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My Family Has Deserted Me

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My family and I had always been close until my mother passed away during my Senior year of surgical complications when I was seventeen. The event seemed to tear my family apart and put a “leper” sign on my back. I met someone online when I was twenty and decided to move from Ohio where my family lived to Florida with him and told them about our up coming wedding. My family vacations in Florida several times a year so when I told them that is where the wedding would take place three months in advance and they all promised to be there, I never suspected anything was amiss.

When the month of our wedding came, my family was no where to be found and three days before the date, my husband’s lung spontaneously collapsed. We got married in the hospital’s chapel on the scheduled date with his family and his friends, but I stood alone. When I finally heard from my family again a month after the wedding, no excuses were given, no apologies for missing it, and I found out several of them were in Florida the week before or after the wedding took place, though none of them bothered to visit or call.

Next year we’re renewing our wedding vows to replace the memories of the first from the drama between his parents, the lung collapse, and my family not even bothering to show up. I’ve found a mansion venue three hours from them (six from us), we’re paying thousands to put them up over night the mansion with us after the wedding, I’ve given them a year’s notice and will be reminding them at six and three months of the date. I’ve been stressing so much over someone, anyone showing up to stand on my side, that I’m in tears over it daily.

My question is — how can I cope with this? What if they don’t show up and what if they do? I’m always going to feel like they only came because we’re spending so much to accommodate them, not because they want to show their love and support. I know what I’m doing probably isn’t helping by indulging them, but I just want my family back…

My Family Has Deserted Me

Answered by on -


I’m very sorry for your loss. Often it’s the mom who is the glue in the family. When the mother passes on, the family struggles to interact. For some people, it’s less painful to withdraw from each other than to acknowledge the loss.

I don’t know why your family has deserted you so. But neither, apparently, do you. You can’t “buy” your family’s love and attention by putting yourself in financial debt. You can’t guilt them into coming by sending multiple “save the dates.” Before you put another dime into a second wedding, arrange a sit-down with key members of the family and talk it out. What put the “leper” sign on your back? Does it have anything to do with your behavior? Or do you remind them of mom too much? Or what? Once you have the answer to those types of questions, you’ll know what you need to do.

If your family has indeed rejected you, there is sadly little you can do about it. What you can do is rejoice in having found a man who loves you and with whom you can make the kind of family you wish you had. By all means, have that second wedding if it will help erase the bad memories of the emergency wedding. Let his family celebrate with you — both for his good health and your marriage.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

My Family Has Deserted Me

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). My Family Has Deserted Me. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 14 Jan 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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