I mean, you had to know that skipping your friend’s bachelorette party would hurt her feelings, just as she had to know that excluding you mutual friend was going to hurt her feelings. You all made choices that you must have known would affect certain friendships, and now you’re dealing with the consequences. Was it “wrong” for your to skip the bachelorette party? Not necessarily — not if you were prioritizing your excluded friend’s feelings over the bride’s. But now the consequence is that the bride is hurt. And, frankly, I don’t see how you can explain your absence in a diplomatic way. You skipped her party because you felt more loyalty to the excluded friend. You didn’t show up. And now that friendship is fractured, just as whatever friendship remained between the bride and the excluded friend is fractured. Showing up is always important for friendships you want to maintain and foster. But knowing which friendships are most important to you and how best to prioritize them as conflicts of time, attention, and loyalty arise is just as important.
Well, all you really know for sure about your father is that you don’t know him, you have never met him, and he missed your entire childhood. You really don’t know why that is. And because you don’t talk to your mother’s side of the family, I’m inclined to think there might be some trust issues and dysfunction in your family that would make any stories you might have heard about your father impossible to fully believe. You do know one additional thing about your father now — he’s trying to get in touch with you. Do you believe that counts for anything? Are you interested in hearing his side of the story and why he’s interested in talking to you now? Do you have support in place to help you through any emotions you’ll surely have in talking to your father? Does your husband respect whatever decision you might make and does he have your back? It sounds like your MIL does. And, in that case, I think the best-case scenario of talking to your father (getting some questions answered and maybe even possibly starting a later-in-life relationship with your dad) probably outweighs the worst-case scenario (feeling hurt, angry, confused, rejected, and offended – not just by your father but maybe by your mother, too). If you think you’re up for those mixed emotions and have the support in place to help you through them, do consider talking to your father. If you aren’t in a place in your life to adequately handle whatever talking to your father might bring up, you are under zero obligation to give him any of your time and attention.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.