Dear Coleen: My daughter’s punishing me for splitting up with her mum ten years ago

She is getting soon and has left my new wife off the wedding invite

Dear Coleen

Ten years ago I left my wife for someone else and at the time our daughter was 14. I am now happily married to the other and we have a seven-year-old son.

My daughter has never really forgiven me for it or accepted her stepmother. She was always polite when she came to spend every other weekend with us, but the moment she turned 18, she stopped visiting.

I still meet up with her occasionally on my own or with my son, and she sees my wife at family gatherings and such like.

Now she is getting married and seems to be using the occasion to punish me. She has asked her ­stepfather, a man she has known for only three years, to give her away, and her mother is making the traditional speech. She also refuses to accept any financial contribution from me towards her big day .

Although she has invited me and her brother to the wedding, my wife has been left out. I don’t really feel like being just another guest at my own daughter’s wedding and I’m seriously considering not attending.

However, my wife, very generously, wants me to go with our son. She thinks I’ll regret it if I stay away. I would really appreciate your point of view. I’d like to add that I’m well aware of the hurt that I caused my daughter and her mother but, in spite of ­everything, I have always tried to be a good father.

Coleen says

I agree – I think she is trying to punish you. But I also think your wife is right and, if she’s not taking offence and wants you to go, then you should go and not cause a scene because it’s about your daughter and you her.

She’s still young and she’ll probably end up regretting her decision when she’s older and think, “OK, that might have been unfair”.

But also I think if she were truly punishing you, she wouldn’t have invited you or her brother at all, but she wants you both there.

So, my point of view is: be the bigger person and agree to go on her terms. She obviously is still hurting from the break-up, but this might be a way of you starting to rebuild your a bit. It could be the ­beginning of something better.

Good luck and enjoy the day.

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