Post # 17
I don’t understand why fathers have to get so emotional about these things, but it sure sounds like a common thread. My friends biological father refused to attend her wedding because she wanted both him and her stepfather to walk her down the aisle. She still managed to go ahead with her wonderful day..I didn’t even find out about it until afterwards.
I can’t exactly identify, but my father had thrown a whole bunch of imperatives at me which make no sense and I am pretty much always in fear that if I go against any of them he won’t attend. He has even asked some other male relatives (in front of me) if they will be there to walk me down the aisle in case he doesn’t come…Is it really possible that they have no idea how much these things hurt us?
As for your relatives on his side, something I am growing to feel as an adult is that we are responsible for our own personal relationships with family members. If it were me, I would do what I can to maintain a good relationship with your dad’s family. I don’t know if you need to write a note explicitly explaining the situation (it may be best not to point fingers), but maybe just to write them a personal note that you appreciate their reply, will be thinking of them on your wedding day, and hope that they will keep in touch as you build your own family.
Post # 18
Thanks so much for your replies — this continues to be a difficult issue, and I feel like every “decline” I get from his side of the family is a little slap in the face. Of course, there aren’t that many left, so that’ll stop soon. I talked to a cousin of mine, and, while it’s all second-hand information, it sounds like the way he’s telling people this went down was that I was choosing my stepfather over him and I didn’t want him “giving me away” and that I was somehow doing this to try and make a point. I obviously gave my cousin my side of the story, but I haven’t spoken to anyone else — nor have they called me.
@mewcakes — I haven’t called him since he told me he wasn’t coming to the wedding if I “proceeded in this fashion.” I’ve sent him birthday and Christmas cards, and of course the invitation.
@ rockocko — I agree that as we get older, the family relationships become ours to maintain. But this side of the family has really never ever done anything to maintain that. I’ve tried maintaining contact with some of them — I never get much in response. I’m not even informed when family members die, so I’ve missed more than one funeral and my chance to pay respects.
Post # 19
So sorry this is happening to you.
I think your idea was a lovely way to symbolically represent your life. It is a shame that won’t work out. If you are searching for a compromise that might still be acceptable to all, have you contemplated asking your mom to walk you down the aisle instead? Or forego an escort entirely? Have a sibling walk you?
Regarding the rest of the family – this is all secondhand so you need to tread carefully. Notes just don’t have the same potential give & take of a conversation and you don’t want to assume they are all a no based on BioDad’s story. My suggestion is time consuming but, it’s family so it matters in the long run to have good relationship. Call up the declines and say, “I am so sorry to hear that you won’t be able to attend because we will truly miss you.” Then ask if there was a particular reason they are unable to make it. If they say no, say that you’re particularly disappointed because so many from your dad’s side were unable to attend. In fact, you are very disappointed because your own father turned down your request to walk part way down the aisle with you and have a father daughter song with you. If that doesn’t get them to bite, you can even be bolder and say that you had heard that there was an untrue story circulating your father’s involvement and you hope that if s/he had questions, s/he would approach you directly. Conclude by say that if their plans change then you hope they will let you know – you need to have your RSVPs to the caterer by X date, but you can change their rsvp anytime up until then. Since spreading the word among your peer generation didn’t work – call a “decisionmaker” “head of family” “queen gossip” person first to see you can get them to spread the story instead so you only have to make a handful of calls. But if you have to, call every one so people are aware there is another story out there even if they don’t have all of the details. (And as a side note, it is terrible they’d all believe it without confirmation…or let that affect their participation in any way.)
And talk to your stepmom! BioDad is obviously unreasonable. Talk to her and see if she will be reasonable and correct the story/calm BioDad down. What age are her kids? Maybe get her to think about how her kids might want to handle their weddings, whether or not they’d want BioDad (their stepdad) involved.
Post # 20
I JUST had this conversation with my biological dad earlier today!! My response to him, “Your loss!” My Fiance and I are moving full speed ahead. My dad wasn’t there for the day to day dealings in my life, so one more day won’t hurt me. It truly is HIS LOSS!
Post # 21
I’m so sorry. I completely understand. My stepmother doesn’t allow my father be a part of anything that includes my mothers family. So, my dad has missed a lot of Big events in my life.
It’s hurtful every time. I feel like he picks her over me every time. I can’t stand my step-mom for this. It’s unfair. I’m his child, I came first, and I will always be a part of him. Whether she likes it or not. But she likes to prove that she is more important.
I’m so very sorry I know how badly it hurts. I know it would be hard but I would try calling a few people on that side of the family that you’d feel ok talking to and tell them the story. If it would even be worth it.
Family means a lot to me, but at the same time if they aren’t going to act like family, then they aren’t family.
I know I can’t say anything to make your situation better. But if he doesn’t end up going just try to focus on the people that are their that go out of the way to show you how much they love you. That’s what i do. I know it’s not the best situation. but you do have people in your life that love you so much and would never hurt you in that way.
i wish you the best,and I hope you have a beautiful wedding day
Post # 22
Thanks everyone, again, for your continued support.
