My Dad Is Getting Married and Didn’t Tell Us

Dear Katie,
My dad stopped drinking a year ago, but our relationship has still been strained. I just found out on social media that he is getting married. I felt like it was a slap in the face. How could he not even tell me? Should I be upset? —Jackie

Dear Jackie,
Here’s the thing: it’s okay to be upset about anything whether you feel it’s selfish to be or not. Your own feelings are incredibly honest; do not attempt to stifle them or otherwise try to render them illegitimate. It’s your mind’s job to decide if your emotions are selfish and whether to act on those feelings, but you should never deny your actual feelings.

So sit down and say to yourself, “I’m upset that I wasn’t invited to my dad’s wedding, and it hurts.” And cry to yourself for a while. It’s totally okay.

Now you have to decide what, if anything, you want to say to your dad. It could be nothing; it could be “Being left out of your life in this way hurt, and I would have really liked to have been told by you,” then have a short conversation about it and let it pass. Or you could turn it into a much bigger thing—but usually people do this because they don’t feel listened to, or they don’t feel they have an opportunity to communicate their emotions.

Listen to your emotions, work out what you need to do to resolve the emotions, and move on. Bear in mind that you cannot change what has happened, and there is no way that any action your father can do now can resolve the issue for you. That is the problem with big events that happen at specific points in time. The best you can probably hope for is that your father understands why you are upset and has an opportunity to help you understand his reasons for what must have been a very difficult decision. Try to use it to bridge an empathetic gap between your feelings and his reasoning.

Warm wishes,

Disclaimer: The above advice is not meant to be construed as medical or legal advice. If you need professional medical, psychological, or legal advice, please contact a doctor, lawyer, or medical center.

Katie Donovan is a family, life, and relationship coach; keynote speaker; and writer with a passion for empowering women. She has been interviewed on ABC, NBC, and Fox Sports and featured in cover stories in Time and Money magazines. Katie’s award-winning blog,, reached over a million views and was seen in 146 countries within thirty days of its inception and has been syndicated in over thirty publications, including USA Today and Disney’s blog Babble.

Are you struggling to get your inner sparkle back? Have the relationships with your partner, family, or friends been affected? Ask me anything! You can send a confidential email to with Shift Happens in the subject line.

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