- 10 years ago
- Wedding: October 2011
I apologize in advance because this will be a long rant. If anyone has gone through anything similar and can share advice it would be great. Here is a little backstory:
My parents got divorced when I was 19, after 35 years of marriage. I did not think it would affect me much, as my parents had fought for most of my life, but the fallout from the divorce was very painful and dramatic. My father did not understand why my mother divorced him and still loved her. My mother, meanwhile, wanted NOTHING to do with him after the divorce and basically has pretended he has ceased to exist for the last 8 years. In fact, they have only seen each other/spoken once in the last eight years, several months ago, and this 5 minute exchange was considered a major breakthrough.
My mother got remarried three years after the divorce, when I was 22, and has now been married for five years. Neither my brother nor I particularly care for her new husband. They got married after only knowing each other five months, which sounded alarm bells for us. This was his third marriage. He is not necessarily a bad person, but he makes some very strange and off putting comments on a regular basis, and he also controls the financial situation (my mom has no idea how much money they have) and we are concerned that they may be deeply in debt given the lifestyle they live. But, that is beside the point.
The strangest thing is that my mother likes to pretend my father does not exist and her new husband, I will call him L, is our father. He often refers to us as his children. I could understand if he married my mom when I was a child, but I was an adult and barely know the guy….and he calls me his child? Other akward moments: My mom got remarried shortly before my older brother´s wedding. Unfortunately, my father felt so uncomfortable about this and the fact that my mom and her husband would be there that he chose not to attend the wedding of his son. My mother took this as another way to let her husband play the father role, and made him give the “toast” and the rehearsel dinner…..he barely knew my brother at this point! It was very akward and embarrasing for everyone.
The arrival of my brother´s first child brought even more akwardness. My mother stated that her and her husband would be in the waiting room during delivery. As the hospital was rennovating, the amount of people they could have waiting per family was limited. My father felt very left out and betrayed. But my mother basically forced this fact down my brother´s throat. Now that my niece is here, my mom refers to her husband as “granddaddy” my niece does not even call him that on her own accord, but several times when my mom thought they were alone with niece we overheard them practicing getting my niece to call him granddaddy. WTF?
So, my future wedding has my nerves on end for a variety of reasons related to this. Up front, I told my mom how important it was for me to have my dad involved in my wedding; that I would expect him to walk me down the aisle and share my first dance with me (because I know if I didn´t, she would volunteer her husband to do it, no lie). My mom seemed a little offended but said she respected my wishes. My Fiance thought I was causing drama by saying something, but only a few days later, my mom did something that proved my whole point. After having already told her how important it was for my dad to be involved and for her not to step on his toes by overly including her husband, I get an email from her. My Fiance and I are having a civil ceremony first – and my mom said that “her and L would be happy to come down and sign our marriage licenses as witnesses and take us out to dinner to celebrate”. No mention or consideration of my dad.
I have a feeling it will only get worse from here. She will expect L to be mentioned on invitations, which I know will make my dad very uncomfortable, and I can only imagine what other things she will try to get him to do. I try talking to her but she closes up (she is very emotionally closed off) or else she gets deeply offended, or she pretends to listen but does what she wants anyway.
How can I deal with this situation, and make it clear to my mom once and for all that her husband is NOT my father, nor will he be my children´s grandfather. My dad is my dad, and he will play a role in my life forever, regardless of if she likes it or not.
I can already picture the akwardness at the wedding: trying to keep them apart at the reception, taking separate photos (with L by my side of course), etc. I am so frustrated. I know I can´t control much, and a lot of other people are children of divorce, but it seems like most parents can at least be civil to each other. I just do not see that as a possibility and am starting to fear my wedding because of it!