I have a very tricky situation that has come up. I am getting married in two weeks (as the groom, age 39), and my fiancée (bride-to-be) has invited a close friend "Lucy" who is bringing her own fiancé "Sam" with her. Lucy is a sweet girl, is in the bridal party, close friends with my fiancée, etc. Lucy and Sam have already booked rooms and flights, etc. to our wedding.

I recently found out that Sam, age 32, sent inappropriate texts to my brother's 19 year old girlfriend, "Mary", telling her that he "can't stop thinking about her", and that he "wants to meet up", etc. The tone of these messages was clearly sexual. Sam met my brother and Mary at my house a few weeks ago. My brother was the one who informed me of these messages, clearly bothered that the guy who was actively looking to steal his lady would be attending the wedding. He asked me to please help resolve the situation so that he and Mary could be comfortable at my wedding.

Here are the main issues:

  1. Sam should not be hitting on my brother's girlfriend. She's too young, and they are both in relationships. (He’s engaged!) Not to mention the disrespect of doing that to the brother of someone whose wedding you're attending.

  2. Mary most likely "led him on" slightly with her language and giving her contact info to Sam, etc (I do NOT mean to justify anything, just pointing out forces that led to this. )

  3. If I make a big deal out of this (loud and angry as was my first instinct), it could hurt / destroy Lucy and Sam's relationship (clearly not a strong one) right before the wedding she was supposed to be part of - which in turn affects my fiancée negatively. I know it was hard for them to afford the flights and hotel, etc.

  4. Sam has a history of violence, been jailed for assault, history of cheating, etc. (Not a good guy, obviously.) So, causing a confrontation with him is not going to be fun, but seems necessary. His history is another reason I want him to leave my family alone. I didn’t have any axe to grind with this guy before this, we were actually friends and had hung out on several occasions.

  5. Normally, this would be none of my business - except that I was asked to help by my brother, and they are all scheduled to come to MY wedding. Normally, I wouldn’t even know anything about this.

Here's the outcome I'm looking to achieve:

  1. My brother and Mary must not feel uncomfortable at my wedding

  2. My fiancée must not have any added stress for this already crazy time of life

  3. Sam's predatory behavior towards my family must stop

So, I'm really having a hard time figuring out how to approach Sam about all this. My main thought is to do that via text, so I don't have to see him in person.

What is the best way to resolve this situation?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Catija
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 15:46
  • 3
    I quite lost when following the names. If you can summarize the relationships between those people in the post, then it would be great. Here is my take: "Sam, the middle-aged husband-to-be of my wife's close friend sent inappropriate texts to my young brother's girlfriend Mary"
    – Ooker
    Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 17:59
  • Do aspects of Sam's behavior correlate with consumption of alcohol (or other drugs)?
    – Klaws
    Commented Oct 10, 2017 at 7:54
  • 4
    @typewriter Can you add an edit with a summary about how this situation was resolved? Thanks. Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 11:46

18 Answers 18


It sounds like you've been drawn into quite a mess and the timing couldn't have been worse, but to be blunt this probably isn't a problem you should have been tasked with solving. You've got enough on your plate right now with the wedding plans and all.

This guy is a piece of work, but the situation could probably be resolved by Mary simply responding to his most recent message with something like:

I'm sorry if you misunderstood me giving you my number, but as you know, I'm seeing someone and you're seeing someone. These messages are really inappropriate and they need to stop. I really don't want this situation to escalate to the point where I need to talk to Lucy about it.

There will probably be some slight awkwardness between these folks regardless, so you're shooting for the least dramatic resolution. Asking Mary to set it straight is probably the least dramatic way to do that. The more people involved the more likely things will escalate.

  • 10
    Well, I certainly have enough other things going on, that this isn't exactly a convenient thing to be thinking about! I like what you're saying here. Let me soak it in. Thank you.
    – Typewriter
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 21:23
  • 13
    This answer reflects the parties actually involved being the ones to resolve it. If Mary has "lead on" Sam, the only way to clarify the position is for Mary herself to clear it; if Mary has not "lead on" Sam, he is doing this based on an impression he gets from her, and only she will be able to correct that perspective by shutting down any further communication.
    – Nij
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 23:10
  • 74
    I don't think (essentially) threatening to speak to Lucy is a good idea (people don't respond well to threats), nor should one really imply that the reason is that she (or he) is in a relationship (that can change at some point in the future). I'd probably opt for saying nothing more than "I'm sorry if you misunderstood me giving you my number, but I'm not interested in having a relationship with you" as an initial message, and then, if it continues, escalate to "these messages are really inappropriate and they need to stop" in a second message, after which you take appropriate action.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 0:08
  • 5
    This is a good start, but assuming 'Sam' doesn't stop, the next escalation point needs to be the 'brother' Mary is dating.
    – Robotnik
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 4:00
  • 3
    Mary could speak to Sam, even block him to avoid getting those messages. There's plenty of ways of solving the problem without involving third parties, moreover if they are busy with a wedding.
    – Linaen
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 8:50

Talk with your (soon-to-be) wife. It's her close friend, not yours. She'll know better what Lucy would want you guys to do and whether or not you should do that. Presumably, the person you are marrying is not-a-jerk enough to take the needs of your immediate family into account, which in this case means Sam definitely can't end up going to the wedding. Trying to keep her out of the loop to avoid adding stress might seem like it makes sense, but hiding important stuff from your wife in order to make unilateral decisions regarding her best friend and their relationship is really not a good idea. It sucks that she has to deal with this now, but that's really the best solution. You can try and help out more with other tasks she's doing that you are equally capable of handling to help with the added burden, if you aren't already.

