Wedding Woes

Distance, boundaries, and being quiet may be the best option for you.

mrsconn23mrsconn23 member
First Anniversary First Answer 5 Love Its First Comment
edited June 2022 in Wedding Woes

Dear Prudence, 

My mother was an alcoholic, and my father cheated regularly, trading to a younger woman every few years. I always hoped for divorce as a child. 18 months ago, my mother died during an attempt at sobriety. My father married “Suzanne” about three months after the funeral.

I have very complicated feelings but my approach has been to stay polite but distant. I chose to attend the wedding only as a guest and I call once a month. There’s a selfish aspect—my dad helped me pay living expenses this spring until I graduated and my full-time job started. But I’m unfortunately privy to concrete evidence that he continues to cheat.

I told myself Suzanne knew this was likely going in. This morning, they called to announce that they’re expecting a baby and that Suzanne will be quitting her job to be a stay-at-home mom. Prudie, this is exactly how my mom ended up unable to leave my dad. Should I say something? I know my dad gave my mom more than one STI over the years—should I recommend she get tested for her safety during pregnancy? I don’t want to think about any of this, but this woman is my age and I feel weirdly more sympathetic to her than to my own father.

—See Something, Say Nothing

Re: Distance, boundaries, and being quiet may be the best option for you.

  • If she doesn't have any concrete proof I would be quiet.

    That said, if she DOES have proof that he's cheating I think she needs to nicely speak up.

    This is rough and murky but I generally stand firm on speak up if it affects someone's health. 
  • I would have a hard time staying quiet about it.  I'd probably say something to her once and then let it go.  It really sucks watching people make horrible decisions.
  • I think for self-protection, LW really needs to think about what they want to do about their relationship with their dad.  LW is dealing with a shit-ton of trauma and if they blow up their dad's new marriage, that may be something they personally may never recover from.  I hate treating the new wife like collateral damage, but LW has been so damaged by their father and his decisions that getting in the middle of this feels like it would be self-sacrifice. I can imagine LW has a lot of guilt, grief, rage, and all the other things wrapped up in this.  

    I'd definitely suggest therapy to LW before they even attempt to wade into this.  
  • I don't think either choice is a bad or good one.  Though if the LW does say something, I think they need to only say it once and then let it go.

    They could also talk "around it" and give general, good advice about having backup plans when someone is dependent on another person's income.  It could even be talked about in the guise of "if her H becomes disabled or passes away".

    Me personally, I wouldn't say anything.  If they were friends and communicated frequently, that would be one thing.  But the LW barely knows her.

    Suzanne knows the deal.  She just chooses to ignore her H's past.  Because "he's changed" and/or "but I'm different and he really loves me".  It's doubtful the LW could say anything to change that and, instead, would only hurt the tenuous relationship they have with their dad and Suzanne.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • The only out that the LW may have is that in pregnancy the SMis likely screened for STDs anyway.   I had no issues of infection but was tested.

  • It’s possible your Dad helped financially support you in those years because it also made you dependent on him and feeling unable to say anything about his bad behavior. Taking his money doesn’t mean you can’t do what you think is best. 

    However, you’re not obligated to tell Suzanne what you suspect- although you’re free to tell her whatever you want and deal with whatever consequences come, even if that means no future contact with you Dad. 
  • Again, I’d be team “drop hints and help new wife find the truth” without outting yourself LW.
    also, she could very likely know anyway and is turning a blind eye.  Some people do that. 

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