Sunday, December 10, 2006

my heart, it hurts

i don't talk about all of this stuff much because sometimes, when i feel it creeping into my head, i push it out so fast that i forget it was even there in the first place. but i can only ignore it for so long, because i have to deal with it. and i'm not normally the person who doesn't confront things. i take my emotion... i live with it.. i live in it.. i accept it.. i fight it.. i do whatever.. but at least i acknowledge it. and with this, well i haven't done a lot of those things.

ever since my dad cheated on my mom a few years ago and left, his and my relationship has been barely existant. i went over a year without talking to him. and even though he deserved every bit of it, it hurt me. what he did to my mom, and the way in which he hurt her, is something i'll never forget. and i shouldn't be expected too. but i can only hold onto anger for so long before it starts to tear away at who i am. i'm not the type to hold a grudge. i'm the type of person who has deals with her emotions and works through them. otherwise, i can't function.

my dad and i have talked more in the last year or so and while it's not the way it used to be, it's better than it was. i would classify our relationship as a definite work in progress. while i hate what he did, and the way that he did it- nothing changes the fact that he is my dad and he's the only dad i've ever known. and so my heart, it hurts. my head, it hurts. because there is so much hurt and pain surrounding his actions that it's almost to hard to breathe sometimes.

and my wedding. good god, this wedding. things i never thought i'd have to think about before, i suddenly have to think about. i always figured my dad would walk me down the aisle. and now, that's just not something i can have him do. yes, he's my dad, but i don't want someone to walk me down the aisle and "give me away" when they haven't really been in my life for the last 3 years- and not to mention the whole cheating thing. i hate cheating so much. everything about it is so awful. the lies, the dishonesty, the conniving, the running around with another person.. ugh.. everything. i just hate it. and i just want purity, honesty, trust and everything good to surround me on my wedding day. that's why blake is walking me down the aisle and "sharing" me instead of giving me away. and then there's the fucking seating chart. i mean, i never had to think about where i'd sit my dad before. and now, i'm in tears trying to figure out who to put him with that won't want to stab his eyes out with hot pokers. and the father/daughter dance. and how he'll feel at my wedding. and how my mom will feel. and how they'll be seeing eachother for the first time in years that day. and how i don't want to think about either of them and i only want to think about myself and boyfriend and blake. but ALL OF THIS AFFECTS ME. and i hate it all. because it's just so painful and it's just so hard. and it's my fucking wedding day, and i shouldn't have to even think about things like this.

and i know that my dad made his bed and how everyone treats him is a result of his actions.. i know all of this. i know that he has to take responsibility for what he did. he has to accept that his actions have consequences. BUT THEY AFFECT ME TOO. if he's at my wedding miserable because people who were once his friends will no longer associate with him, that will affect me. because even though what he did was wrong, if he is hurting and around me, it will hurt me. and if my mom is hurting, that will hurt me. and i don't know what to do. and i just hate all of this. and i'm tired.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

First: ((((((((((Jennster))))))))
Okay. That out of the way, here's what I would do (because I am a selfish person who ran off into the woods and got married with just my kids and two witnesses, because I really strongly believe that this is the most special moment in your life. So when you bind yourself for better or worse to your sweetheart, why should any negativity accrue to the event? Hell to the Naw):
Invite your dad to the wedding, and not to the reception. He's a grown-ass man, he can deal with the fact that you don't want a lot of unpleasantness at YOUR wedding. Key word here? YOUR. YOUR wedding. Not your dad's and not your mom's and not any of those relatives who also prolly are pissed at your dad. YOURS.
Then I would send the word around the crew NOW that you do NOT want any ugliness at YOUR special event, and that if people can't respect that they should let you know right away so you can change the seating and the number of people eating at the reception.
But see, I'm cold like that. If it's about me (and your wedding is ALL about YOU, dahlin', don't you forget it), I am going to make it be the way I want it to be.
And so should you. And your loved ones better respect that. Explain very nicely that as a special wedding gift you WANT this thing, this absolute lack of hostility on your wedding day.
Any help?
(Also, sorry about the novel-length comment.)

Mammawannabe said...

Hugs to you!!! So sorry to hear that you are stressed like this. If there's one thing I learned in planning my own wedding it's this: IT'S YOUR DAY...don't let anyone take that away from you okay? You're right, he's made his bed and now he has to deal with that, BUT everyone else should know well enough that your wedding is YOUR WEDDING and you have the right to expect that all will behave and keep their hands to themselves...so to speak.

