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Savage Love

I am marrying a man with two children

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I am marrying a man with two children – a boy and a girl – and we want to include his children in our wedding party. My best friend and maid of honor happens to work as an escort. You and I agree that prostitution should be legal and that sex work shouldn’t be stigmatized, Dan, but the ex-wife of my fiancé disagrees strongly. She somehow deduced what my BFF does for a living, and now she has told my fiancé that she will not allow her daughter to participate in the wedding if my BFF is the maid of honor. She says she does not want their daughter to think that being a prostitute is okay. His ex-wife will not budge. I am furious that this woman would have me remove my oldest, closest, most important friend from my wedding party. What say you, Mr. Savage?

Too Angry For Cute Acronyms

I say it’s disturbing that your fiancé’s ex-wife isn’t demanding that both her children be removed from your wedding party. Not because I agree with her – I most certainly do not – but because I firmly believe that someone who’s being a dick about something is obligated be a logically consistent dick.

If tossing rose petals in the presence of a known prostitute – known to her, not known to her daughter (how on earth would her daughter find out?) – is going to pollute her daughter’s tiny mind, then bearing rings in the presence of a known prostitute is going to pollute her son’s. If this woman believes that appearing in wedding photos with a sex worker will result in her daughter one day doing sex work, why isn’t she concerned that her son will one day hire a sex worker? Or do a little escorting himself?

This woman is trying to screw with you, TAFCA, otherwise she would’ve yanked both kids. But this is the kind of issue that could land your fiancé back in court – if his batshit ex decides to really push it – and a sex-negative judge could tear up your husband-to-be’s custody agreement and place limits on his (or your) access to his children, all because his new wife is BFFs with a sex worker. So you’re going to have to give way, TAFCA. But I think you should drop the kids, not your BFF, from your wedding party.

And while you might be tempted to tell the kids to go ask their mother why they’re suddenly out of the wedding party – thereby making her the bad guy – take the high road and come up with an explanation that makes sense to the kids and spares their feelings … if, you know, these kids were actually looking forward to being in your wedding party. There’s a small-but-not-insignificant chance that your fiancé’s children will be relieved to be left out. As much as they may like you, as much as they may approve of your relationship with their father, TAFCA, a child can feel under pressure to play a public role in a divorced parent’s second (or third or fourth) wedding. Since children – particularly small children – may not feel comfortable saying “no,” lest that “no” be misinterpreted as disapproval of their parent’s new spouse, I believe that smart parents and smart stepparents-to-be should err on the side of not asking their children to toss petals, bear rings or make toasts.

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