Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence Uncensored: The Ex at the Wedding

Every week, Danny Ortberg and Nicole Cliffe discuss a Prudie letter. This week: the ex at the wedding.

Nicole: I love when you KNOW the real question.

Danny: I felt it in my bones.

Is 7 and 9 not small, for kids?

Nicole: Can you give me a little time to do this gift guide intro first? I suddenly realized I am late w/ Crown recaps AND the gift guide and you can only use I WAS VICIOUSLY THROWN FROM A HORSE for so many days

though truly my body does think it happened yesterday

Danny: yeah no problem!

btw i left my car keys in hawaii last night lmao

Nicole: Never change except for the rather major change you have made in the last few years, we’re all on board with that one.


just like the second i landed

“oh yeah they’re in the heavy jacket i hung up on a hanger and never wore”

Nicole: Hahahahahahha

Okay, can now look at question!

It’s ridiculous to invite the 7 and 9 year olds without their mother.

Their father is literally the groom, he’s not going to be SUPERVISING them.

Danny: interesting! I’ve felt split on this one myself

I did a straw poll of a few pals and they all said to find a grandparent or aunt or cousin to do the supervising

Nicole: The mother seems…fine? Wasn’t thrilled when you got together? Has made subsequent attempts to be nice?

I guess a lot does depend on the size of the wedding

And what “small” means to her.

If that’s 50 people, I would invite the mother and not think twice. If it’s seven people on a beach, I think a supervising cousin is fine.

Danny: that seems like a reasonable cutoff to me

Like, either this is a good-faith effort to be nice and put on a happy face/make sure her kids have someone’s full attention the whole time

Nicole: I absolutely trust the LW that the girls don’t give a shit


Danny: or she’s just really nervous about her kids and wants to feel like she’s still a part of what might be a complicated moment for them

like, they might be totally fine and it has a little more to do with HER

Nicole: RIGHT

Danny: in which case, again, communicating the childcare plan and stressing that you’re going to make sure the kids don’t fade into the background is the way to go

Nicole: also, your husband needs to have that convo

Danny: but maybe take her up on this, even if you don’t end up inviting her to the wedding—why not try to let go of the fact that she wasn’t thrilled about you two getting together at first and try to get to know her a little better now?

for sure, the details need to come from him since you two haven’t established much of a relationship yet

Nicole: even if he’s trying to dodge it as he obviously is

I completely agree that if the ex has made efforts to reconcile, it would be best for all (wedding aside) to gain some comfort and civility for future graduations and so on

Danny: yeah I can definitely see a lot of people wanting to hold a hard line and say “No way, no ex at the wedding” and I do think that’s reasonable

but if you can see your way towards doing it, and her request seems genuine, it might be a step towards real, meaningful friendship?

she doesn’t sound like she has a history of trying to make things really difficult for you

just that she wasn’t thrilled when you first started dating

Nicole: Few people get really jazzed about that

Danny: it’s the rare ex-wife!

only in European movies from the 60s

Nicole: yes I can see it happening in The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie or something

Danny: Bonjour Tristesse, maybe

Nicole: Also, queer people are totally different

Danny: This seems unrelated, but yes

Nicole: just in terms of a more diverse set of attitudes towards exes and their ongoing role in your life

Danny: ah gotcha

Nicole: some being the same as the LW and some being “wouldn’t be a party unless Jill came with her bean salad” which is generally my experience

Danny: on the other hand, queer wedding ex drama often has the potential to be fully byzantine

especially when your exes marry each other

it’s either a total lovefest or it means the entire state’s queer community is driven apart

Nicole: I think guests should receive charts like they have at the beginning of Russian novels

Danny: YES

Nicole: Everyone adores those anyway

Danny: It’s the best part of Russian novels.