Today my daughter graduated from high school. My ex-wife’s father and sister came from out of state to support my daughter. My mother also came from out of state. At the event we all sat together. I could tell my fiancé was not happy or comfortable. After the event we all went to eat out to celebrate the graduation.
At the end of the night I asked my fiancé what was wrong. She reported that she felt disrespected because I did not tell her that we would all be sitting together. Several times she stated that if she’d known that I’d be there with my family she would not have come.
I responded by telling her that I am sure I told her that we would all go out to dinner after the graduation, and that the following day I’d take my daughter for the day and the following day after that, her mom (my ex) would take her out for what ever celebration she’d plan.
My fiancé was highly emotional about the whole thing. I apologized multiple times for not being clear or explaining things better prior. To which she continued with her emotionally charged yell/cry.
I tried to show how unfair it was for here to react this way when I have the constant reminder of her deceased husband’s name tattoo on her arm, pictures of him in her living room, kitchen, etc. So, I’m expected to be ok with her pasting my face constantly, but my ex wife at my daughter’s graduation is a deal barker because I did not make clear that the families would sit together?
We have had arguments before, but this if the first time that I have felt that she is completely wrong. Even if I did not state clearly that my ex and her family would sit with us, I did not invite them to sit with us, it happened organically.
I have been able to keep my new life separate from my old, til this point, but there will without a doubt be other times when the two are in the same event in support of my child.
I want to understand her point, but it is very hard. Please advise.
A: Of course your fiancé is entitled to her feelings, but she had options. She could’ve remove herself from the seating and sat elsewhere, or she could have spoken to you privately when it was happening rather than holding on to her resentment.
I wouldn’t try to fix this. Rather I would explain that these situations are likely to happen again and that you will do everything you can to make sure she is informed, but she needs to take responsibility for managing her emotions when things don’t work out to her liking. You can’t be responsible for making sure she is never ruffled by these events. This isn’t yours to fix as much as it is hers.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 Jun 2014
Tomasulo, D. (2014). Fiancé Broke Up with Me at My Daughter’s Graduation. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 26, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/06/25/fiance-broke-up-with-me-at-my-daughters-graduation/