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Immediate Family Politics

Warning, quite a lengthy one here..

Wondering if I could have some outsider opinions on what I'm having to deal with at the moment as I'm having a hard time getting my head around why these people are being how they are but also, how am I suppose to deal with the situation for the best?!

So basically I've grown up with my mum and from around 7, my step dad. I used to see my dad at weekends growing up until him and his wife moved to Australia when I was 13, I'm now 30. Due to this over the years we've just grown apart, as you'd expect as I'd only see him every 3 years or so and not much effort with communication in-between.

My h2b and I gave out invites at Christmas for our July wedding. We've booked a house for a long weekend which has a wedding licence and has 8 bedrooms. We've split the rooms between h2b's close family (quite a few them at 11) a room for my mum and one for ourselves. All our bridal party, groomsmen, day and evening guests are choosing to glamp in the grounds which I've arranged for them.

When sending my dad's invite I added a note saying that I understand it's last minute, quite an expense to come over and I know he's already got holiday booked so not to feel bad if he couldn't make it over and that if he couldn't, then we could well pop over to Oz as part of our honeymoon. Anyway, he's said he's coming and booked his flight. Then said he'd looked online at the venue and asked if he could have a room which I had to tell him they've already been given out but there's tons of places close by...which I'd prefer if I were him seeing as he doesn't know my h2b's family and my mum and step dad will be staying too. I know I'd rather have my own space close by instead if I was in his situation rather than spending a weekend in a house full of people I don't know and my ex and their partner...? Anyway, he wasn't best pleased I hadn't reserved him and his wife a room, I offered to rejig rooms around if they really want to stay that much but they declined and said they wouldn't want to stay anyway because my mum would be there.

The other situation I've dealt with is picking who to give me away, seeing as my father will be there but so will my step dad who I've grown up and lived I've asked my mum to give me away instead. My mum and step dad were happy with this. My dad not so much. With this and the room, it's only just made him realise we're not close but also he's said it feels like him and his wife are just like any other guest.

3 or so weeks have gone past since explaining to him that I'm having my mum give me away and that's that. I've had my nan (dad's mum also in Oz) send me a message guilt tripping me saying how much I've upset my dad and that they were this time I was so fed up to the back teeth with it all I wasn't buying any of the guilt tripping and told her I've made up my mind, it's for the best and as family they should support and respect what it is I want on my day. That then calmed down.

Last week a bedroom at the venue became available, we asked people if they'd be interested in it, all declined as they want to camp. So after some thinking, we thought we'd offer the room to my dad..we've already paid for it so it'd be wasted otherwise and also we've asked for people staying to pay a contribution so we'd be getting something back towards it, but also it's downstairs and separate from were all the other bedrooms in the house are. I thought at least offering my dad a room might make him feel like I do want him there and might make the atmosphere between us a bit better than if I hadn't sorted anything out for him seeing as he hasn't said a peep in weeks I imagine it would have just continued like that with it making the situation more and more awkward as time goes on. So after talking to h2b, I asked my dad if he wanted the room and he said he'd think about it..3 minutes later I got a 'yes please'!

I've then had to tell my mum and step dad and it's gone down like a lead balloon. My mums said that I should have asked her before talking to my dad, has said that if we really wanted money back for the room that much then she would rather have just given me the money for it just so my dad didn't stay! She's now saying she's not wanting to stay, she was looking forward to it and now she's dreading it. And that I'm backing down from my dad and letting him have his own way to keep him happy but I obviously don't give a damn about her or my step dad and how they feel! Rang today and spoke to my step dad, he's said she's been crying all week including times when he's come in from work. He said mum was busy so would call me back, didnt get a call back. I feel like I'm missing something, is it really that bad offering my dad a room that my mums been crying daily for a week and doesn't want to speak with me?!

I'm literally so drained from all this, I just don't know what to do or say for the best anymore.

If you've read this far, thank you! Believe it or not that's more of a summary of what's been said!!

Was not mentally prepared for all this when we decided to book our wedding, it's been horrible and it's made me seriously consider cancelling the ceremony, just the 2 of us elope and then use the weekend at the house as just a massive party instead.

I'd appreciate outside opinions and feedback if you can please, It'd be very much appreciated.



  • Hi lovely,

    Sorry you're having to go through this and that it's putting such a dampener on what should be an exciting experience.

