Advice

My wedding date was a drunken fool in front of my family, but is that a deal breaker?

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

Of all my siblings, I’m always the single one. It’s become a running joke to seat me at the kids’ table at family dinners; when we share condos and houses on vacations, I’m always the one who gets the couch while all the couples get bedrooms.

Last May, I started seeing someone, and I invited him to be my plus-one at my sister’s August wedding. I was excited to finally have a date and not be a punchline. But everything went wrong. First off, he was buzzed before the ceremony even started and it didn’t take him long to get pretty lit once the bar opened up. It was an open bar, but most people were just sipping wine or champagne while he kept ordering shots. He was loud and awkward at dinner. When one of my sisters asked how long we’d been dating, he said within earshot of multiple people that it wasn’t serious and we’re still seeing other people.

It’s true we never agreed we were exclusive but hello, we’d been dating for three months — isn’t it implied at that point? His behavior was so embarrassing. He’s since apologized and says I’m overreacting. He says he likes me and wants to “see where things go.” Part of me wants to keep seeing him — he is fun, most of the time, and I’ve been single for so long, it was so nice to have someone. But then I remember the miserable wedding, and my family pretty much thinks he’s a loser. Advice?

Wanda says:

You know what’s worse than no wedding date? A lame wedding date. And what’s worse than being single? Spending time with someone who doesn’t prioritize you, who can’t read the room and behave like an adult in basic social situations, and who shows a lack of respect by oversharing to family and friends.

Granted, this was a one-time display of idiocy — but it was also his debut, and he blew it. This was his red carpet moment to impress the parents and siblings with his obvious affection for their daughter/sister, and instead he spent the day abusing the free booze and over-occupying the social bandwidth.

If only he’d come to you after the fact apologetically, perhaps blamed the excessive drinking on a miscalculated attempt to calm his nerves, or simply said he was sorry. Instead he’s trying to convince you you’re overthinking things: you’re not. Almost every wedding I’ve ever been to has that one guest who drinks too much, talks too loud, and stands out for all the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, you brought that guy to the wedding. You know in your gut you want and deserve better.

Wayne says:

After a night like that, I bet you’re looking forward to returning to the welcoming maturity, insightful conversation and exquisite manners found from your comfortable reserved seat at the family’s kids’ table.

Look, your boyfriend — or whatever you both think he is — clearly isn’t ready for prime time, and his first “meet the family” appearance should not have been at a wedding. That’s a lot of pressure even if you two are on the best footing; which, of course, you’re not. The footing was wobbly well before he started drinking. I know you badly want to get into a solid LTR and shut your family up, but that desperation blinded you to a potential meltdown from your “fun” boyfriend at the wedding and perhaps even your view on what you want out of a partner.

You’ve been doing the single thing for a long time, and I know that’s frustrating, exhausting, and even depressing. Your family piling on doesn’t help. But you have to appreciate that they tease you because they care. Heck, some of them probably clown you but deeply wish they could trade places with you for some freedom and fun, peace and quiet, and the opportunity to date fun-but-ridiculous guys again.

Ultimately, I’m confident they love you and want to best for you. And maybe after seeing firsthand how difficult it is to find a decent connection and partner, they may start offering more support and empathy than ridicule. So if the jokes keep coming, take them with a grain of salt … and sprinkle it onto your chicken nuggets at the kids’ table. Sorry — oldest sibling. Can’t help myself. Good luck.

Wayne and Wanda

Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and been to therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at wanda@adn.com.

Sponsored