Advice for dealing with divorced/angry/hateful parents?

posted 2 years ago in Family
Post # 2
Member
41831 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

mjohnson88:  First of all, remember that it will be another 18 months until your wedding. That gives everyone more time to deal with things and process their emotions.

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  • Where do I seat everyone in the first rows for the ceremony?  Obviously I don’t want my mom to be anywhere near my dads new fiance, and my Fiance’s parents are also divorced so maybe I should do dads on one side and moms on the other?? But I also read that with divorced parents, one set should sit a row behind or something like that? 

I would seat your Mom, sister and anyone else close to the family e.g grandparents in the front row. Your Dad and his FI would be seated behind them in the second row. Your FI’s parents can be seated the same way or together if they get along well.

  • For formal pics after the ceremony, I just want pics with my mother and father- not their new SO’s that I don’t consider part of my family…is it ok to ask their SO’s to go enjoy the cocktail hour while we are taking pics?  That way I can avoid a run in between my mom and the new fiance?

You are definitely entitled to have pics taken with just your Dad and Mom. I would not however ask the SO’s to disappear ( I take it your Mom has someone new in her life also). They will likely prefer to remain in the company of their SO’s. You could be gracious and offer to have your photographer take a pic of the couples on their own(Dad and FI, Mom and SO)

  • Also, when everyone is introduced at the reception, I don’t want my dad introduced with his fiance because to have her be in any way a part of my wedding is a slap in the face to my mother so would it be ok to have my mom walk in with my sister and then have my dad walk in with his parents?  Or should I just not have family introduced at all and just have bridesmaids/groomsmen introduced?

I have never been to a wedding where anyone other than the wedding party was introduced, however I should note that the bridal party entrance is not as big a deal here as it seems to be in the US.

Divorce is difficult on everyone, but I would not hesitate to put everyone on notice that you expect them all to act like mature adults and be civil at your wedding.

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Post # 4
Member
86 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

My mother tried laying out her ultimate demands.  I just got nasty back.  

She’s refusing to come if my father is there, or if my creepy, nasty, violent drunk step father isn’t invited (never will see him after our first meeting), or if my full and half sisters aren’t in the wedding party (never lived with half siblings, both sisters think mother is nuts for that demand), or if my crack, heroin and meth addicted half brother isn’t invited (Only reason to invite him is so he can go shoot up in front of my step mom (MP) or her brother (police detective) and have his worthless butt in jail.).

Told her no. The drugged out nightmare and violent pervert will be removed if they show, they won’t be invited.

Tried to smack etiquette on me, can’t invite one spouse and not the other.  She got her Mom / my Grandma involved. Grandma told her the ideal answer is to not invite either in this case.

For aisle – what about walking on your own? 

Pictures – not sure how you can avoid new partners. Make it clear everyone behaves. They’re all adults, they can be civil for a day.

Announcing – don’t announce parents. No hurt feelings then. 

Post # 5
Member
5788 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

Oumjohnson88:  Your job isnt to keep the peace. Your job is to have a wonderful wedding day and let the love you have for your FT/DH just ooze out of every pore. 

It’s their job to keep the peace. So when the date ge closer just have a conversation with Mom and her SO and Dad and his FI and say, “This is my wedding day. I expect you to behave like rational adults who love me. That means I’m going to make decisions that work best for me and FI/DH. You might agree with them, you might not. But I still expect you to behave. If your anger is so great that it overwhelms your love for me and your ability to behave properly, then maybe you shouldn’t be there.”

Post # 6
Member
86 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Also – if this was a 5-10 year affair, moving in even immediately after the divorce isn’t shacking up really. Nor is the new engagement that odd.  Either this is a serious relationship or the same wandering will happen.  Not your business. 

While your mom may not have had an affair – she chose to stay in a rocky marriage for whatever reasons. She could have filed for divorce years before.  She may have not done anything directly wrong, but by not standing up for herself, she was complacent in the affair and isn’t completely in the right either.

Is your dad being nasty about this? I’m not seeing anything from your posts.  So if he’s willing to behave like a civil adult, not much more can be demanded. It’s your mom who has thrown out demands and may not want to behave like a civil adult. If your dad’s new partner isn’t included, does she even remotely expect her new partner to be included? 