    I had something similar with my mum, as it goes. Similar to you, my dad left when I was young and used to see him at weekends but he had a string of other women and I essentially became a play friend for the child of whichever woman he was seeing at the time. Needless to say, we lost touch over the years. Efforts to make nice with him over the years have always ended pretty badly.

    I was really unsure whether to invite him to the wedding or not. In the end, I decided not to (although there's still a little part of me that thinks I probably *should* invite him). I was really surprised by my mum's reaction after I told her I wasn't inviting him. Pretty sure her exact words were "I'm glad you're not inviting him because if you had, I'm pretty sure I couldn't go (to the wedding". This absolutely shocked me because, to my mum's credit, she's never had any outward animosity towards my dad and has been civil with him in the past at my graduation, sister's graduation etc.

    I think it's easy of us to think "well, they're both adults and they both love me so I don't see why they can't just play nice for one day", which makes sense. Then I tried to think how I'd felt if I saw (and had to stay in the same place) as the ex from my worst break-up and I kinda understood it. I wouldn't feel comfortable, even if I was with someone else. Especially seeing them with someone else. I think it would bring up all kinds of feelings and hurt from the past.

    I do think your mum is overreacting a little - it's not something you need to cry about on a daily basis. But I can understand why she wouldn't want him staying there. I don't think there's much you can do and I think it was nice of you to offer the spare room to your dad. May be worth just sitting down with your mum, reminding her how much you love her and that you didn't intend to hurt her feelings but you felt torn between the two of them which isn't fair. Remind her it's just one day, she'll barely have to see or speak to him and how important it is to have both of your parents there. I'm sure she'll come around xx
  • MrsCarnegieMrsCarnegie Posts: 516 New bride
    Bless your heart, you poor thing ❤ I just want to say that I think you have done everything possible to make things the best they can be on your wedding day. If I'd been in your situation, I would have probably done the same. I think your mum is being out of order to be honest. It is your wedding, yours and your h2b's, so if you want to offer a room to your dad, that's your choice. 

    We did elope (kind of) and our wedding ceremony was just us, my 16 year old and our friend/photographer acting as our witnesses. We avoided any of those issues, but it's not for everyone.

    Could you perhaps go and see your mum and tell her how you're feeling? You could explain what your nan said too and how you feel you're being pressurised by all sides. Explain that you love them but it is important to your relationship with your dad, that you include him. 

    I hope you manage to get past this and your family can just be happy with the decisions you make xxx 
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  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,957 New bride
    They need to grow up and put you first. No one is asking them to stay in the same room for God's sake.
    Your dad should realise that choosing to move to the other side of the world would inevitably damage your relationship, and your mum needs to calm herself down and realise it's a couple of days and she can just politely ignore him (my parents are divorced and this is what they do). Your dad is going to be there most of the weekend whether he actually sleeps there or not.
    I just wouldn't engage in their games of parental top trumps anymore if I were you - just tell them this is the way it is, not up for discussion, final word on the subject.
  • Hi,

    Thank you all for taking the time to read my post and let me know what it is you think.

    I think my mum would have been over the moon if i hadn't invited my dad but he has been in my life, even if he hasn't acted like a proper parent, he's lingered haha! He's always made sure every year he gets me a birthday and Christmas gift even if we haven't spoken in a while. Anyway, my mum see's it as he doesn't deserve to have 'any of the good things and rewards ' of being a parent so he's got no right in expecting that he'd be giving me away. Which i do get, although harsh, it's true...but not so much that he doesn't deserve an invite. In his emails to me he seems to have been a bit delusional over the years since moving 17 years ago, and for some reason thought that we were close still like when i was 13?! Very odd. So he see's it like he's fully entitled to be a main part of my day and he seemed confused when i said i didn't want to pick between him or my step dad as he thinks my step dad shouldn't even be considered although he's brought me up..? All very strange, think he must have had his head in the sand since moving. Annnnyway, i get that it's an awkward situation with my mum&step dad being in the vicinity of my dad&step mum but it's just something they've all had to get their heads around with saying they'll attend the wedding. My mum has said she'd got her head around having to spend the Saturday with my dad there, but wasn't expecting to have to put up with him there on the Friday night and Sunday. This being said, she knew the plan was to have a massive group meal on the Friday at the house with all family and all bridal party friends and international guests..almost 30 people in total! Then on the Sunday afternoon, having everyone and left over guests in the garden for a bbq before people leave. I don't know if she just assumed i'd invited everyone but my dad for these parts?! Or maybe she just didn't think that in-depth about the weekends plans..who knows. I've said to her that there will be so many people that it's not like she'll be stuck in a room just her and my dad, and that not everyone can fit in 1 room to eat meals anyway so people will be dispersed all over the place.

