One man put forth effort to try and connect with his stepdaughter. He paid for her school, attended all of her childhood events and truly wanted a role as a father figure in her life. According to him, she shot him down every step of the way. That is, until she was preparing to get married.
My wife passed away when my sons were 8 and 4 respectively. Since then I remarried and my new wife and I have been married for some 11 years now. She herself was married before and had a daughter of her own from her own past marriage. Her ex-husband's story is its own saga but suffice to say he's alive but isn't in their life anymore.
When we married, my bio-children were 13 (son) and 9 (son) and my step-daughter was 12. For 11 years I tried to make some bridges, I would get her gifts and try to make sure she always got what she wanted. I did everything I could to make her happy.
I would drive her to school, be at her extracurricular activities, I paid for the nicest private schools for her I could. Not to mention, I worked day and night so I could give her the lifestyle she deserved (my wife is a house-wife, a choice she made after she voluntarily quit her job in marketing). I tried my best and treated her just like my sons, but she continued to hate me.
This came to a head specifically when my step-daughter graduated about 5 years ago. While my eldest son had invited my wife (his stepmom) to his graduation, my stepdaughter refused to invite me.
She had two tickets, but she only invited her mother (her grandparents refused as they live in my wife's native country).
When I asked why? She said 'You're not my dad, you didn't raise me, and I don't want you in my life'. I was heartbroken, I tried very hard for her to like me but she hated me. Still I paid for her college (I paid for both of my son's colleges as well).
Nevertheless, a few months back, she informed my wife that she will be getting married. I only found out, when my wife told me.
What was even more devastating is that she said she would come home to celebrate, so I bought a cake, and balloons and bunch of decorations. Then, last minute, she changed plans. She just told my wife that she should come over to her apartment, without my sons and I. I was shattered.
When I did eventually call to congratulate her, she just tried to end the conversation as quickly as she could. The last thing I asked was maybe the honor to have a father-daughter dance with her, which she shot down.
I said nothing, but then came the bill and my wife said she needed some money for her wedding. I considered it long and hard, but clearly as she didn't consider me as her father, I said I would not be paying for her wedding.
I told my wife, that she had money saved up, it was her to choice to use that if she wanted, but I would not be paying for her wedding. She was furious at me, she said she barely had any money saved up and I was being an awful person.
I have received calls from all of my wife's family telling me that I should pay (mainly her immediate family, like my father-in-law and my brother-in-law). The whole thing has become a mess, it has divided our family but I am still holding my ground. AITA?
1ST EDIT: I want to be clear, I will absolutely be paying for my son's wedding when it comes
2ND EDIT: I want to also clarify that this is going to be far from a minor financial inconvenience. While, I am sufficiently wealthy, it is still not something that will not go easy on my bank-account. My wife's family is Indian. Her ex-husband was Indian and my step-daughter is Indian. Her wedding is going to have probably around 400-600 people.
3RD EDIT: My wife has been an amazing mother to both our boys and our girl. She is loving and dotting wife, who runs a phenomenal house. She tried to get her daughter close to me as well, to little consequence.
I also do not think that I could be where I am without her (and certainly before her I was nowhere close to where I am in my success). It is also true that my money has always been our-money, and she does most of the accounting for the house anyway. If I do this I would be doing this for her, not my daughter.
Moreover, if she really wanted to, she could do it without my approval. More than half the money is in bank accounts with her name on them (long story, involving bad business decisions early in my life, which gave me bad credit).
If she wanted to, she could. She never has and I do not think she will. If she does that will be her choice, and even if she told me she was going to, I do not think I will stop her.
4th EDIT: Some of you have DMed me questions about my life. Yes I do have one son with my wife. My wife had her daughter when she was quite young (19) and we had a baby boy (it was not planned and he is 3 now) after my daughter graduated.
I wished to keep parts of my life hidden because they were not important to this story, but some of you have mentioned that this may be important to the story as it may have impacted my relationship with my daughter. I assure you, she was just as cold with me before the baby and the event at her graduation happened before my daughter knew about the pregnancy.
NTA. Your step daughter said you are not her dad. You are not obliged to pay for her wedding since you are not her dad, even though you tried and supported her.
Ask them to ask money from her biological dad. That’s the very least they can do. At this age, her daughter will never accept you as a father figure , so you can accept that fact and act accordingly.
I wonder if the wife's family has ever seen OP as anything more than an ATM. Now that the ATM has refused to dispense any more money, they are furious. How much more is OP supposed to bend over backwards for them? Just say good riddance, OP. You'll be better off without them.
OP (thanklessly it seems) already paid for college. I'm sad for you OP. You seem like a pleasant dude and you don't deserve this.
NTA why on earth would you pay for this? You probably aren't even on the guest list. She's used to using your money. That should have stopped longer ago, but now is as good a time as any.
Was your stepdaughter influenced by her bio father or her grandparents? Feels insane to make you foot the bill and most likely not be in the wedding either, even as a guest. Also, out of curiosity and sorry for rudeness/abruptness, are you from a different country than your wife and stepdaughter? May that have been a factor? (NTA btw, stick to your guns imo)
Perhaps, I never knew her my wife when she was with her ex-husband, and only have known her since he was no longer in their life (a story I am not at liberty to discuss).
Her grandparents from her mother's side, she has only seen four times (both times on trips back to India, 3 times with me and once with just mom) and on her father's side (well that relates to the story about her dad again). I am from Canada originally.
NTA, frankly your wife holds a lot of responsibility as to why your stepdaughter does not respect you. It would appear your paying for private school and paying for her college is not a good enough reason for your wife to have some very strong conversations with your daughter about respect and what family actually means.
NTA. But I need to ask - why did you ask for a father daughter dance when you know she doesn’t feel that way about your relationship?
I understand and respect that you tried to treat her as your own and you treated her above and beyond when maybe she didn’t deserve it - but do you feel that maybe you over stepped throughout her life and it made her so uncomfortable that she doesn’t want a relationship with you?
I’m sorry but you don’t owe her money for her wedding when based on past events you/your sons might not even get invited. Or you’ll just be invited as your wife’s “+1”.