DEAR ABBY: My fiancee and I are being married in September. Last December I asked a longtime friend, "Mitch," to be a groomsman. We have been close ever since we met in middle school 20 years ago. Mitch and I were still close until about three years ago, when he married and moved out of state. (I was in his wedding party and attended his rehearsal dinner.)
Last week, Mitch informed me that he won't be attending our rehearsal dinner because he will be attending another event that same evening. He will be coming in from out of state and plans to go to his nephew's football game instead. He said he doesn't feel it's necessary to be at the rehearsal since he has "done it before and knows what to do."
I do not feel that Mitch has taken into account the fact that it is not just the formality of rehearsing, but that his presence means as much to me as his being at the wedding. He said he will be glad to step aside if this is not acceptable, but this creates problems, as I do not have anyone else to ask, other than someone I have no history with. Am I making a bigger deal out of this than necessary? -- HURT IN LEANDER, TEXAS
DEAR HURT: I don't blame you for feeling hurt. Part of being a member of a wedding party is to support your friend in any way you can -- and that includes showing up for celebrations and preparations.
It should be clear to you by now that Mitch no longer feels as close to you as he did before he moved out of state and on with his life. If you want him to be a groomsman because he symbolizes a period of your life, let him show up for the ceremony and stand up with you. However, had this happened to me, I would invite someone else to take his place. Mitch has demonstrated what his priorities are, and they are not those of a close friend.
P.S. Be grateful that he gave you enough warning that he can be replaced.