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Wedding 911

Long post about not inviting dad to wedding

edited March 9 in Wedding 911
Hello everyone,

I have a very unique situation on my hand and not very much time to make a final choice for myself. I will do my best to explain important details leading up to this point. I'm sorry it is long and appreciate your time and advice. 

My wedding is in 4 months and I am almost certain I do not want to invite my father. I am 25 and during most of my life I have never had a super close relationship with my father. It wasn't "terrible" but he was sort of just there and not really involved in my life. We do not text or call each other ever, even during my entire time at college. But he would make those fb posts about how proud he is of me and such and that he loves me. This never really bothered me I just sort of lived with it and we would talk when I visit home. I am the oldest of 5 and talk on the phone to my mom often so I never really felt like I was missing too much I guess.

In short, my parents marriage was never that great. I remember heated fights as a child/teen, a few that even got physical. So needless to say there were bad times, okay times, and a few good times. But mostly we all just kept on with our lives together. 
My parents marriage really began to spiral when I went to college. 

Fights get worse, my mom threatens to kick him out for months but it never happens. He'll leave for a few hours and come back. The word divorce gets thrown around but never taken seriously. Just messing with everyones emotions, including my younger sisters still living at home. 

Right before the new year my mom finally makes him leave and he goes to stay with a family member who's house is practically empty because she is never there. This is when I become emotionally involved. During one of my parents fights I find out that my dad says "well if we get divorced then I am not going to the wedding and won't walk her down the isle"...
This infuriated me. Up until this point I was not involved in their marriage issues and he has the audacity to speak these words out loud? What kind of father does this? So right away in my mind I was like fine, he does not get to have that honor and will not walk me down the isle. I told my mother this as well.

Some time goes by and things stay bad. I eventually write a long message to my dad telling me how he made me feel and how his actions are affecting our family over all these years. I was trying to get him to wake up and want to make changes to save his life and his relationships. He basically responded by dismissing all of my emotions and blaming everything on my mother. We had some words back and forth and basically when I didn't take his side he responds with a text saying "Bye." Yes. just bye. like a child. 

More time goes by and nothing is changing. I know because my mom vents to me every week. I am a good listener so I do listen and try to get her to see clearly that this man is a manipulator. For some reason she doesn't want to accept that. 

Anyways part 2 happens when I receive a very insensitive apology TEXT message from my dad that was about 2 sentences after he attended one therapy session. For me, I needed more time and really wanted to see him make progress. Only because I've seen this toxic cycle repeat itself for years. And he said some really hurtful things to me and never acknowledged his comment about my wedding. So, I write another long emotional message explaining this to him and saying I need more time. In no way shutting him out immediately or anything. He responds with anger and sends multiple messages destroying my character and insulting me and using anything he knows that would hurt me. All because I didn't say "it's okay dad" right away. 

So now my fiance and I do not want to invite him to the wedding. The way I see it is I have so many people who love and support us and that will do so that day. I do not want to risk an once of toxic energy that day. The kicker is my mom is still trying to fix their marriage, he's living back at home which is hard for my sisters, and I feel like my mom expects me to "put a bandaid" on this just for the wedding so she doesn't have to "do it alone" she says. 

If you have read this super long essay I thank you. I was so sure about my choice to not invite my father. But will i regret it later on? I don't want it to be a big deal the day of either, even though most of the extended family already know how my dad is, including his siblings who he has ruined relationships as well too. If he attends the wedding and my brother walks me down the isle, will it be awkward? I have so many thoughts going on in my head and not really many people to go to about this very unusual situation. 

If you had a similar situation, how did you handle it? How did you explain or not explain yourself when someone asked? Especially your other parent.

Re: Long post about not inviting dad to wedding

  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod
    You say your father has started therapy. Is it possible for you to attend a therapy session with him? You would have the chance to express how your parents' tumultuous relationship has affected you and how you are struggling with the decision to invite your father to the wedding. Your mother is not blameless in this. It takes two to fight and make up and fight and make up. She has also made you her confident, which is unfair to you. Your mom should allow you to keep a safe distance from the toxicity.

