Fiancé’s Deadbeat Dad Is in the Picture

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Let me start by saying I love my fiancé. He’s my best friend and partner. We’ve been together for 3 and half years and recently got engaged. His mom has always been overbearing (he’s an only child to a single mom) and until recently his dad was not in the picture. However, his Dad, due to legal issues had to come back to where we live so he could continue to receive food stamps and benefits. Having quickly settled his legal issues, his Dad has recently discovered that he wants to build a relationship with my Fiancé after over 20 years a part. During his life his Dad is abandoned 3 kids, used drugs heavily and has practically lived off handouts from different people and family members. I’m having a really hard time swallowing that he genuinely wants to build a relationship with my Fiancé and it’s looking for something monetary.

My Fiancé, however, wants to build a relationship and has completely forgiven him. I understand that people have a natural need to build a relationship with family members, but I don’t want to walk into something that gets me set up to taking care of his dad. Remember, until now the thought of meeting him was less than likely (if likely at all). On top of this, my fiancé’s mom is now completely supporting his Dad and pushing for the relationship. When expressing my concern I’m told it’s not my business and it doesn’t effect me. But I can’t help but feel like it will and I’m concerned for not only our future together and mine. This is the only thing we fight about and has become a MAJOR issue in our relationship. Is it worth walking away?

A: It is a great thing that his father is in recovery and wanting to reach out. However, the course of reconnecting does involve you. I would make a point to your fiancé that you want to be part of this. The father isn’t just developing a relationship with his son, he’s reconnecting to his son’s life and that includes you.

You are with this man for three years, and you obviously love him. If you were to leave now and the father bales in a month – what does that say about your relationship?

It sounds like the primary concern is that the father may be doing this in a manipulative way. That is very understandable and my strong suggestion is that whatever happens going forward goes slow. You want to be there for your fiancé so that we can talk about this process. And you want to be there to provide another view when it is necessary. I think if the relationship is going to flourish, then you need to talk about your concerns openly. Don’t be silent but don’t push your fiancé away. Remain skeptical. Your fiancé may be clouded by his father’s desire to connect and you can be there for support as well as be the voice of reason

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Mar 2014

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2014). Fiancé’s Deadbeat Dad Is in the Picture. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/03/19/fiances-deadbeat-dad-is-in-the-picture/

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