DEAR MISS MANNERS: Two and a half years ago, I married my boyfriend after four years together. We had a small, 70-person wedding -- an intimate black-tie affair in an old house, with fantastic drinks and food. He and I paid for the entire wedding on our own.
My favorite aunt never got us a gift (and neither did several other family members and friends, actually). They all attended the wedding and rehearsal dinner. My aunt’s political views do lean to conservative, and a few ignorant comments she’s made have been repeated to me by other family members; however, they have never been about me. She attended our wedding and was very sweet and positive. My aunt is also very wealthy, so money is not an issue.
Do I need a gift from her? No, of course not. Does it make me feel less than loved because she skipped me and not my siblings? I can’t help it. It does. And now every time I see any of them, this thought slowly creeps its way into my head: Did they not give me a gift because I’m gay and they did not consider our wedding a real wedding?
Now my aunt’s son is engaged, and he and his fiancee are preparing what we refer to as the Gigantic Texas Wedding. Pre-party, showers, dinners -- all “gifted” affairs. I hate that the idea of not getting him a gift has crossed my mind. I know she’d figure it out then. I will, of course, do what is appropriate in that regard and get a gift. My mother taught me long ago that even if you don’t attend, it’s still nice to send something small.
It still nags at me that there were so many people who came to our wedding and did not give us any gifts. Some were family members, and some were even our gay male friends. It was all people who are close to my husband and me -- not distant relatives.
Even today, I can’t figure it out. Would it seem that we’re mean people, or that they dislike us? But they came to the wedding, and it was a fantastic time. I DO try to focus on that, I promise.
Most of the others I’ve forgotten about, but I see my aunt often. We get along so well. I still think about it -- not about the gift itself, but more about the “why” she did not give one. Does she really dislike us, and fakes it when she’s around us?
Ha. Reading this over, I think maybe it’s one for my therapist!
GENTLE READER: Right-o. Miss Manners is glad to have been of help in clarifying that.