Hello! I've got a decision to make about a family related issue. I'm undecided and would love some fresh perspectives. It's a long story, but I'll try to compress it as much as possible. I'll also try to just state the facts, but as I'm emotionally involved, it will be biased
About 4 years ago, my father started an affair with a woman across the country that he had met through work. My mom, my brother and I all thought that my mom and dad's marriage was happy and successful. They had been together for 22 years. However, my father told us about the affair and told us that he was going to leave the other woman (let's call her D). He kept changing his mind and went back and forth between saying that he was going to stay with my mom and that he was going to continue seeing D. He went back and forth probably 4 times. Finally, my mom said enough and kicked him out. He eventually moved across the country and moved in with D.
During this waffling, the separation and the divorce, my father has been extremely unpleasant to my mom. He's been downright cruel in the things he's said and shows very little respect for her. Soon after he moved out west, he began hounding me for communication. I kept telling him that I needed time and that I didn't want to have constant communication with him. He would not accept this. For a couple of months, he was calling me multiple times a day and leaving long voicemails on my phone. He was texting me many times a day, emailing me many times a day and messaging me whenever I went on Facebook. I couldn't take it and, after warning him that I would do so, I blocked him on Facebook, got rid of my phone's voicemail system and stopped responding to his emails and texts.
After some mediation with my school's counselor and the two of us, we agreed to weekly phone calls. I was allowed to set the time limit for the calls. This worked out ok, although I dreaded talking to him.
My father really lost more of my respect 2 summers ago, when he was back east visiting me and his mother. We were scheduled to have dinner together and when I showed up to the restaurant, he and D, the other woman, were there. He did not tell me she was coming or even that she had come on the trip with him. I had made it clear previously that I did not want to meet her. She was not pleasant at dinner (very high maintenance) and I was furious with my father.
A couple of months after that dinner, my mom and I went to my cousin's wedding. This cousin is on my father's side of the family, but that side of the family has always been extremely close with my mom. D was completely pushy about spending time with me and even hugged my mom and I when we had both held out our hands for a handshake. She also sat with my father right up front while my mom and I sat in the back for the wedding party. They were very showy and very into PDA, which I found to be disrespectful in the current setting.
Recently, my father and I have been texting once or twice a week, which is much better for me. He's still unpleasant towards my mom and continues to blame her for driving a wedge between me and him and between their mutual friends and him. He seems completely oblivious to how abrasive his behavior has been these last few years.
Now to the problem at hand. My father and D are getting married in July. They're getting married in a very public and showy way, too. Of course, my father wants me to be there. He has been pushy nonstop, pressuring me to agree to come. He's already bought a plane ticket, even though I have made it clear that I do not know if I will be going. I have not forgiven my father for what he did to our family and I do not respect him as a person based on his behavior. I don't respect D either, because I don't feel that someone willing to have an affair with a married father of 2 deserves my respect. I don't want to leave my mom at home and I don't want to be away from my horse because of my limited time seeing her during the academic year.
So here's my pros and cons list for attending the wedding:
- I will be expected to spend a lot of "quality time" with my father and D
- I'd have to watch this gaudy (in my opinion) ceremony
- I'd have to leave my horse and my mom
- plain and simple, I don't want to go and I dread the thought of it
- I'll get to see my family, who I haven't seen in a long time and I'm very fond of
- I get a free trip to California
- I'll be able to get my father off my back
My mom's biggest concern is the years of grief I'll get from my father if I don't go. I see this as a potential problem as well, but I also think it's ridiculous that I should have to choose between 2 unpleasantries from my father. I would love to see my aunts, uncles and cousins, some of whom I haven't seen in 5+ years. However, whenever I think about going to the wedding, I get a pit in my stomach.
So, if anyone made it through that long post, I'd love to hear opinions and advice. Anything that pops into your head. I'm really at a stalemate with my decision making, I don't quite know where to go from here.