Post # 1
My 37 year old daughter is getting married for the first time in June, 2012.
I divorced her mom, recently deceased, almost 12 years ago (2001) after 31 years of marriage. My wife did not want the divorce and was extremely bitter and hateful up until her death in 2011. Although I was legally married for 31 years, this first marriage was over, for all practical purposes, for at least 15 years. She and I had discussed divorce many times. The last few years we co-existed and lived in separate rooms of the house and did very little together as a couple. We did have a business together and she continued to work part time. We maintained a reasonable degree of civility, however, all our employees and friends knew it was not a happy marriage. The kids (we also have a 33 year old son) also knew there were problems with our marriage, especially our son, He lived at home until 1997. Our daughter moved away from home in 1993 and her mom and me put her through 5 years at a major university. After graduation our daughter took a job 2000 miles away.
The reason I never filed for divorce was for all the wrong reasons in hindsight. The main reason was I felt it would be better for the kids to wait until they were older and they would better understand……………boy was I wrong. Although I feel most of the family and friends would say I was a good father, my relationship with both my children since the divorce has been very strained. Both my son and daughter blame me for leaving their mom for another woman rather than accepting the fact our marriage was over long before and I was miserable. I did meet another woman that worked at our company about a year before I filed for divorce and began to see her discretely just a few months prior to filing for divorce. Both children feel I am the bad guy for divorcing their mom and have never forgiven me.
Although my present wife and I have been together since I was divorced and married for seven years, neither my son or dauther will not let me vist them unless I come alone. When my daughter came back home at Christmas during the last 12 years, the only way she would agree to see me is if I left my present wife at home and met her at a restaurant or club to spend a few hours together. My present wife has never once complained or made an issue of this but I can tell this hurts her very badly. My wife has tried time and again to encourage a relationship with my children inviting them to our house at every holiday or special occassion. Their response is ” Tell your w_ _ _ _ never to call or invite us to anything ever again”. Once again, my wife has never done anything to my children except fall in love with me after I initiated the first interest. I feel if there is anyone to blame, it is myself and my first wife. We just could not make it work. Over the years, it has gotten to the point that I feel I can no longer accept this unfair arrangement and it is time I supported my wife who has always been left out and had to sit at home while I visit my daughter.
The problem now is my daughter is getting married in June and has ask me to walk her down the aisle which is every fathers dream. The problem is, she has ask me not to bring my wife. I can not think of a greater honor for a father but I can not think of a worse dishonor than having to leave my wife behind. I told my daughter that she should not be put in a position to have to choose between my daughter and my wife. I would be honored to walk her down the aisle but I will not disrespect and leave my wife out. My daughter says no way. What should a father do?
Post # 3
Your daughter needs to grow up! With almost 50% of marriages ending in divorce, it’s time for her to have a reality check. What kids want for their parents should be the same as what parents want for their kids- for them to be happy.
She is blackmailing you. You only get to see her if you come alone and she gets to treat your wife like dirt. Would she think it was ok for you to treat her the same way if she had a relationship outside her marriage?
Personally, I would tell her that if she could not be civil and extend an invitation to my wife, I would not be attending.
Post # 4
If my father cheated on my mother, I don’t know that I’d ever accept his new wife, regardless of circumstances or my age. Maybe that makes me childish, oh well. I haven’t had to go through it.
A wedding is an extremely emotional time, and it is probably very upsetting and difficult for your daughter that her mother is not alive to wedding plan with her, and be there to witness the start of her marriage. Seeing the woman you ultimately did leave her for there “instead” of her mom would be a lot to deal with on a day that’s already so emotionally charged.
You made your choice of spouse. That does not mean your children ever will or are required to accept it. I think you have to make a choice here and respect your daughter’s wishes.
Post # 5
I think you do actually have to choose* to walk down the aisle with your daughter, without your new wife present. Or you have to miss that moment, which you can never get back again. *ETA – I meant that it is a choice between the two, not that you must choose that choice
I understand the position you are in. I hope that your wife also understands and will not begrudge you or your daughter this moment by insisting that she be included.
Post # 6
This sounds like a really crappy situation. It’s hard to believe that your daughter refuses to get over the divorce after so long, that really doesn’t sound healthy at all. I agree with PP, your daughter shouldn’t be putting you in this position, but she is and she probably won’t change her mind. You have to choose whether to side with your wife and miss your daughter’s wedding (and probably lose the chance of a relationship with her) or encourage your daughter’s childish behavior and attend the wedding alone. No one can tell you what to do, this is a choice only you can make.