  • 3
    +1 in ideal world this would be the right answer. In my experience women can get a little crazy right before a wedding... Not trying to make broad generalizations, but often they've been planning these things since they were little girls and it's a really big deal for them. I'm not saying you're wrong, but the chances of her handling the added stress well... well... It's not great. I'm saying this from the perspective of a former husband/father if it helps. I remember my little girl playing pretend about these things and I remember how my, now, ex-wife was leading up to the wedding...
    – apaul
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 5:06
  • 14
    "Sam definitely can't end up going to the wedding" - I'm not sure this is "definitely clear". There may be other options, as shown in other answers. Still, you're spot-on that the wife-to-be needs to be involved, as it's her friend and friend-of-friend.
    – sleske
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 8:38
  • 5
    I really like this answer because it mirrors what I actually did. Sitting here at this moment, I just conversed with my fiancee and revealed everything. She was thankful not to be left in the dark. However, there is a key element of timing with that: I only shared this information with my fiancee AFTER the bachelorette party. If I had shared this information before that party, it would have been "let out of the bag." Cheers, and thanks for the advice!
    – Typewriter
    Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 8:27

Most of this is not your problem.

The situation with Sam texting Mary affects Sam, Mary, and their respective partners. While your intentions are good, Mary and your brother are already uncomfortable, and it is not within your power to make that discomfort go away.

Mary and your brother can decide between them how Mary will respond to Sam. You are not Sam's keeper, and there is no need for you to be directly involved.

This is your responsibility: Taking reasonable steps to make sure the wedding day is as happy and stress-free as possible for everyone.

The most obvious risk is that Sam will do something seriously inappropriate at the wedding, especially if he has a history of violence.

Disinviting Sam from the wedding is an option, but would result in Lucy being upset (especially when she learned the reason) and possibly not attending herself, which in turn would be upsetting for your fiancee. You could decide the risk of Sam disrupting the wedding is too high, disinvite him, and face the consequences. Alternatively, if you allow Sam to attend:

  • It would be prudent to explain the situation to a couple of trusted friends; ask them to keep an eye on Sam; and make sure they are ready to ask him firmly to leave, and if necessary call the police.
  • You can tell your brother and Mary you have made these arrangements, which hopefully will help to set their minds at rest.
  • Do not issue any threats or ultimatums to Sam himself; in all likelihood, this would only increase the chance he will act out.

Congratulations on your marriage and I wish you a very happy wedding day.

  • 1
    Nice answer. Do you think OP should make his fiance aware of this somehow?
    – cr0
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 17:17
  • 4
    Yes. IMO marriage includes sharing stresses and problems - not every little thing, but definitely something like this. Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 18:51
  • If Mary knows any of the people that are supposed to be keeping an eye on Sam, she'll know who to turn to for immediate support if Sam gets angry at her and she feels threatened at all. It's not ideal for her to have to worry about her safety in the first place, but hopefully she'll understand that this is a compromise to make the wedding work instead of disinviting Sam. As long as the plan for her safety is good, it should keep worry (and real risk) to a minimum. Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 20:36

First of all, happy marriage!

You should have a talk with your soon to be wife. As Lucy is invited by her, and is a respect to notify her about the incident. After all, your problem is her problem. Let her know about your concern, even though this might give her stress.

Sharing your concern to your wife will do, as is not really your part to interfere with the whole incident. I would advice your brother to step up and defend Mary. He has the right as Mary's boyfriend.

As for Mary, whether she should put an end on the harassment is on her to decide. I guess Mary is fully aware of the harassment, but sometimes people might just choose to ignore, or they are not good at dealing such situations.

Ask your brother to talk with her in order to understand the situation more. If Mary is purposely letting the harassment come in, then your brother might need to consider deeply into their relationship. If she is not, your brother should provide all the help he can.

In short, let your wife know about the incident, but do not interfere. Respect the decision of your wife to invite Lucy and her fiancée. Tell your brother to have a talk with Mary. Your brother might need to endure for a better picture.

  • 12
    We don't have enough information to conclude Mary is being harassed in my opinion. We don't know how Mary feels or how she has been responding to Sam's texts. Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 6:53

There have been some great suggestions here, but I would add that, if you haven't already, you ask either your brother or Mary what Mary's reaction to Sam's texts has been. Her response (and Sam's reaction) will give you a better idea of what you're dealing with. Namely, whether this is a 'Sam' problem or a 'Sam and Mary' problem.