    I told my mum Friday last week on the phone about my dad taking a bedroom, we had plans to meet the following day anyway and thought giving her overnight for it to sink in would be enough. We met for lunch for my 30th, after the meal we went for a coffee and the bedroom subject came up. It then turned into quite a heated discussion for about 30mins..she then said we were just going around in circles and she got up to leave (happy 30th birthday!). So within that 30mins, we did talk about it all, her feelings, mine, etc etc. I also said if i'm going to do something to lighten the mood a bit and make things a bit better between myself and my dad, as well as his side of the family, if giving him a bedroom to stay in (which is also helping me out) is going to do that, then so be's just a bedroom! She's saying i'm backing down to him to keep him happy but i don't see it as backing down. It's quite a simple resolution to making sure i don't fall out with my dad/dad's side of the family. I'd told her he's going to be there for all elements of the weekend anyway, why does it matter if he's sleeping in a bedroom in the same building. It's not like I've put them in rooms next to each other, he's downstairs and she's upstairs with all the other rooms.

    I've considered saying to my dad that it might be best if he stays elsewhere because mums kicking up a fuss and now isn't talking to me. But then that is me backing down from her! I also imagine it's then going to make even more of a 'thing' when they do see each other at the wedding and have created even more anger between them both!

    I've also thought that maybe she's kicking up such a fuss because maybe him not having a room in the house with her and the h2b's family is almost making her feel more important than him seeing as she think's he's not entitled to be part of 'any of the nice things to do with being a parent'. Maybe it's just her throwing a wobbly because she wants him to feel excluded and not part of it all...?! And i'm trying to include him which she's not liking. If so, it's so petty and spiteful.

    The thought of maybe going off and doing the ceremony just with a couple of people instead and then having the Saturday as a party would just put less pressure on it all...or that's me just trying to back out of having a face all this drama  :/  I'd be annoyed if i had to cancel our ceremony and lose money and then have to pay out for booking something else just because of this rubbish. It's all pretty silly really.

    My mum can be very childish and at times 'like a jealous girlfriend' but shes also very stubborn. So i know she'll just carry on not talking to me unless i sort something out, she won't just get over it. She hardly has any friends because as soon as someone says or does something she doesn't like, she cuts them off. She's even done it with her mum, who i'm still close with. I used to have to lie/not tell her if i'd spoke to or seen my nan because she'd then get grumpy with me too!!


    Thank you again for your responses.
  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,957 New bride
    To be honest, the problems you are facing is one of the reasons why our wedding is strictly a one day event - I wanted to go abroad but I would never have been able to get my parents and various other family members to go on the same holiday as each other.

    Your dad does sound deluded but your mum sounds quite narcissistic & to be honest. Good luck, hope it all gets resolved.
  • MrsCarnegieMrsCarnegie Posts: 516 New bride
    After reading your last post, I have to say that I think your mum is being completely childish! It is your wedding and you have found a sensible solution offering the room to your dad. Also, you should not have to change your wedding plans because of someone else's hang ups (even if it is your mum). I say stick to your guns and just let your mum know that it's happening. I am sure she will mellow before the wedding arrives and if not, she is not doing her duty as a parent. 

    Hope it all works out xxx 
  • OmRumOmRum Posts: 951 New bride
    I can see all your points of view - I think going to a wedding which is also being attended by your ex-spouse and their new partner would be very hard, and being passed over for a role that would traditionally fall on you would also be difficult. I can understand why it's causing tensions.

    However, this is the world we now live in, as families come in so many shapes and sizes. They are adults who chose to raise a child, then chose to divorce, and then chose to remarry other people. This is none of your fault. So whilst I understand it's difficult for them and it is easier said than done that they should just "get on with it", it feels like they're not really trying for you. Perhaps you could try and turn on the waterworks or the sympathy switch yourself and just tell them the truth - that their attitudes are really upsetting you and you're worried that it will ruin YOUR day, and that you'd really appreciate it if they tried to set aside their issues just for the one weekend. A few tears from you might seem overly-dramatic, but maybe if your mum and dad saw their daughter actually crying due to their behaviour they might snap out of their little bubbles and see what stress they are causing you.
  • Wowzers. This is a tough one and i sympathise. My Dad moved to the states from the UK when i was about 13 i think, and i have seen him twice in the 15 years since then. He too very much has left his head back when we were closer, and my mum too thinks that he has no right to be involved in things as he wasn't the most useful even when he was here. 

