I may have to fire my Man of Honor/give him an out. I feel bad because he says he really wants to go to my wedding, but it may be the best thing.
We've been friends for ten years and have both gone through a lot--we're both the only people who have known each other at some of the worst times in our lives. In the early part of the friendship we were both in really bad places and my friend gave me emotional support when I needed it. When I started to get better and more functional I continued helping him out, driving him across town to go to important doctor's appointments, trying to make him laugh when he was sad. But often when I needed his help, he would have some huge dramatic and unsolvable problem that was clearly--it was implied--more important than mine, or if he did help he would complain about how horrible it was for years, how many cigarettes he had to smoke just to get by, etc. Then when he started to get his life together and go back to school he cut off everyone from his old unemployed days--it was a little hurtful but I understood that his life was changing for the better and that people move on so I didn't say anything. And he always apologized when we spoke again, and I always assured him that he was still a good friend and it was nice to hear from him.
A year or two later I got engaged, and one of the first things I do is invite my friend to be my Man of Honor. And he was super excited to say yes. But then, well, things kind of started to fall apart. He never really participated in the planning of the wedding--which was fine, as I had lots of other support from family and friends, and I recognized that his life had difficulties. And then when he did participate he complained about the tediousness of the meeting and wrote a rude email to my bridesmaids implying they weren't helping enough. None of them responded, and he seemed clueless as to why. Then, three months before my wedding he told me that his internship required him to be in another town for the day of the wedding. I became very upset because I had really wanted him there and he said he would talk to his manager to try to take those days off.
I waited weeks. Nothing happened. Finally he told me that no one would talk to him until June 2nd, a month before our wedding. I talked to my mom about this and she said, "Does that sound right to you?" To be frank, it didn't: I'd never heard of a boss refusing to talk to employees for months, not without delegating those responsibilities to someone else. Worse, the plane tickets his friend bought him require him to be in town for such a short period that he'll have to leave immediately after the ceremony--which will require that another guest leave the reception in order to take him to the bus station.
I'm starting to come to the conclusion that maybe my friend doesn't want to come to the wedding, or that it's just a big hassle for him, and that it's not as important as other things he has going on. Whenever I try to talk to him about it he tells me instead about all his problems--his boyfriend/ex-boyfriend, his poverty (I, my family, and other friends are bending over backwards to assist him financially for the wedding) all the people in his life who he thinks are bitches. Just once I would like to have a conversation about me and my wedding, but when I try to talk to him about it I always feel guilty because as soon as I begin he starts talking about how horrible his life is and how insurmountable his problems are.
Frankly, at this point I would like to suggest that maybe he attend his internship commitment and not worry about the wedding, and that sometime next year my husband and I will visit him in his town and we could have our own mini-celebration. I'm afraid that that will make him feel like a giant loser, though. I have a friend who would happily step up to be an extra bridesmaid and a current bridesmaid who would be happy to be Maid of Honor. Both are tremendous fun to be around and loyal friends--which is all I really want from my bridesmaids. I had wanted my Man of Honor in part to help keep my family in line/deal with their drama because he's the only one who knows them and the individual ways they tend to get drunk and crazy. But I'm getting to the point where the stress he is causing is just not worth having him around. I feel bad because a lot of his problems really are beyond his control. But then he's been saying that for a decade. And this is my only wedding.
I guess my questions are:
1.) Is my plan to ask him to keep his internship commitment and to talk about possibly visiting him next year good etiquette? If so how should I broach it? How do I talk about this without hurting his feelings?
2.) Am I obligated to wait until a month before the wedding to make plans? Should I just put up with it and not say anything? Is there a way of getting a commitment without being a bridezilla?
3.) Is it wrong to add another bridesmaid to the party? We discussed the option awhile ago and my current Man of Honor is aware of the situation and okay with it; if my current Man of Honor would make a decision then the new bridesmaid/bridesman wouldn't have to be added on at the last minute. We're paying for everything for our wedding party except for transportation, and since my possible bridesman plans to room with a lot of my other friends, it would be really convenient for them all if he got "promoted," ha. I'm not just adding him on for "symmetry" but because he's really easy-going and jolly and I genuinely think would make a good addition to the crew and help diffuse tension--in fact I'm wondering why I didn't invite him before. He was pleased as punch to be asked, especially when I mentioned "free hotel room."
Any other thoughts? Again I don't want to hurt anyone or be a bridezilla, but it's just really hard on me--and now a couple other people as well--if I don't get a commitment.
Argh, sorry for the long post. I'm sure it was very tedious to read, but it's really been bugging me.