Keep your chin up...wedding planning is hard, but being stressed about the wedding planning is even harder. We're all here for you!!!!!

JavaJabber said...

This is a tough, tough situation. No question about it.

I don't get why YOU are carrying the burden of this whole situation. Why hasn't he stepped forward and acknowledged that his presence would make for a very uncomfortable situation and declined to attend?

What's eating you up inside is you don't want him there. Period. But the guilt associated with having these feelings is overwhelming. I mean, after all, he's your FATHER for God's sake ... how could you turn your FATHER away? It's tough not to feel like such a shit when it's said like that, right?

But if he were just any other human being, you'd never even give it a second thought. You'd have washed your hands and be done with him a long time ago and this would never be an issue.

It's hard to separate the two: father and man. But it has to be done.

Your own sense of self-respect is being challenged right now. And you're losing the battle. There are times when we just have to do what is right for us and not give credence to anyone else's feelings.

I've been down this path myself. The situation was similar. My dad left my mother after 40 years of marriage for someone else. He walked out the door, got in his car, and drove from NY to FL to be with his high school sweetheart.

It was devastating to everyone in the family. I had to learn how to carry two sets of feelings for him in my heart and then be able to recognize which feeling to pull out at the appropriate time. While I totally despised by what he did as a human being, but ... he was still my father and I loved him. It took time but eventually I was able to deal with him on both levels and not feel disloyal to my mother.

In my case, I totally GOT what he did as a man, heck if I was married to my mother I would have done the exact same thing, and probably a lot sooner. And I recognized that it took a lot of courage to do what he did. But there was a better way to achieve the same result ... and that was the part I had issues with from day one.

I've always believed that you have to do what you have to do for yourself first. But there's a right way and a wrong way to accomplish that goal.

I hope that you find a resolution that you can live with comfortably. You'll know what that is when you make it. Because your heart will stop being so sad.

[sorry about the long post, it really couldn't be helped ... and THIS was the shortened version]

metro mama said...

Wow, weddings are stressful enough without these issues. I hope everyone can put on a brave face and leave it all aside for a day for your sake.

Anonymous said...

It will work out. Weddings are stressful. But you have the power to control your emotions and feelings...

I am happy that you and your dad are talking. You have to accept certain things that others do. It sucks but it's just something that hasta be done.

The rest of the family are all adults, yes? For you, they must be able to accepts his mistake (for that day) and try not to poke his eyeballs out. It would make for messy clean up...

Afterwards, they can do what they wish...yes?

I know you will have a wonderful day. You chose how you want to handle the entire day. It's all yours. They will have to deal in their own way.

Just tell them how you feel. Communication will enable you to enjoy your day with as little stress as possible.

Anonymous said...

((((((((((((Jennster)))))))))))))))

Ugh. I want to kick you Dad's ass :-)

I'm so sorry his actions have created this situation in YOUR life. I agree with Mel, it is YOUR wedding and YOUR needs come first. I like the solution of him being at the wedding and not the reception. It would be easier if he were to bow out on that part as his gift to everyone. Is there anyone who could go and have this kind of chat with him? I hate for it to me on you. Take a deep breath. This too shall pass. You are strong. No matter what your wedding day will be a day of JOY. Don't feel bad for him -- you are the bride and he will want you to have a joyful day.

alison said...

You DO want him at your wedding. He will always be your dad, no matter what he did to your mom. Just like me, I'm sure you grew up dreaming of the day he'd walk you down the aisle. I understand why you don't want him to do that (and I'm sure he understands too), but he can't miss this day. Not the wedding and not the reception. He did a very bad thing, but he deserves to be at his daughter's wedding. I agree with everyone else in that you need to start talking to the affected people now---your mom, your dad, your sister---and request that they be on their very best ADULT behavior because after all, this is YOUR day and it should be full of happiness and good memories. I have no doubt they will honor this for your special day. And, as for the father/daughter dance---DO IT. You won't regret it and you'll hurt even more for him and for you and your relationship-that-was if it doesn't happen. And, for seating arrangements---I already told you to put him with me. He did a very bad thing but I've moved on with my own father and I can move on with my "other" dad too. You hang in there and focus on the fun stuff---the dress and invitations and the bridal shower. And the Dyson, dammit, the DYSON!!

