So the time has come to plan your wedding. You celebrate, start your Pinterest board, and start to build your guest list. You and your partner comb through the possibilities, and you arrive at your ex’s name. You pause. Should I invite them?
A quick search for “should I invite my ex to my wedding” brings you to sites that mostly give a resounding answer: No. These articles are geared towards straight, cisgender couples. They use binary language, lacking the nuance that comes with LGBTQ+ relationships.
Adding search terms like “LGBTQ+,” “queer,” or even “should I invite my ex to my wedding LGBTQ+ experts” shows you a results list of triggering articles, from homophobic sources and religious institutions. So the question remains for LGBTQ+ nearlyweds: what’s the protocol for inviting an ex?
The short answer is: it’s up to you and your partner! There are many factors to consider, so here is a non-exhaustive list of questions to get you started on this decision.
Are you and your partner friends with this person?
Rachel Sussman, a marriage and relationship therapist in New York, recommends this question as a litmus test for deciding whether an ex should be invited. “If someone all of a sudden says, ‘I want to invite this person to my wedding,’ and their [spouse-to-be] hasn’t met [them], that’s weird to me,” Sussman said in an interview with the New York Times.
Other experts see this as a good starting point for a conversation about the decision. Diane Gottsman, a San Antonio based etiquette expert said in that same interview, “There really aren’t any definites. It is subjective based on the feelings of the couple and the circumstances.”
Are they your chosen family?
Etiquette gives us this blueprint, but the complexity of LGBTQ+ relationships presents a broader tapestry of considerations. In a 2018 Slate article, Micheal Foulk discusses his decision to not only attend but officiate his exes’ wedding: “Having spent over a decade growing and loving in the queer community, I’ve learned that relationships can be a lot more malleable than traditional paradigms give them credit for… This concept of family means that when my exes asked me to marry them, it was a request not just from exes but from cherished members of my team.”
Foulk recognizes that this is not the case for everyone, noting that “some relationships do need to end with a severing of ties—but for me, maintaining intimate connections beyond a romantic or sexual expiration date is an important part of queer life.”
Are they your child’s parent?
Deciding on an ex’s involvement in your upcoming nuptials becomes even more complex when you have children from a previous marriage or partnership, especially if you came out later in life. Consider your (and your partner’s) current relationship with your child’s parent and how important your ex’s presence would be to each party involved.
Are you or your partner at all uncomfortable with the thought of having this person in attendance?
If the answer to this question is yes, do not invite your ex. No matter the circumstance, this is a joint decision. Your wedding day is about your relationship, so respecting the boundaries of all parties involved takes precedence.
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