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“Seeking advice: How can I tactfully indicate that my best friend’s spouse, who is struggling with mental illness, will not be included in my wedding guest list?”

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"Seeking advice: How can I tactfully indicate that my best friend's spouse, who is struggling with mental illness, will not be included in my wedding guest list?"
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“Seeking advice: How can I tactfully indicate that my best friend’s spouse, who is struggling with mental illness, will not be included in my wedding guest list?”

I am getting married in December and my partner and I plan to invite around 75 guests from our social, familial, and professional circles. I am a 33-year-old woman, and my partner is a 34-year-old man. We live in Canada, and one of my closest friends is Anna, a 34-year-old woman who is married to Bernice, a 48-year-old woman.

Anna and Bernice have been married for five years, and Bernice is consistently unemployed. She has never attended or hosted a social event dressed appropriately, and her conversational topics are limited to alien abductions and the video game Lego Indiana Jones. Attempts to steer the conversation in another direction are often unsuccessful, unless Bernice thinks that the person she’s speaking to may be interested in having sex with her, in which case she suddenly changes the topic. However, her poor hygiene habits and inappropriate behavior make her an uncomfortable presence for most people, and she has made unwanted sxxual advances towards others.

 

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While it’s clear that Bernice is neurodivergent, she doesn’t take any steps to improve her relationships with others or her sense of self. She often uses her neurodivergence to assert how special she is. Anna is happy in her relationship with Bernice and has no plans to leave her. However, Bernice’s presence is a challenge for me as I find it difficult to be around her for more than a few minutes without feeling uncomfortable.

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I want Anna and her two children to attend my wedding, but I don’t want Bernice there. Her behavior could make my guests feel uncomfortable, and she may monopolize the attention of either me or my guests. I am struggling to find a tactful way to explain this to Anna, but I am considering telling her that I can’t have Bernice at my wedding because she makes people feel uncomfortable. While I know it may present a double standard to invite other guests to bring a plus-one and not Anna, I cannot have Bernice at my wedding.

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