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Dear Caroline,

My then-husband and I moved to Mexico from the United States for retirement earlier this year. He is over 60 and suddenly decided to have a midlife crisis, leaving me high and dry to move in with a 35-year.old massage therapist (replete with tattoos). She is younger than our daughter. My daughter is now getting married and her dad wants to bring this person to her wedding — that I am paying for. Do you have any advice?

…Restless in Puerto Vallarta

Dear Restless,

First off, I wish much happiness to your daughter and her new husband as they being their future together.

On to your question: Has your daughter specifically asked that her father’s companion be barred from the wedding? If so, that’s a topic she needs to take up with him privately.

But your unilaterally barring the woman would simply give her more power and importance than she deserves.

Your daughter is over 35, and was well into adulthood when your marriage ended. Hopefully, she was able to maintain a healthy degree of distance and neutrality. You and your ex-husband are the only parents she’ll ever have, and stability is the best gift you can give her as she starts this new chapter in her life. One of the unending jobs that comes with motherhood, is the responsibility to set an example. This challenge gives you an opportunity to rise above the pettiness, take the high road and carry yourself like a queen.

Do it, because it’s worth it. Look your best. Hold your head high. Focus on your daughter’s happiness, and have a great time!

If your ex-husband and his companion raise eyebrows, shrug them off with nothing more than mild amusement, or even a dash of pity. If anyone tries to tempt you into making cutting remarks, don’t take the bait. At most, say something like, “Well, she’s young, and seems very eager to please.” Then move on.

Of course, it’s reasonable to leave your ex’s companion out of the wedding photos. Prepare him for this expectation ahead of time. If that makes him uncomfortable, agree to add one big group photo so nobody feels left out.

Last, but not least, opt for water or soda instead of wine, cocktails or champagne. Regal as you are on the outside, you’re still coping with an undercurrent of mental and emotional pressure on the inside. Even if you’ve never in your life had one drink too many, you absolutely, positively can’t risk it today … at least not until the last guest has gone home.

Wishing you the best!


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