It would be completely understandable for Mary to be taken aback by Sam's texts and be unsure of how to respond or decide to simply not respond. However, if Sam thinks she's interested, he might need her to directly state that she isn't interested and does not appreciate the texts he's sending. If Sam feels she 'led him on' by her natural behavior combined with giving him her contact information, that message alone might take care of the issue of whether or not this blows up at your wedding.

The issue of Lucy's fiancée sending suggestive texts to a nineteen year old he just met is another problem that will eventually need to be addressed, but not necessarily by you and not necessarily while everyone is focused on your wedding.

If Mary doesn't want to respond to Sam, then she and your brother need to discuss why that is. If she is having fun with it, then its really up to your brother on whether he wants to accept that or not. If she thinks its harmless/not a big deal, then again, your brother has to decide if he's okay with that or not. If something like this is the case, then its a 'Sam and Mary' problem and depending on how your brother wants to handle it, Mary might end up being the half of the problem that is removed from the situation.

If Mary is afraid of Sam for any reason, then it becomes time for you and your fiancée to decide if its worth having Sam at your wedding and whether your fiancée would actually prefer to inform her friend about Sam's behavior now rather than later.

No matter what you decide to do, I would suggest making sure your fiancée is filled in on any possible growing drama before the wedding, especially since it will involve one of her best friends and her brother-in-law. Which do you think will upset her more, knowing this situation is going on throughout the wedding but having nothing happen (or something happen that she was prepared for), or having this situation blow up at your wedding when she had no idea and then finding out she was the last to know?


The most important thing here is not what decision you make, but how you make it, which must be together. You'll endure many crises as a married couple, and good communication will be the key, even in already stressful situations.

Any unilateral decision here is a mistake. The two of you will need to make a decision together that you both agree with and can live with (even if that decision turns out to be for you to solve it). Think of this as your first test together as a married couple.

You're running the dangerous risk right now of forcing a situation of you and your brother against your fiancee and her friend. You have to remember that your primary attachment going forward is her, not the family you were born into, no matter how close knit it may be. The details of this particular problem, while thorny, will not matter as much in the long run as whether you did or did not come together as a unit to make the decision that is best for the both of you on your special day.


The crucial piece of data here is who knows about what is going on, and who is in the dark.

Sam, Mary, your brother and you know.

Your fiance, Lucy and all the other guests are in the dark.

Assumptions that I draw from your text:

  • Mary is uncomfortable about his advances, which follows from the fact that she told your brother, but wasn't clearly stated.
  • The wedding is not so big that Sam can be kept sufficiently far away from everyone else.
  • Knowing about this drama would increase your fiances stress level.

That Lucy doesn't know is the vital fact. Your target is Sam. If he puts any value on his relation to Lucy, you can use that as leverage to manipulate his behaviour.

There are two ways to do that:

The first is to resolve the conflict. This needs you to involve Mary and your brother. Through a message like indicated in other comments, or your brother having a serious talk to Sam, make him understand that his advances are not desired, and that he should apologise to both Mary and your brother, behave himself nicely and stay out of their way as much as possible during the wedding, or Lucy will be informed.

After the wedding you can still decide whether or not to tell Lucy.

The second is to delay the conflict. Contact Sam and let him know that you know about your advances towards Mary. You can lead him to or let him believe that your brother doesn't know, it might work better if he's afraid of him finding out. Tell him that its your wedding and if he spoils it in the smallest bit, you will tell Lucy everything and make sure it reaches her in the way that makes the most sure she dumps him immediately and permanently.

Since the conflict with Mary and your brother is still unresolved, his best option with this way is to excuse himself from the wedding, but let Lucy go. He could be ill or have a crazy important business emergency the day before or whatever. He can even fly in and suddenly fall sick in the hotel that morning, whatever.

This puts you in direct conflict with Sam, and that conflict will have to be resolved sooner or later. You should have a serious man-to-man talk with Sam some time after the wedding. Your choice if you invite your brother to that talk.


Remember, this wedding is all about you and your bride. Or more accurately, this wedding is all about your bride.

So to summarize:

  • You can't un-invite Sam because this will upset Lucy which will upset bride.

  • You can't expose Sam's behaviour because this will upset Lucy which will upset bride.

  • You can't confront Sam because a) he's not messaging you, and b) he's a psycho.

  • You can't seat Mary and Sam really really far apart because Sam is fiancée to someone in the bridal party and Mary is with your brother - so all near the front.

And, this wedding is about you and your bride - I mean, this wedding is about your bride, who is not a part of this mess.

To a certain extent everyone else should suck it up for her sake, deferring any and all possible drama over their own stupid mess until the most important day of the bride and groom's lives has passed smoothly and happily.

That said, I recommend:

  • Get Mary to immediately block Sam on all forms of communication, block mobile number, unfriend, de-twitter, anti-instagram, everything.

  • Seat them as far apart as possible while not compromising the natural rules of proximity to you guys and whatever other conventions apply. (I also would note that the more "prominent" Mary is the harder she is to "get to".)

  • Mary spends the night out of the corners and in the company of at least two very confident extremely no-nonsense women at all times, doesn't approach Sam, and offers only the blandest responses to anything he says.

