Post # 1
My Fiance and his Dad do not speak. In fact, I have never met his Dad.
Fiance and his Dad have had issues on and off since Fiance was 10. His Father is- well, not a very nice person. About 7 or 8 years ago, they had another major falling out in which his Dad said some really terrible things to him. Fiance walked away and hasn’t said a word to him since. He insists his Dad owes him an apology and he will not accept him back into his life until he gets it. Fiance said that there have been times throughout his life that his Father has been terrible to him (including when he refused to speak to him for three months at age 10), and that in the past, Fiance has always bent and apologized to the Dad, just to keep peace in the family or keep his mother happy. Fiance insists he is not doing that this time, and I agree with him. Fiance did say that if he got the apology, they could move forward. We have heard from friends that the Dad want to make amends, but will not apologize or come to Fiance to talk. He insists Fiance has to come to him, and it seesm like the father is not capable of apologizing at all.
Fast forward to our wedding plans. I ADORE his mother and we are both on very good terms with her. We decided that the right thing to do would be to invite them both since they are married, it just didn’t seem right to invite only her. We assumed he wouldn’t come. Well, he IS going to come, and Fiance is MISERABLE. He said it is spoiling the wedding for him, because his Dad will be there and he doesn’t want him there. We both want his Mom there and I don’t think she will come if we don’t invite her husband. That would make us both very sad.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, FI’s brother will also be there and he doesn’t speak to EITHER parent.
I know this all sounds very childish, but it is deeply rooted. The father has some real issues and Fiance has bent many times to make the family happy, including apologizing many times when he was not at fault. Fiance keeps saying he wishes we had run away to get married because this is ruining the wedding. I do not know what to do at this point. Our wedding is not until next June, and Fiance wants to confront his Mom and say “you need to tell him he has to make his apology before the wedding or he is not invited”. I don’t think it is the mother’s job to do that, although she constantly feeds the problem. I also don’t think she WILL do it. I think he will just show up at the wedding and make Fiance miserable by his presence. I offered to send a note to the Father, since we can’t really trust his mother to do it, but Fiance thinks that will make things even worse and alienate the mom.
Post # 3
It is a long way off, and things could change a hundred times between now and then. Is there any chance that the father and brother are just willing to suck it up and let bygones be bygones for that one day? Or is the only way you Fiance will be happy is with an apology? It’s so hard when families fight 🙁 I hope the two of you are holding up well together through it all.
Post # 4
The brother already went to the parents to try to make things right and they rejected him (it’s a long story I won’t bother to go into). Both parties were wrong in that situation. But you’ve got to give the brother huge kudos for trying.
My Fiance is willing to suck it up for the day which is why we are doing the invite. I told him that he does not have to be anything but cordial. He is also going to make it very clear to his Mom that this does not repair things. But I don’t totally trust that she will tell his Dad that.
Fiance said that what should be a very happy day is now just a stressful mess. You are right, it is a long time away, but it’s also been 7+ years that this has been going on.
Post # 5
Have they ever tried family therapy? Sounds like having an unbiased moderator would be best.
Post # 6
Fiance has gone. The therapist told him that he is pretty much right but that you can’t control what others do. The therapist agreed that he probably should not apologize when he did nothing wrong.
The fahter would NEVER go to therapy. He really is,well..an ass…from what everyone has told me about him (not just the brothers but others outside of the family as well).
Honestly, I don’t really want him there, either. It’s the Mom we both want there.
Post # 7
The sad thing is that therapy probably wouldn’t help. Parent’s who do not respect their children as individuals and value them as adults will never be able to acknowledge their own shortcomings. Their relationship is more of a power play.
Another option would be for your Fiance to write his father a letter explaining his feelings and explaining that if an apology isn’t forthcoming, then it’s clear that the father doesn’t care to continue a relationship, and he should stay away from the wedding. Now with that, a split with the mother could happen (depending on how strong an individual the mother is).
Unfortunately, this type of person rarely changes. We were estranged from husband’s parents for over twenty years, and recently reconnected because of frail health and them needing assistance. Not one word of apology of acknowledgement of bad behavior has been or ever will be mentioned. Drives me crazy. They missed out on their grandchildren’s entire childhood. But, we couldn’t let them flounder. Ugh.
I’m so sorry you have this situation in your life.
Post # 8
I have a similar situation with my father except my parents are divorced. My brother is still on good terms with my dad and my mom can be cordial with him as well. I made the choice not to invite him because in the end it was my day and I didn’t want to chance anything ruining it. But in the weeks leading up to the wedding I was beyond sad that things had gotten this bad and that he wouldn’t be there because afterall he is my dad. Its kinda a catch 22. There’s no way to really win in this situation unfortunately. My suggestion is to send a letter from both of you stating that its unfortunate that things got this bad and that you two would really appreciate it if ffil could meet with you (or call you, etc) to try to settle things. I would base the decision of inviting him on how that meeting goes. And in the end if it comes down to only inviting Future Mother-In-Law I’d send her the invite and a note that says something about how its sad that these problems have escelated this much and that you don’t want to fault her for them so you hope she’ll be willing to come on her own. But if she doesn’t you guys will have to understand and move on with your day. In the end I don’t think its worth having her there if she’s only going to come with Future Father-In-Law if its going to make your fiance miserable. That just doesn’t seem fair.
Post # 9
I think that his Mom is really sweet…and she feels she owes the Dad. She ahd breast cancer and he stayed with her throughout that agony. She even said to Fiance once, who is going to take care of me if I get sick again? So, I think that is why she is staying on and by his side.
I really don’t want to alienate her, but I know you are all right. It is not just my day, but his as well. I think that I ahve been unfair in regard to his feelings. Thanks for helping me see this with a bit more clarity!
Post # 10
Eeek, sounds like a real problem. All I have to say is it’s your wedding, both of you. If he is hell bent on not having him there, that’s how it should go.. I would sit down with the family and talk about how all of his makes you both feel and maybe that will change something.
Post # 11
Is it possible for your Fiance to view his father’s decision to attend the wedding as as his Dad reaching out to him- just as he said he wanted from his Dad?
Family issues can be so devisive. We don’t get to choose our family like we get to choose our friends. But we can make a decision to suck it up, grow up and behave civilly in public. Your fiance doesn’t even have to talk with his Dad at the wedding if he doesn’t want to.
There are many divorced parents who have attended their children’s weddings and managed to be polite, or at least not create a scene. Children can do it also.
Post # 12
I guess if we were having a really big wedding, that would probably work ok, but it is very small- about 15 total. My advice to him was to just be cordial and that was it, but he said having him there is going to be really rough. I guess after not seeing him for 8 years, that kind of makes sense. And certainly our wedding day is not the right day or place to make amends.