'High-Strung' Stepdaughter Goes No Contact With Her Parents Because They Can't Pay For Her 'Dream Wedding'

Being part of a family means compromising, even on your wedding day.

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We’ve all heard the warning to never mix family and finances, yet all too often, dividing those parts of life is easier said than done.

A woman asked for guidance from "Pay Dirt," Slate’s money advice column, on how to move forward from a family conflict centered around money that exploded into something bigger.

She shared that she and her husband had “always intended” to help foot the bill for their stepdaughter’s wedding, only they’ve found themselves in financial hot water that’s left them without any extra funds.

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The ‘high-strung’ stepdaughter went no contact with her parents because they couldn't afford to pay for her ‘dream wedding.’

They’re paying for her son’s college and “a remodel that has ballooned out of control,” which means they don’t have money to spare for their stepdaughter’s special day.

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Instead of saying no outright, the woman offered a compromise, saying, “If she wanted the wedding of her dreams, she would have to wait a few years so we could free up more funds, or she could scale back her ambitions.”

“We knew she would be disappointed, but we were not expecting her to throw such a hissy fit!” she said.

The bride-to-be accused her dad of favoring her stepbrother and “being a horrible father to her,” the woman explained. “She called me vain and sanctimonious when I suggested she calm down and be reasonable.”

Setting boundaries around money might seem especially hard, yet it’s a vital tool for preserving your inner peace.

“She has always been high-strung, but how she acted was so intentionally hurtful that I don’t know how we will come back from this fight,” the woman said. 

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According to therapist Maggie Lancioni, just because someone is family doesn't mean they can disregard your boundaries.

“Just because they are family doesn’t mean that they can disrespect or hurt you without apology or proper repair,” she said. “Just because they are family doesn’t mean that you have to tolerate manipulation, chaos, [or] disrespect.”

We don’t actually owe our families time, money, unconditional devotion, or anything else.

We get to decide if someone stays in our lives or not based on our consideration of our own mental health and emotional well-being.

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The woman revealed that they gave their stepdaughter money in the past, paying for her education and putting a down payment on her first home, which “is more than most people her age get.”

The woman didn’t know what to do since her stepdaughter was giving them the silent treatment.

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The advice columnist recognized the stepdaughter’s disappointment yet firmly suggested they cut her off financially.

“It sounds like your stepdaughter, like many before her, has allowed the mythical power of a dream wedding to take over her formerly kind soul, causing her to unleash chaos upon everyone else,” she said.

There’s immense pressure for weddings to be perfect, as though they’re some version of a fairy-tale romance instead of a legally binding decision keeping a couple together.

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In its purest form, a wedding is a declaration of love and commitment for the future, not a competitive, full-contact sport where the uniforms are made of lace and tulle.

The columnist expressed her belief that “You shouldn’t reward a tantrum,” outlining a blueprint on how to handle their next moves.

She suggested a conversation between the stepdaughter and her dad about the nitty-gritty details of how much money they’ve given her over the years, emphasizing that “Now, it’s her brother’s turn.”

“If you want to financially contribute to her wedding, tell her how much she can expect and when you’ll write the check,” the columnist said, advocating for having clear financial boundaries, even if setting them leads to an extended silence.

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The stepdaughter’s potential decision to cut off communication isn’t a reflection on their parenting but rather on her own ingrained entitlement.

It’s possible that something else is going on beneath the surface with this blended family, but taken at face value, the woman and her husband are being as generous as they can be, given their own financial struggles.

“Make sure she knows the door is always open,” the columnist concluded. “Reach out regularly in a loving, friendly way, but don’t send her any more money.”

Ultimately, it's up to the stepdaughter to reestablish contact. Yet her parents are allowed to decide how they want their relationship to exist moving forward, dream wedding or not.  

RELATED: Bride Threatens To Uninvite Brother To Her Wedding If He Doesn't Pay $25,000 For The Ceremony — 'My Brother Should Contribute More To My Wedding'

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.