I (28F) am engaged to my fiancé Dave (28M). This week, I was going to my hometown and invited him to come with me so he can meet my family. He’s met my brothers and my mom but not my dad and extended family.
When I was 16, my dad cheated on my mom with a very well known escort, then married her. Not only was I going through a tough time dealing with our family being torn apart, but I also had to deal with all the ridicule of having an escort stepmom. People weren’t as open with sex work back then and it was h3ll for me when people found out.
Especially since my stepmom was very vocal and confident about her work. I changed schools in my senior year because I couldn’t handle everyone making fun of me because of my dad and stepmom. My older brother got suspended once because another kid made a joke about hiring our stepmom for a good time and they got into a big fight.
I stayed with my mom full time and barely spoke to my dad or stepmom. My dad wanted equal custody of me and brothers (they were 17 and 14 years old at the time) but none of us wanted to live with him and his wife, and he couldn’t really force us to split our time for him. He also gave up making an effort to see us at all when we said we don’t want to live with him half the time, so we barely saw him.
When I finished high school, I left our hometown and moved to a big city for college. My brothers also moved there and our mom would come visit us all the time so I didn’t bother go back to our hometown. Dad didn’t offer to come see us and none of us have been back home so this week was the first time I’ve seen my dad in about 10 years.
My auntie was hosting a dinner party so everyone can meet my fiancé and of course my dad and stepmom were there. I was polite to them but it was awkward and my fiancé was doing all the talking. My stepmom asked us when and where the wedding would be and my fiancé told her. It’s on the 2nd of December. She said “wow, and you still haven’t sent out invites?”
My fiancé just kind of looked at me awkwardly and I answered “we have sent out invites. But our guest list is limited and we’re only inviting our closest friends and family, so I couldn’t make space for you and dad, I’m sorry”. She just smiled and said she understood. We aren’t inviting anyone we aren’t super close to. We’ll be having 30 guests in total.
The next day my dad comes to visit my fiancé and me at our Airbnb and he asks me why he and his wife aren’t invited to our wedding. He said I’m his only daughter and he’ll feel like a failure if he can’t even walk me down the aisle.
I said “it makes me sad that my dad won’t walk me down the aisle either but I’m not going to make a fuss about that tradition when we have barely spoken since I was 16. We don’t have a father-daughter relationship and I’m not going to pretend like we do just for my wedding.” He started crying and asked how long I plan to punish him for what happened between him and my mom.
He said he feels like he lost his children 12 years ago when he divorced my mom and now I’m putting the final nail in the coffin. I told him I don’t hold resentment over his divorce with my mom and everything he did but the fact of the matter is that we aren’t close anymore and I’m not interested in faking it. AITAH?
You handled it perfectly honestly. There's a vast spectrum between resentment and healthy relationship and your dad doesn't get to guilt you into a relationship that doesn't exist. Don't let the consequences that he's now fully realizing weigh on you at all. NTA.
OP, it is important to have the wedding both you and your fiancé want. You haven’t asked Dad for any money for the wedding and didn’t even invite him so he has no say. As for his hurt feelings… it seems he has had delusions of walking you down the aisle and has only now realized that this is not gonna happen.
It is a hard truth but a choice he made a long time ago. I hope you have a wonderful wedding and a very happy marriage. I wish you all the very best OP! Congratulations.
NTA Your dad is feeling like a failure because he is a failure of a dad. The audacity of people! I can’t believe he broke up your family like that hooking up with an escort and expect you to have him walk you down the aisle like some kind of upstanding father.
Ridiculous. NTA. I don't understand why so many parents think they have parental rights when they don't act like parents. My kids (both in their early 20's) almost never reach out to me.
I was the same with my parents until my late 20's. It's a parents job to make efforts to maintain relationships imo. Your dad let inertia rule his life and now he gets what he put into your relationship, nothing. So sorry for what happened to you in your teenage years. What an awful experience.
NTA. You handled that very well. I hope you and your fiancé have a wonderful wedding day and a happy life!
Thank you 🥺