Christmas Skype and Absent Fiancé(5 Posts)
My stepdaughter is currently abroad with the man she's going to marry, in the country his family originally came from.
So we arranged to Skype on Christmas day. It was 10pm their time and they had returned to the flat where they were staying after a day out with family friends.
We'd assumed that she'd be relaxed and enjoying a well-derserved break with her fiancé. Instead y stepdaughter seemed very fraught about wedding plans. They'll marry in August, but had planned to get bridesmaids dresses in the country where they are staying. However there was some hitch - which she described at length. After two nights of worrying and several trips to the relevant shop, she has abandoned this plan.
Both my husband and I were also aware that her fiancé at no point came over to the balcony where she was phoning to wish us Happy Xmas. She just said 'Oh X is around somewhere. I don't know where he's gone.'
I realised that in the last year X has visited us precisely once, though my husband has visited them a good number of times. X does have a demanding job, but doesn't seem to want to engage with us or get to know us at all. Whereas my stepdaughter is expected to be in attendance at every single event that concerns his family.
His parents also seem entirely unaware of anything that goes on in my stepdaughter's family. (For example they were completely unaware that my stepdaughter's mum had had a major heart attack, even though my stepdaughter was naturally hugely worried about this - and had made visits, phonecalls etc.)
Would you feel worried about what the future might hold for this couple?
Have you ever spoken to her about your concerns?
Is it cultural differences that she can overlook?
It's how she's treated, day by day. Is she enjoying being a part of their family?
I have come to think that the must be cultural differences - although the family she is marrying into aren't religious, or living within a a monocultural community. Yet I feel as though my stepdaughter has become a kind of chattel - someone who has all sorts of duties and responsibilities towards his family.
He - and they - are quite well-off and he has a lucrative job. So I think my stepdaughter (perhaps understandably) is pleased to be owning property, while her mates are still renting.
She got to know him in her very early weeks at university - about eight years ago. I don't think she actually knows what it is to be independent, if that makes sense. I suspect she sees this life as 'better' that her rather chaotic upbringing. (Parents divorcing when she was five. Mother, who she mostly lived with, permanently at loggerheads.)
So to her, her boyfriend and his family seem to represent security. To me it seems that they are rather controlling. I mean I think they are nice to her, provided she falls into line - which she normally does. She is extraordinarily loyal to her fiance and never says even the most trivial thing to criticise him. It's as if she's retreated behind this wall, where this man who won't even come to the phone to say 'Happy Christmas' to his future inlaws represents perfection.
*I realised that in the last year X has visited us precisely once, though my husband has visited them a good number of times. X does have a demanding job, but doesn't seem to want to engage with us or get to know us at all.^
My DP doesn't want to engage with my parents and family, and my parents don't understand this. It doesn't mean he doesn't like them, he's just not into family full-stop. It doesn't mean he's controlling me, far from it!! I respect his decision not to engage; and wish that I had the choice of engaging with my family less too.
I think my husband does worry - to an extent - that he is 'losing' his daughter, who nevertheless seems to be fond of him.
I don't think walking out of one room onto the balcony to say 'Happy Xmas' and make a little polite conversation on a day which is traditionally connected with family is a big ask. But, for whatever reason, it didn't seem to be something he wanted to do
Obviously children grow up and go away and have their own lives and that is as it should be.
But I suppose it is natural for parents (and step-parents) to hope that they will be allowed to be a small part of the new lives. We love her and have done our best for her, and just feel a bit sad and concerned that it is so one-way. (She has to be a part of his family. But he doesn't choose in any way to be part of ours.)
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