Wedding Woes

Do you want to reunite because of your wedding or in spite of it?

Dear Prudence,

By all accounts, I had a great dad. When I was born, he left his corporate job to be a stay-at-home father. My father did everything, but my mother complained and criticized him for being a deadbeat. This turned into her calling him “violent” and “gay.” Before long, they were in counseling, and my mother called the police for “claiming he was going to kill her.” She had us testify against him for being a “child molester.” He got a full-time job, but she got him fired. During it all, my father never wavered in his love. He tolerated my mother’s abuse and continued to take us to activities and push us academically. We learned my mother was having a long-term affair and became secretly engaged to someone else.

When Dad finally divorced her, my sister became ruthless, refusing calls and texts. I followed suit and haven’t spoken to him in four years. Though I knew my father was sad, lonely, and suffering, we kids pitted our parents against each other to obtain trips and material items. Eventually, my father gave up. My mom, on the other hand, started being a caring mother. I learned on Facebook my father met a woman and is happily helping to raise her children. It saddens me that we never provided that for him.

Now I am getting married. I want my father there. My mother will be livid. I don’t think a wedding is a place for a reunion, but I feel if he isn’t there, I would, again, have betrayed him. I know my siblings will be equally harsh and I risk being ostracized. My mother still maintains her innocence and claims he “abandoned the family for being gay.” I don’t want to get married to avoid all of this. I am also afraid that my father, rightfully so, likes his new family better. What should I do?

—Estranged Father of the Bride

Re: Do you want to reunite because of your wedding or in spite of it?

  • Damn, therapy now. 

    There’s a lot going on here and rushing any of it is a bad plan. It’s time to talk to someone who can help you work out all of your feelings about this, and decide how to approach your father if that’s what you want to do. 
  • What a sad, messed up situation. 

    I don't like the idea of OP using the wedding to reconnect with their father. They think not including him would be a "betrayal," but I think it's a much bigger betrayal to re-expose him to his ex-wife's anger and abuse. I wouldn't even create the feeling of obligation for him to be there by inviting him. If OP wants to reconnect with Dad, it should be after the wedding and after some therapy. 
  • Do not use an occasion as a reason to be involved with someone.

    But the way I'm reading this, the LW and her siblings were assholes to their dad and they really owe him a huge apology.   
  • LW"s wedding is not a UN peace summit.

    LW needs some therapy to understand how to deal with her own past and regrets.  Then she should reach out to her father because she wants to.  She'll probably need some training to learn how to respond to him and hear him appropriately too.  If LW really does want this, it's about LW and father's relationship, not LW's wedding.
  • Whoa, whoa, whoa!  The wedding?  WTF?  No, LW.  The FIRST step is getting in touch with your dad.  Apologizing.  And hoping to rebuild your all's relationship.

    Worry about a wedding invite and the ramifications, if/when at least a hopefully positive and improving relationship has been established.  
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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