- 5 years ago
- Wedding: March 2014
I’ve been holding off on writing this post for a while because I keep thinking everything will “work out” on its own. But as we approach the date it’s clear I need to make a tough decision.
Here’s the deal: My biological father is a really bad man. He was away on “business trips” for much of my childhood and I finally discovered he was keeping a secret family overseas and promising his girlfriend and her kids there that he would marry her and get them US citizenship. They had no idea he had a family in America. He also stole money out of my college fund in order to impress women with his multiple affairs and to keep up with his drug habit. He’s been in and out of jail for tax evasion and he can’t hold a job. He relies on his own mother for handouts instead of working. He constantly lies about whether he’s off drugs and I can’t trust anything he says at this point, which causes a HUGE amount of stress in my life. He’s the kind of guy where, if he promises he’ll do something for you, you can count 100% on it NEVER being done, and him avoiding your phone calls and emails for months until you let it drop.
Obviously, I don’t want him at my wedding. I want to share my wedding day with my true family–the people I love and respect. My mom and her new husband, and my Fiance and his wonderful family. My dad’s presence causes stress and worry and I don’t want it to be a shadow on a happy day.
Here’s the catch, though. I’d like to invite my grandmother and aunt on my dad’s side. I am pretty close to both of them and it would cause a HUGE rift if I didn’t invite them. There are cousins I love, etc, etc.
But my grandma and aunt are both VERY protective of my dad. They enable him and give him money whenever he asks for it. They have bailed him out of debt and jail and trouble countless times. They always think it’s “just a misunderstanding” and he’s really a wonderful guy who just caught a hard break… again and again.
They are also very aware of the fact that I don’t have the best relationship with my dad. I get a lot of blame for this because they think I should overlook his bad behavior the way they do. They think I don’t give him enough chances, etc, etc. So at my wedding, they will be watching me with eagle-eyes, making sure that I shower him with as much attention as I do my mom and stepdad (who really have been there for me).
In our wedding ceremony, Fiance and I really want to honor our parents. We read about a Chinese custom of bowing to the parents onstage and we are both very close to our parents (in my case, my mom and stepdad). It would break my heart not to be able to give them special thanks at my wedding.
However– you see where I am going with this– I simply CAN’T honor them and leave my biological father out of it. Or else his whole side of the family will get up and walk out of my life.
I also can’t grit my teeth and give him special praise, because that will cheapen it for the people I actually do want to honor and it will ruin an important, emotional moment.
The solution we came up with was: we will have two wedding ceremonies. One will be the “real one” where we have our families and friends. One will be a “decoy” the week before where we just invite my dad’s side of the family and have a small, inexpensive gathering on a public beach.
But that’s really convoluted and risky. What if one of them sees a photo someone posts of the “real” ceremony? Obviously with social networking and facebook, we can’t expect to hide it 100%. I’m sure it will get back to them eventually and cause that rift we were trying to avoid.
What would you do in my situation?