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delicate family problem, WWYD?

(243 Posts)
sunflowers63 Sun 15-Sep-19 19:31:57

Definitely NC for this. Will try and keep it short.

I live in the UK, my parents live in another country and I only see them every couple of years at the most, when they come here, usually for Xmas. I get on OK with them but my father can be a bit of a twat and our political views etc do not coincide. So I tend to be fairly superficial with him, otherwise I get annoyed.

I have a stepdaughter, who is 24 and at university. She is single at the moment, and is a very pretty, bright, fab girl all round. I have a brother, let’s call him Ted, who is 37 and lives in another country (not the one where my parents live, although that is not really relevant). My brother recently got divorced, after a pretty disastrous marriage which we in the family were all very sceptical about from the beginning (I kept my scepticism to myself and tried to be friendly to my SIL, however my parents, on the rare occasions when they met her, were quite rude to her and about her, and made it abundantly clear to my brother that they did not approve of her).

My parents are coming to us this Xmas. I was hoping that stepdaughter would also come home for Xmas, in the uni holidays. She has now told me that she won’t come while my parents are here because of something my father said to her a few months ago (when she happened to be visiting the country where my parents live). He reportedly said to her that she should sleep with Ted, in a jokey kind of way. I suppose he thought he was being funny and probably that he was complimenting my stepdaughter by saying that he wished poor divorced Ted could get such a lovely girl.

My stepdaughter was disgusted by this, she did not say anything to me immediately as she did not want to upset me (we are very close), but over the summer holidays, when I asked her if she was coming home for Xmas she said that she could not, because my father will be here, and she had to tell me why. I was embarrassed, horrified and had no idea what to say (still don’t). My DH does not think I should say anything to my parents, my father is likely to either have forgotten the incident altogether (very likely), just deny it, or to say it was just a joke and not understand why anyone would make a fuss.

Should I do anything about this? It is not difficult for my stepdaughter to avoid my parents, they are here once every two to three years at the most. I just feel sad and angry that she has to.

BogglesGoggles Sun 15-Sep-19 19:34:25

I would just leave it. What can be done at this point?

HollowTalk Sun 15-Sep-19 19:35:26

Ugh, what a horrible thing for him to say. If he'd said she should marry your brother, that would be bad enough, but to sleep with him? Good for your stepdaughter for saying she won't visit while your dad's there. Can she go to her mum's for Christmas?

Digestive28 Sun 15-Sep-19 19:37:14

Let her avoid them, if they were likely to see each other a lot then maybe worth resolving but bringing it up with him won’t get you far and not worth the heartache on your part to do so

Disfordarkchocolate Sun 15-Sep-19 19:39:46

I wouldn't want my stepdaughter to feel like she had to be the one to stay away. I'd be tempted to ask her for Christmas and tell your parents to come another time.

toria6118 Sun 15-Sep-19 19:42:14

Urgh, that is vile. I understand why she wouldn’t want to be anywhere near him. It’s been a while since it was said so not much can be done, other than to say you understand why she does not want to visit with him there. It’s just gross really.

sunflowers63 Sun 15-Sep-19 19:42:49

Yes, my thoughts are that trying to resolve it in any way would probably make things worse. My parents are elderly, they are hardly ever here and likely to be here even less as they get older and travelling gets harder. My father always did have a bit of a funny attitude to sex, likes to bring it up in conversation etc. This seems to have got worse as he gets older.

Her mum lives too far away for her to go to her for Xmas (she is at a uni in Europe and only gets a few days off at Xmas). But she says she will be fine where she is.

sunflowers63 Sun 15-Sep-19 19:43:41

My parents cannot come another time, because of my father's business it is only Xmas time that they can come...

JoyceDivision Sun 15-Sep-19 19:44:20

Agree with Disforddarkchocolate!

Expressedways Sun 15-Sep-19 19:48:27

I think you should prioritise your stepdaughter, who has done nothing wrong and should not feel like she can’t come home at Christmas, and tell your parents to come another time (or not at all if it’s Christmas or nothing).

sunflowers63 Sun 15-Sep-19 19:51:15

My parents' trip has been long planned and paid for (by me). If they do not come now I have no idea when or if I will see them again. They will also then not get to see my son, their grandson, who they have not seen for three years now (and he won't get to see them). I only see them once every two to three years. And if I did tell them not to come I would have to tell them why and I don't think I can have that conversation with them.

