Post # 1
I’ve seen lots of posts on how to deal with divorced parents, but can’t find and advice for dealing with the families. Any advice/experiences would be welcome.
Background: Parents had a nasty divorce 12 years ago. I stayed with my mother, while my father married the woman he was having an affair with. She was also married at the time and divorced her husband to marry my father.
I can deal with inviting just my father, but how should I handle his side of the family? (I would NOT feel comfortable inviting his new wife, who I disliked even before the divorce.) I was pretty close with my aunts and cousins from that side when I was young, but I haven’t kept in contact with them or my father much since the divorce. (Although we DID meet last year for a funeral.)
I know that the two sides of the family will not get along, and was originally going to invite just my father to the ceremony and not the reception. But if I invite his side of the family, then they will have to be invited to the reception as well. I’m not sure how well that will go over with both sides of the family having to be in one room for hours. What would you do/have done?
This topic was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by Corai.
Post # 2
Hmm…that’s a hard one. I can see it from both sides.
My story is similar to yours except it’s more recent and it was my mom that had an affair and ran off with that guy. They aren’t married because my parents aren’t yet divorced.
Personally, I think I would take a long look at who from your father’s family you still speak with and share a bond with. Then think about how you want it to be in the future…if you have kids, a family…do you want them to get to know your dad’s side as well? If so, then extend an invitation. Everyone should be able to be adults for one day in a room together. Take your mom aside and your dad aside privately and let them know you would like them both to be part of your day, if that’s your wish.
My mom and I no longer have a relationship after her actions towards me over the last couple years, she has been very cruel and tried to turn me against my dad, lying, manipulating, etc. She caused a big scene at my (maternal) grandfather’s funeral this past summer because my dad came to pay his respects to my grandma and her siblings and to me, the only grandkid. It was ridiculous and embarassing and I lost the last ounce of respect I had for her that day.
We are having a destination wedding next May and my mother and her boyfriend are not invited. My dad and his new girlfriend are invited as well as both sides of my families. It is what it is and though I’ll be a bit sad to not have my mom around, I know that in the end I won’t be stressed out that she’ll act like a fool or wreck the day for me by playing the victim.
Post # 3
Corai: No one ever said you had to like your Dad’s wife. But you should treat her with respect- and that includes inviting her to your wedding. It’s been 12 years for pete’s sake.
My first marriage ended in divorce because my ex had many affairs on the side. Of course I was furious at the time. But, I am now able to see the part I played in my marriage dissolving. Your Mom most certainly played her part too. No divorce is entirely the responsibility of one person, even the one who chose to act out.
Be clear, I do not condone cheating. A person with real integrity would get out of their marriage before they have a relationship with another person.
My expectation is that people will behave like civil aduts and if you choose to invite them, I would have no hesitancy in making them aware of that expectation.
Post # 4
Corai: First, absolutely whoever you invite are invited to both ceremony and reception. No way around that.
Second, I must be missing something. Why are the family members still angry if your parents are able to be civil for one day? Unless you’re genuinely afraid of your mom’s family calling your dad a no good MFer while you’re walking down the aisle I think you can invite everyone. Sure, it might be a little awkward but after 12 years (especially since you’re not worried about your parents) the rest of the family can shut it. I would take each of your parents aside and tell them you really want to share your wedding day with all of your family and you would appreciate if they would let their families know to be respectful.
I probably still wouldn’t invite your dad’s wife though. It’s not your job to make amends. They’ve had 12 years to try and fix things and honestly your wedding day is not the time.
Post # 5
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
I think this is a situation where it’s all or nothing. If you’re not close and you’re okay with losing what little relationship you have left with your dad then screw it, don’t invite him or his family. Don’t feel like you have to invite them because they’re blood or you want more gifts. Otherwise, suck it up, invite them, and seat the families on different sides of the room. It’s been 12 years for goodness sakes.
For me, the most telling question of all is if you had a child would you want them to know and have contact with your dad’s family? If the answer is yes, invite them. If the answer is no, don’t invite them.
Post # 6
Can you ask what everyone’s wishes are and still do what you want? Tell them it’s your choice, but you want to know what their wishes are. (Mother, Father, and SO’s) Ask them what you can do to compromise should you decide against their wishes. Maybe you can have a separate reception with your dress and all! Record the ceremony and set up a movie night with your wedding album to share.
