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Graduation Day with divorced parents and partners.

(20 Posts)
2018graduate Thu 01-Mar-18 14:37:21

Hello, I am actually a child of divorced parents - not sure how appropriate for me to post here as i'm obviously not a mum but i'm in desperate need of advice. I'm 21 and my graduation is coming up this July. I am a person who is so focused and passionate on my degree subject, so graduation is meant to be a day where i'll feel the proudest I ever have.... yet I am really beginning to dread it.

To give you the back story, my dad left my mum in 2013 (nearly 5 years ago now). After 28 years of marriage, he just wasn't happy - and he's such a happy and passionate individual. Growing up, (from what I can remember) I only ever saw them hold hands or kiss once, and that was weird for me! So them getting divorce wasn't a massive shock looking back at it....not for my mum though. She took it very, very badly and now 5 years on still holds on to it. She went through a lot at the time so I completely feel for her. So you know, my dad didn't just abandon the family, he is the biggest comfort and support to me and he is amazing. He is there for me always. He found a lovely woman who he is now happily with and I accepted her instantly as we got along so well. She gives so much love to me and I appreciate her loads. I am never allowed to even mention her name to my mum. Fair enough, she's hurt by all this and I will respect that but I do feel she should make it easier for my brother and I. I think sometimes she forgets that we are not part of the divorce, she thinks my dad has affected my life so much, when in fact her attitude towards it (5 years later) is the only thing that affects me, and she fails to see this.

My dads' partner has been in my life for 3 years now, throughout my entire degree and I feel she deserves to me there on my graduation as much as my parents to - and I also would love for her to be there. I have been going back and forth in my mind now for months about how to plan the day, who to have my celebration meal with, so I can make it comfortable for everyone and not have them be at the same place at the same time. This is causing to be very stressful for me.

I have automatically chosen to have the celebration meal with my mum as that's how it always is for every celebration. She gets the better part of it because she is so affected by this divorce, but actually the person who's helped me most throughout my degree has been my father and I feel hurt that i have to put him down to make my mum happy. My dad has no problem in stepping back if it will make the situation easier for me.

So you are aware, my mum now has a boyfriend, has moved into a new house, has got a promotion, (is getting plenty of money from my dad) and goes on regular holiday with her girl friends. She is doing better than ever. Her new boyfriend has actually left two past relationships to begin a relationship with a new woman. He also has children. Yet she holds the biggest grudge against my dad leaving her and also getting with a new woman.

Now i'll come to what's put me in a pickle - my mum doesn't want my dad's partner there. She has constantly upset me this week, and is actually majorly distracting me from my degree, because she has to make a comment every day about how my dad's partner has no place at my graduation and keeps making me feel bad about it. This is hurting me like crazy. I have tried to calmly explain how its my day and i get to choose who i want there and i'm doing everything I can to make it easy for everyone, but she will not stop. She even says how do I not see I am upsetting her and not caring about her side, but she's not seeing how she keeps upsetting me. I lost my temper today with her so i've come here to get advice from any mums who have experienced anything like this.

OP’s posts: |
Minestheoneinthegreen Thu 01-Mar-18 14:59:44

Are you able to get more than 2 tickets for the ceremony? I was only allowed 2 for mine (a million years ago).

jellybellywelly Thu 01-Mar-18 15:00:58

We had something like this at our wedding. In that case it was because my father in law had had an affair with his now second wife (going on for years) and that was what triggered my in laws to break up. It may be the same in your situation. Obviously the affair is what made my mother in law so upset. Can you try and arrange a meal out for lunch with everyone but not have them all there at ceremony? Or try and do the meal out a few weeks before the ceremony as a test run?

MrsBertBibby Thu 01-Mar-18 15:39:22

Your mother is being monumentally selfish and you are allowing her to manipulate you into being deeply unfair to your father. You need to set her on a different track or God help if if you marry or have kids. She won't stop of her own accord because this behaviour gets her what she wants, her in the front seat like the fucking Queen and your poor dad reduced to gathering up the crumbs.

Show her exactly what you've written here and tell her if she doesn't behave she can switch places with your dad, and be the one elbowed out and made to dance to everyone else's tune.

Footle Thu 01-Mar-18 16:01:59

Usually only two tickets, as PP says.

Lobsterface Thu 01-Mar-18 16:06:27

I got a third for mine no problem as did my sister. If you can get one tell your Mum how you feel and that it’s your day, she needs to suck it up and shut up (put nicer than that). This sets the tone for all future events, weddings and christenings so be firm.

lozzalou93 Thu 01-Mar-18 16:54:35

Ultimately it is YOUR day. If your mum can’t respect that, you need to put her in her place as difficult as that must be. It’s time for her to move on.

AllertonRoad Thu 01-Mar-18 16:58:08

Honestly I’d just have your mum and dad there. Say you can only get two tickets. Celebrate later with both parties. Not ideal but at least you don’t have to worry on the day.

MyBrilliantDisguise Thu 01-Mar-18 17:00:30

Does she want her own partner there? Does she want your dad there?

Just one thing, OP. It clearly came as a shock to her that her husband wanted a divorce. He was with someone new pretty quickly afterwards. You won't know all their history - no child will know everything that goes on in their parents' marriage. I know she seems bitter now and seems to have a better life, etc, but it's often a really horrible thing to be divorced after such a long time.