  • Give your bride a great wedding

  • Deal with the rest of the mess later.

  • 3
    "You can't grass on Sam..." I'd never heard this phrase and was going to ask you what it meant, but I got lucky with a Google search. For anyone who is as puzzled as I was: "UK slang: If a person grasses on someone else, they tell the police or someone in authority about something bad that that person has done: Dan grassed on them to the local police." (Let me know if that's not what you meant...) Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 5:43
  • @MichaelGeary note that "someone in authority" could mean anyone important in that persons life, which in this case is the significant other, Lucy. Little kids "grass" by telling tales to teachers or parents etc.
    – CalvT
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 11:27
      Bridegroom (39yo)                           Bride
          |                                         |
          |                                         |
younger bro ←→ MARY (19yo)     ⇠     SAM (32yo) ←→ Lucy (bestie)   

The wedding could be ruined by tears, fighting, and flying accusations. Could being the operative word here, so in light of recent events, you could do the following...

My main thought is to do that via text, so I don't have to see him in person.

This is a bad idea, this is a sensitive issue and whatever course of action you do decide on needs to be said in person. This is the classic take the bull by its horns moment in your life, and the sooner it is dealt with the better. Call and fix a meeting with Sam.

When you both meet, above all be calm, be the voice of reason and if need be, speak in a lower pitch, this will convey authority and assertiveness. Remind yourself what your main aim is; a wedding that goes without a hitch.

Tell Sam that you know about his texts to Mary, and that her boyfriend– your brother–is also aware. Inform Sam that Mary is not interested in him, she may have inadvertently given him that impression but now she bitterly regrets it (this is an assumption, but it sounds plausible).

If he protests and says you have the right to meddle in his affairs, he might, reply you will tell your bride-to-be, who in turn will have to tell Lucy, her close friend, the horrible truth about her beloved fiancé.

Tell Sam that if he's not into Lucy then he should do the honorable thing and break up with her, better now than at the wedding reception when she'll find out about his texts, or worse, see him lusting after Mary. He might be able to get a refund of flights and hotel fees if he cancels his bookings with 7 days' notice.

Sam might well be shocked in hearing how many already know about his "illicit" flirting with a girl barely out of her teens. If he cares about Lucy, he's learned his lesson, and he will be attentive and loving toward her on the OP's big wedding day.

What happens between Lucy and Sam after the wedding should no longer concern you. Chances are Sam will not mend his ways, and Lucy will find out sooner or later his true colors.

Good Luck and All the Very Best!

  • 1
    That somehow asserts that Sam is deep-down inside a decent person and will behave like a grown-up 32 year-old. I don't say he won't but I also have my doubts about it. I'd expect him to react more in the line of "mind your own business" accompanied with some threats regarding telling Lucy.
    – Fildor
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 11:28
  • @Fildor presumably they are friends, and presumably, Sam prefers Lucy not to know, so him threatening to tell Lucy is unlikely. I don't think she'd be very happy to hear his flirting with Mary.
    – user3114
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 11:32
  • I meant Sam threatening groom with fury and fire if groom were to tell Lucy :) Sorry, I am not a native english speaker. I may have put that wrong.
    – Fildor
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 11:39
  • @Fildor the OP wouldn't be telling Lucy, he'd be telling his bride-to-be... All Sam has to do is not text Mary. And Mary needs to know that Sam has been duly informed.
    – user3114
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 11:43
  • 2
    The only flaw I see with this plan is "Inform Sam that Mary is not interested in him". If a girl was flirting with me and another man told me she was no longer interested, I would assume he was simply informing me of his wishes, not hers.
    – pipe
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 19:32

Its very clear, if Mary led her number, but havent told your brother, she is attracted to him, or was, in the moment, she could even had fantasies with him, but the more you want to prevent this and force it (uninviting him or so) she can get even more interested if she notices it, and the more you prevent it, the more they will want to have an affair and do it. Let it flow naturally, if they feel attracted, and Mary is discrete, your brother will have her girlfriend steped, and they want it, there is nothing you can do about it, if they want it and notice the forced-distanciation they will have the affair, wether if you uninvite him or not

Now, if Mary gave her number on a proper, not afair related attitude, she will manage it, dont worry, even if Sam assists to your party, the most she can do is stay away from him. Now, if she suddenly feel attracted and rolls into dancing, flirting, sex texting and you know the rest, then your brother is lucky to get rid of her, and maybe find another person which wants to actually stay with him

Let it flow naturally, its on her hands, you already have a lot of work thinking on your party. Theres nothing you can do yo prevent them from engaging if they feel attracted, and if not, well, your brother seems to have found the right one.

