My husband and I are celebrating our 10th anniversary (second marriage, five daughters between us). We’ve booked and pre-paid months ago for a grand family vacation.
A daughter of his and one of mine, have serious boyfriends of over one year’s relationship. We initially stated a rule that only “partners” would be invited along.
But his other daughter says she’s in love with someone she met one month ago. He’s not invited and she’s creating havoc over it. (Another of my daughters has a new boyfriend but she understands.)
What Should We Do?
Stick to your rule. Her reaction is a tantrum she hopes will work. But it would mean that you two are held hostage to a grown daughter’s temper.
Tell her that if the romance lasts a year, you’ll pay for the couple to have an anniversary getaway one weekend.
Meanwhile, she can join everyone for this trip and see how much he misses her.
I’m struggling with changes in my son since he married. Christmas isn't nearly as important to his wife as it’s always been for me.
When they were engaged, she fully participated in Christmas. Now, they live 3,000 miles away and choose to no longer come home at Christmas due to the expense.
They’re well off, travel throughout the year, and own two homes.
The first year they didn't come home, I sent them stockings as I’ve always done. My son said they’d decided stockings weren't something they wanted to include in Christmas.
It felt like he was casting off generations of a tradition. The next year, I sent gifts and a small token stocking. I was told that I'm not respecting their wishes. He said, "Stockings are childish!"
I haven't sent one since but I miss being able to include him and his wife in our family tradition. Yet their Christmas picture that year included stockings hung in their fireplace, a very mixed message for me.
My son confirmed that he did like everything in the stocking I’d sent him.
They also no longer send Christmas gifts, not even for his sister’s children. They occasionally send gifts for my birthday or Mother's Day. I do get a card from them on these occasions.
My two daughters, who earn considerably less than their brother, always do something for my birthday or Mother's Day.
I still send he and his wife a Christmas gift, it makes them feel closer to me at that time.
We Skype with them on Christmas Day but the call always seems forced. I sense they disapprove of how we choose to spend our Christmas.
I need a new perspective. I'm struggling to find the understanding that gives me acceptance of this new reality.
They’re choosing their own traditions, just as you developed yours. They haven’t rejected you, personally, but if you keep trying to force your choices on them, they’ll naturally withdraw further.
Learn to appreciate what they’re doing. Have you shown any interest in what patterns they’re creating…e.g. asked to see photos of where they travel?
Their marriage sounds like a strong union with both in agreement, not just her influencing him away from your past ways.
Christmas is special to you, and apparently to your daughters too. Enjoy that bond with them. This couple isn’t rejecting the holiday, but they have their own way of dealing with it.
Be gracious and accept that. There’s no better choice for you.
Reader’s Commentary “I was disgusted by a reader’s using the phrase, "man up," in a feedback about a man whose girlfriend fell for his best friend.
“That’s a deplorable, sexist and demeaning remark. I’d bet that person has never told a woman to "woman up."
“It’s okay for a woman to have certain feelings, but unacceptable for a man to have feelings about a situation.
“Men are just supposed to suck it up, and shut up.
“So much for "gender equality." It’s only allowed to go one way with people like that.”
Ellie – Yes, some close-minded people have very divided feelings on gender.
I was with you on that being sexist and wrong. But not with, “so much for gender equality.” It reveals another divided view, as in “Women get away with being emotional.”
Stick with this one incident: A young man was devastated by a break-up involving his girlfriend choosing his best pal. Period.
Tip of the day:
Parents and adult children will sometimes have conflicts… both sides need to accept their differences.