    For practical matters, if you don't invite your father, will there be other family members who will jump into the fray. That shouldn't be the deciding factor, but just something for you to keep in mind. 

    Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck.
                       
    knottie2a0b38f0e447f1a3charlotte989875short+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    You say your father has started therapy. Is it possible for you to attend a therapy session with him? You would have the chance to express how your parents' tumultuous relationship has affected you and how you are struggling with the decision to invite your father to the wedding. Your mother is not blameless in this. It takes two to fight and make up and fight and make up. She has also made you her confident, which is unfair to you. Your mom should allow you to keep a safe distance from the toxicity.

    For practical matters, if you don't invite your father, will there be other family members who will jump into the fray. That shouldn't be the deciding factor, but just something for you to keep in mind. 

    Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck.
    I think MairePoppy has some sound advice. You should probably attend some therapy sessions. I totally agree to the bolded. Your Mom needs to stop dragging you into their problems. It isn't your place to solve them or be her sounding board, because he is your father. 

    How difficult will it be to not invite your father if he is living at home with your mother? I would think that would cause more drama than inviting him. It also sounds like up until just a few months ago there was no question about you inviting him and then the hurtful behavior started. Maybe if you did attend the therapy sessions and worked on your feelings about all this you could come to a decision with which you would be comfortable. 

    I'm sorry you're having to deal with all this.
    knottie2a0b38f0e447f1a3charlotte989875short+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • Only you can figure out what arrangement would cause the least harm to your family. I don't envy you having to deal with all of this. It would be bad enough without having to plan a wedding while all the drama is going on. Just don't use your wedding to punish people, even though it might be tempting in your case.
    knottie2a0b38f0e447f1a3short+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • Thank you all for your sound advice. It is helping me clear my thoughts a bit. I agree with everything mentioned. I do live out of state, about 8 hours away so it would be difficult to attend therapy sessions with him. I will think on this some more. 
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    Is your mom the one that told you what your father said about not attending the wedding? 

    It sounds like your mother is also putting you in an awkward position. She needs to stop involving you in their marriage. Stay out of their fights - it's between them. Don't involve yourself in their marriage. If your mom starts venting to you, ask her to stop. Put some boundaries there. You are her child, not her friend or sounding board. 

    I had a similar situation in that my dad was very mentally/verbally abusive for most of my life. I had to go through years of therapy to fix the damage, and I'm still not 100% okay - I probably never will be. I have chosen to have a relationship with my dad. No one can make this choice for you. But the fact that your dad is actually in therapy - don't ignore that. He's trying. One day your father will be gone. My FIL died just last year, and watching my husband lose his father was gut-wrenching. Will you look back in 10 years and be sorry you didn't invite your father to your wedding? What about after he's gone? 

    charlotte989875ILoveBeachMusicshort+sassyMairePoppy
  • Thank you for your insight. I know it's ultimately up to me but it is helpful to hear how others in a similar situation of reacted and what has come from it. I agree about setting boundaries with my mom and her marital issues so I am going to try this. 

    I guess where I am at now is I feel like I will probably extend the invite and leave the decision up to him. But then I think about the current situation which is we haven't talked in months and after our last disagreement when all the hurtful things (and i mean nasty) were said he blocked my fiance and I on all social media which sends a pretty clear message. I am nervous that since the wedding is so close and I live so far away that there will be awkwardness at the wedding if he decides to come. I also fear he will say something inappropriate in front of people..but I've heard most families stay civil at weddings, so I hope that would be the case if he does attend. 

    It's also hard for me to handle that after he has said and done all these hurtful things to me and my siblings that my mom kind of looks the other way and choses him anyways. 

    It's all just a lot to process in a very short amount of time. I am trying not to let my anger get in the way but it proves to be very difficult. I suppose I will let a little more time go by and see what happens and if there are any positive changes. 
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    Thank you for your insight. I know it's ultimately up to me but it is helpful to hear how others in a similar situation of reacted and what has come from it. I agree about setting boundaries with my mom and her marital issues so I am going to try this. 