Edit: One last thing, Sam is supposed to not be texting her like that, because he's on a relation, and i dont think that his woman is aware of this and/or confort with it, if your brother knows this, and Mary havent contact and told Sam's woman, then its two chances, Mary wants Sam inside her, or Mary is affaid ot telling this to Sam's wife, so again, let it flow naturally, Mary is supposed to tell this to Sam's wife, unless she wants to get laid with Sam, but if your brother knew this by spying into Mary's phone, the most common option to think is to contact Sam's wife and tell her about this, but if I were your brother, I would let this flow, so that I can see how this scalates and if Mary is worthy of me or not, so I would stay silent if I were you, your brother, and mary, just so we know how this can scalate and tend Sam's a trap in which he will fall very hard and let his wife notice it. Dont need to go into the "fighting" stuff at the moment, if I were Mary, I would tell your brother, ask him to not fight under the party just to not ruin it, and advice that I will be sexually attending those textings, so he falls into my trap and let Sam's wife know it. But if I were Mary, and feel attracted to him, the more I see its bothering you, the more I will do for having Sam cumming inside my mouth, and neither you or your brother can do anything to stop it, nor even notice it if happened.

  • There's a bit of confusion, (that's partly why I did a diagram myself) Sam and Lucy are not married, they're only "engaged" .
    – user3114
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 19:23
  • 1
    This answer has some nuance not present in the other answers. It is possible in this day and age there might be an "open" relationship between Lucy and Sam, and that Lucy might be interested having Mary as a "third", and Mary is also interested. Then brother finds the messages, Mary lies and says "that beast!" My point is that it is very hard to know what is going on, and the best idea is to speak with wife about it, and you and her can ask Lucy together. Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 15:12

You are organizing a complex event with partial info and many moving parts, any number of which can go wrong; choose a path here that removes the greatest number of potential chaotic outcomes, pick and choose from multiple answers and comments based on your knowledge of the people involved. "Hilarious" miscommunications, and things you forgot and/or forgot to share, or didn't as you couldn't see their importance because somebody else didn't tell you their bit as they couldn't see its impact either... You know the (movie) script.

I think you have to make your fiancee take part in deciding, for many reasons. Basically, you and your fiancee have the right to expect to be the single most important person in the other's life until your marriage breaks down and/or you have children (and even then). To expect to be a prime consideration in all decisions that impact them. But that's my outlook, you check what's yours.

Play the "what if" game with not-too-improbable choices (you know which ones are, we don't). Like

What if I don't inform my now-fiancee, but she finds out months later when Sam has sent a dick pic to an adult-looking minor; he's on bail or not; Lucy can't make rent, whether she kicks him out or not; she's homeless without a couch to crash on ("flying in".. has she got support there? (in)secure full/part time?..); and her period's at least two weeks late, from decision take in the optimistic romantic state of being at your wedding and a desire to stay at a similar stage in life as her BFF.

where I know that my wife would take my silence as an incredible violation of our relationship, and I'd forever feel sad and truly guilty towards the kid that's born to this chaos (if they do well, mad props to them!, but that's a horrible stacking-of-odds against an innocent, with no reasonable expectation for such a come-from-behind victory). Your morals will inform you here; unrealistic assumptions/aspirations will misguide you here.

So, I think it's best you make a bullet-pointed list of all considerations, where you will/should agree/disagree with my formulations/weightings, and put in your own, and then group them in clusters of consequences, and rank them all in importance:

  • Lucy is your wife's best friend. Since long? Is that a temporary position reaching a limit (to do with a phase of life that's past, like college), or not? Is this the latest installment of the Lucy's Bad Decisions saga, and actually something to work out between you two? I know my wife's five-ten best friends are like close family to her, hence to me; I don't have to like them, but they're a permanent reality.
  • Your wife's happiness at the wedding trumps yours somewhat, and her happiness is an order of magnitude more important than anybody else's. So awkwardness in Mary and an angry adrenaline rush in Bro are less important than putting Fiancee in the position of knowing this bombshell news while Lucy is gushing how great they're now (finally) together.
  • A smooth-running, perfect wedding is a pointless ideal, but the only one we work towards; this is the crux of the "Bridezilla" issues. This is a whole can of worms in itself, but it's in the background of this question. I firmly believe no guests, only wedding planners, have ever fondly remembered a wedding for its smoothness!
  • Certainty of annoyance (in her, in you, in them, ...) when facing somebody is better than a 10--20% chance of a blowup: If anybody is prepared to hold their tongue, because they've mentally rehearsed an issue/encounter, that's better than you hushing it up and taking a real risk of things coming unstuck. That's like choosing for the cheaper-but-forgetful florist; and one that may come with the wrong flowers is much better than one that might not turn up at all.
  • Wedding is just an instant, compared to its aftermath (many couples form at weddings! weddings get discussed for years! guests meeting again later will think back!), and that is minor compared to daily life. Publicly, a drunken betrayal is just a passing faux pas like a grating drunken joke; but the betrayal lasts through daily life for those involved.
  • Much aggravation in wedding preparations comes from the ludicrous jeopardy that weddings have become. It's no just her parents paying for a dinner which will mainly bring together your far-flung relatives from a time when travelling beyond your village/city was costly and impractical; it's an all-singing all-dancing stageshow where you've at best rehearsed once with the core cast but the majority are extras where some have attention-grabbing diva plans, and their state lets them ignore the overall play in view of their personal issues/squabbles. &[See "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead".]* The budget wreaks your financial outlook for years if not decades. There's often feeling that you have to top previous shows. Etc.