Devra said...

Jennster,
How about asking your dad who he would like to be seated with. Let him worry about who he needs to sit safely by in order to preserve his own optic nerves so your own nerves can rest a bit. : )

As for how divorced parents behave at a wedding? Mine were on very good behavior, they put their differences aside because they lived up to what they told me "the husband and wife part is broken and never can be repaired, but the mom and dad part will always be there for you." I keep out of their wife and husband drama and only seek them out as my parents. But it may be simpler for me as my parents divorced when I was young and there was no third party involved. I know it is far more difficult in your situation.

big hug!

jennster said...

thank you everyone and yes, i just want to be clear- that i WANT him there. it would hurt me more if he wasn't.

jennster said...

java- you say so many things that i feel too. the seperating of the man and the father. hating what he did as a man, but still loving him as my dad. it's all true. and knowing that there is a better way to handle the situation. i hate what he did, but i hate more HOW he did it. from the outside though, it's easy to throw stones. but when you're the one in it and dealing with those emotions, people hardly do things perfectly. it just sucks all around. things will get better. for that i am sure. as they have already progressed. i know they will continue to do so. it just still hurts so damn bad.

ali- you know how i feel and you know my dad. you've been in the position i'm in and it's tough. thank you for talking to me the other night. and there is no way that i don't want my dad at the reception. to me, i feel like that's catering to what would make other people comfortable and make me feel like shit

Anonymous said...

Jennster,
I'm going to disagree with a lot that was said here and you might hate me for it, so I am sorry in advance.
I too thought at first that my wedding day was MY DAY, MY WEDDING, and to hell with what everyone else thought and felt. As the planning progressed, and so many people and so many difficult family issues both with my family and my fiance's surfaced, we were tempted to just scrap the big event and elope.
But then I realized something. My wedding wasn't just about me. It wasn't just MY DAY. It was the celebration of my growing up and belonging as well to another family. It was about being a new, different, and hopefully better family, and widening our circle (as well as my parents'and siblings' circle) of support as a couple (and in your case, as parents to your son).It was really eye opening to discover how important this shift in all of our lives would be, and how meaningful it was to people who loved us.
Once I let go of the idea that this should be all about me, it was easier not to stress about invites, seating charts, money, cake, you name it. Family and love even, are complicated. So instead of focusing on the perfection of the day and my role as the perfect happy princess with all of her kingdom shining down their perfect love at us, I focused on the fact that we were flawed, our families were flawed, and that all this day was was a way for all of us to hope that most of the things we did in our lives up until this point added up to enough happiness and strenghth to help us through the next 50 years together.
Your dad really messed up. But everyone does, and even though that doesn't make it right, it makes it human. And he loves you, and I'm sure he hopes for you what every father wants for his daughter- that someone else sees and treasures how beautiful you are. And that, he has in common with your mom and all of the other people there on your wedding day.
As a new mother myself to a daughter, I am stunned by the pureness of a parents' love. My god, my husband and I have no words for the fear and hope we have that our daughter will be treasured and loved deeply. But we also hope that she can not only forgive us the mistakes we will surely make as people in our own rights, but that she will see life as a unselfish endeavor- a complicated series of events that bind us to other people in meaningful ways.
So enjoy your celebration and your family- both the old and the new beginnings. It won't be perfect because you don't exist in a vacuum (if you did you wouldn't have anyone to celebrate with). But it will be hopeful and beautiful as well. Because your parents obviously did many things right, and for that you really all should celebrate together.
I hope you have a wonderful wedding day, and an even better marriage.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Riveting. Riveting post, riveting comments. Shoulda popped some popcorn it was so riveting. That is some kinda stressful situation. Family always triggers the deepest, deepest anger/resentment/ambivalence/conflict in all of us and it's tough to face, and it's all gonna be hanging out there on your big day. I like what "anonymous" said (a friend of yours? If not, still very enlightening) about being aware of your wedding, though *yours*, being about family and everyone who loves you and your groom. Maybe some anxiety will be alleviated if the day is looked at through a different prism. Sounds like it's also about growing up, right, and standing up to everybody "it's my wedding, I want my dad there, ya'll will have to be respectful and deal?" 'Cause I'm finding it's hard for me to grow up and be my own adult. I still want to be mothered in a way that only exists in my fantasies. But I have to take responsibility of my own life and not hope for a certain type of approval. I hope you can find a way that relieves you of this stress and are able to have a wonderful and meaningful day. The last thing you want is to look back at this day and have grudges. Good luck!

jennster said...

anon- i don't know who you are, but this comment brought me to tears. thank you for your honesty and perspective and sharing it with me. i appreciate it.

