I am a bisexual man who recently got engaged to my wonderful boyfriend, “Pete.” Before that I was married to my high school girlfriend, “Kate.” We got married after an accidental pregnancy and faced enormous family pressure. (Both our families are evangelical Christians.) We both loved our daughter, but the marriage was never happy, and we divorced when she was 4. Now we’re great friends and co-parents, and our daughter is 14. Both Kate and I like each other’s partners. Everything should be great, but both Kate’s family and mine are behaving outrageously. Obviously they handled my coming out as bisexual after the divorce very badly, but we’d at least settled into a frosty silence on the subject, which was fine by me since I only see them a few times a year.
Now that I’m engaged, all bets are off. My parents received the news coldly and immediately wanted to know if I understood how “tacky” it would be to have a big second wedding. We do want to have a big wedding! My parents and sisters have started spamming me almost daily with emails and Facebook messages linking to articles with titles like “Top 10 Tacky Wedding Behaviors” and “How to Have a Second Wedding With Class.” My former in-laws got angry with my daughter for being excited about our wedding and told her it wasn’t a “real wedding” and she shouldn’t attend. Kate has roundly scolded them for it and isn’t sure she wants to speak to them again. Our daughter doesn’t want to see any of her grandparents.
I just feel terrible. I have tried for so long to keep the peace with my complicated extended family. My fiancé has met them exactly once and is not keen to repeat the experience. Now I am wondering if it would be OK to just cut them all off or if that would be a bad thing for my daughter. I’ve always encouraged her to have an independent relationship with her grandparents, whatever my problems with them may be. I’m scared to send her to see my parents next week. How should I handle these people, and what’s the best thing to do for my daughter?
—Is It Tacky?