  • Springing any news on anybody at a wedding is bad and unfair, especially the type of emotional thing that you could have sat down quietly with for 30min, understand the reasoning and factors, and accept (here, it's all outside of your two, it's other people's actions and characters). There's small steps to working through small grief like that, but don't force someone to take them in public and in an (emotionally, alcoholically, ...) impaired state.

  • Don't overblow it now. You're now dealing with a minor footnote, of less importance to the wedding than choosing the cake. If ignored, it may only strike you, Bro and Mary; or it may cataclysmically overshadow the whole, becoming "The Day Of The Incident" for years for many.

  • You've clearly drawn Sam as a villain here, he might have some qualities beyond being a fair-weather friend; else you're saying wife's BFF is an idiot and your wife will take this badly against you. Will Lucy inevitably break up with him (unless he's "reborn", haha)? Then you have some moral duty to help this happen before she has a kid whose life will be blighted by this. Is Sam a taint, a blight that only corrupts? Sufficient "kill with kindness" and "surgeon kills by not amputating enough" metaphors, you examine if it applies.

  • Consider what happens if your wife finds out you knew all this long beforehand when it could be discussed relatively calmly, either if this blows up during the wedding [you know whether there'll be alcohol, and what amounts in general and may guess what amounts in the main actors here, possibly in combination with various drugs and character traits; but any case it's a lot of eventually tired people together in a heightened emotional state, so bad calls, slips-of-the-tongue and overreactions can easily snowball], or afterwards [a remark by 'Mary' leafing through the new wedding album that triggers on news your fiancee has?].
  • You showing you've considered all these factors, going as far as anonymously asking SE for possible paths you'd overlook because you're too close to this mess is clearly to your credit. Even if it gets thrown in your face at the moment you say it, because it's a majorly emotional issue and logical arguments don't cut it in the heat of the moment (even sensible ones will get overshadowed).
  • You can plan ahead, she can't: Breaking news always puts the other on the spot. You've worked it through, she hasn't had a chance yet, that is an unfair setup. Thus "unforgivable" words can be forgiven to the ambushed party; but do not dismiss things for being "emotional" as that just infantilizes her. Do mitigate for it as that will prevent consequences for emotional overreaction. Hence brace yourself but without being defensive. Give the other room.

  • An angry exchange while planning the wedding will afterwards be taken to your credit, if it's clearly motivated to avoid a blowup the day itself (and even more if it succeeds). So plan this conversation in view of your life together, not of the wedding day.

  • Don't jump until your mind has settled, but don't cowardly wait. She has the right too, to be settled on this, before she must/must not inform Lucy.
  • ...
  • [snip: many more] Good luck, and have a great time!

First, tell your future wife and, together, think of a course of action.

I suggest, with the support of your future wife, to expose the case directly to Sam explaining that his misconduct has come to your attention and that you will not tolerate such behavior around your family and especially on your wedding day. And, therefore, he is disinvited.

The point here is to defend your family, your brother and his girlfriend, from someone with an inappropriate and reprehensible behavior. Today is your brother's girlfriend, tomorrow can be your wife.

Be not affraid. Confront him.

  • 1
    I highly disagree. OP cannot be bothered to engage Sam directly. The only thing I agree with is informing the bride-to-be. But she also must not be bothered to find a solution. It's between Mary, Sam , Lucy and brother. If Mary is afraid of confronting Sam, fine. Help her. Anything else comes along as white-knighting, which is really a bad idea when dealing with someone with that record.
    – Fildor
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 13:14
  • I think being a hostage of fear and indifference is, in fact, the big bad ideia here. Who cares about his record? Again, we shouldn't be affraid of getting involved in matters that involves our loved ones, especially a brother, especially when they ask for our help.
    – dvc.junior
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 14:14
  • It's not about fear - to clear that up. Bride and groom have enough (more than enough, believe me) stuff to think of. They cannot be bothered with that mickey mouse bs. It was dumb of Mary not reacting negatively immediately, it was thoughtless of the brother to bring it to OPs knowledge. HE should be the one caring for his brother to have a nice wedding.
    – Fildor
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 14:19

It is bad enough looking back at wedding photographs and seeing people you are no longer friends with (it happens, sadly) without seeing somebody who actually makes your skin crawl.

Having him there will ruin your day, you'll be on edge all day worrying about possible encounters and drama. You have to un-invite him, and if done the correct way it will not come across like you are striking back for revenge, which it doesn't sound like you are. He has done something inappropriate, he is to blame. People who try and get away with stuff like this behind their partner's back are often narcissists and they don't believe they will have to face consequences for their actions. Explain to him calmly that because of what he has done it is no longer possible to have him as a guest at the wedding because of the upset it would cause to other guests to whom you are more closely related. It might even bring him to his senses to learn the lesson that if he behaves like a jackass people WILL find out and he WILL have to face up to it.

Hope your wedding day is amazing!


