Dear Prudence

Help! I Found Out the Truth About My Dad. I Don’t Want Him at My Wedding.

He will ruin my day.

Woman wearing a bridal veil looking up at a thought cloud with ellipses.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Every week, Dear Prudence answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members. R. Eric Thomas is filling in as Prudie for Jenée Desmond-Harris while she’s on parental leave. Submit questions here. (It’s anonymous!)

Q. No Longer Daddy’s Little Girl: My long-term partner and I got engaged last year and are planning to get married next May in a very small ceremony (less than 20 people). My parents separated about six years ago when I was 22. Growing up I was incredibly close to my father—my mother had a high-paying job so he was a stay-at-home dad. He always gave us what we wanted so, of course, as a child I thought he was the best. But little did I know what he was up to…

He was using my mother’s credit cards, racking up debt, and lying to her about it. They finally split up when he had an affair. Since they separated, my dad has been a nightmare at every turn. He has borrowed money from me that he has never paid back. He lies about everything and anything. He has dragged his feet in the divorce proceedings, which has been very stressful for my mother. He is generally very negative about everything when you speak to him and he is rude about my siblings behind their backs.

I am not planning on inviting him to the wedding as I know he will be a negative presence and it will ruin my day. My mother already doesn’t speak to him, and neither does my older sister. My younger brother is close to dropping contact as well. I only see him once every six months or so, but I think I would feel guilty if I completely stopped contacting him as he is in poor health and has no friends or family to help if something happened. Do I have to tell him I’m not inviting him or just let him find out after the fact? He never asks about my life or anything to do with the wedding so I doubt he would realize before the big day.

A. You don’t have to tell him in advance and I would only do so if you were having a larger conversation about cutting off contact or setting a boundary. Otherwise, you’re just inviting conflict and recrimination into your life at a point when you’ve got enough going on already. If he doesn’t have enough compassion to ask after you or to look out for an invite, then you don’t need to go out of your way. After is fine.

Classic Prudie

I recently got engaged to my wonderful fiancé. Immediately after announcing the engagement to our families, my future SIL sat me down for a serious chat. She says she is currently saving up for breast implants and doesn’t want us to marry until she gets them done. She told me she wants to have one family wedding album where she looks perfect and will be heartbroken if I got married against her wishes. The trouble is, my fiancé says we should hold off the wedding for this reason, too.