Dear Abby: Dad objects to sharing his part in daughter’s wedding

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: Yesterday, my daughter informed me that her boyfriend will soon come to me to ask for her hand in marriage. She also told me she intends to have both her stepfather and me walk her down the aisle. This creates a huge problem for me.

Her mother and I divorced 13 years ago because of marital infidelity on her part. She was having an affair with the man who is now my daughter’s stepfather. When my daughter told me her plans, it took all my self-control not to go through the roof.

I have thought about my daughter’s wedding day since the day she was born, and now she wants me to share it with this individual who has caused me so much pain. Her feeling is he has been with her her entire life, and she wants him in the wedding. I understand it to some extent, although for her to ask me to give up even a bit of this honor cuts me to my core.

Jeanne Phillips

One of her reasons for asking is we had a strained relationship for a number of years. I was never out of her life, although there were periods of time when we would fight constantly.

I don’t want to miss the opportunity to walk my baby girl down the aisle, but I simply cannot share this honor with someone who basically stole my family.

— Not Forgiving in Texas

Dear Not Forgiving: I know this is painful for you, but you are not in control. If you are going to have the honor of walking your daughter down the aisle, you will have to figure out a compromise. I’m suggesting you walk her halfway to the altar and your daughter’s stepfather take her the rest of the way, or vice versa. It has been done before.

Dear Abby: At what age is it no longer appropriate to share a bed with your child? My sister-in-law “Mara” is a single mom with a 13-year-old daughter. Until recently we were quite close, but we haven’t spoken in a few months. Mostly it’s because of COVID restrictions, but we had begun drifting apart even before.

Last week I saw on Facebook that she had made a comment about them still sharing a bed. I think it’s weird and creepy. It goes against every boundary I have as a mother myself.

Should I keep my mouth shut? She won’t listen to my husband (her brother) because he has been branded an “abusive misogynist.” Mara loves to play the victim and interprets any criticism, however slight, as abuse — especially if it comes from a man.

Getting in touch with her out of the blue to talk about this seems over the top, but I’m genuinely concerned about the long-term impact on her daughter, who has voiced in the past (not in front of Mara) that she prefers to sleep alone. Is this none of my business?

— Over the Line

Dear Over: If you suspect your niece is being sexually abused, child protective services should be contacted. Otherwise, it is none of your business. Not every family — or culture, for that matter — has the same standards. Until your niece finds the courage to tell her mother she no longer wants to share a bed, nothing will change in that household.

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