MelissaMM said...

Big hugs Jenn! I wish I had the magic answer for you. Most of the comments suggest things I was thinking but in the end, your day will work out beautifully because what's most important is you and Boyfriend will be getting freakin' MARRIED!! How great and wonderful!

One thought though: do you really need a seating chart? It seems to be such a wedding headache. Just reserve a table or two by your table. Maybe that's not practical but just seems to be more headache than it's worth, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Jennster,
Wow, I am so in awe of your post and the many awesome comments here. I have a very complicated dysfunctional family. I have an alcoholic father who was never really involved in my life and yet, when I got married, people just expected he would walk me down the aisle. Out of my own hurt and anger I chose to "walk myself" instead, because I felt like I had been by myself for many years. My father excepted this, but yet I felt badly. I realized on the morning of my wedding that while this was "my day", it was also a family sharing in "my day" and I wanted everyone to feel involved. I told my father on that day that I forgave him. I would never forget who he had been and how he had hurt me over the years, but he was still my father. And the look of happiness on his face was truly rewarding for me. We celebrated that day and my new life, and certainly there were some awkward moments between family members, but ultimately they were there for myself and my husband. I still did things the way that I wanted, but I felt at peace with things from there on out.
Your father did a terrible thing, and it will probably hurt for a long time. However, he is still your father, and regardless of the bad choices he made, he still loves you. And what could be better than a day filled with people who love you? Your father will probably not care where he is sitting, he will care that he is there watching his daughter share in her new life with her beloved boyfriend and sweet son. And I imagine your mom will feel the same way.
I know how incredibly stressful a wedding can be, but try to focus on the ultimate goal, when you finally are married to the one you are meant to be with. I'm sorry your feeling so sad and I hope everyone has offered you a little hope and support today. :)

DDM said...

Jennster, I'm wishing you all the best thoughts I can muster. I don't have good advice on this. I have NO relationship with my Father and had my Groomsmen armed with a photo of him and strict orders to escort him out if he tried to show up. I hadn't seen him since I was in my teens, and before that I was 8. I don't want to turn this into anything about me, just wanted to illustrate that I come from no point of comparison.
I hope you find the best answer for you.

kim said...

well for once i have to totally agree with an anonymous poster ...that was a totally awesome post

with that said ... your wedding will have little ups and downs and something will inevitably get screwed up ... and not everyone will be happy or comfortable in every situation ....but it wont matter Jen ...it will be the day you married the love of your life and all 3 of you became a family for better or worse *big hugs*

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with janet a.k.a. "wonder mom." It will work itself out.

Grown-ups will realize it's not the time or the place to cause a scene. They will know it's your time and your time.

Don't panic. Everything will be alright.

And, I like the idea of Blake walking you down the aisle and "sharing you." That's pretty cool.

callie said...

Jennster,
I am the anon poster, and I guess I feel it doesn't matter who I am really, just someone who reads your blog and believes in you. And someone who's been there. too. I am very proud of all of the blogging mommies I read, because I haven't the guts to write one myself. I'll keep reading and I can't wait to read how beautiful your wedding day was.
Sincerely,
callie

Loren said...

Well, first off, I feel for you! I really do, not just because it sounds as if you're torn, but because I've been through this... I still go through this. Similar thing happened with my dad, just a bit worse, but the thing is that we were all adults and a few years ago, my parents separated, leaving us kids unconsiously choosing sides. At first, it was very hard, I was obviously on my mom's side and tried to be very hard on my dad, but I couldn't... Although he hurt my mom and I love my mom, I couldn't judge my dad as a man, I can only judge him as a father and I have no complaints about him in that field, he's been a wonderful dad to me... that's when I decided... I didn't choose my dad, my mom chose her husband, therefore she will have to deal with him as what he is and can't expect me to hate him, I love him. And yes, there's always that feeling inside that makes me want to say stuff to him, but it's just not going to happen. My mom understands our situation as their children and we support her 100%, but still love our dad. In your situation, I advise you to do the best you can and let your mom and dad deal with their issues... you enjoy your day, it is also your parents job to make the day more special even. You didn't choose to be put in that situation.