    Families are a nightmare, but honestly i think your mum is making this far harder than it needs to be. Where your dad stays has no impact on her, like you say they aren't going to be next door to each other, and if you want your dad to feel included and stay in the house that's YOUR right, it isnt about what she thinks he deserves, its about what YOU deserve. 

    I know it isn't easy and its so easy for us to all say, but i agree with OmRum, you need to make your mum aware how much this is effecting you. Maybe just sit her down and say you think you're going to re-evaluate the wedding weekend and how it will all work, and you think seeing as you cant please anyone let alone everyone you're now debating having a private ceremony only. She should be aware quite how seriously its effecting your enjoyment, all because she cant buck up. 
    I'm afraid i'm quite blunt, so id be saying "It isn't my fault you two had a child and it didn't work out, but now i'm the one being punished for the fact you cant just be civil for a few days and its ruining my enjoyment of the wedding planning" Or maybe you just say "i'm really sorry you feel so strongly about it that you're willing to cause me such upset - i didn't realise that it was more important than my happiness to you. 

    Manipulative and guilt tripping? Probably, but by the sounds of it that's whats shes doing to you, and as someone who's been pulled pillar to post with parents emotional blackmail i think sometimes you just have to lay it to them in a way they do understand. Hopefully she will realise what effect this is having on you and she wont want to be seen as the mum who's trying to make her child unhappy and she will shut up about it. If she doesn't change her tune then i'm sorry but i'm not sure anything will set her straight, and you're just going to have to try and crack on and ignore her as best as you can. 
  • Hiya,
    Thanks everyone for your help and opinions, it's made me realise that i'm not as much as in the wrong than what i was made to feel by my mum. I still haven't heard a thing from her... i'll give it to the weekend and give her a call, that would have given her 3 weeks to process everything.

  • Just tell her that if it's making her feel that uncomfortable then she's very welcome to remove herself from the situation and not come.
    Obviously, you don't want her to actually do that but it might just be the wake up call she needs to realise that this day isn't all about her.
  • I think it’s time to set some firm boundaries here.

    Clear message to both of them, and any step parent/ grandparent/ other relative that wants to meddle.

    ‘These are the decisions my fiancé and I have made for our wedding and we are happy with them. They have not been easy to come to, and have caused some agonising because of the particular family situation - a situation I didn’t cause and that is a result of decisions made when I was still a child. I know you love me and want the best for me - and in this case the best would be for you to come to the wedding, put aside any past issues or resentments, and focus on the happiness of your daughter marrying the man she loves. That’s what any daughter has the right to expect from her parents and it’s what I’m expecting from you. I won’t be changing my decisions or discussing them any further. I’m looking forward to having you be part of my special day. If you really feel you can’t do that then you’re welcome not to come.’ 
  • JadeFairyJadeFairy Posts: 4 New bride
    edited March 2019
    Soo, rang my mum, i just acted and spoke as normal about work, life etc and didn't mention anything to do with the wedding to try and avoid an argument. Anyway, she ended up bringing it up as i asked her what she'd like to do for mothers day at the end of the month and she said she didn't know because she didn't know if we'd be talking by then.. i said i had called and she never called back, she said she was too hurt and upset to speak to me then. So i said, does that mean you're ok now if you're speaking to me and she said no she's not...and that's where it all started off again.

    We spoke about everything all over again but i said some things and points that you've all helped me to see, as above. One point that i was pretty taken aback by that she'd said which shows me why she's taking this so to heart is that shes basically really held a grudge against my dad for moving abroad and following his career and said that it basically left her with no other option but to raise me and not follow a better a career or anything else that she might have wanted to do with her life!? Like wtf!! Then as i was about to say something a long the lines of 'well sorry im such a burden' she then went onto say 'But not that i would have done anything any differently'. Literally didn't know what else to say to that really. I said the point of that i'm not going to plan my wedding around her issues with certain people etc and she just said 'yeah, clearly'.

