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why are families so complicated?!

(18 Posts)
sammysam Mon 06-Jul-09 09:15:25

Such a long story-not sure where to start!
Short version-my dad had an affair and left my mum 12yrs ago (I was 15) He is still with the same woman. My mum has not got over it/moved on or anything-in fact I think she is getting worse. My sister is getting married in december and this has brought up a lot of issues. My sis doesn't really like the other woman so is not inviting her to come (upsetting my dad-who is paying for most of the wedding-but making my mum happy. Dad is being very good about it)
Anyway-that is all up to her but Dp and I would like to get married (been together for 7yrs DC2 on the way) but it is all so difficult as I would invite the other woman. My mum knows this and now spends her time saying she'd rather dp and I jut went off to another country on our own and got married as she'd rather not be there than be there with the other woman (and my dad).

She is so excited about my sisters wedding. So I'm supposed to have NO family at my wedding?!

As time goes on I'm actually getting more and more angry at my mum for the whole situation-i just wish she'd move on. It has been 12yrs FFS. I know it wasn't her fault and she wasn't the one who left-but how long can she keep all this stuff festering inside her.

How could I go off without my family and get married? Plus we'd then have to not invite DP's family. We'd like to get married in another country with a small number of friends AND family. How could we do it without the family as well.

It is just such a crap situation. Not helped by going to a friends gorgeous wedding on sat and being 28wks pg grin

Ho hum-just feeling sorry for myself-tell me to pull myself together! Should also point out that I always try to please everyone and feel guilty about things easily!

angel1976 Mon 06-Jul-09 12:22:54

I don't have any experience of being in your situation but I do have experience of having both sets of parents plan very different weddings for us in different countries as otherwise no one would have been happy! Weddings IMO bring out the worst in people...

My view is that your mum would have had the wedding she wanted with your sister's wedding. If I were you, I would go ahead and plan the overseas wedding and invite the people you want to be there. Tell your mum how much you want her to be there but that she will have to respect your wishes to have your Dad and his partner there too.

Though your dad is the one who has had an affair, you are right, it's been 12 years. Some people will play the martyr forever if you let them. So if you are going to cave in to your mum's 'request' now, be prepared to do it for every family gathering from now on! I do feel sorry for your Dad in the sense that he is paying for your sis's wedding and having his partner excluded from it. It sounds like he has taken it graciously. Give him a chance for your wedding to feel 100% included but you do have to risk your mum not turning up (my view is that she won't, there is no way she will let your dad and partner bask in the glory without her there)! Good luck!

sammysam Mon 06-Jul-09 12:37:57

Thanks angel-it is good to get others views on the situation.

I know what you mean re-she'll have the whole wedding thing with my sis but I just wish she could get over it and not put me in the situation where I have to choose iyswim, so I can truely do what i want for the wedding.

Surely she could just be civil-yes it is not how she would have wanted things to be but how come so many other people can deal with it and not let it ruin special days?

Should add that she has only seen him maybe 5 times since he left the last time being my grandads funeral 7 years ago. She even left the house for the day when he came to see dd for the first time.

I am at the point where I don't panda to her about it anymore about it-and tell her what I think, but this feels different and I think she thinkks that it is partly my fault for wanting my dad and partner there.

I suppose the fact that i'd only really want a small wedding makes things harder as there'd be less people and more chance of them having to talk.

Sorry-don't think any of this makes sense!

junglist1 Mon 06-Jul-09 12:43:40

OK, it's a hard one but IMHO it's more important to have both parents there than to invite the other woman and risk your mum not going? Oh I don't know, whatever you decide I hope it's a lovely day.

cupofteaplease Mon 06-Jul-09 13:18:44

My friend married last year, and she was in the exact situation you are. However, she allowed her dad's partner to come to the wedding, despite her mum making noises about how uncomfortable this would make her.

On the day, the dad's gf was in photos and came down the receiving line, even greeting my friend's mum. The next day, her mum refused to come down to breakfast or say goodbye to family, many of who had travelled from other countries, all because she couldn't face seeing her exdh's 'new' partner (he had the affair 16 years ago. She has never moved on).

After the honeymoon, when we met up, my friend was very upset, blaming herself for allowing the other woman to be there, she felt she should have supported her mum more by not inviting her. She said her sister who is marrying in the future will not allow her there.

I feel for the mums- my friend's and yours OP, but I feel it is time to be the bigger person. What can possibly be gained from trying to make your daughter feel guilty and stressed about her wedding day? In fact, I think it is quite selfish. Good luck.

angel1976 Mon 06-Jul-09 13:51:51

For us, we caved and let the parents organised the weddings they wanted. My DH and I just wanted to get married and would have got married at a registry if not for the emotional blackmail that went on after we announced our plan (his parents ask to just see him one weekend, his sister was in tears about wanting to be the bridesmaid at his wedding etc). IMO they behaved appallingly BUT because we did what they wanted in the end, we never heard a word about that day ever again.

