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My dad is pretty happy with his 'other' life - is it bad that I am happier without him?

(26 Posts)
user1472750970 Tue 13-Sep-16 09:46:06

Hello MN. Long time lurker, apologies for the user2764916387542378 name but it may be best for this...

My dad has been a controversial kind of figure in my life, and recently I've had to seriously consider our relationship. Background:

Dad is 60, Mum is 50. Divorced 20+ years ago, I'm the only daughter and I'm 24. I am trying to keep it short but even writing it is therapeutic and I don't know how to cut it short really

My dad did lots of messed up stuff - he was always involved in storing/selling stolen goods and other 'dodgy' dealings and when they were together she had to collude with him. After they split up he tricked her into giving up her share of the house and made my mum homeless, demanded I stay with him. Didn't last long and he handed me 'back' when he got tired of doing it all. OW moved in (now SM)

My mum really, really tried to be impartial about him when I wasn't old enough to get this. I was super Daddy's Girl from 5-10, lots of holidays, lots of stuff, my mum had nothing but built herself up. Then I witnessed my dad being arrested about age 11, and things just tumbled downhill from there. Teenage years meant I understood what he was arrested for, why it happened then and the role my SM played. SM decided to ban me from their house, and my dad just went along with it, so from 13-18 I wasn't allowed in his house. When he picked me up from DM (hours late) we just drove around all the time.

Since then he told me he split up with SM but found out that wasn't true, they were living separately but spending Christmas together whilst he told me how lonely he was, how much he missed me, how he couldn't function on his own. He still harassed my mum all the time and randomly came round to her house or called her whilst in the car looking at her on the street. Writing that down is terrifying.

Anyway, now he's told me they're back together, they've moved house, he has step GC who live with him, changed career. He has fancy holidays every year, just like when I was a kid, except it is all SM family and his friends (he claims he doesn't have friends). In this period we've barely spoken, maybe twice a year for less than ten minutes, met up less than 5 times. He didn't come to my graduations (bailed on the first one 10 mins before, didn't invite him to the second)

Now, my problem. My DM is being investigated by specialists, signed off work for ages. She wants to see me and DP get married (recently engaged) and she really doesn't want him there. I have some family but a lot of friends and my mum's XP family who supported us and still do. I am preparing for the worst news re DM diagnosis, and honestly? Yeah, why should he be there. I have a messed up family on all sides and I'm having to exclude abusive maternal relatives. I just feel that people see that and think "well your dad is still around and you won't give him a chance" but he has had many, many chances. I just want "permission" granted from somebody, I suppose. I'll never be no contact but I think our low contact arrangement frankly represents his effort and why should I keep trying. He loves nicking photos from my FB and posting about his clever DD but he has no idea what I have been doing for the last 4 years. His mates probably think he's dad of the year, especially with the GC, and I don't actually fault him on the GC.

Advice is gratefully received. Including if I'm being unfair to him.

MaybeDoctor Tue 13-Sep-16 09:49:33

He has betrayed you not once but many times.

You owe him nothing. Feel no guilt.

He will get the relationship with you that he deserves.

MaybeDoctor Tue 13-Sep-16 09:51:45

I have a not-great parent who has gone NC with me in the past (at the behest of a woman).

Now he is surprised that I only want to see him once a year...hmm

0hCrepe Tue 13-Sep-16 09:56:32

Don't invite him. Can't imagine anyone really questioning it and if they did they can't know the full story.

user1472750970 Tue 13-Sep-16 09:59:39

Thanks for the reply Maybe smile I know you're right!

Yes, it's kind of disturbing how easy he found it to not let me in his house and lie to me, but he's really good at making himself the injured party iyswim.

I think I'm aware in reality I owe him nothing, and he has a lot of people looking out for him and thinking he's the best thing since sliced bread. SM was really horrible to me from 10-13 and he didn't stand up for me, but since it's mainly her family that are now his closest relatives it's not exactly going to go down well.

Jenijena Tue 13-Sep-16 10:01:46

Don't invite him, and restrict fb so he can't see the photos he's nicking.

Random strangers on the internet give you permission to do what makes you happy!

breakfastbap Tue 13-Sep-16 10:02:15

My father has also gone NC with me as it 'upsets his GF if he's in contact with me'

You are better off without him.

darthpaul Tue 13-Sep-16 10:04:54

I didn't invite my brother or dad to my wedding. I still have some contact with brother and he was offended but I don't care, he's treated me badly so why would I want him there? Put yourself first OP, no one else will do it for you. You don't have to live making other people happy or following social etiquette at your own expense or the expense of those who have been good to you (DM). Do exactly what you want and anyone who disagrees can fuck off.

PovertyPain Tue 13-Sep-16 10:05:35

So what if he gets annoyed by being banned from the wedding, yes banned, not just no invite, otherwise you run the risk of him turning up. This could be the last lovely memory you could make for your mum, whereas he's done nothing but try to destroy her. Don't let him take this away from her, OP. Hope you have a wonderful day. flowers

Alibobbob Tue 13-Sep-16 10:05:47

My father was a waste of space - had an affair, left wife and 4 kids. I was 2 and the youngest, never saw him again, never a birthday or Christmas card and not a penny in child maintenance.