If Sam takes part in the wedding

  • Your brother will be on edge. Even if their relationship is rock solid, he will still instinctively watch out for his partner to protect them from unwanted advances by an ex-convict with a history of violence. There are even answers here that suggest he should not get too drunk. I say he should get as drunk as is appropriate for his brother's wedding, not as drunk as is appropriate for being in a situation where a man with a history of violence, probably drunk, is hitting on his girlfriend.

  • This not-fully-enjoying-it will of course also apply to any person that is "hired" to watch Sam, so this job would only really be appropriate for somebody you actually pay for this reason. It would also be weird to spend more money on one single guest who is worse than the other guests.

  • Lucy is a "close friend" of your fiancee. Now, whenever they will look at the wedding photos together, she will see that cheating douchebag with a dash of so-embarassing-everyone-around-me-knew.

  • Lucy could find out at the wedding, then you'll have some real drama going on. This might only be a small chance, but consider Murphy's law.

So to me it seems unambiguous that
Sam can't come to the wedding.

Sam is already invited, so for him to not come, he needs to be told not to come. The only persons who can tell him that are you, your wife, and Lucy.

  • If you threaten him, e.g. with exposing him to Lucy, there's too high of a chance that he will still come.
  • If he is "officially" uninvited, the information will get from Sam via Lucy to your wife. You won't be able to tell your wife "just trust me" as a reason that one of her bridesmaids' fiancee can't come. MAYBE that will be enough of a reason for the two of you to give to Lucy, but I wouldn't bet on it.

I'm afraid that leaves only the option of telling Lucy.

Now, they already went as far as getting engaged. This will hurt her badly, but the longer this goes on, the more it will hurt her in the end. Apart from being morally wrong, it should be obvious that Sam is not stealthy enough to leave her in blissful ignorance for a lifetime. It will hurt Lucy, but the earlier she is told, the better for her. Who knows, maybe she'll even find some... distraction at your wedding.

I know this is considered the nuclear option, but in an ethical dilemma, it's almost always the thing you don't want to do which is the right thing.

Concerning your goals
My brother and Mary must not feel uncomfortable at my wedding
This is achieved, not only for your brother and Mary, but for everybody else who would be stressed out by being involved in the situation.

My fiancée must not have any added stress for this already crazy time of life
This is life; sh*t happens and then you die. With such huge family events I could already have told you a year ago that interpersonal issues are going to cause more stress than choosing the cake. You had the noble idea of soaking up this stress to protect your wife and that is commendable. However, I just see too many things that could go wrong. Better face this additional stress now, than having the possibility of it ruining your big day.

Sam's predatory behavior towards my family must stop
Maybe this is unfortunately phrased, because I don't see how this would be your concern. It is your concern to make your friends and family comfortable at your wedding, but even if Mary would leave your brother for Sam, I don't see how you would be involved in that - two consenting adults and all that jazz. Its an issue between Mary, Sam and your brother and that is where it needs to be resolved.

There are some assumptions in this answer. If any of them is wrong, you probably found the easy way out.


This is a no win situation.

Here's the outcome I'm looking to achieve:

  1. My brother and Mary must not feel uncomfortable at my wedding

  2. My fiancée must not have any added stress for this already crazy time of life

1 and 2 are likely mutually exclusive. You have to either allow Sam to attend as your fiance's friends date, or tell your fiances friend that her date is not welcome at the reception. The first option breaks rule 1 and the second option breaks rule 2 by extension because her friend is likely going to cry back to your fiance about your declaration.

Sam's predatory behavior towards my family must stop

There is no way for you to make this happen. Even if Sam were to want to act respectfully, chances are when Sam gets a few drinks in him at the wedding he will revert to the same obnoxious jerk that created the conflict in the first place.

So the best chance you have IMO is to Confront Sam.

Tell him that he is not welcome at your wedding, and that if he shows up the ushers will contact security and have him escorted off the property, and if necessary have him arrested for trespassing. And that if he will not tell his girlfriend why he can not attend, you will not inform his girlfriend of his very pedophile-like predatory behavior towards your brothers teen aged girlfriend.

With any luck Sam will decide to make up a story about a previous engagement, or just tell her he is too sick to go, and your fiance will never know about the potential crapstorm that nearly invaded her wedding.


Congrats on your wedding!

As an analyst i would recommend you to cut your looses in this problem.

First. You cant take an unilateral decision on this. As you stated he is invited mostly cause its the fiancee to a friend of your wife. Whatever decision you take at this point it will affect the relationship between the friend of your soon to be wife and her. Don't let it affect beyond that. Hiding this from your fiancee could backfire and cause mistrust between you two. So calmly talk to her about the problem, show her evidence and then if possible your brother girlfriend should join you both to talk a little more about this issue. This will create empathy on your wife and and maybe even result on a more close relationship between your fiancee and your brother.

Second. You can not do this via text. It will show weakness. You need this to be face to face. As you said this guy has a history of being violent. That means that the only thing he respects is force. Invite him to a go out with your fiance and the closest friend you have that can keep his head cold. Do not bring your brother nor her girlfriend. Sadly you will need a backup in case things go south. Do not drink during this. And it needs to be in a public space.