My Dad that raised me despises my mother and talks bad about her often. I don’t blame him. Their divorce ended because she cheated. And that is when he found out that I wasn’t even his. So I have a biological father too. I want all three ‘parents’ there. My mother, and father that raised me are both remarried. Bio dad is not. The only person I asked was my Dad that raised me. I said, “are you going to walk me down the isle?”. He said of course. I can put up with your mother for one more day. My mom and bio dad were always known to have no issue with it. None of them are going to talk to eachother, and that is their awkward situation, not mine. But, when you start to have feelings of exclusion toward certain people yourself, then don’t invite them. But when it comes to breaking up a couple (inviting your dad and not his wife) then you should consult as I suggested above, before you put your foot down.
Post # 7
Everyone’s persepective is really helpful. 🙂 One clarification I should make – I would like my father to be there, but if it is on condition of him inviting his wife, I will have to put my foot down. In addition to my not liking her personally, I definitely don’t trust my father’s wife to be discreet. At my grandmother’s funeral, she wore a skimpy, fire-engine-red dress and behaved inappropriately. :/ As for my parents themselves, there will be tension but they would be able to handle it for an hour. It’s when we’re talking about 4+ hours of reception with families involved that things can get dicey.
I’m somewhat undecided about introducing future children to my father’s side of the family. Is it silly that I would like my father to have met his grandson? Most of my feelings are based on the relationships we once had, and not current ones. I guess my feelings toward them are like friends you grew up with in high school and then drifted away from: no animosity, a little regret, and sentimental memories.
Post # 8
I’d invite both sides and make sure they are sitting apart on your seating chart. Adults should know how to behave.
Post # 9
- Wedding: September 2016 - Our Castle
i dont know about the two sides of the family but my FIL is not going to be very welcome.. I plan on the day to say thank you for coming, please congratulate FI and please dont feel obligated to stay for the reception..
Background:My FIL loeft his wife and sons 5yrs ago on new years night to be with an ugly woman 6yrs older then his son that he had been cheating with for 4yrs (even during his wifes bout of brest cancer when she was still the only one working for 90% of their marrage)
My FI wants his dad to be at his wedding (they were close and he hates what his dad did but wont 100% disown him) I know how he feels as i dont like my mother (for various childhood crimes) but still feel she should be at my wedding..
My advice is a stern warning! if anyone causes trouble or upsets me o the day then they will be asked to leave and will never again be apart of my life.. self control
Post # 10
Corai: If you don’t invite your father’s wife, then your father may not attend, and he certainly is within his rights to not attend. Because you are saying “Come recognise my wedding even though I don’t recognise yours”. Be aware that is a risk you take if you don’t invite his wife.
So my strong recommendation is to invite your father’s wife. (By the way I’m in a similar situation: my father married the woman he was having an affair with too. I always invite them both to anything).
As for your father’s family, just invite them all (to both ceremony and reception) and sit them away from your mother’s family. It’s been 12 years for goodness sake – can’t they behave for one day?
Post # 11
julies1949: I don’t know… I don’t think someone should have to invite the person that their parent had an affair with. That’s a grey area. Certainly, there are consequences to not inviting them, but it’s one way to deal with it.
Post # 12
- Wedding: September 2012 - Southern California
Your situation sounds nearly identical to my husband’s family! Everybody was invited, everybody came, & everyone behaved :). We were both pleasantly surprised, but I’d be lying if I told you they weren’t one of the biggest stressors prior to the wedding.
Post # 13
- Wedding: September 2016 - Our Castle
aussiemum1248: My FIL will NOT be allowed to have her anywhere close to my event. not even in the same SUBURB!!! and my FI is in agreement.
I would think that the father wouldnt be that selfish and want to ruin his daughter/sons wedding..
Post # 14
I dont think that anyone is required to invited someone who was “other woman” in their parents marriage. I see that as an exception to the social unit. Talk to your dad in private.
Post # 15
When I first opened this and read families I didn’t think that you were going to include your dad’s other half- his wife too. My FILs current wife was the mistress in both his previous marriages. The first marriage resulted in my husband and the second resulted in my two brother in laws. The sons stick up for their moms and hate this woman/ 3rd wife. When it came time to invite people to our-immediate-family-only wedding my MIL asked her son not to invite the current wife. We could not honor the request. His dad ismarried. The wife gets an invite too. For dinner we all sat at one long table. My FIL on one end and my MIL on the other.
Now, if you are not close to the rest of your dad’s family anymore don’t invite them.