Well, I finally met a guy I really like, but I found out he dated my oldest daughter’s friend’s mother. She said that my dating him will ruin her life. Well, it’s been 18 months and “Hal” does not like the way my kids treat me and talk to me. For his part, he’s apologized for the things he said to them – he even sent them a group text stating that he wanted to marry me, but none of them ever responded. We got engaged in May, and it’s been awful since then since my daughters don’t talk to me. We had a whole meeting with my parents and brothers about this – my kids went to my parents and told them personal things about my relationship with this man, so now I have no relationship with the three of them and I am sick to my stomach. They told me they will not go to my wedding. It’s been putting a strain on my relationship with Hal and I think that it is better to just let this man go, but I love him and I don’t know if that is the right thing to do. — Sick to my Stomach
It sounds like you haven’t always had the best judgment, especially when it comes to men. The relationship history your daughters have observed includes one divorce, one 10-year relationship with an alcoholic who “did something” to your girls that was bad enough for you to leave him, manic dating while binge-drinking, and now a man your daughters don’t like who has said things to them that warranted an apology (that none of your three daughters even responded to, so it makes me wonder how bad these things were that he said to them!). I suspect your daughters probably have reason to be concerned for you, and to also feel frustrated with your behavior, but without more details I can’t say with certainty.
I’m also curious who you mean when you say your daughters told personal things about your relationship to your parents and brother and now you have no relationship “with the three of them.” Do you mean you have no relationship with your three daughters or with your parents and brother? It already sounded like you didn’t have much relationship with your three daughters, so if you additionally are estranged from your parents and brother as a result of your relationship, that’s pretty damning.
At any rate, I think if you go forward in marrying Hal, you have to accept that you may potentially sever a relationship with your entire family. That alone should demand a really close look at your relationship and what it is about Hal that the people who are closest to you dislike and don’t condone. Even if you are convinced that their impression is wrong, are you willing to sacrifice your relationship with your daughters – all three of them! – and what sounds like your parents and brother as well — to marry Hal? You said that things have been awful since you got engaged in May, which doesn’t sound like a great foundation for a marriage. If your familial estrangements make it impossible to be happy with Hal, I would let him go and focus on repairing those family relationships and getting therapy to address a variety of things like the alcohol addiction, a possible addiction to men who are bad for you, and your fear of your daughters (whatever you mean by that).
I would skip the text and skip badmouthing him to your daughter as you will only risk alienating yourself from her during a time when you really want her to be able to feel she can trust you and can come to you if she needs you. You can certainly voice your concerns over her moving in so quickly with someone she’s just met, but I would not focus on specifics about him at all, especially since you don’t know him well either and any attempt to discredit him may backfire. I’d also skip any mention about how you’re being left to live alone as it isn’t your 20-year-old daughter’s responsibility to take care of you or make your living experience more enjoyable or manageable.