    Also another thing that actually made my blood boil and couldn't get my words out to her until i paused to compose myself is; she said about that she was really looking forward to the weekend of my wedding and now that i've 'done this' (given my dad a room to stay in) that she's dreading it and i've ruined it for her!!! Once i got myself together i basically said to her 'well how do you think I feel?! I was really looking forward to MY wedding weekend and having all my friends and family together and having a really nice time but now she's causing me with tons of anxiety about the whole weekend and making me worry about if something is going to kick off with her and my dad because of how she's reacting'. She said it was basically all my doing.

    Anyway, i was pretty blunt with a few things and it finished the conversation. She won't get over it by the sounds of it and i feel like this might just be an on-going discussion...until i really have enough of it and tell her to get over it or not to bother coming, which i don't really want to say but suppose i'll have to if it really doesn't get resolved sensibly through conservation.
  • GinAndBlingGinAndBling Posts: 1,311 New bride
    Oh I really feel for you. This is so tough. I haven't commented so far but just wanted to say it sounds like you are handling the whole thing with such decorum and maturity. 

    It's very easy to say from this side of a laptop but I'd probably have to skip straight to saying to her "look end of discussion. You either get over it and stop making it about your own hangups about your relationship with my Dad, and start focusing on what is supposed to be a happy day for me and my partner. Otherwise, if you are really not able to dig deep and put your own issues to one side, you shouldn't come, as we don't want to start our married life with such negativity and resentment".

    This is supposed to be an exciting, enjoyable time for you and she's completely taking over and making it about her. 
    Our planning thread: We're completely winging it.
    Our report: A fun, classic May day in navy and blush
    My weightloss thread: Diet denial! 
  • Cecilia13Cecilia13 Posts: 512 New bride
    I completely understand, it's a horrible situation. My mum is deeply hurt by my dad leaving her and his actions (it was about 3 or 4 years ago now) and has made it very clear she's dreading the day as he will be there. She's trying really hard in some ways and saying of course she understands he'll be there as he's my dad and she wouldn't ever ask me not to invite him which is nice, but she's still also going on about how much she's dreading it and she'll TRY to hold it together on the day, which of course still makes me feel rubbish about it (she 'accidentally' sent a message right near the beginning of our engagement to our sisters/mum group chat saying she's happy for me but absolutely dreading the wedding and crying thinking about it).
    All I've ended up being able to say is that I am sorry and I'll do my best to make sure she has a lovely day but it is my wedding and I expect her and her family to pull it together for a day and behave. 
    Have no idea if they'll all be able to stick to it but we already made the wedding much bigger than we would like to try and dilute the situation. I hope they suck it up for a day and I hope the same happens for you! 
  • Bit late to the party with this; so sorry to read about everything you're having to deal with from your Mum. I totally understand how you feel - not so much in "eloping" but just the whole family drama situation. Hopefully your mum comes round & see's that it is YOUR day. 

    I've got similar issues with my parents - they split about 10 years ago, not amicably & haven't really seen or spoken since.
    My dad wasn't the greatest  & I hold a lot of resentment against both him & my mum for things that  happened growing up - which both are fully aware of. 
    Anyway, my mum isn't the most engaged when it comes to the wedding & would rather ask my brother or sister questions as to what is happening with my dad, rather than just coming straight to me. 
    We're getting married in June this year & I've decided to just invite my dad to the church ceremony (we're not having a full Catholic mass, so it'll only last about 40 mins followed by a few pictures) where he can give me away & feel "involved". I've then said that I will put a bit of money towards a meal for him if he has anyone he can go which he has said there isn't really as none of his friends are local to us (which is sort of heartbreaking, as now I have the image of him just going home to sit by himself)
    My brother isn't happy about the fact dad isn't coming to the second ceremony/reception at the venue & neither is my fiance, but that's mainly because he hasn't seen the side of my dad that I am trying to avoid. 
    Neither my mum nor sister are overly happy with him being at the ceremony; my mum has made me invite my Aunt (her sister) to the church - we are keeping it to just parents, bridesmaids & ushers plus their other halves - which I didn't really want to do, but she's said it will make her feel comfier about being around my dad if she is there, which I can't really argue with. 
    I've told both my mum & my sister that I will organise a day for them to meet dad, round mine before the wedding so it isn't the first initial shock on my wedding day - this is still to happen as neither will confirm dates with me. 
    I'm just hoping on the day that there are no kick offs when its time to leave the church & will just have to try and keep the parents as separate as possible. 

    I hope everything works out for you JadeFairy - you have to do what makes you happy at the end of the day and hope everyone else can get on board. 
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