Post # 1
Ok ladies…this is a LONG one…and i am going to try to make this as short of a version as possible.
SO, i was born january 1987, mom kicked dad out right after I was born, didnt get to meet him until I was 8 through supervised visits after they finally got the divorce (at the time it was very hard for fathers to get parental rights in NY). My dad at the time made much more money than my mom, but my mom still got custody. There was nothing legally binding my dad not to be able to have custody of me except that it was hard in NY back then. So, from the time I am 8 til 10 yo, dad had supervised visits with me. When I was 10 my mom stopped allowing me to see him and i dont think he pursed seeing me or trying to see me. I remember one Easter he dropped off a basket for me outside our front door, and it all melted because it was a hot day. At age 13 I move to CO with my mom and my dad is still in NY. Due to divorce decree, dad had to give persmission for me to move–which he did. Throughout the time since they have been divorced, it was only until a year ago that he started being on time with child support (he pays until im 23 according to the divorce decree). He was ALWAYS late with the support because he knew my mother struggled to take care of me financially and they both are SO extremely bitter toward each other. They cannot say ONE nice thing about each other. I still havent pieced together the whole story on what happend with them. He also hass to keep me under his health insurance until I am doing with my undergrad (this upcoming December). I have always had a real rocky relationship with my mom, she is serverely depressed and bipolar and so we have an on-off relationship. I moved out when I was 18 and my dad cont to pay support directly to me instead of to my mom. In the last 4 years or so, I have been out to visit him in NY about 5 times and everytime I go out there it’s miserable. I almost feel like I have to visit because he pays me a substantial amount of money every month. I have never told him I loved him or called him “dad” to his face. However, he has told me that he loves me. He has never called me on the phone just to say hi and see how I am doing–all communication is through email..ALL of it. Birthday/Christmas cards are usually late if any at all…and I just dont feel like he is my father. I basically feel obligated to keep a connection with him only because he is paying support and covers me under his insurance (again, because he HAS to).He is remarried and has 2 other young daughters. His 8 year old refers to our father as “her father” while I am there and it makes me feel completely awkward…like I just dont fit in. I am the black sheep while I am there…always resorting to my room because I feel so awkward to just sit on the couch in front of the TV with them. I feel like he has no interest in me and honestly, that I was a mistake but he has to live with it…
I still have not told him that I am getting married. I don’t think I want him at my wedding. He has never even asked about my fiance, how he is, how we are, plans to ge married, etc…and we have been together for almost 3 years and he knows this. He has never been a part of my life emotionally, just financially. Am I a horrible person for feeling this way? Fiance is supportive of whatever my decision is and he fully understands where I am coming from and agrees with me. I feel like after he drops me off support/health insurance that I want no contact with him at all as there is no emotional attachment, but at the same time, I feel like a horrible person for doing so.
What do yall think? I am open to answering any questions…I really need some advice on this.
Post # 3
It is totally up to you.
I see some effort here on your dad’s part, but I tend to see the best in people. I’m sure he feels just as awkward as you do, which is why he communicates only through e-mail and etc. It has to be hard to have your ex-wife deny you the right to see your child.
The wedding is your call, and I think you could go either way. If you would like a better relationship with your dad, I think you could also take the first step. You could call him just to say hi or ask questions about his daughters or just generally show an interest. Maybe you already have – I don’t know.
Actually, the same thing happened to my dad. Only I’m like the 8 year old. I have an older half sister who I didn’t know existed until I was 7 or 8. Like yours, her mom refused to let him see her. He tried many times and finally gave up. I think he almost had to – it was give up or be heartbroken all the time. Although she reconnected with our family when she was 16, she does not have a relationship with my dad, and I can understand why. Neither one of them contacts the other, and I think it may be better for them that way. Maybe it would be just be more heartbreak to think about it, so they choose not to. My dad has definitely broken my own heart on many occasions. But at the same time, he is my dad, and I know that I don’t get another one. He is my family and I love him no matter what he says or does. For me, that is less damaging than having bad feelings against him.
Post # 4
Similar to what Mandyrosy said, it’s kinda unclear what your dad’s feelings are. It depends how expressive you have been toward your dad in terms of your interactions with him. Maybe your dad feels that you’re only visiting them because you feel guilty that you’re receiving financial support from him and expects you not to visit him again once the payments are stopped. Maybe he does not feel comfortable asking you about your life and is afraid of being intrusive about your life choices. Maybe he’s afraid that you don’t want to be part of his life so why bother asking you about personal details (like fiance, wedding) in which he cannot participate. I’m sure he has had enough of ur mom and probably is dubious of what your mom has told you…etc etc. WE can speculate all day.
However, if he remembers to send you email of b-day/holiday greetings (even if it’s late), that’s pretty good. Guys never remember that, let alone the fact that he rarely sees you in person. If you’re interested in forging a relationship with him, you should just sit down and talk to him about this awkwardness and ask him if he’s interested in moving to a more substantial level of father-daughter relationship (as oppose to custody-payer and payee). Something like, you would be open to that but understands if it’s something he’s not interested. As for your wedding, you should just invite him and his family if ur mom is gonna be there and doesn’t mind and you have ample space. Otherwise, tell him something that you would’ve invited them except that “reason” (e.g. mom, intimate so no space, etc).
Post # 5
I don’t think you should feel guilty for not wanting someone to be part of your wedding just because they are biologically related. This man, while he may technically be your father, doesn’t sound very fatherly at all to me.
If I were in your shoes, the only thing I would consider is what the fallout would be after the fact. It makes sense why you wouldn’t want him at your wedding, but if you go through with the plan of not telling him, you’ll have to deal with whatever happens when he does find out. It seems a bit symbolic of wanting him out of your life forever and giving him a bit of payback for not being in your life the way you may have wanted.