Now in my late 30's, he dies a few years ago. I never met him and I never missed him.

Only you know of your relationship with your Dad. Be honest with yourself and make the best decision for you.

Do you want to get married? Does your partner? You can't marry someone because it's what your Mum wants.

Kr1stina Tue 13-Sep-16 10:14:49

I'm giving you permission not to invite him . In fact I'm ordering you DO NOT INVITE HIM grin

I would not even DREAM of inviting him if I were you. Do not risk spoiling your day , you owe him nothing.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 13-Sep-16 10:22:03

Sod feeling guilty re him. I think you are still in a degree of FOG (fear, obligation, guilt) with regards to your dad because he was not an ideal parent to you at all. He was and remains a toxic individual.

Do not invite your father to your wedding, no good will come of doing so. This man has continued to put his second family ahead of you people because he is both a profoundly weak and selfish individual. He has not fundamentally altered since when you were a child.

Block his access to your FB account too. Look at your security settings again and further raise them.

user1472750970 Tue 13-Sep-16 10:35:17

Poverty I totally agree, this is why I just think I have come to the decision I have to say he's not coming and tell him directly not to show up. My partner and I have been together for almost 5 years now and he's never been interested, he's actually been hypercritical of everything I've done. I am terrified at the moment about DM and this diagnosis - we're planning early 2018 wedding but if things change DP would want her there and we would come up with something, it doesn't have to be big and flashy!

Alibob I totally get that, yes. I wouldn't miss him if he hadn't been around - I think him being around has made it more difficult to accept he's a shit dad. Again I'm just avoiding confronting the inevitable really

Me and DP are very excited to get married. We're a very cheesy romantic couple, met online, lived together most of the relationship. I get the concern though considering I only mentioned the wedding with the DM bit, made it sound a bit forced! It's just focused my mind, and it might move things forward, but we just want to get married and neither of us would regret a registry office ceremony if it meant DM was there to see it. Since she has been my stable parent for so long DP realises how much that means to me, I would be broken if she wasn't there.

user1472750970 Tue 13-Sep-16 10:40:07

Oh and I take all the very valid points about FB! I don't let him see a lot at all but he takes the profile pics which are generally ones of me and DP at events etc. In a way I wish I didn't have him on FB. It's kind of become a sad joke looking at how he always seems to come out smelling of roses and living the high life

Argh this is all so irrational isn't it. I really, really appreciate the replies flowers

confuugled1 Tue 13-Sep-16 10:46:19

I'd go further. Not only would I not invite him to the wedding, I wouldn't tell him that I was getting married until after the event. If he already knows that you're planning on getting married, I'd be tempted to tell him as little as possible - but give him a date that is next year rather than this year and just say that you're saving up or some such.

Later on you can tell him you're married - or just post your wedding photo on facebook relish the thought that on the one hand he's going to want to post photos of his beautiful clever dd getting married - but he'll then also have to explain why he wasn't at the wedding. Especially if you make some comment on the photo about being so glad that your dad wasn't there to spoil the day as that will then be seen by his friends.

If he gets antsy about being told the wrong details, just say the truth - you couldn't risk him being there. Or the less harsh - a good deal came up, I just invited the people important to me, didn't think you'd want to come given the way you usually bail out on me and have screwed me over the majority of my life' and leave it at that.

OliviaStabler Tue 13-Sep-16 11:02:12

Don't invite him.

Relatives can advise you all they want about what they would do or tell you to invite him but they do not know the full story. Make the right decision for you.

BitchQueen90 Tue 13-Sep-16 11:03:22

My father was involved in a lot of criminal activity. Drugs, burglary, fraud. In and out of prison my whole life. Decided at 11 years old I no longer wanted to see him and he never made any effort to dissuade me. Never heard from him again. About 3 years ago I was reading the local news only to see he had absconded from an open prison. He obviously hasn't and will never learn. He has never met my DS, his only grandchild and he never will. I don't want him exposed to that lifestyle.

You have nothing to feel guilty about OP. You are under no obligation to keep negative people in your life. Parents are supposed to provide, love and care for their children and it sounds like he has let you down. You don't owe him anything.

GoblinLittleOwl Tue 13-Sep-16 11:05:07

You are absolutely justified in not inviting your father.
If you did you would be on tenterhooks all the time, his behaviour is unpredictable, and you would be worried about the impact he would have on your mother. You certainly don't owe him anything.
Keeping it secret is a good idea, if you can.

Kr1stina Tue 13-Sep-16 11:25:19

If my mum was seriously ill and if I was engaged and planning to get married anyway sometime soon, I'd be planning an early 2017 wedding, not a 2018 one.

Just saying. I guess it depends how unwell your mother is. 18 months is a long time if you have an uncertain diagnosis.

