My in-laws separated a year ago, not amicably. Dad left Mom for the other, much younger woman, not amicably. Her children are the same age as his grandchildren.
Yet things seemed moving along fine until Christmas. For the first time ever, my husband didn’t receive a Christmas present from his father, though his sister and brother got cards with cheques.
I don't care about the money. We sent gifts for Dad. They haven’t fallen out and Dad visited our home several times last year (he lives in another city).
But he sent nothing for our daughter for Christmas nor for her birthday soon after. Not even a card.
She’s six, and hasn’t really noticed. But what about next year when she's more aware?
Grandpa has more than enough cash to send her some token gift.
How do I tell her that she doesn’t rate compared to her cousins and, I assume, the other woman's children?
My husband won’t say anything to his dad unless I make him – and I don't really want to cause strife over this.
A simple question should not cause strife, unless there’s much more to this than you realize.
Your husband should tell his dad, in a personal phone call, that his granddaughter asks about him.
And, that a card on occasions like her birthday and Christmas would be important to her.
His response should tell you more. Also, there must be some reason your husband was his dad’s only adult child to not receive a cheque.
It’s admirable that money isn’t the issue here, but it would be helpful to know what is… unless your husband had openly backed his mother in the break-up.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who’d been abused by her husband (Feb. 15):
Reader – “I live in fear of my abusive ex-husband, who’s been seen near my house in my hometown, a place he's always hated.
“I fear standing up to him, although advised I have the right to do so.
“I already have a worsening medical condition from what he did to me.
“Sometimes abusers don't understand what they've done is wrong… perhaps they grew up like that.
“Mine definitely knows because he has an assault conviction and there are letters at the probation department stating what he did, and why I had to end the marriage.
“Many abusers just don’t get it sometimes. Anger management is needed, yet often doesn't work.
“Abusive men often have a history of playing on the woman's emotions, which keeps her in the relationship.
“Or they use threats, fear, and intimidation tactics. I've been through all of that and live under threat still.
“Sometimes it's not that they even want their ex-partner, they just want to continue their intimidation.
“Or to be near that person to either harm them again, silence them, or get back any evidence against them.
“It's like a dangerous game to them. My life's been changed forever and my former spouse is a very dangerous person.
“I’ll always have safety precautions and I have uncontrollable and unpredictable symptoms that affect me regularly.
“Also, the re-victimization and victim-blaming that happens to abused people, is something those who care about this issue are trying to change.
“This woman who wrote you should’ve left her abusive husband long ago, regardless if she had children with him.
“She should’ve been concerned about their safety years ago, and as they got older they would’ve respected her more if she’d removed herself and them out of harm's way.”
We’ve been invited to a nephew’s destination wedding, at a time and location that we’d never have chosen.
For a traditional wedding, we would’ve driven 200 miles, spent a night in a hotel, and purchased some meals.
We’d usually give a $500 wedding gift. We’ll also attend a shower and a “stag & doe”' fundraiser.
Instead, we’re spending a week of our vacation time, and much more money.
Is it acceptable to give a smaller wedding gift?
Yes, unless you can afford the $500. Or are spending less because you’re annoyed at having to travel when and where you didn’t choose.
A nephew is a close relative. He’s entitled to his and his bride’s dream wedding day.
He and his family likely know your usual gift-giving pattern and also your general affordability.
Attend their celebration with a warm attitude, gift what you can comfortably manage, and leave any grumbles at home.
Tip of the day:
When separation changes a parent’s connection to family, the adult child should try to find out why.