    I guess where I am at now is I feel like I will probably extend the invite and leave the decision up to him. But then I think about the current situation which is we haven't talked in months and after our last disagreement when all the hurtful things (and i mean nasty) were said he blocked my fiance and I on all social media which sends a pretty clear message. I am nervous that since the wedding is so close and I live so far away that there will be awkwardness at the wedding if he decides to come. I also fear he will say something inappropriate in front of people..but I've heard most families stay civil at weddings, so I hope that would be the case if he does attend. 

    It's also hard for me to handle that after he has said and done all these hurtful things to me and my siblings that my mom kind of looks the other way and choses him anyways. 

    It's all just a lot to process in a very short amount of time. I am trying not to let my anger get in the way but it proves to be very difficult. I suppose I will let a little more time go by and see what happens and if there are any positive changes. 
    I had the same issue with my mom, although I will say that the majority of bad stuff happened during my childhood, and didn't really continue on into adulthood. I really can't recommend therapy enough. It really helped me. 

    A few years ago, I wrote my dad a letter about the pain he caused, and read it to him. It was very emotional, and I discussed with him things that happened to me that he did not know about. His reaction? "Get over it". That experience taught me to lower my expectations of my dad. 

    To add another layer of issues, my dad and I disagree very much on political issues, and I find his beliefs reprehensible. I deleted him of of Facebook, and it has very much improved our relationship. We never speak of politics now. 

    charlotte989875MairePoppysparklepants41OurWildKingdom
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    mod
    Oh, man, Climbing. That had to be awful. I'm sorry.

    OP, I just want to add that this isn't something you can give back or make up to your dad. If your relationship is better in 1, 5, 10 years, he will still have that incredible hurt of not being invited to his daughter's wedding. This is (hopefully) a one time thing. I just think that's good to keep in mind.

    My dad and I have never been close. He's existed, but never present. For example, when I was 14, a week after I tried to commit suicide because I felt no one cared about me and I had nothing, my dad didn't show up to the family therapy session (nor could he be bothered to come to the hospital the night I went to the ER). Since that day, I've kind of mourned him. I had to get over my need for a FATHER. This was the guy I got, so I needed to lower my expectations and accept - or not - the guy he is. 16 years later and it still sucks sometimes but I don't ask him for much and keep my distance. 

    I have two regrets from my wedding - the dress and my dad walking me down the aisle. I let my sister and mom twist my arm and I didn't walk alone like I wanted. I wanted him at the wedding, just didn't feel it necessary for him to walk me down an aisle. 

    I guess the point of my rambling is that you don't have to give him all the FOB honors, but not inviting him at all is a pretty huge, final thing. I would be completely, 100% certain that you don't want a relationship with him before you exclude him completely.

    Even if you he does attend and your relationship does continue to crumble, you don't have to hang the pictures with him in them in your house. If you do sever your relationship, you don't have to let his presence stain your wedding memories. 

    Four months is a long time for drama to unravel. You might have your answer slap you in the face in the next several weeks. 

    Good luck to you. Sorry for my unorganized rambling. 
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
    OurWildKingdom
  • I had the same issue with my mom, although I will say that the majority of bad stuff happened during my childhood, and didn't really continue on into adulthood. I really can't recommend therapy enough. It really helped me. 

    A few years ago, I wrote my dad a letter about the pain he caused, and read it to him. It was very emotional, and I discussed with him things that happened to me that he did not know about. His reaction? "Get over it". That experience taught me to lower my expectations of my dad. 

    To add another layer of issues, my dad and I disagree very much on political issues, and I find his beliefs reprehensible. I deleted him of of Facebook, and it has very much improved our relationship. We never speak of politics now. 
    I am very sorry you went through a similar issue and got that reaction. It is a terrible terrible feeling. Thank you for sharing, I am able to relate and agree about lowering expectations. I think that is why it came as such a shock to me and upset me so bad. I really expected a much better reaction or more of a discussion at least, than what I got. 
    climbingwife
  • Oh, man, Climbing. That had to be awful. I'm sorry.