It sounds like you should have a heart to heart with him. I don’t know if you’d even want to do this, but perhaps there’s a side of the story that you don’t know. Maybe he has always wanted to be that father figure to you, but your mother prevented it. There are a lot of things that could have transpired – and, I guess my point is – before you write him off forever, perhaps give him the chance to explain. You can never take back time – but the future does not have to look like the past.
Post # 6
There are two sides to every story. Maybe your dad did try to see you and maybe he let you go because he thought it was best with all the conflict. I’m not saying he’s not done any wrong, but you only got to see the one side of things. Perhaps he doesn’t ask alot of questions or is bad at keeping in touch because you’ve never been clear that you want that relationship, or he doesn’t know how to cultivate it. Maybe he doesn’t call because you don’t call (you didn’t say that, but I’m just brainstorming) or maybe he called to your mothers and didn’t get to talk to you. Have a real, straightforward conversation with him. Its up to you whether you invite him, but I would at least give him a chance to tell you how the last 23 years have been for him. Perhaps hearing him out will rid some of that ambiguity in your relationship and his actions.
Post # 7
Speaking from experience I can tell you that in situations like this you most likely do not know the whole story. Maybe dealing with your mom was too difficult for him, or he felt like he would create too much trouble for you by upsetting her by calling/visiting, etc. It does suck that he doesn’t make more of an effort to know you, and that his daughters don’t seem to think of you as a sister.
If it were me I would invite him because I would feel worse if I didn’t. Also you shouldn’t think of that money as a favor, or that you owe him, it is his responsibility under law to do this for you. However, I also realize how difficult it is to seperate the money from the person.
My father passed away when I was 19, I hadn’t spoken to him for 6 years at that point (parents divorced when I was 1). The seperation was over pretty minor stuff in retrospect. I would give absolutely anything to have had the chance to reconcile before he died, and to have him at my wedding. He did try to be there for me during my childhood, and so it seems has your father. Sometimes people have emotional hang-ups that we cannot understand. If you want to get more out of your relationship with him you may have to be the initiator.
Hope this helps you.
Post # 8
Hmm that is really hard. You really should just do what is in your heart. I would maybe just test the waters with him slowly. Write him an email letting him know you are engaged. Don’t throw it in at the end of another kind of email. Just a specific “We are getting married” email. That will give him a chance to respond and you can gauge how big a role he’d like to play. Weddings can actually be an opportunity to bond, and heal old wounds.
You have every right to dictate your relationship with your father. If you don’t want him to attend the wedding, you can probably let him know you are having a very small affair, and your mother would just be too uncomfortable. If you’d like him to come but not walk you down the aisle, that is okay too. You have almost a year to sort though all of this. So I wouldn’t rush to any decisions. Just take it day by day, and you’ll come to the right decision.
Post # 9
I am still thinking about what I want to do everyday. I might wait until after I am done with school to see if he drops off the face of the earth after he doesnt have to pay support/have me under his insurance. This is really going to show the type of man he is. I too believe that there is A LOT that I don’t know, and I think as an adult now, I have the right to know what happened between my parents. Him and my mom havent spoken since I was 18 and the only time they talked was through email and regarding his child support being late. As of right now, I just dont feel comfortable sharing feelings with him, as I never knew what it was like to have a father figure in my life. My mom is still single and never remarried and crazy as can be (Right now we are not on talking terms.) I also think she would resent me for inviting him to the wedding. I am so lost!
Post # 10
That is a tough situation! I agree with testing the waters first. Maybe breezily mention your engagement, downplaying it as much as possible. Hopefully you will get a feel for his feelings – if he’s jumping up and down with excitement, or has a ‘sure, ok’ reaction.
If you do decide not to invite him, maybe you could say it is a smallish affair with your mom’s relatives, and you thought you guys could do your own small celebration later if he wants to. Then the ball is kind of in his court.
Post # 11
I agree with the PPs who said that you probably don’t know much about his side of the story. You say your mom cut contact off and he left an Easter basket… maybe he genuinely was trying and she was cutting access off the whole time. Maybe not. Maybe now he doesn’t ask a lot of questions because he can tell you’re only visiting due to the money issue. I think you should try to build an actual relationship with him, one-on-one, and see how it goes.
Post # 12
@alishadhs4 I just wanted to chime back in and say ((hugs)). I can’t imagine how hard it is to begin your engagement without the support of either of your parents. Weddings can be really tough because they revolve around a certain notion of family. I’ve made peace with my difficult relationship with my mother, but it still stung to dress shop without her. You have to remember that this day is about being true to yourself and your fiance, the real story of your lives, and not trying to fit into a mold of what people say your wedding should be. Just because you are wearing a princess dress, doesn’t mean any of it should be make believe. Good luck with your planning. I hope you feel less lost.
Post # 13
I have a bit of a similar situation to you. Didn’t meet my father until I was 11, didn’t really get on with him and stopped seeing him regularly years ago in my teens. He still contacts my mum every few months to chat but I never hear from him, and didn’t even know about a funeral on that side of the family until it was too late to go because he didn’t get in touch soon enough. No phone calls, no e-mails, no birthday/Christmas cards, and this is the level of communication I’m comfortable with.
I didn’t want to invite him to the wedding at first but have since decided I am going to: I don’t get on with him but don’t hate him and would rather extend the invitation, as little as it means to me to have him there as a regular guest, because causing affront by not inviting him seems like much more hassle or even notice of him, if you get what I mean. No one at all on his side of the family are coming though.
I don’t think you need to invite ANYONE just because they are a close blood relative if you aren’t comfortable with it. Don’t feel pressured to either if you decide not to: it’s your wedding, and your relationship with him after all.