My parents are divorced due to my dad cheating on my mom with my godmother, her (then) closest friend. My mom and I walked in on them together when I was 6 years old and she had taken me out of school early due to my being sick. Seeing them was awful and the divorce was a nightmare. My mom wanted custody split evenly, but my dad missed picking me up so regularly and would so often take me back to mom’s early that eventually she got sole custody instead. It was a really difficult time in which I felt my dad didn’t love me anymore. When I was 9, my mom married “Gareth,” my stepdad. Gareth was and is incredible—everything my dad wasn’t. He showed up for all my school events, patiently looked after me during my worst, moodiest teenage behavior and a severe mental health crisis when I was 15, and all-round has been the best father figure you could wish for. He and I are close to this day, and I love that my mom has found such a great man.
I’m getting married next spring. I of course want Gareth to walk me down the aisle. He seemed overjoyed when I asked him, and he and my mom have been enthusiastically helping me and my fiancé with wedding plans—they have offered significant financial support, for which we are deeply grateful. My dad, meanwhile, has only met my partner once, and was extremely rude to him. I wouldn’t dream of accepting financial aid from my dad even if it was ever offered, incidentally. Nonetheless, I invited my dad to my wedding and asked if he would not start a fight with my mom and Gareth if we all sat at the family table together. He agreed, then asked sharply if I was doing the “father walks you down the aisle” tradition. I said yes, and that I’d asked Gareth, as the man who raised me for most of my childhood. My dad blew up, yelling at me and saying that my mom had “stolen” me from him as a child, that she had obviously manipulated me into hating him, and that if he saw Gareth walking me down the aisle, he’d walk out of the wedding.
I was genuinely taken aback as, to be honest, my dad has never come across as particularly caring about me or being involved in my life before this—he hasn’t ever visited my home and never calls me, always expecting that I will call him and make arrangements to see him. He prioritizes his latest girlfriends over me, consistently. My fiancé thinks we should disinvite him from the wedding to prevent him causing trouble, while my mom suspects that he is all talk and wouldn’t actually leave midway through as he claims. I don’t know what to do. Part of me is weirdly touched that he even cares about this, while the rest of me is furious at his actions. I need an outside viewpoint—what do you think I should do?
— Get Me Out of Here