Post # 7
Wow, I feel for you. That is a horrible place for your daughter to put you in, to have to choose between her and your wife. While I was reading your post I kept thinking maybe you need some family counselling before her wedding, that might help her see that you were in a loveless marriage and have since moved on and are happy now with your current wife. That does not mean you didn’t love her mother or love your daughter (and son) any less. I wonder if she would still react this way if you had waited to remarry after your first wife passed or if she would have been ok with your moving on. I agree with julies, that she is emotionally blackmailing you or maybe atleast holding this over your head. It is not fair to anyone that your daughter gets to act like a brat (sorry, I call it like I see it) and gets her way while you have to leave your wife at home. She needs to grow up and accept it for what it is. If having you walk her down the aisle is important enough to her I would think she could get over having your wife present on her wedding day. I hope things work out for you.
Post # 8
@KatyElle: Completely agree with you.
Post # 9
How does your wife feel about this? Would she be comfortable attending the wedding even if your daughter concedes to let her come?
Post # 10
@KatyElle: you said it perfectly!
It’s your daughter’s day. Go with what she says for the one day.
Post # 11
@KatyElle: This 100%.
Half the time I do not even acknowledge I have a father that is still alive. If you have a decent relationship with your daughter, that’s what you need to put first at her wedding. You know your choice, walk her down the aisle or just don’t go.
This topic definitely hits close to home (so I apologize). If either my father or his new mistress shows up at my wedding, I’d have security escort them right back out.
Childish or not, the LAST thing I want on the day I am marrying my future husband is to think about my father and the other woman.
Post # 12
I can see this from both sides. I am very loyal to my mother, no matter what issues she and I may have. In your daughter’s situation, if you cheated on her mother during the marriage (I don’t remember you saying you had, but if you did…) I would not be able to accept your wife if I knew that my mother had died heartbroken over it.
However, my parents have been separated since I was a baby. I am used to my dad being with other women, and my mom being with other men. I hate my dad’s girlfriend for some very valid reasons, but I have decided to suck it up and have her at the wedding. I’m being the bigger, more mature person. I want my dad at the wedding, so I’ve gotta have here there. I’ll be too busy to notice her, anyway.
I do think your daughter needs to bite the bullet on this one and just let your wife come. Like my situation, I’m sure she won’t be seeing your wife for more than a few minutes anyway.
If she does let your wife come, please do not insist that she give your wife any special role or a place in the family photos though.
Post # 14
@KarenA: I like your idea.
@bottomline: Is it possible to tell your daughter that you’d be willing to walk her down the aisle if she agrees to start seeing a family counselor with you (at your expense, not hers) immediately (at least a couple sessions before the wedding with an agreement to continue after the wedding)?
Post # 15
This issue seems really deep – your daughter is no doubt bitter and angry about the divorce and this situation is majorly compounded by the loss of her mother, especially at this time when she’s a bride. I know the situation is unfair on your side, but you are the parent and she is your child and in many ways it is your responsibility to try and understand the complicated emotions your daughter is feeling. You don’t have to understand why she’s feeling them, or agree with them, and it might not be fair, but regardless you need to understand that she is sad and hurt and angry (assuming those are some of the things she may be feeling). I would suggest you try and convince your daughter to see a therapist to work through these issues, and not for the wedding, but for the rest of your life. The wedding can be a catalyst for growth but it shouldn’t be the end result.
Post # 16
I feel very bad for you that your daughter has put you in this position. This will not end and she is trying to make you feel guilty until the end of your days. Her behavior is spiteful because if I am doing the math correctly she was an adult and out of the house before you marriage ended on whatever terms that it did.
I hate to say it but I think I would offer to pay for family counseling between the two of you before you make your final decision. And if she refuses then I would tell her that you love her and support her and hope that in her life she does not have to be held accountable to another person for every decision. And then I would not attend the wedding.
What she is doing is blackmail. I think your current wife is a lovely person for not making you feel uncomfortable and supporting you. Now if you two go to counseling and decide that it is the best thing for you to keep this spitefulness away from your wife then go but I would limit the time I spent with my daughter unless she decides to grow up and move on.