Post # 1
I’ve been with my boyfriend for seven years, and although we’ve been talking about the future for a couple of years now, he officially proposed to me last month. I’ve told my mum, my sister and a couple of friends, but not my father who is currently away in New Zealand with his wife and their children.
I haven’t had an easy relationship with my father for a while. My parents divorced when I was about six years old, and we would see him about once a fortnight, which changed to once a month when he remarried. When that happened he changed, and I know that it’s common and I should have expected it etc. but when he met my step mother he became a lot more short tempered and critical of my sister and I, he would go on about how she was so perfect and we were like pigs in comparison- even though we were children. He also married her quickly after only 6 months of knowing her (no offence to you bees that have chosen that route), they had the wedding in New Zealand during term time, and my sister and I weren’t invited. They later spent thousands on IVF treatment to have children, and cut child support payments to my mother. He’s never understood why any of this might upset me, and always firmly blamed me for any disagreements that we had, even complaining to my mother like I’m some dysfunctional broken toy that was supposed to work a certain way but doesn’t. I always felt like the unwanted debris from a previous marriage.
I know that there probably will be some people who tell me that I’m not allowed to feel this way, but the fact is that I do. Since moving away from the town that I was born in, I always had a difficult time forming relationships, and admit that I’m probably not amazing at them myself at this point. But then I met this boy- not without his own flaws, but it felt/ feels like he filled the void left by my father. Part of me is scared that one day we may end up like my parents, but (maybe naively) I feel that if we’ve made it this far, we should always be able to talk over our problems.
So my father is away in NZ at the moment with his children and wife. When he gets back I’m considering telling him, but asking him respectfully to keep it a secret from everyone for now, as we haven’t finalised our plans (my partner is completing a PHD and we won’t know where will be in January for at least another month). Also, it’s going to be a small wedding, as neither of us are ‘party people’, have limited funds (kindly given to us by my fiancé’s parents), and would rather spend our honeymoon somewhere nice than spend all that money on one day. So I guess I’m asking for a little bit of support, and how best I might be able to phrase my announcement to him. Have any of you been in a similar position?
Post # 2
What your father did to you sounds horrible. Unforunately, it has left you with a fear of what your relationship is going to be like. You are not naive, things happen but ultimately you get to make the choices in your relationship.
My first question is do you really need to tell him? If you don’t want other people to know, can and will he keep it a secret? If so, then call him up or in person and just let him know your partner proposed. If not, then just wait to tell him.
I am not that close to my dad, and when I got engaged I only told him when he rang me up, as he only rings when he wants something.
Post # 4
I wouldn’t even bother telling him (unless he asks about it first, lying is bad!) or inviting him to the wedding, honestly. He failed you as a father and treated you horribly, so you don’t owe him anything. My mom is similar to him, (I believe when parents do this to us it’s the result of some form of narcissism/sociopathy and has nothing to do with who we are) and one thing I’ve sadly learned is that just because you’re getting married doesn’t mean your family will change into the people you’d like them to be. Remember that “friends are the family you choose for yourself” and focus on the people who love you and support your relationship with your Fiance, like your mother, sister, friends, and hopefully your FI’s family, and do your best to forget about this person. Well, that’s what I did, anyways.
Best wishes to you during this time… I’ve found that I’m happier without my mom most of the time, but rites of passage (graduations, weddings, babies) remind me that I don’t have what most people do, which is a bitter pill to swallow.
Post # 5
My father also changed when he married his much younger wife and had children with her. I haven’t spoken to him in years. You don’t have to try to maintain a relationship with him if he’s not good for you.
Post # 6
“Whoops! Did I forget to tell you we got married?”
You don’t owe him anything. He hasn’t shown you kidness, why give him any?
However, this comes from a girl whose parents are still together and I will never speak to my father again. I don’t care what is going on in my life, we are done.
Post # 7
Just because someone had a biological impact on your life, does not mean you need to let them treat you poorly. If you don’t want to tell him, don’t tell him. If you don’t want a relationship with him, you can cut him out.
Post # 8
I think this is something that you should go with your heart on. I agree with all the other bees that are saying you don’t owe hin anything. But I also understand that you still want your father in your life.
You should do what is best for you. If you want to announce it to him, perhaps a nice card or formal announcement would work, if you don’t want to announce in person. You could tell him in person but based on his track record, he might not be the kindest person about it, so I’d prepare myself. And finally, if you decide not to tell him, I’m not sure you owe him a lot at this point. You said you feel discarded and have for some time, I think it would be ok to trust those feelings.
Post # 9
When he gets back I’m considering telling him, but asking him respectfully to keep it a secret from everyone for now, as we haven’t finalised our plans (my partner is completing a PHD and we won’t know where will be in January for at least another month)
I’m not really sure why you would want him to know before other people – other people who presumably love and care for you, unlike this selfish arse of a man . Tell him when you want it public, not before .
And OP, dear heart , don’t get your expectations up too high for his response, it may well fall into the too- little-too-late category . He’s probably not going to change into a loving father at this stage so don’t give him the power to hurt you as he did when you were younger .
Post # 10
Thanks for your replies everyone 🙂
I should also note that he DID help me when I was at university (partly because he felt obliged to, and he did give me a nice little speech about how he wasn’t going to help me one bit once I graduated- but I suspect my stepmother was listening and it was for her).
Thank you for being so nice. I was expecting to get at least some spiteful comments (while there are some lovely stepmothers out there, the nasty ones always seem to come out of the frameworks whenever the opportunity presents itself.)
I feel torn because I DO love him, but I feel like any love that he has for my sister and I has been majorly compromised by his desire to please my stepmother at all costs. I have too many bad memories to make it irrelevant. Also, I feel bad for the way that they’re raising my stepsisters who get absolutely everything that they ask for.
My mum says that I should call him and tell him, but I don’t like calling him, partly because my stepmother is always listening in the background, and will sometimes make comments and tell him to ask/ tell me something. On top of that, my stepmother was always nagging me about calling him when I was growing up, which made me want to do it even less. And I could never understand why it was so important that I called him instead of the other way around. My fiancé’s parents call us every week, he doesn’t call them, and they NEVER complain about it! I contrast this to my father’s ‘you call me’ games, and it makes my head ache.
But yes, with any luck the wedding will be in January. Fingers crossed everything works out!