My Boyfriend’s Daughter Won’t Talk To Him

DEAR ABBY: I have been writing on behalf of my partner for over 10 years. He has three daughters aged 23, 20 and 16. While he is close to two of them, his youngest distances herself when she doesn’t get what she wants or disagrees with his point of view on something.

Eight months ago, she stopped talking to him because he said bad things about a group of boys she likes. He basically said they weren’t worth the money when she asked him to buy her a ticket to their concert. He was going to soothe her, but his reaction was so strong that she didn’t give him a chance to let her know he was going to buy the ticket anyway.

Her mother does not encourage the relationship or support the importance of her having her father in her life or regular visits, although it is ordered by the court. He tried to contact her several times when this last episode happened, but she ignored his calls and messages. Now that her birthday is approaching, however, her older sister has texted her wish list. Should he buy presents for a child who has been ignoring him for a good part of the year? — GIFTS OR NOT GIFTS

DEAR GONG: If your partner’s daughter wants something from dad for her birthday, she should ask him directly and not telegraph the message through her sister. Your partner has to do what he wants to do about his behavior. You and I know how we would handle this, but we’re not him and we’re not emotionally involved. Stay out of the line of fire.

DEAR ABBY: Without warning, my mother-in-law packed her bags and left my father-in-law. From what she told me, he was verbally and emotionally abusive, and controlling. My stepfather is remarried. He met his fiancée shortly after my MIL left.

I don’t think it bothers me that he is remarrying, but it bothers me that no one has told my husband’s mother about it. FIL won’t tell her anything, and neither will my husband. She said she “doesn’t want to know” about what’s going on with my FIL. Not only does she not know, but neither does my husband’s brother. My brother-in-law despises his father.

My husband’s extended family will be attending the wedding. I have a huge guilt to go there. I feel like I’m betraying my MIL, with whom I have a good relationship. My husband wants me to attend because he needs support. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t go. I never had a good relationship with my SON, and he doesn’t seem to have changed, even though he’s with someone new. No advice? — IN A TOUGH IOWA LOCATION

DEAR DIFFICULT POINT: Your former stepmom made it clear that she didn’t want to know what was going on with your stepdad, so keep your mouth shut and don’t become the town crier. Because your husband says he needs your support on this occasion, go with him and offer your “best wishes” to the happy couple. (From what you wrote, they’re going to need it.) When your husband’s mother finds out about the marriage – and, of course, she will – remind her that she told you she didn’t want not be kept informed, then you have respected his wishes.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


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