@Kay — Most of my step-sibilings are married, but there was only one girl and she did the same sort of thing, but had her bio dad walk her down the second half and my father walk her down the first half. As for talking to the individual members of my family, you know, it’s shitty that i’m being badmouthed/mischaracterized, but in the end — these people aren’t really family. They’re people I see at funerals if/when my father actually mentions to me that someone died. He’s purposefully not told me about a few different family members’ deaths.
@weddingdiva-in-training — I feel your pain! For me, it was important to try talking it out, but when it became clear that it was his way or the highway, i chose the High Way.
@sandandsea — thanks so much for your support, I’m doing my best to focus on the unbelievable amount of love we’ve gotten from the family and friends who ARE showing up and ARENT making our wedding day all about them.
Post # 23
Just work on forgiving your Dad…if the family does not show it is probably best and will prevent more hurt feelings for them. Work on forgiving them all. I see things from the wicked stepmom’s perspective as my husband is the bio dad refusing to attend his only daughter’s wedding and his family is refusing because they are sickened by the bride’s slight of her Father. We witnessed his many years of emotional suffering as he was forced to go to extreme lengths to see his child. All her life we stood at the edges, never able to celebrate her triumphs…not once was our family able to take her after an event for a celebratory dinner or lunch. We showed up for the events when we found out about them, sat in the background quietly and disappeared into the shadows when they were over. Her mother made him fight for every last minute he spent with her. He always feared that if he pushed an issue, she would suffer at the hands of her mother. He was always so sad and disappointed when he found out after the fact that the stepdad had taken her to buy a pig for Ag or a car or any of the things that Daddy’s buy for their little girls but he kept his mouth shut always trying to protect his little girl from the abuse her mother dished out.
I realize it is hard to comprehend how your Daddy if he really loved you could stay away on such an important day but he does love you, he is just trying to protect what is left of his heart. His family is trying to support him in his pain and prevent his further humiliation. Make no mistake though, he will be missing you on that day and might just be assuming the role of a true Father. It’s a bit wisdom-of-solomon, this one – the true Father (mother) would rather give the child to the false Father (mother) than see it cut in half.
My husband and our family are just assuming the only role we have ever been granted in this child’s life. We have no ill will and are not ripping her to shreds behind her back. We only wish her the best.
Post # 24
I agree, Forgive your dad, because you know what… He will be living with guilt and remorse for not showing up at his daughters wedding.
If you can, I say kill him with kindness. Call him (if he will answer your calls) and ask again, tell him know you still want him to be a part of your special day (because when it comes right down to it, it sounds like you still really want it). Perhaps he will change his mind? If he wont pick up your calls, perhaps an email is in order. Or even a card. Explain to him how the absense of hm will affect you. Then you can be sure you did all you can do (and maybe even he will feel like the ass he is being).
His love for you needs to be stronger than his hatred for your step father. He will regret it, and that is sad.
Post # 25
- Wedding: September 2008 - A tiny town just outside of Glacier National Park
We had family members who tried to bring their own relationship drama into the wedding, too. It’s hard, but at the same time you tell him that it’s important for him to be there, if he raises the same concerns you also have to suck it up and tell him, “I’m sorry, but it’s not about you.” That doesn’t mean you can’t be understanding of his emotional concerns, and tell him as much (Really, tell him you understand that it’s hard for him) but he is making things difficult for you by projecting, and that is not fair.
Post # 26
Wicked StepMom — I appreciate the sentiment, but clearly we’re coming from two different experiences with a father here. Nobody ever kept my father away from me. He was invited and welcomed to anything having to do with me. He chose not to. Every opportunity that was given to him to act like a father, he turned down. And again, I’ve been living on my own since I’m 18 — I’m 31 now. It’s not like he hasn’t had the opportunity to get to know me as an adult. Again, the only time I see him is when I make the effort.
On the flip side — a bit of advice from the daughter of divorced parents — whatever excuses there are for being at the “outside” of her life when she was a child don’t hold up when she’s an adult. If you want a relationship with her, make it a priority, not a matter of convenience, and take responsibility for your part in it. Nobody can “keep you away” from events involving her. If she’s getting married, she’s an adult. Treat her like one and stop playing the “role you’ve been given.” You make your own role.
To CherryPie and RonneyKay – he’d doesn’t acknowledge my existence whatsoever at this point. He thinks I’ve got “stockholm syndrome” and that I’m siding with the “captor that is my stepfather.”
Post # 27
I can totally see where you’re coming from. It is completely inappropriate that he has put you on the spot in this way, the best option is definitely not to worry too much about not having him there and just to enjoy your special day with everybody who does care to attend.
The dad issue is definitely going to be a bone of contention in my family when the time comes. My dad had an affair and left my mum in 2006..and he married the woman he left her for two years ago. My mum is adamant that she wouldn’t be able to keep her mouth shut if she came to a wedding where they were both attending and my older sister (who is actually my half sister from my mums previous marriage) has made it clear that she wouldn’t attend anything AT ALL where he was present. Meaning no nephew there either 🙁
Different ultimatum, same selfishness.
Post # 28
@buttercookie: Your dad and my dad seem to have alot in common. My dad rang me to see if his invite was out of love or duty?? I pretty much told him duty. This is the man who throughout my life has never rung just to see how I am. Arrgh it makes me mad.