respectful of, too. Soliciting partners willy-nilly just isn't how ethical poly folks do things, either. (Though unfortunately there are still quite a few unethical poly practitioners)

There just isn't any relationship in any form where this would be acceptable. That's without even taking into account that it's also harassment for the random folks this woman is soliciting, unless they are specifically at a swingers/dating/meeting event where people give consent to be approached about possible hookups.

poppydie8 writes:

I agree with the advice to focus on your boundaries and concerns being that she may se%ually harrass your work colleagues or family etc. And you can't spend your wedding day monitoring and policing her and worrying your guests will feel se%ually harassed.

She can obviously decide she'd rather not come, which you can say you are disappointed about but u derstand, and maybe make plans to celebrate separately just the two of you one day.

My other concern though is this woman's behaviour around Anna's kids??? I mean firstly it sounds like she's seriously mentally ill if she only has 2 topics of conversations, and won't engage in other topics of conversation, and the fact that she will openly confront strangers and ask if they want to have se% with her.

The fact she has no sense of self care with personal hygiene and appropriate clothing seems quite a concern to be that around young children. I'm also curious as to what your friend gets out of this relationship and what her children may be subjected to seeing, hearing and experience around this woman.

I would understand if this woman was previously mentally well when they met and she is supporting her through a difficult time while she gets proffessional help, but this seems like she's been this way since they met?.

I'm just very concerned about her children and why she feels it's OK to have her around her children and what kind of influence she is on her children etc.

Obviously that may be a topic of conversation for another day. Maybe your friend has been really hurt in the past and is glad of this woman's almost obsession and attachment with her, and is blinded to her innapropriate behaviour and lack of personal care etc, who knows.

But I think it's worth a conversation at a later date after the wedding.

And now, OP's major update (after the wedding):

We're married now! And the wedding was wonderful. Wonderful, but bittersweet -- I realized now, and when I eventually spoke to Anna, that the wonderful part was having the management, and dread, I was experiencing, of Bernice's presence off my plate when I already had so many other elements to worry about to ensure the success of our special day.

When I spoke with Anna, I tried to provide as much perspective as I could and center my concrete experiences with Bernice over my feelings.

Anna sent a thumbs-up emoji and we haven't spoken since, and I doubt we'll ever speak again. Bernice messaged me separately and said something along the lines of, "Oh well, I know people think I'm annoying, I thought you'd understand," and I didn't respond.

I reflected a great deal on my relationship with Anna, and I realized that so much of it was rooted in managing the codependence she shared in her relationship, and that our friendship hadn't looked the way it did when we were in university together for a long time.

In the time that passed after we stopped speaking, a great emotional weight was lifted off my chest realizing that so many of the problems and annoyances Anna had brought to me were no longer mine to solve as a result of her not having a supportive, adult partner in her life.

While I loved her, and loved helping her troubleshoot, I was taking on a role that was outsized and ultimately caused resentment on my end.

I am trying to be mindful of the friendships I have now, the roles I play with each person, and how I interact and engage with each person's significant other. While this friendship was unsalvageable, I believe it offers a beneficial lesson for my other relationships.

Thanks to all of you for your advice, kindness, and especially your compliments toward my writing style -- it just flows out of me!

OP's second update (about Anna's relationship to Bernice):

At one point, I asked, because I was interested in trying to make a connection or try to understand where the attraction lay, and that's when the codependence clicked when I was reflecting later on.

Bernice has no money and she can't cook, but she's someone that Anna will always be able to take care of; she is both proud of herself and perpetually unfinished and in need of encouragement.

Anna is an amazing caretaker, but I had hoped she would have the introspection to realize that that has no place in a marriage (full-time, that is, obviously we should all care for and be cared for by our spouses to some degree!)

Anna and I bonded really heavily over mutual communication and introspection, we always tried to take a step back and communicate with each other as to our feelings, desires, and needs, which was why her relationship with Bernice and how it affected our friendship was really disappointing.

With respect to the attraction -- I don't want to be an armchair psychiatrist, but I know that in other relationships, Anna was usually put down and made to feel subservient, and I think there was an inherent safety in the sort of...

'anything goes' easygoing (granted, f-g weird) personality and steadfastness (to media and to Anna) that Bernice brought to the table.

I very much do not think Bernice was or is remotely good at se%, aside from offering to have it and having it with anyone who would accept.

What do YOU make of OP's story? How would YOU have dealt with Bernice?

Sources: Reddit
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