“My adult daughter has a long-term girlfriend, and my husband and I think they’re a great couple. However, we are attending a family wedding this summer and my family is very conservative. Should I let my daughter bring her girlfriend to the wedding?”
Question submitted Anonymously
Answered by Lana Halperin
Let’s start with my most important question – what’s the catering situation?
Canapés aside, I’m going to assume your grown-up lady daughter and her grown-up lady girlfriend want to attend the wedding—otherwise the whole question is pretty much moot. I’m sure your daughter is aware of the family dynamics, has already weighed up the situation in her own mind and has decided, despite any negative consequences, that she would like her long-term girlfriend to accompany her. I’ll also assume that her girlfriend has weighed up all of the factors that matter to her and has come to a similar conclusion.
So what are your reasons for questioning their decision? Are you worried about what the extended family will say or think about your daughter and want to protect her? Perhaps, subconsciously, you’re worried about what they will say or think about you and want to protect yourself? We don’t yet live in a perfect world, unfortunately. There’s still ignorance and social awkwardness and people who will take issue, so I understand if you feel the urge to shelter your daughter and your immediate family from potential hurt. But that doesn’t entitle you to decide for her.
Your daughter is a grown-up adult person who most likely has had years of experience making decisions in all sorts of real-world situations, whether it’s weighing up the use of linguistic acrobatics when discussing her partner at work, levels of PDA on public transport, or clarifying that yes they actually did book a room with one bed at a hotel on purpose. It’s all part of Growing Up and Existing in the Adult World When Gay (GUEAWWG? I’ll pretend that’s totally a thing in Australia). If your daughter and her partner feel safe and comfortable attending the wedding as an official couple, I don’t see it as your place to forbid them. Trust their ability to make decisions and support them along the way.
On the other hand, if you have any particular concerns or some information that you’re not sure your daughter is aware of, you should definitely let her know…but only so she has all the pertinent information to make an informed decision for herself. Otherwise, take a step back and ask yourself what you’re really worried about. Chances are, by not “letting” your daughter’s girlfriend come to the wedding, you might just be the only person making a thing out of it at all.
In summary, for sure communicate honestly with your daughter. Give her all the relevant information and even tell her your concerns, but at the end of the day, trust your daughter to decide what is right for her. Your job here is to continue to love her unconditionally and support her either way; after all, she’s the expert here.
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Lana Halperin is a 25 year old law graduate from Perth in Western Australia, currently living and working in Canberra (Australia’s largely forgotten, under-appreciated capital city). She recently helped establish a social network for LGBTQ young professionals in Canberra and will gladly talk for hours about musical theatre, reality television, ladies of comedy and/or her fondness for bicycles and trampolines.
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