DEAR AMY: I have been best friends with "Beth" for more than 25 years (since we were 4). I am planning a destination wedding, and she is to be my maid of honor. I love her and cannot imagine getting married without her at my side, but we have a problem. Beth has been dating a terrible person on and off for the last three years. He physically and emotionally abuses her. She catches him cheating and lying all the time. Beth will break up with him for a while and find a great guy, then dump the great guy for this loser. She is completely brainwashed. I told her from the beginning that I did not want him at my wedding and that I was not going to pay for his trip (as I am offering to pay for her and a guest). She is now telling me (four months before the wedding) that if he cannot come, then she will not come. I have disliked him from the beginning, and I do not want to look at him or pay for him on my special day. She says that I am being selfish, but should I have to ruin my day so he can come to the wedding. What should I do?
-- Wedding Worried
DEAR WORRIED: You are not obliged by traditional etiquette or any other standard to include an abusive on-again/off-again boyfriend in your wedding plans. You and "Beth" have actually done a fairly good job of talking about this so far -- you have been clear about how you feel and she has too. Beth has told you that she won't attend to your friendship or your wedding without Mr. Wonderful by her side. You can't bear the thought of him being there. You have enough time to shift around your bridesmaids, so you had better do it. Let Beth know that you intend to respect her decision, even though you are so sorry about her choice. Say that the wedding just won't be the same without her. Then tell her that you hope this hasn't permanently derailed your friendship.
As usual, Amy is to-the-point, and I happen to agree with her. If it's causing that much stress, and if the person in question is indeed as unbearable and hurtful as the bride-to-be describes, then he has no business being at the wedding. If you're in a similar situation just keep this in mind: excluding the Justin Bobbys and the Spencer Pratts of this world could really cause some damage to your friendship, and it's definitely worth weighing the pros and cons before you make the decision. You want your girlfriend to know that although you are the supposed-center of the wedding day, what really bothers you is the way he treats her.