Daughter wants two dads to walk her down the aisle


Dear Amy: I recently got engaged to my boyfriend of 11 years! It’s been a whirlwind.

I moved out of my parent’s house when I was 16 because of my alcoholic father and very complicated mom. I moved into my boyfriend’s parents’ house. They have treated me like their own, and I have a very good relationship with them.

I have a decent relationship with my parents, but only when my dad is sober. If he drinks too much, he becomes combative and verbally abusive.

When planning the wedding, I told my boyfriend’s father that if my dad became too drunk, then he could walk me down the aisle, but then someone suggested having both him and my dad walking me down the aisle.

Today I lightly suggested this to my father, and I feel like I hurt his feelings, but what should I do?

I feel like if I don’t let them both walk me, then my boyfriend’s father will be disappointed, but I don’t know if I can fully depend on my father, either.

— Stuck in the Middle

Dear Stuck: The essential error I believe you made was making your request contingent: “If my dad gets too drunk, will you walk me down the aisle?”

First of all, how very sad that you even have to think about that — and yet, of course you do!

That’s what life is like for the child of an alcoholic; every decision you make regarding your own life has a “what if” at its core. Being raised in the household rattled by addiction is extremely destabilizing. Children of alcoholics are most often on high-alert trying to anticipate other people’s feelings, so they can try to head off problems or incidents before they become overwhelming.

Your wedding day is the one day where you should plan to do exactly what you want — and the people around you should work hard to help you have the wedding you want to have.


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