Post # 7
Member
1504 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I totally disagree with blaming the mother for the affair.  That is an ugly thing to say.  Anyone who has had an affair with a married person with children does not deserve to be recognized at the child’s wedding.   At most, the affair partner should be satisfied with being the guest of the parent.

Post # 9
Member
1504 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

MJ,  I agree with give it time. 

1.  Also, yes, discuss sepaerately with each parent and let them know ahead of time that yes, Dads affair partner will be there, but she will not be treated as a parent.  Talk to the photographer and make it clear to him not only who goes in each picture (a typed list might be helpful),  but if he calls people up for picutures, he should do so carefully.  For example, he or his assistant should not say, oh lets have all the parents or the family up here.  He should say, lets have Bob Johnson and Sheila Johanson (assuming your mom has not changed her name) etc etc.  You dont want the AP (“affair partner”)  walking up to the picture and someone saying oh, we dont want you.  They have dealt with this before, just make it clear.   

2. If your mom does not have a SO, be generous with an +1 for her, even if you do not generally allow plus ones.  

3.  Seating at the ceremony – many etiquette books will say in this situation, fine to put Dad’s AP further back.  You can put, say mom’s aunts and uncles in row 2 to have a buffer.

4.  You do not have to provide corsage or honor seating to dad’s AP.  She can be seated like any other guest.

5.   If you are hoping/expecting your dad to pay for your wedding, and he says his AP must get x, y or z, you will have to make a choice.  IMHO, that choice should reflect the sanctity of marriage, not any desire to have a big party, but in any event, I think you should have this conversation with him before you commit to any hall, etc. 

6.  Even if he and AP  get married before you do, you do not have to put her name on invites.   If he insists, see item 5. 

7.  You do not have to invite her to come with you to look at gowns.  As to showers, I would not want her invited. 

 

Post # 10
Member
86 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

If either parent is remarried at wedding, they’re a social unit.  If new spouse isn’t violent or a predator, you really can’t exclude them. I can marginally get away with not inviting the creep, who has felony convictions for predatory behavior. But as of now, I am perfectly ok with not inviting my mother to avoid the social unit issue.

Sit down both parents and make it clear.  They act like civil adults to EVERYONE. Your wedding, not their drama field.

My big issue is pictures.  What if your parents then partners wind up in your life for 25 years.  Take the pictures if only to keep peace.  You can have just Dad, New and you, then Mom, New and you. If you don’t want to get prints yourself, you don’t have to.  But it’s not worth throwing thermite on those bridges yet. I’m ready to pitch thermite, but still haven’t after 13 years because there’s a remote hope things might improve. But yeah, since Mom and creep can’t pretend to be remotely civil, I may give up.

Walk yourself or walk with your fiance.  Sit both moms on one side, dads on other. Don’t introduce family.  If pictures will be really a war zone, take with one before and the other after.

Or my reserve option.  Elope and ignore both parents.

Post # 11
Member
1504 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I think OP (or anyone else) can do one picture with each parent, and their SO, but the big picture (the one with the B/G), both their parents, etc can exclude the SOs.  She might do, her and Groom in middle, all the women on one side, all the men on the other.  Just a thought.

In Orthodox Jewish weddings, both parents walk their child up (bride, her parents, same for groom and his parents).  The parents stand at the altar (under the Chuppah).  Then when they leave the mothers walk to together and the fathers walk together.  Reform/Conservative Jews generally have the MOB/FOB walk together and MOG/FOG walk together, but I have seen Conservative Jews do it the Orhodox style in divorce situation.

Post # 12
Member
9525 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

I don’t think it will be as bad as you’re imagining. My brother and father haven’t spoken in 2 years, but they managed to behave like civil adults at my wedding, because they both love me and knew it would be important.

It’s fine to walk with your mom and dad. This is also a convenient reason why they both need an aisle seat, thus a reason for your dad and his fiance to sit in the second row. Pictures with just your mom and dad is fine. If you want to be nice, yiu could ask the photog to do a photo of your dad and his fiance. We skipped introductions, altogether (everybody mnows us – they came to our wedding!) so you could do that or limit it to the bridal party.

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