Post # 1
Bees, I could really use some advice on this.
I have been considering “calling a talk” with my dad. We haven’t had the greatest relationship in recent years, and the wedding planning has kind of brought that into the light, and I just want to make things better.
My dad can be very aloof when it comes to showing emotion. He also had the tendency to pretend like he is okay with a situation but in reality he is angry. For instance, when my FI and I moved in together a few years ago, my dad’s exact response was, “oh, cool!” but then I found out from my sister that he was pretty mad about it. Likewise when FI and I got engaged, we told my dad that we wanted to only invite first cousins, aunts and uncles to the wedding, and none of my second and third cousins. At the time he said that was a really good idea and made sense. Then a few weeks later I find out from my sister that he is really mad that I’m not inviting them, and that he is going to try to convince me to invite them. That was in November and to this day he hasn’t even mentioned the subject to me. Just last night I brought up the subject to my stepmom and she said “yeah, your dad is probably going to talk to you about that”… well when??!
Honestly, the whole situation just makes me really sad that my own father won’t just be honest with me, or even try to talk to me about these issues that are bothering him. Likewise, last year I was going through a pretty rough time at work, and really wanted to talk to him about it, but never felt like I could. It feels like we are just at a stalemate. The worst part is that as much as I hate to admit it, I still really care about his opinion.
Has anyone been in a similar situation and managed to improve it? I might just stop by his house tomorrow or invite him over for lunch and just lay it all out there. I just don’t want to make things worse or say anything I will later regret. And advice would be appreciated.
Post # 3
Ugh… that sounds tough. I’m not the type to avoid confrontation, necessarily, so if it were ME I would be direct and honest.
I would say something like “Dad, we need to get together and discuss a few things about the wedding”- this gives him time to think about what issues he might want to bring up, versus being caught off guard if you were to just show up without warning.
Start the conversation, be calm, be confident. “Dad, I know there are some issues with the wedding that don’t sit very well with you, and this is your opportunity to air your concerns with me. Please be honest with me right now, because this is your one chance to bring up anything that’s bothering you. We need to either be on the same page or at least agree to let certain things go by the end of the (evening/afternoon/conversation/meal/whatever)”
If you become frustrated, make sure you don’t say ‘you’, turn it around and say ‘I get upset when…’ because it will come across as less confrontational. You don’t want him to be defensive since nothing will get settled. Try to stay calm, let him be open with you, and then do the same for him. Good luck 🙂
Post # 4
@DaneLady: Thanks for your comment. I agree that giving him a heads-up is probably a good idea so if there is anything he wants to say, he will be prepared to say it.
Post # 5
@Little_Nut88: that is a tough one. I agree with PP that being open and honest is the way to go. My dad and I have been rocky over the years and so my approach has always been to be honest. Sometimes he gets upset but usually we’re able to get to a consensus.. eventually.
If you are comfortable, I would consider sharing how it hurts you to hear your dad’s true feelings being shared with your sister or step mom, and that it bothers you that you feel he can’t be honest with you. That would be my route – I know my dad would be upset to think that something he’s doing is unintentionally hurting me.