- 10 years ago
- Wedding: June 2010
My parents are divorced. They separated about 16 years ago and got technically divorced 15 years ago. They spent over eight years off and on in courts settling divorce type stuff. Needless to say, it was not a friendly break-up. However, in the past few years, they have started to act more civil (and less crazy) toward one another, even working together four years ago to co-buy me a present for my eighteenth birthday, and more recently, working together to buy my little brother a present for his high school graduation.
When my brother got married eight years ago, my mom was super pissed that my dad’s then-girlfriend sat with him during the ceremony, giving her, as my mom described it, a seating position of equal honor to my mom’s. My mom is all about getting her proper due of “honor.” I can’t remember their exact seating, but I believe my parents sat on different sides but both in the front row. I’m not sure how that didn’t displace the bride’s parents, but this is how I remember it.
Fast forward to today. My dad has recently decided to bring a date to the wedding. This date is not his wife, nor girlfriend, but just a date. I have never met her. They are not a serious couple. And last week, my dad was dating a different woman. But, I have no problem with him bringing her. I told my dad that it’s cool if he brings her, but I would prefer her not to sit with him during the ceremony, since I want to reserve the front row for family only. He said no. Just no. End of discussion. She is sitting with him.
I called my mom to warn her of this development, and she was upset but said, “Well, I’ll try not to let it bother me, it is your day.” Then, I mentioned how I hadn’t figured out seating arrangements, considering my parents not being together and all. She then went on saying how my dad had to sit in the second row, how the front row was reserved for the mother, and how it would be “weird” for them to sit on the same row, even buffered by my little brother.
I mentioned how, in accordance with this honor distribution thing that she holds so dear, that it wouldn’t be right to put her husband (my stepfather) on the front row, while making my real dad sit on the second row. She then got defensive saying, “If you don’t want your stepdad to go, you need to tell me now.” Obviously, I was not implying this.
Both of my parents have contributed the same amount of money to the wedding. My mom and her husband don’t actually live together or share any finances, so he hasn’t contributed anything. It’s a weird situation. Additionally, my dad makes a little less than $40,000 a year. My mom makes about $60,000 (and her husband makes about $80,000, but I’m not sure what sort of black hole his money gets funneled into).
I mention these figures because 1) while both of my parents have given the same amount, my dad has given a substantially higher percentage of his income to this wedding and 2) while I don’t want his girlfriend to sit with him, I believe he should be able to sit in the front row. He has also shown a significant amount more interest in the wedding and has been kinder to my fiancé throughout our relationship. (For example, when I told my mom two years ago that my fiancé and I were going to move in with each other for the summer, she wrote me a series of nasty e-mails about how the Fiance was a horrible person, and that no one would ever respect me because I was a whore, etc., before refusing to have any contact with me for six months. My dad, flawed as he is, has always treated me and my Fiance with respect.) Therefore, if any parent deserves to be on the front row, it is probably him.
But, maybe it’s standard for the divorced dad to sit on the second row. My parents have been divorced for a long, long time, and I am not asking them to make small talk or hang out with each other. Just to sit on the same row.
So, bees, any advice?
AND, although this was already super long, I feel like I should be more clear about my feelings on the dad date situation:
I don’t really want a woman I don’t know on the front row. My dad has had a longstanding tradition of choosing the various women he’s dating over his children.
Here are a couple of examples:
He married a woman the day after his divorce finalized. He did not invite or even tell my brothers and me about this wedding. He allowed that woman, my stepmom, to beat my brothers and me. Eventually, the conflict between my older brother and her escalated, and my dad allowed allowed her to kick my older brother out of the house.
After they divorced, he was briefly seeing another woman. My dad had planned to take my younger brother and me to an amusement park one weekend, but changed it because it didn’t work for his then girlfriend. He then moved it to the next weekend, a weekend where I would not be able to attend, saying that “he couldn’t keep changing the date to suit everyone.”
I only spent weekends at my dad’s house and various vacation times at my dad’s house, but I had a room there. When his then-girlfriend’s horrible son got out of prison (not jail, but prison), he gave my room to her son. Who offered me condoms and beer when I was 16. Really not the kind of guy you allow your daughter to even be around.
So, I feel like another random woman is being chosen over me again, because I don’t want her sitting on the front row. But weddings are often about compromise, and maybe I am being unreasonable.