Luckily for me, my dad is totally in touch with his feelings. But according to Meg Meeker, MD, author of Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, some dads start feeling rather blue as soon as their little girl finds “another man” to spend the rest of her life with.
As your wedding looms closer, dad my start to exhibit strange behavior, whether he’s more distant, short-tempered, distracted, or anxious. This is because thoughts of your marriage may trigger separation anxiety, qualms about entrusting his daughter to another man, and personal fears about aging (think midlife crises!).
Fatherhood is a large part of many men’s identity, so that when their daughter becomes engaged, they may feel that their job as a father is done, thus loosing an essential part of themselves. This may be perceived as a loss of control, triggering emotions such as fear, sadness, loss, and even anger.
Dr. Meeker points out that fathers tend to feel the “empty nest syndrome” at their children’s weddings, not necessarily when they leave home (the time when mom’s may feel their main role of mothering is done). And if dad is feeling any grief over this lost chapter in life, he may be having a hard time expressing it properly. Instead, he may “withdraw from you and the whole wedding-planning process, or even to lash out in anger.”
So what can I do about it?
We don’t want a sad dad, especially at such a joyous time! Talk about it, if you can, letting him know how important he is, and that no one will ever take his place. Maybe you can spend some quality time together (with our without your fiance)
, or try to get him involved in some aspect of the wedding planning. Ask him if there are any family traditions that he’d like to include, making a toast at the dinner, even what he’s going to wear– anything that will get him more involved!
And if you are wary of talking feelings with your dad, maybe mom can clue him in on why he’s feeling so moody!
Read more at Brides.com!