WhatIsThis1 Sun 15-Sep-19 19:57:54

First of all I would speak to step daughter and let her know that you think your father was wrong and you totally understand why she doesn't want to see him.
Next ask her what she wants to do at Xmas. Make sure she knows she comes first. If she wants to come home you will make sure she can without seeing your dad. Make sure she knows she is the priority and won't miss a family Xmas if she wants one.

If she doesnt, or has other plans then go ahead.
If she wants to come home then you will need to either visit your parents alone or put them off!

sunflowers63 Sun 15-Sep-19 19:59:11

I might be angry with my father, but basically potentially never seeing my parents again is a big choice to make...

isadoradancing123 Sun 15-Sep-19 20:03:51

I would just leave it now

yourestandingonmyneck Sun 15-Sep-19 20:05:23

That is really hard. But I agree; you can't cancel your parents, particularly if it means potentially not seeing them again due to their age.

I think you just need to explain this to your step daughter, and from the sounds of it, she will understand.

Make it clear that you are horrified by what he said but explain that he probably meant it as a compliment and that he is very old (yes, neither are excuses, but in the circumstances what else can you say?). Make it clear that you do not condone his behaviour and would never force her to spend time with him, but it is Christmas, you want to see her, and is there any way you can make it work so that she comes home as well?

Good luck x

lyralalala Sun 15-Sep-19 20:07:25

What is your stepdaughter going to do for Christmas? Seems incredibly harsh if she has to spend Christmas alone because your father is unable to not make horrible comments to her?

Is your husband ok with not seeing his daughter for Christmas because of your father?

ElizaDee Sun 15-Sep-19 20:07:48

But of an overreaction to a throwaway comment, really, isn't it.

Yeah it's not nice but does it really warrant all this?

snowbear66 Sun 15-Sep-19 20:18:42

But of an overreaction to a throwaway comment, really, isn't it

Agree with this.

Paperdolly Sun 15-Sep-19 20:21:06

I think it’s the SD’s choice whether to be upset by the remark or not, ElizaDee. It wasn’t appropriate. End of.

The relationship between my DM and DD was changed forever over an insensitive remark made to my sensitive teenager.

An adult should take responsibility for and apologise for their insensitive remarks. He should be made aware of his faux pas.

Breathlessness Sun 15-Sep-19 20:21:36

’My father always did have a bit of a funny attitude to sex, likes to bring it up in conversation etc’

So, your father is a creepy man who enjoys making inappropriate comments to young women about sex.

phoenixrosehere Sun 15-Sep-19 20:21:38

A man telling his daughter’s stepdaughter she should sleep with his son is highly inappropriate. Her reaction was not only right but warranted. I wouldn’t want to be near him either. He is thinking of your sd in a sexual relationship with his son. That is creepy. Him even thinking of her in that manner is wrong, joke or not.

I wouldn’t be able to look at my father the same way.

pigsDOfly Sun 15-Sep-19 20:21:51

Agree with others.

I think it's a poor show that your stepdaughter has to be the one left out at Christmas because of your father's crass remark.

Very inappropriate thing for an older man to say to a young woman. It must have made her feel very uncomfortable, I'm not surprised she doesn't want to be around him.

flouncyfanny Sun 15-Sep-19 20:22:19

agree with Disfordarkchocolate i'm afraid.
I understand you want to see your parents and they want to see your son, but it really is not fair on your step-daughter and SHE had done nothing wrong.
What does your husband think?

Disfordarkchocolate Sun 15-Sep-19 20:22:56

I don't think women should have to spend time ignoring unpleasant sexist comments. It's a slippery slope to accepting a whole load of sexist crap and wondering where your self-esteem went.

CoinOperatedBoy Sun 15-Sep-19 20:23:07

Yeah I don't like that kind of "sense of humour" either I'm right with her. The fact that he was THINKING about her having sex. The fact that that's what she "should" do because that's what she's worth. Disgusting and highly innappropriate. Joke or no joke.

I wouldn't mention it. I also don't think you shouldn't invite them, that could cause more trouble for her.

Have them for dinner, maybe have a seperate meal/night out with her?

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