    OP, I just want to add that this isn't something you can give back or make up to your dad. If your relationship is better in 1, 5, 10 years, he will still have that incredible hurt of not being invited to his daughter's wedding. This is (hopefully) a one time thing. I just think that's good to keep in mind.

    My dad and I have never been close. He's existed, but never present. For example, when I was 14, a week after I tried to commit suicide because I felt no one cared about me and I had nothing, my dad didn't show up to the family therapy session (nor could he be bothered to come to the hospital the night I went to the ER). Since that day, I've kind of mourned him. I had to get over my need for a FATHER. This was the guy I got, so I needed to lower my expectations and accept - or not - the guy he is. 16 years later and it still sucks sometimes but I don't ask him for much and keep my distance. 

    I have two regrets from my wedding - the dress and my dad walking me down the aisle. I let my sister and mom twist my arm and I didn't walk alone like I wanted. I wanted him at the wedding, just didn't feel it necessary for him to walk me down an aisle. 

    I guess the point of my rambling is that you don't have to give him all the FOB honors, but not inviting him at all is a pretty huge, final thing. I would be completely, 100% certain that you don't want a relationship with him before you exclude him completely.

    Even if you he does attend and your relationship does continue to crumble, you don't have to hang the pictures with him in them in your house. If you do sever your relationship, you don't have to let his presence stain your wedding memories. 

    Four months is a long time for drama to unravel. You might have your answer slap you in the face in the next several weeks. 

    Good luck to you. Sorry for my unorganized rambling. 
    I appreciate your thoughts, no apology needed. I am deeply sorry you had that experience in your life and your father was not present, I could not imagine. My relationship is the same as bolded above. I also feel like over these past few weeks I can relate to the idea of "mourning" him. I guess since we never had a "bad" relationship before, it still existed and I thought he had more respect for me and my emotions. So having to deal with that abrupt rejection followed by insults it has been lot for me to process that he is not who I thought he is and I have learned from this. I agree with what you both said about lowering expectations and keeping distance. 

    I am hoping that the next few months bring clarity as you stated above. I think maybe I can be okay with him at least being there. That way I have nothing to regret by extending that invitation. And if he decides not to come that would be his choice not mine and that could be off my mind. I would not feel comfortable having him walk me down the isle. Like you, I have heard a number of brides regret doing so when they did not really want to. I really would love to have my brother do so. Even before all of this drama I internally wished that. We just have a really good relationship, he's my best friend, unlike my father and I. 

    Thanks again for your input.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    member
    edited March 14
    OP, I'm sorry your parents are using you as a weapon between them. I agree with the advice above that counseling could be helpful.

    I would tell each parent that however they decide to resolve things in their own relationship, you are not willing to be used as a weapon or caught in the middle between them, and refuse to communicate by text. 

    I won't give advice regarding whether you should invite your father or honor him as FOB. I will offer best wishes that the decisions you make regarding his participation are the ones that work out the best for you.
    OurWildKingdomMesmrEwe
  • Jen4948 said:
    OP, I'm sorry your parents are using you as a weapon between them. I agree with the advice above that counseling could be helpful.

    I would tell each parent that however they decide to resolve things in their own relationship, you are not willing to be used as a weapon or caught in the middle between them, and refuse to communicate by text. 

    I won't give advice regarding whether you should invite your father or honor him as FOB. I will offer best wishes that the decisions you make regarding his participation are the ones that work out the best for you.
    To branch off of this - something that many have used in the past is that both are requested to behave as adults and to leave you out of any drama on your wedding day.  A former knottie and her Dad wrote the book "Take Back Your Wedding: Managing the People Stress of Wedding Planning" that has great advice for these types of situations because chances are this is also going to come up in other ways whether you invite him or not.  And yes to what the PP mentioned about some counseling sessions of your own.  
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