Dear Coleen: Am I being selfish not wanting my ex on my dying dad's final holiday?

A woman with her head in her hands.
A woman with her head in her hands. -Credit:Getty Images

Dear Coleen

My mum is planning a five-day family holiday for my dad's 80th birthday in September and wants us all there, including my ex, who I can't stand.

It's complicated because we have a six-year-old daughter together and also my dad is terminally ill. This could be his last birthday and the last chance for him to have us all together.

I feel really torn because I want my parents and my daughter to be happy, but there's so much bad blood between my ex and me. We barely communicate, so being away with him and feeling forced to be polite to him is going to be very weird.

He was a jerk when we were together and he slept with someone else, which was the final nail in the coffin for our marriage. Yet my family still seem to love him for some unknown reason.

I can't help feeling hurt that my mum hasn't thought about how hard this is going to be for me, especially when I have worked so hard to move on from the divorce.

All she can think about is my dad and how can I deny a dying man his last wish for having all of us around him? I don't want to sound like a selfish person, but I don't believe my ex deserves to be with us and I'm going to have a miserable time.

It's bad enough coping with the fact that my dad is ill.

Coleen says

Well, there might be people who'd say it's not about you or your ex, it's about your dad and you should grin and bear it for the holiday. However, it's five days – that's a lot of time with an ex you can't stand.

You don't say where you're going, but perhaps there's a compromise – for example, go for a day or two to celebrate your dad's birthday, then call it quits.

I think your mum has been so focused on getting things right for your dad that she hasn't considered the emotional toll on you or even the practicalities of your ex being there.

I think you need to have a conversation with her and let her know that while you love your dad, you can't spend five days on holiday with your ex.

Tell her you don't know whether you can fake it for that long and you don't want to spoil it for everyone else. Maybe she could invite your ex over another time once everyone's back from holiday.

It seems a big gamble on her part to create this potentially explosive situation. At the end of the day, your ex hurt you and you're not friends.

Alternatively, bite the bullet and get in touch with him and tell him you don't want him there and ask him to come up with an excuse to let your parents down gently.

He might not be keen on going either, but feels bad turning down the invite. Trying to find a compromise is the way forward.

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