Post # 1
I am so lost right now. I have written about how crazy my Future Father-In-Law is (http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/ffil-and-fsmil-invitation) and as a quick recap, he alienated 2 of his 3 sons (including my FI), emotionally abused my Fiance and his brothers for years, and, as our landlord he watched his wife (FI’s stepmom) beat me up and encouraged her to get a knife to go after me.
Fiance hadn’t talked to him in over a year and I hadn’t talked to him since “the day” last April where his wife beat me. Anyways, this week my Fiance gets a phone call saying that his father is in the hospital dying for massive heart attacks. He goes to see him and it is very touch and go. His father begged for his forgiveness and my Fiance gave it. He never saw or talked to his step-mom (on purpose). The next day Future Father-In-Law is feeling a bit better and has massive open heart surgery on Wednesday.
Apparently, when Future Father-In-Law was feeling better, he asked Fiance if he could talk to me because he wants to apologize and build some bridges. I debated it and decided that was okay. My Fiance said it would be best done by phone (since his step mom barely leaves FFIL’s side) and I agreed. When I talked to my mom last night she was MAD! She does NOT want me to talk to this man, let alone build bridges. She is infuriated that I would even consider talking to the man who was so horrible to us.
On top of all of this, if he pulls through and Fiance and Future Father-In-Law build their relationship, then what about the wedding? We were originally NOT going to have him there (and, in fact, he still doesn’t know we are engaged), but if they build a relationship, at what point before invites are sent out in May do we decide if he can come? And if he does come, I am so worried about how MY family will react, as they absolutely hate the man. Oh, and as a side note, he owns a company that deals with traffic tickets and screwed my sister on a case that settled two days after all this crap went down, just to make it harder for my family to tolerate him.
Any advice? Suggestions? Helpful tips on how to deal with this crap?
Post # 3
Yeuch… families. I have long running issues with my mother which are rather different from yours… the problem with families is that we always want to give them one more chance, just in the hope that they can change. And maybe this guy can. More probably, he can’t. But the other reason you are probably inspired to give him another shot is because being on bad terms with someone makes you feel bad. You don’t want to feel bad, so you try to build bridges.
I can understand you wanting to make things up with this guy, especially as he might be dying. But sadly I don’t think you will ever be able to trust him. I would chat to Fiance about this, and quite frankly if I were you then I would suggest to Fiance that no matter how many bridges have been built by the wedding day, your Future Father-In-Law must not be invited. It would just be too difficult for everyone… your parents, your sister… and then there’s the stepmother… if he comes, will he want to invite her? I think you should decide now… I mean, if there are extenuating circumstances then you can change your mind later, but if you have some sort of decision (even only a tentative one) now, it will set your mind at rest.
To be honest, I suspect that it won’t even be an issue as Future Father-In-Law will do something between now and then to annoy you both, even if it’s something minor. But who knows? Sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised. Good luck!
Post # 4
Ok, so your Fiance has forgiven him. I think you two should just leave it at that. I see no need to build bridges with someone so toxic.
If your Fiance wants to have a relationship with his dad, you can’t really stop him, but I hope he is prepared to be hurt again. And I think you should stay far, far away from those people.
Post # 5
because he had a massive heart attack maybe he is seeing that lifes to short to hold grudges. Maybe he is sincerely sorry and wants to have a relationship with his son and you. I would give him a second chance but the minute things got out of control that would be it.
Post # 6
Oof, I’m so sorry. What a tough situation for everyone.
My advice is not to think too far ahead. Don’t worry about how this affects the wedding, don’t worry about whether or not you’re going to send him an invitation in May, etc. In exceptional circumstances like this there’s no need to worry about doing things the conventional way. If he really does seem sincere in his wish to make amends and you and your Fiance decide that you want him to attend after all, you can broach that topic when you’re comfortable doing so–and I don’t think doing so months in advance is a good idea. Wait and see how things play out.