Mommy off the Record said...

Jenn, I'm so sorry for all this pain you are dealing with. I wish you didn't have to go through any of it and that your wedding planning could be carefree and without these types of worries. But that said, you do have to deal with it because this is the situation so HOW to deal with it?

I agree completely with carrie's comment that weddings are family affairs and have a lot of meaning for your parents especially. I think her perspective on it was great.

I also agree that this is your wedding and you should do whatever you feel comfortable with, but I would guess that you wouldn't feel comfortable shutting your father out of your reception?? If you are worried that people will butt heads, just remember that everyone there is going to be thinking about YOU that day and caring so much about YOU that they will be on their best behavior to be civil with each other.

I wish you the best with all of this planning and hope that everything goes well.

russ said...

...someone to "give you away"...when they haven't really been in your life for the last 3 years...

is that because of you and your feelings or is it both of you why he hasn't been there/around/communicating? I think you need to make ammends with your father, even if it is hard. We are all human. We all make mistakes. We all hurt people, and it's worse when more than one person is hurt, as in "cheating" ways. But something as precious as a father...regardless of past mistakes...is just that....precious. Parents are taken for granted in this day and age...some people don't have fathers to walk them down the isle be it loss by death or other circumstances, and people don't realize the importance of parents, even if parents have hurt them or each other in the past. Our time on Earth is short. He is your father regardless of the pain inflicted on you and your mom...and forgiveness is essential because you don't know who will be around next week, next month or next year. If he died today would you be sad or wouldn't care? Would you regret not trying your hardest to overcome the pain and hurt, not having the chance to come to a conclusion about it all?

I doubt drama will be present at your wedding if he comes...it is indeed your day and everyone is an adult. It's more often than not people themselves that make the drama happen. But for him to miss out on the wedding is a diservice to you and him and your family in general. Weddings are a happy time, a time of renewal and rebirth with uncertain futures laying ahead.

You said yourself you cannot hold on to anger and such forever. Perhapsit's time to let the past be the past and explore the posibilities for the future together, as a family. My two cents.

Toots said...

((((Sterling)))) I have to agree with Russ, here. What a GREAT post, Russ! It is SO hard to forgive and move on, but in the end it makes things so much easier. SO. Much. Easier. Life *is* too short to be this sad/angry. I've wished so long for you to heal and let it go. So much time has gone by; you and Blake and Point are missing out on so much. It makes me sad that your dad hasn't watched your new family develop. As horrible as what he did was, what you are all losing is an even greater injury. And Anonymous? Callie? Amazing post. Amazing.

Melissa said...

Oh Ster, I heart you and I just want to scoop you up and hug you and feed you fudge and gingerbread cookies. It's all been said and I agree with what most people said.

JUst know, most people will ignore him or put aside their differences and make small talk at your wedding. INcluding him is the right thing to do, but try not to let the worrying eat you alive. Hugs.

jennster said...

callie- i don't waht it is about you or your words.. but you make me cry. lol it's a good thing though. thank you again

Lisa Goldstein/Kelly Kelly said...

I think it is awesome that Blake is "sharing you" My stepson was my husband's best man at our wedding and we did this whole family medalion ceremony as part of the wedding. it was awesome.


What a beautiful way to solve your dilemma. And what a beautiful thing to do even if you had no dilemma about your dad.

Lisa

Anonymous said...

Wow. Callie/ anon: what a beautiful comment. Just read that, Ster, I think she says everything you need to know. Good advice, advice I think we ALL can use, no matter what our family dynamic.

Anonymous said...

Jenn, the most precious gift your parents, relatives and friends can give you is to celebrate your marriage to Point and the continued union of the three of you as a family. I hope a lot of the relatives and friends who will be at the wedding have read this post and will respect and rejoice in the fact that two people are getting married who love each other more than life itself. I pray that this gift will be given.

Dana said...

I can only imagine how hard this situation was for you and your mom. It's very difficult to come to terms with something like that, but hope everyone finds a way to get along.

Your dad did a terrible thing, but he needs to understand that and how much it hurt everyone involved.