Calmly tell him both of you know about his approaches towards your brother fiancee, and that you would like him not to come to the wedding and stop contacting her. If he declines to do so, upper your hand and show him the messages in a draft ready to send to your brother girlfriend parents and his fiance. In other words, you will nuke his relationship with Lucy and put him in problems with the law if Mary parents see the message.

This last part seems a little bit over dramatic but is what I would do. That said, you need to solve this in one blow, and cut him of any position of advantage he might have. That is, giving him no time to go lie to his fiancee after the face to face, no sweet talking out of this. Your friend will be there for in case brute force is needed to cut that advantage from him too. Both of you will need to outsmart him before he knows what hit him. And whatever you both do, do not loose your temper.

You might choose another solution but it should have this characteristic of putting him a disadvantage position where you and your fiancee would loose next to nothing, and him taking the heavy looses.

After it, let it go and enjoy your wedding. See this with your wife as your fist success together.


Your goals are fine but #2 is the priority. If this is a traditional wedding, keep in mind that this is your wife's (to be) wedding. You are a just a key member of the wedding party. Never forget this. I know that sounds a little weird but I don't know better advice to give on this.

How your brother and his girlfriend feel are mostly irrelevant. You can deal with Sam and his behavior later.

If I were you, I would have a serious conversation with your brother about how you need to make sure the wedding remains focused on your wife and doesn't become an episode of Jerry Springer. In other words, he needs to suck it up. Nothing is likely to happen because your brother will be there as well as Sam's fiance. I doubt your brother will let his girlfriend out of his sight. When the opportunity arises, a subtle comment can make Sam aware you are on to him (e.g. mention Anthony Wiener's troubles while looking at him.) That will likely keep him on good behavior. Also, warn your brother about getting too drunk and get a friend to keep an eye on the situation. You will be too busy to do so yourself.

Update: Some people seem to be ignorant that in a US traditional Christian wedding the bride is the star. If you are truly unaware of this consider that in such a wedding, the groom and the groomsmen wear matching outfits. The bridesmaids where matching outfits but the bride wears a more elaborate and very distinctive gown. The groom shows up first to basically no fanfare. When the bride comes in, everyone jumps up and triumphant music is played. Whether you like it or not, that's how it works. If you lose focus on the bride and make the wedding about you, you risk disaster.

  • 14
    "keep in mind that this is your wife's (to be) wedding. You are a just a key member of the wedding party." Are you serious??
    – Fildor
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 6:53
  • 5
    I'd also strongly disagree with "How your brother and his girlfriend feel are mostly irrelevant." Even if you ignore the later consequences, the wife is unlikely to have a happy marriage if she notices that her husband's brother is unhappy (and her husband stressed, too).
    – sleske
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 8:41
  • @sleske My previous response was deleted for unclear reasons. 1. Wedding != Marriage. A wedding is a ceremony and a celebration. 2. The chances that everyone is going to be happy at your wedding is basically nil. Taking actions that result in the bride's close friend breaking off her engagement could be hugely disruptive as the OP is clearly aware. The brother and his girlfriend could have had a fight the night before and be unhappy. The wedding isn't about them.
    – user1982
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 18:15
  • 5
    The wife being the star is a cliché. Most couples want the day to be about both of them. OP has given no indication that his fiancée is anything like the cliché, so this isn't a good answer in my opinion.
    – AndyT
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 15:23
  • @AndyT If it's a cliche it's because it's true. It's really between the bride and groom to figure it out. Have any wedding you want but you should clarify what the expectations are. As a father who's looking at paying for a couple weddings in the not so distant future, I would surely have a problem with my future son-in-law making assertions about his needs at the wedding that I'm shelling out probably 10s of thousands of dollars for. I've know of grooms that have done such things. People notice and it creates a really bad impression.
    – user1982
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 17:01

The solution here is very "simple", but it's very direct so nobody wants to consider it.

Get Sam's number, call him, establish that you are the husband-to-be, and tell him that he is not welcome to attend your wedding and he is therefore uninvited. When he asks why, just tell him that you don't have to provide a reason, say goodbye, and hang up. If you feel like this is a jerk thing to do, it isn't, considering who Sam is and what he is doing. The most important thing is, he'll get the message, and he won't be attending your wedding.

Depending on the circumstances, you may or may not also want to give Mary a heads up, in case Sam tries to contact her about it. Use your best judgement here.

  • 4
    Sam's has a history of violence, so it's a very, very dangerous approach, which is already stated in the question.
    – Vylix
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 13:34
  • All the more reason to call him and tell him not to come.
    – Andrew
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 14:02
  • 1
    I don't know. But a guy with a record of violence and cheating ... who knows? That said, engaging directly should be the last resort.
    – Fildor
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 14:14
  • 1
    No. Making it clear to Sam that he is not welcome at your wedding should be the first resort.
    – Andrew
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 14:22
  • 1
    "My brother and Mary must not feel uncomfortable at my wedding" "Sam's predatory behavior towards my family must stop" "So, I'm really having a hard time figuring out how to approach Sam about all this." Not sure where you got the idea that he's "kinda" welcome.
    – Andrew
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 14:56

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