Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine advises a woman who thinks her husband is being ‘totally unreasonable’ about their daughter’s partner.
“My husband is being totally unreasonable, and I just don’t know what to do about it. Our daughter is in a relationship with a lovely man who is going through a difficult divorce. His wife was having an affair and left him with the children to go and live with someone else. Now they are having trouble finalising the financial arrangements but also trying to decide who should have main custody of the children.
“She regularly lets him down when it comes to picking up the children for visits, and so obviously the children already spend more time with him than they do with her. They get on well with my daughter and she’s happy to support him through this difficult time. I have met them too and they seem like great kids.
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“The problem though is that my husband thinks our daughter is making a big mistake in going out with him whilst he’s still married. She’s 31 and well old enough to know her own mind, but he won’t let them visit our house together and gets angry whenever my daughter mentions him. His attitude is that the man isn’t free and, until he is, he shouldn’t be seeing anyone else – which is ridiculous in this day and age.
“I am trying to keep the peace, but he’s been like this for six months now and his attitude is wearing thin with me. I don’t normally lose my temper but I’m very close to it!”
“Whilst I can understand a father being worried for a daughter conducting an affair with a married man, the circumstances here don’t seem to be like that. Your husband’s attitude now is going to make things very difficult in the future. It sounds as if the man is genuine and that your daughter’s relationship with him looks to be becoming permanent. He has involved her with his children and that is generally only something that happens after a great deal of trust has been built up.
“He and your daughter are bound to be resentful about the way your husband is treating them and that is going to be hard to overcome. What does he think he will do when this man’s divorce is finalised? Does he think that he can suddenly turn on the charm and make everything right again? He cannot expect instant forgiveness for his unpleasantness now.
“You say your husband feels this man should not be seeing anyone else until he’s free. I wonder why he feels this way and whether you’ve talked to him about it. Is there a chance that his concerns may have some foundation? Does he, perhaps, know something you and your daughter do not? You seem to believe this man and his wife are living separately and going through divorce proceedings, but are you certain he is not stringing your daughter along? Could this be where your husband’s concerns lie? You’ve met his children and their mother doesn’t appear to be around, so it all sounds genuine.
“You and your husband need to talk though and you need to know whether or not there is any reason for his attitude. At the same time, perhaps you can get him to understand how difficult things will be later if he doesn’t moderate his attitude now. Finally, the one person who is probably suffering the most in all this is your daughter. I am sure that neither of you will need reminding that, whatever happens in the future, she will need the love and support of both her parents.”
:: If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.
- Press Association