Sounds to me that it's not just your wedding and that there's more going on about you feeling your mum is using this particular issue to get her way in many things. Do you want to invite the OW for good reasons (i.e. it would mean a lot to your dad and you have a personal relationship with her etc?)? And not just to make a point to your mum? If you want to make a point to your mum, you need to do it before the wedding and not let it become an issue at your wedding.

On one hand, DH and I are both married and we are happy. The weddings we had are no reflection on the marriage. But it did keep both parents happy and they can never ever come to us using that as a guilt trip. But in a teeny weeny way, I do wish I did something for us. We said that for our 10th wedding anniversary, we are going to Las Vegas and renew our vows there! Just us and no one else! grin

sammysam Mon 06-Jul-09 14:32:30

Angel-it is by no means to make a point to my mum-It would mean so much to my dad and partner (who I get on well with and also feel a bit sorry for as she has no family of her own-literaly-and so see's us as her family-not that i'd say that to mum!!!!)

But also of course it is more important to have both my parents there.....the trouble is that this won't even solve the problem as really mum doesn't want my dad there either. To be honest the whole thing is probably her way of showing dad that she is cared about more by us and she wants to hurt him.

My dad would be paying for the entire thing (we have no extra money to put towards it like my sis) and I just feel it would be the right thing to do. It was 12yrs ago!

Cupoftea-your poor friend. But it just makes me angry at how her mum behaved. It wasn't her day. Saying that there is NO way her dad's gf should have treated it so much like she was such a big part of it. I know that my dads partner wouldn't-she'd take a back seat but would just love to be there-I would also talk to her to make sure of it.

I don't know really. Just much easier not to bother! I can't deal with all the emotional blackmail etc. I'm a very emotional person and feel things and other peoples pain very deeply so this is really difficult for me.
I feel for my mum-and have done for the last 12yrs. I suppose the reason it is angering me so much is that she is getting worse-I just want her to move on and live her life-she is only 53 FFS-she's happy to be like this for the rest of her life shock

The funny thing is that out of my sis and I-I was the most hurt/angry when it happened-didn't speak to dad for 8months and only met my dad's partner when dd was 3 months old (so about 2 and a half years ago!) after my sister going on about it for ages and organising it.

Its a crazy situation that has no good option.

I can't see anything changing-ever, and I have spoken at length to mum about her situation and what I think-she agrees then says that it is hard and she knows she should move on but can't. She isn't prepared to do anything to make it any better.

MorrisZapp Mon 06-Jul-09 14:37:23

You refer to her as 'the OW', not as your stepmum. Do you too still think of her that way, or do you and your sister now have a relationship with her as your father's partner?

My family is full of steps and remarriages, and everybody is friends with everybody, though it has taken time.

It just seems such a shame to be holding bitterness after all this time, maybe your mum could have counselling? She is going to miss out a lot if there are family occasions she can't attend due to feeling uncomfortable.

sammysam Mon 06-Jul-09 14:48:20

I suppose I do that because it is hard to know what to call her! They are not married (my dad says he will never re marry) so she isn't really a stepmum plus i'm in my late 20's (and was when I first met her) so that feels a bit weird, but also I suppose it is because if i did and used it by mistake in front of mum it would really upset her.

She needs counselling, badly I think and I have tried to get her to go several times over the years-she doesn't think it'll work and isn't prepared to try sad

I just feel in a difficult situation as either I invite dads partner-making him and her happy and me to some extent, but my mum very very unhappy or I don't invite her, upsetting my dad, and not really making my mum 'happy' as really she'd only be happy if dad wasn't there as well or if nothing had ever happened!

Maybe we do just bugger off far away just the 4 of us and have no one there-but that will only be running away from the situation and not what we really want.

Sorry-very hormonal today!

MorrisZapp Mon 06-Jul-09 14:53:49

Sounds like you can't win. I do think your mum is being unfair putting you in this position. This is your wedding, not hers, and the people who matter to you should all be there.

You don't have to have speeches or a top table, you can do loads of things to keep them separate.

angel1976 Mon 06-Jul-09 19:57:45

sammysam - I do think you need to invite your Dad's partner, if your family is all she has, I cannot imagine how hurt she already is by your sister's exclusion. Sounds like your mum has had plenty of time to do something to help her get over it. Will you be prepared to go with her for the first session of counselling? Maybe that will help. I went to a psychotherapist when I was 22/23 out of desperation (was going through a lot in my life due to childhood abuse issues). My first session I bawled my eyes out for 2 hours! I did a very intense six months of therapy and it really helped me straightened out my life. Before I went, it was hard to imagine how it would help but it really did. Maybe your mum just need that added push to go.

