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Dad remarried a terrible woman. Do I have to attend their reception?

My dad got remarried in December, while on an overseas trip, to a woman I despise. They have come back now and are having a reception. I'm torn whether to attend or not. I do not support the marriage at all. My dad was psychologically abusive, which is why we moved, he never paid any child support, and rarely had anything to do with me through these years, even though we only lived a mile apart (until I went to college). But now he seems to want to rekindle something.

I don't want to hate him. He is my dad, after all. I feel like going is just my "giving up" to family pressures that I'm being irresponsible and spiteful if I don't go. I feel like I want to salvage something. Yet I'm afraid by going, that I'm signaling my acceptance of this marriage and this woman, which I do not. My mom, of course, isn't going, and is trying to remain as neutral as she can and supportive of me in whatever I choose, but I know deep down it's hurting her if I go. But then again, her relationship issues with my dad are theirs, not mine.

I'm so torn. Does anyone have any advice or ideas that might help me with this quandary?

Re: Dad remarried a terrible woman. Do I have to attend their reception?

  • I might note, that I have a half brother and half sister from my dad's first marriage. While they don't like this woman either, they are accepting the situation and my sister is even taking a role in the preparation. However, their experience with him has been quite different. In their case, it was their mother who was doing the cheating, and the reason the marriage ended. My mom met my dad after he was divorced, but readily accepted the stepmother role and was the primary parent when they came for their weekend visitations. Since they didn't live with him all the time though, they did not experience what we did. He treated them very differently.
  • If he was horrid to you, perhaps you shuld not even be in touch with him at all, let alone think about  whether or not you should attend his little soiree.

    I vote:
    1-No, do not go to the celebration and...
    2-Cut him (and her) off for good.

    You don't need the toxicity nor do you need his largesse or olive branch.
  • I thought I'd written in there that this woman is pretty terrible to me, too. She's made it quite clear that she feels she is superior, and that I am unworthy and beneath her. She's been trying to be better, since I brought that up in one of my few conversations with dad, but that's just the way she is to pretty much everyone. She's very arrogant, controlling, and even tried to cut dad off from his parents at one point.

    He wasn't always horrid. When I was young he used to do a few things with me, but most of the time he was too busy with work and his social life, to have much of a home life. He wasn't always nasty to mom either, but as years passed and his business became less and less, causing a lot of financial stress, he got worse and worse to mom. It wasn't until I was about 14 that he began to say the same things to me. That's when she said enough and got us out. 2 days after we moved my room had been completely cleaned, painted, new furniture, and was redone into a guest room. 2 weeks later the 2 were living together. That hurt.
  • Just my opinion, but I think you are being a bit dramatic whereas you could save yourself a lot of hurt if you just looked at this pragmatically.

    You moved out and your room was changed into a guest room. So what? That really shouldn't hurt as much as you are letting it. His partner then moved in. That seems normal to me. What would have made you happier? That he lived in a lonely, empty house and stood staring at his daughter's abandoned bedroom for hours crying into the dark? He moved on with his life, fair enough.

    I would go to the reception. It's not even a wedding, it's a party. And it isn't about you, it's about them. Whether or not you like her or 'condone' their marriage is inconsequential. It's a party. Go, have fun with your siblings, be nice and then move on with your life.

    I get it. My dad is on his fourth (or fifth?) marriage and this one is a real peach as well. She's my dad's wife. Nothing to do with me.

    As for your mother being hurt if you go that's on her, not you. Going to a reception is not a great declaration in support of their marriage - it's attending a party and saying 'congratulations' while hanging out with your siblings and some family.
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  • VORVOR member
    Eighth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    You need to figure out what it is that you really want.  And you have to do it based on the facts in front of you.  You say you want a relationship w/ your dad.  If you do, on this alone, then go to the reception.

    But past that - be realistic.   You don't like his wife, she doesn't like you.  What do you really think the reality of a relationship with your dad is going to be like? 

    And also ask yourself exactly WHY you want a relationship with him.  Is it really because you want to know HIM, the person he is?  Or is it because "Well, but he's my dad.... aren't we supposed to have our parents in our lives?".  If it's the latter - eh, I don't know how compelling of a reason that is. 

    Do some real soul searching here and figure out what you want and what the REALITY of that will most likely be.

    Of one thing I am solid about - you can NOT make any decisions based on your mom's feelings.  As Tofu said, that's on her, not you.  And really- I find it patently unfair when divorced parents do this to their children - make them feel guilty for wanting to have a relationship w/ the other parent. 

    You have your own personal issues w/ your dad.  What happened between your mom and him and their marriage has NOTHING to do with you. 
  • If you want to your relationship with your dad to continue to grow your going to have to accept that your stepmom is not going anywhere anytime soon. They are now a package deal. Your dad isn't going to divorce her because you don't like her. You don't have to like her & be best friends with her, but a civil relationship will be needed. In regards to the reception, if you go it will be a great chance to spend time with your half-siblings and possibly other relatives you don't get to see very often. Take advantage of that part of it.
  • You are making this harder then it needs to be. Do you want a relationship with your father? A man that has never put you first and who according to you post has been emotionally abusive or absent. If so, then go and try to have an open mind. If not, then move on with your live having basic contact or none at all. Perhaps it's time you when to someone to talk through your toxic relationship so that you can move on in a healthy way, with or without him. 
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  • BlueBirdMBBlueBirdMB member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited June 2014
    I've read this a couple times.  I look at this from a different perspective.  My dad was married before.  He had a terrible ex who was horribly jealous that my dad wanted to get divorced and then subsequently met my mom.  She made my parents' lives a living hell for years through one means or another and basically made it impossible to have a relationship with his children.  She filled their childrens' heads with anti-Semitic nonsense (my mom is Jewish) and made them her hate them.  She made them think that my father was a terrible person.  He's a wonderful person with a huge heart who continues to suffer due to the the loss of his relationship with his children.