MrsBertBibby Thu 01-Mar-18 17:06:57

Horrible as it may be in no excuse to visit it on your child.

My son's dad has been an insufferable useless prick, and caused me untold stress and misery over the years, but I will damn well smile sweetly and be happy when our son graduates or marries or whatever, because it isn't about me, or his idiot dad, but about our son who loves us both.

alwayslearning789 Thu 01-Mar-18 17:10:47

OP what is wrong with just inviting your Mum and Dad?

Noone can hold that against you in future and it means the two most important people are with you on the day.

It is important for the parents to be there on graduation day if they are both still alive.
Some of us didn't have the luxury of choice.

And it makes it The Parents problem if they can't bring their new partners - and not yours - you are the Child who needs the support of both parents.

HoneyWheeler Thu 01-Mar-18 17:11:46

I had something similar with my parents. I had to be really firm and say to my dad that the day was about me, not him. If he couldn't be civil then he couldn't come. They just avoided each other really! I don't think you're unreasonable to expect that of your parents for one day. Good luck, it's so hard trying to protect your parents' feelings when sometimes it feels like they should prioritise yours!

alwayslearning789 Thu 01-Mar-18 17:13:31

The new partners should be able to understand that.

SeeKnievelHitThe17thBus Thu 01-Mar-18 17:22:40

It would be useful to talk to your parents about this as it will raise its head again - if you get married, ifyou have a baby christened etc. (bitter experience as a child with divorced parents here too)

I don't think your mum gets to decide who your dad brings to these functions - everyone needs to be grown ups and business like for the day because the focus is on you and not on their relationships. Having said that, my sister's graduation where mother and step mother turned up in identical dresses was particularly fun. Everyone spent the day being very diplomatic and keeping jackets on to make the dresses look different

At graduation you get 2 tickets by default and then can apply for more if any aren't needed. Just don't apply for more. You have one each for your parents.

MistressDeeCee Thu 01-Mar-18 17:26:55

I actually wouldn't speak to your mum as horribly as some people have suggested. She is feeling hurt and it's wrong of her to visit that on you - but you also sound disparaging about her - it's nothing to do with anything that she gets loads of money from your dad. As a PP has said you don't know all the history. Your mum didn't have the future she expected with your dad. Money doesn't solve or make up for everything in life.

My mum and dad are divorced. My dad's the angel to everybody - does what he has to for us etc and that's all good. Doesn't take away from the fact he pissed off left my mum and got with a new woman so quickly that I suspect she must have been around before. I love my dad but he's no saint - nobody is. He supports my mum financially but that's their own personal business. He supported us all through Uni as he has more money than her. That's all.

Maybe it's an unsettling thought for your mum to have to spend time with her ExH's new girlfriend.

Explain to her calmly once and for all that you want your dad and his new partner there. Hopefully it will all.sort out. Unless your mum's a complete bitch or underneath all this you don't really like her - to be honest I'd have my own parents there.

I went to DDs graduation with their dad, my ExH, no problems at all. We're both in new relationships but it was about our daughter and neither of our partners expected to be invited in place of a parent it wasn't even a discussion.

Just talk with your mum. At least she'll be there at the meal. I'm guessing you can only get 2 tickets for ceremony as is usual, and you aren't inviting your mum to the Graduation anyway. Your day, do as you please

junebirthdaygirl Thu 01-Mar-18 17:34:49

Most students l know whose parents are divorced only take their parents to their graduation. These are parents who even get on well with new partners. Just ask your parents. My best friend is with a divorced man and she steps back for every family occasion even though she gets on brilliantly with the children. She feels that day rightfully belongs to their mom.. It has made the children love her more as there is no drama.
Maybe in return for just two parents your dm would be on best behaviour and not ruin your day.
Marriage breakdown can cause immense pain so try and have some sympathy for your dm.

eve34 Thu 01-Mar-18 17:50:46

I do sympathise with you. My parents divorced many years ago and my mum remained civil and polite at our graduations and weddings. And although caused no problems for my sister and I. We knew it was difficult for her.

Now my children's father has left me for ow. And although early days. I would happily never see him again if I had a choice. So have the utmost respect for my mother. It must of took an awful lot for her to be in the same space as my dad and his wife.
I will of course sucks it up and big events are many years away for me.
That betrayal from the one person you trusted most is a bitter pill to swallow. And I can see now why my mother still feels the way she does.

FanSpamTastic Thu 01-Mar-18 18:27:45

You need to knock this on the head now or your wedding, future life with kids etc will be a nightmare.

You ascertain how many tickets you are allowed - if only 2 then offer to mum and dad.

If more then offer mum +1 and dad +1. Tell mum (and dad) if she does not like that then she does not have to come.

Whatever her beef with your dad it should stay between him and her and not impact on you.

GoldenWondering Thu 01-Mar-18 19:12:36

In your position i would have neither of them. I am a divorced mother and i wouldnt dream of attending DC graduations and weddings. It would taint it for everybody else.

Alternatively just have your dad and his new partner. It doesnt sound like you have much of a relationship with her in any case.

serena5610 Sat 03-Mar-18 04:11:51

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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