Dad vs. Dad
Dear Prudence offers Father’s Day advice on conflict over a possibly gay son, alimony trouble, and a skipped Mother’s Day.
It sounds as if there’s one card you should definitely send, and that’s to your stepfather. You haven’t disagreed with your stepfather’s assertion that he was the real father in your life. Your father’s stunt—punishing you for the fact that he largely disappeared from your life after your parents divorced—may indicate why your mother left him in the first place. It’s sad to have a nasty, overgrown baby for a father, but fortunately you have another set of parents. You say having your father end contact has made your life better. That’s a pretty devastating indictment. Sure, if you want to send a generic card, go ahead. But if you want to save the cost of a stamp, don’t feel guilty.
My husband and I have been married for eight years and have a son and several foster children. I work part time, but my husband is our main breadwinner and has a very physically demanding job. He's a great guy and an awesome dad. The night before Mother's Day, he informed me that since he’d been working a lot of hours and was very tired, he would be postponing the holiday. I didn't think he was serious, but he was. I spend months finding the perfect gift and get great joy out of giving it. He’s not like that, but he didn't even get me a card! Being a foster mom is a hard job, and I wanted to be recognized. Now Father's Day is coming, and I would have gone all out, but I can't stand the thought of doing anything for him. I know that isn't setting the best example for the kids, though. I have told him several times how much he hurt my feelings, but my usually sensitive husband just thinks I'm overreacting. What should I do?
—Mama Ain’t Happy
I’m not defending his insensitivity, but everyone is entitled to a screw-up now and then. It sounds as if he realized on the eve of Mother’s Day he’d forgotten to get you a gift, and running around at the last minute to find you something perfect would have sent him into a collapse. You two are both exhausted and stressed, and sometimes the best thing you can do for one another to let go of a minor slight, or holiday celebration. He’s not a special-occasion person, but you are. So don’t blow off Father’s Day to get even. Forget the elaborate gift, but insist the children create homemade cards. Then have them help you make him something special for Father’s Day breakfast. Show your great guy that sometimes all that’s needed is a little acknowledgement.
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“Should a Former Hottie Burn the Evidence?: Dear Prudence advises a woman whose ex-husband took nudie pictures of her and still has them.” Posted July 11, 2011.
“Boyfriend Is Thick as a Brick: Dear Prudence advises a woman who is reluctant to wed her dim-bulb suitor.” Posted July 5, 2011.