    What do you want from your father?  If you can't forgive him for whatever he has done, then don't go to his reception and don't have a relationship with him.  My father has been hurt over and over again because his sons can't forgive him for who their mother convinced them he is.  They try to have a relationship with him only to hurt him. 

    Try to look at this objectively and see him for what he is- not what your mother sees him as.  I think a lot of of fathers get the short end of the stick- have you seen Kramer vs. Kramer?  That's my father.  He lost his children simply because he wasn't the right gender and then had his ex turn them against him.  In those days especially (35ish years ago), courts always sided with the mom.

    I may be completely off base.  Maybe your dad is an asshole.  If he is, then don't attend the reception and be done with it.  But if he isn't a total asshole, go and try to be civil with this woman.  It would have been so nice is my half brothers could have attempted to ever be civil to my mom- she would have literally made them her children if they had even half been nice to her.
  • VORVOR member
    Eighth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    I've read this a couple times.  I look at this from a different perspective.  My dad was married before.  He had a terrible ex who was horribly jealous that my dad wanted to get divorced and then subsequently met my mom.  She made my parents' lives a living hell for years through one means or another and basically made it impossible to have a relationship with his children.  She filled their childrens' heads with anti-Semitic nonsense (my mom is Jewish) and made them her hate them.  She made them think that my father was a terrible person.  He's a wonderful person with a huge heart who continues to suffer due to the the loss of his relationship with his children.

    What do you want from your father?  If you can't forgive him for whatever he has done, then don't go to his reception and don't have a relationship with him.  My father has been hurt over and over again because his sons can't forgive him for who their mother convinced them he is.  They try to have a relationship with him only to hurt him. 

    Try to look at this objectively and see him for what he is- not what your mother sees him as.  I think a lot of of fathers get the short end of the stick- have you seen Kramer vs. Kramer?  That's my father.  He lost his children simply because he wasn't the right gender and then had his ex turn them against him.  In those days especially (35ish years ago), courts always sided with the mom.

    I may be completely off base.  Maybe your dad is an asshole.  If he is, then don't attend the reception and be done with it.  But if he isn't a total asshole, go and try to be civil with this woman.  It would have been so nice is my half brothers could have attempted to ever be civil to my mom- she would have literally made them her children if they had even half been nice to her.

    I see where you're coming from and I feel that there are some valid points here for the OP to consider - are any of her concepts of her dad based on what other people have told her? BUT - that being said, she said he was abusive. I take that to mean HE abused HER. If that's the case, it makes her situation different from yours. Now, if she means "my mom told me he was abusive" to her, o.k., maybe there is more similarities to your situation
  • Sorry I haven't been back. I'm a senior in college and am taking summer classes, which just started this week.

    To address a couple points:

    Tofumonkey - when we lived there, my dad kept a room for my half brother and sister. For 12 years he kept a room for them. When I left, he cleared mine out in 2 days. It's like my bed wasn't even cold yet and he'd slammed the door and let me know I wasn't welcome anymore. And it also angers me that he was cheating on us with this woman, and they moved in together 2 weeks after we were gone.

    VOR - my mom is not doing anything to play her against him or pit me against him. I never once said that. She remains as neutral as she can, and says that I have to figure out what, if any kind of relationship I want with my dad. She offers guidance, and her own experience from being the child of divorced parents (her dad was the one who remarried, too). But the ball is, and always has been, in my court. She has always said I have to find my own way and make this decision for myself. I will note, we are very close, and her feelings DO matter to me, too. She has always been there for me, and is my rock.

    Erikan73 - you are the voice of reason and probably reflect my overall feelings best.

    tiffanysbride - I actually have gone through a lot of counseling. My mom had me go after the split, to help me deal with things, and I've been going again here at school. But I've seen 2 different psychologists here, both with different takes on the situation, so they haven't helped a lot. Other than making me realize I don't want to hate. That is a wasted emotion as far as I'm concerned, and not typical for who I am.

    BluebirdMB - sadly, my dad is a jerk. While yes, he did do some things with me when I was younger, it wasn't much and for long. Mom did everything, gave up everything, paid for everything - took on the role of both parents, while he was living his own life like he was free and single.

    VOR again - yes, he became verbally/emotionally abusive to me starting about the time I reached 14. That was when mom pulled us out of there. In the 6 years since we moved out, I could almost count the times on one hand that he's made any effort to even talk to me.

    Thanks to all that have replied. I have done a lot of soul-searching, and was posting here in hopes there were others that may have had a similar experience, may share their views. My half-sister is putting a lot of pressure on me to accept everything, because she does. Our journeys have been very different though. She also is getting more and more like my dad all the time.

    The reception is tomorrow and I've decided to go, mainly because I want to see extended family that will be there that I rarely get to see. Most of my dad's family are really great people. For whatever reason, he does not share all their caring traits.
  • I hope you had a good time & were able to catch up with family

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