I would organise your wedding and make it known to your mum your plan to invite all three of them for the wedding. Then organise some counselling for her and go with her (or even just escort her to the first session). Make sure you give it plenty of time to sort it out in time of your wedding. It sounds to me that you really want to help her move on. It would be so sad if your mum spends the rest of her life playing the martyr and not taking the chance to start afresh without your dad.

Kimi Mon 06-Jul-09 20:16:08

I think no matter how hard it is for you, you are going to have to put your foot down, tell your mother you will have the wedding YOU and DP want and invite who you want to and it is up to her if she is grown up enough and can put her love for you before her own bitterness and come and share your day, if not and she choses to stay away then that is up to her.

I think your dad is great if he is going to shell out for your sisters wedding and not be allowed to invite his partner. It is rude of your sister to be honest

sammysam Tue 07-Jul-09 08:24:46

It is so good to get other peoples views smile
I think I should do what I had originaly wanted as well-I think if I let mum almost dictate now then the next event it will just be expected-plus I don't think it is doing her any favours in the long run.

Angel-i'm sorry to hear that you have been through such a tough time-but it is great that the counselling has worked so well for you. I would definately go with mum, but I think I'd have to drag her! Plus she really has no money so that will be her main excuse reason for not doing it.

Kimi-I undersatnd why my sis has done it-she doesn't want to hurt mum and wants to take the 'easy' route-trouble is she is finding that it isn't quite as easy as she thought as she is having to make sure she and everyone else doesn't mention the wedding at all around dads partner-the wedding isn't til december so it is going to get much much harder. I do think that she could have at least asked her to the evening reception.

I suppose I'm just envy of people who don't have this predicament-or who have parents who can be adult enough to let it go even if it is just for a day. I'm sure something will work out. DP and I will just have to work out exactly what WE want and figure it from there I suppose.

I just feel so sad and angry for and at my mum. How can she be happy to be like this for half her life???!!!

bloss Tue 07-Jul-09 08:59:35

Message withdrawn

Snorbs Tue 07-Jul-09 10:39:53

I think you do need to take a stand and invite whomever you like to your wedding.

Yes, your dad did a downright crappy thing in having an affair. But that's between him and your mum; it's nothing to do with you. The way that your whole family tip-toes around your mum even after all this time must be incredibly wearing. If she can't be adult enough to deal with her resentments and martyrdom for just one day so that she can see her daughter get married, then that's very sad but it's also her problem. She seems to be trying to make the day all about her when it's not - it's all about you and your fiance.

Your dad is being very generous to you both in paying for your wedding. Does your dad's DP earn money? If so, and your dad and her share finances, she's helping to pay for your wedding too. My view is that if you don't want your dad to come with someone who is for all intents and purposes his wife, then don't invite them but don't expect them to pay for your wedding, either.

It's sad when some people get so wrapped up in their own battles that they can't take a step back and see what's really important. I would be very, very tempted to say to your mum "Look, I know you're still upset about dad, but that's between you and him. I'm getting married and I will invite whomever I like and that includes dad and his DP. If your resentment of dad is more important to you than my happiness on my wedding day then that's up to you. It's not my problem."

bloss, while that's an interesting thing that your minister said, I think it's rubbish. If a wedding isn't about the two people actually getting married, what's the point?

crokky Tue 07-Jul-09 10:42:49

My own parents are divorced and I have similar problems. I think that breaking up a marriage does have consequences which sometimes last forever. Your dad did the cheating, presumably his now partner knew he was married with children. I suppose I am going against the grain here as most posters think your mum is being unreasonable, but I feel really sorry for her and think that you father's partner should not come to the wedding if it's going to hurt your mum.

Just because a lot of time has passed, it doesn't mean that your dad's partner can slip into the family and forget the past. It sounds like your dad and his partner ruined your mum's life. Just because they are polite about it doesn't make it OK.

crokky Tue 07-Jul-09 10:45:12

Oh I meant to add, after your children and fiance, I believe your first loyalty should be to your mother (not saying this goes for everyone, just the situation you have described).

Kimi Tue 07-Jul-09 11:26:32

I feel quite sorry for your dads partner sad

I think he should stand up for her, It is not as if this is a new woman, it has been 12 years, and no matter who was right and who was wrong it was a long time ago.
I think the problems all lie with your mother as she has not moved on. It is sad and she will regret the bitterness.

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