Take things day by day, be supportive of your Fiance, and when you’re worrying about all this in relation to the wedding, also bear in mind how you guys might feel about it in five or ten years looking back. Reassure your mom that you’re going to limit contact to phone, at least for now, and that you won’t consent to be in the same room as his wife, and tell her that you have every intention of both taking care of yourself and of supporting your Fiance to the best of your ability in such difficult circumstances.
There are lots of different ways you could handle the wedding if your Fiance feels that he does want him to be present. For example, you could allow him to come see the ceremony but explain that, because of your history with him and your family’s grievances, he’s not welcome at the reception. That way it’s up to him if he wants to attend, and you don’t have to worry so much about awkward interactions. But there’s lots of time between now and then, and if he recovers he may revert to his old habits after a couple of months. Don’t commit to anything too early.
Post # 7
How would your Fiance feel if he died and the olive branch wasn’t taken? How would you feel? I’m absolutely NOT trying to make you feel guilty, they’re just things that you need to seriously consider. Death is permanent. You can’t mend fences or find forgiveness or the same kind of healing after someone is dead. Thousands and thousands of people have relatives die without resolving anything, and regret it. Others have relatives die without resolving anything and are perfectly okay with it because they feel like there was no way to fix it anyway. If the “What if” is going to damage your relationship with your Fiance, it’s something to consider.
Your mom loves you. She’s not going to want you to have to deal with that. Holding grudges, even well-deserved grudges, is heavy work. Just because this man apologizes to you doesn’t make everything magically better, but it does give you a chance to start the healing process, especially if he REALLY understands why he was in the wrong. You don’t have to forgive him, or even tell him you’ve forgiven him, but it can be a good opportunity to tell him why you’re so hurt and if he apologizes, you can thank him. You don’t have to say “I forgive you” if you don’t.
PP is right…you don’t necesarily have to invite him to the wedding if he pulls through and things get better. The wedding is one day compared to an entire lifetime of how you and your Fiance will feel about this man and the way you left things with him before he died.
Post # 8
Thanks for all the advice! I think what everyone said, one side or the other, is the inner conflict I am having– has he really started to see the light and should I fogive and be cautious to see if he can prove it? What if he dies and I never tried to mend the bridge? So many effing questions.
Glad to see that everyone else has conflicting opinions and it’s not just me 🙁
Post # 9
I wouldn’t worry about the wedding at all right now; you can make that decision later. I think that it’s just confusing the issue for you.
I think that you should do whatever YOU (and/or your FI) need to do to feel better about this situation. I think that you can forgive this guy (if it helps you; I wouldn’t do it for him) but I would be unwilling to build bridges with someone who does not take complete and total responsiblity for their behaviour…especially when their behaviour included things like inciting a crazy person to kill someone (let alone their son’s GF). Forgiveness and having a relationship/building bridges with someone are not mutually exclusive; thus far, he has not earned the right to have contact with you, IMO.
Your mom is trying to protect you from somone who, not only hurt you and your Fiance emotionally, but stood by and shouted encouragement while his wife physically attacked you, her child. I’d give her a pass on her anger; it’s justified.
To me, if he gets better and is serious about mending fences and you are cool with that, you guys should all go to counselling/mediator. I would be terrified to be around his wife and would be concerned about future kids, pets, people in general being around someone who is clearly so unstable.
I’m so sorry that you guys are going through this. I can’t imagine how difficult it is.
Post # 10
@ArwenBride: The wife (step mom) is NOT a concern right now. Neither Fiance nor I are anywhere near speaking terms. I think I have come to the conclusion that I will call him on the phone and listen to what he has to say. If he takes responsibility and admits his wrong doings, I will tell him that he can start to earn my forgiveness, and after that, my trust, but I will also make it VERY clear that I don’t want stepmom anywhere near me, my house, my Fiance, my future children, my pets, etc.
I understand my mom is justified in her anger and being scared. I think I am just worried that if I do end up repairing this relationship (albiet over years, not days, weeks or months), that my mother won’t understand. Maybe if she can see me growing and healing through this process it will help her to see how slowly it is going.
Thanks for all the advice everyone 🙂