But that's just me, I planned my wedding in 3 months and it was lovely. you must do what's right for you and your fiancé .

user1472750970 Tue 13-Sep-16 11:37:56

BitchQueen thank you for your story. The criminal things only came to light when my mum could explain a bit more, it was rough, I can't imagine having already come to terms with that by 11 and making such a mature decision flowers

I do have some anxiety/depression issues which make it difficult to let go of the guilt. My DM is also a very guilt ridden person and I know we are both working on that aspect of ourselves. I know we don't owe him crap and we need to put ourselves first, and that isn't selfish. He is unpredictable Goblin you're right, and it's pretty exhausting when he suddenly bursts into my life, usually demanding to judge how i'm spending money/where I work/where I live/what my mum is doing

To be honest I don't think any other relatives would say anything if he wasn't there. My uncle (DM's one sane brother) is going to be there, maybe some of my ex-stepdad's family, and I have DP's family who are aware of the difficulties and have told me the same as you all have!

Thanks for the advice on how to handle the event itself. We are hoping to put down the deposit on the venue by December, but since there's no set date or anything I might just tell him after the fact as pp suggested. I think if I told him before it'd just give him a reason to argue/pity party about how how cold I am to SM.

If I invited him there's a high chance he wouldn't even come, he avoids any kind of conflict/confrontation (graduation was devastating, I did go full NC for a year) and everyone close to me is quite aware of the general picture. And that does make me sad deep down, but we're never going to go back to that happy relationship I remember from early childhood because it was built on point-scoring against DM/Disney Dad antics and nothing of real substance.

Sorry if I don't name you all in replies but every single one means a bunch to me right now. I have a lot more confidence in my original position, but I do need to get out of the obligation and guilt cycle.

user1472750970 Tue 13-Sep-16 11:45:42

Kr1stina Yes this is my main worry at the moment. It has been about 6 months now she has been getting tested and unable to work, a range of specialists involved and I just don't know what it's going to be. I just have a sense that it's not going to be good, acute symptoms are so persistent, she has done a very physical job for 13 years now.

I would of course move things forward immediately, we have just been in limbo about her tests for so long. More tests later this week too. As soon as I know what kind of time scale I have (fuck, I'm really trying not to think about that, because it's 'her' time scale) then I'll kick it into high gear, we'll throw something together and it will be perfect as long as she is there. Everyone we are close to would pitch in to help and really in the circumstances I would be incredibly happy with something simple smile

Kr1stina Tue 13-Sep-16 13:16:34

I'm sorry for the worry about your mum. But honestly miss you really don't need 18 months to plan a weeding unless you want to .

The problem with planing it for 2018 is at what point do you go " ok this is it, we need to do it now " ?

The journey of many illnesses has ups and downs . If you suddenly bring forward the wedding by a year in response to a bad test result / operation etc , it will feel like you are saying to your mum " we've given up hope , we know that you aren't going to last much longer " .

Which is the last thing you woudl ever want to convey to her I'm sure.

I'm only saying this because I saw a friends DD in the same situation. DD and her DP had been living together for Years, no plans to marry until kids came along .

Then Her mum was diagnosed with cancer and they decided to get married but didn't know when to set a date as the mum has lots of tests then surgery and chemotherapy .

by the time they realised that mum wasn't going to win the fight, she was quite ill. Although she got to the wedding, she wasn't able to help with the planning, accompany her DD to chose a dress etc .

All the things they both would have loved her to do.

My friend lived to hear a few months later that her first grandchild was on the way, but she didn't get to see him :-(

I really hope the outcome for your own mother is a very postive one and I hope you don't mind my sharing this others family's story .

I know there's no right or wrong way to handle these things.

hellsbellsmelons Tue 13-Sep-16 13:32:21

Talking of facebook, something I just saw!
Take note!

Alibobbob Tue 13-Sep-16 22:12:23

Hi User just catching up on your post. Thank you for replying to me. You sound so loved up it made me smile. X

I got married a decade or so ago and it never entered my head to invite my father in fact I never gave him a second thought - he very rarely enters my thoughts.

I think I had it a lot easier than you as I had no contact ever and grew up with a fantastic Mum and no father figure (Mum walked me down the aisle).

You don't owe your father anything - enjoy planning your wedding, enjoy the day and not married life. Put yourself and your partner first, easier said than done I know.

I hope your Mum gets some good news soon, she sounds like my Mum I guess we will never fully know/understand what they went through with their exes/our fathers but know enough that they are strong and that your Mum will fight if she has to.

Take care

duckwalk Tue 13-Sep-16 22:25:02

I didn't invite my mum to my wedding, we'd been nc for years as she's a vile individual. I worried about what others would think on the day (dh's family and friends) and wonder why she wasn't there, or if she'd passed away. However, on the day I didn't care.
Also got a friend who didn't invite her dad to her wedding..they had a very fractured relationship and his presence would have brought a dark cloud. He now no longer speaks to her as a result. But it says a lot more about him than it does her.

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