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What would your DH/SO do?

Hesitant to try's picture

We have a little situation here that's making me want to laugh and cry. Curious what others would do in this situation. 

My SO (of 2 years) has a DD (21) who cut him out of her life about 7 months ago for being a terrible father. It's all baloney, he was a wonderful father. She has mental health issues and has spent most of her life in victim mode. Anyhoo, after 7 months of almost no contact, she reached out recently asking for a little money. He agreed since she's still in college and like I said he's a good father. I couldn't disagree that a college kid gets a little financial help from time to time (same for my kids and his other child, and we will treat her the same as the others in some regards). But then, a few days later, she sent him an email with her Christmas Wish list, and this, for some reason, has me laughing and crying. I'm thinking "You tell your responsible, kind, loving parent that he will never be a part of your future because he was a horrible father, go silent for 7 months refusing to see him or talk to him, and then send your Wish list for the holidays?!?!?!?!?!?! WTF!? Before you ask for another single thing, you owe him a huge apology, and then you owe him gratitude for being a wonderful Dad and for dealing with your mental health weapons that have been thrown at him for years, and maybe after you've apologized and started to mend that fence you can ask for a frickin' present!" Man, I do not like this person. Not even a teeny tiny bit!

My SO (who does not chase her or beg for her attention) chose 1 item off her list and had it sent straight from Amazon. I haven't said a single thing about it to him, but my thoughts are spinning. One side of me says a small, holiday gift to show her again that you care is the mature, loving thing to do. And the other side of me thinks this is the kind of enabling crap that has led to this 21 year old thinking it's OK to treat people poorly. Wouldn't it have been a powerful message to her if he had ignored the wish list and no package arrived for the holidays? But I also know as a parent that it's hard to be estranged from a child that you wish you had a good relationship with. 

What would you or your SO/DH's do in this situation? 

Hopefully we're all spared some holiday SKid drama thanks to covid this year.


The_Upgrade's picture

Sounds like my DH's DD21. Only instead of 7 months it's closer to 7 years. And it really is a catch 22. According to SD and BM, DH is a horrible absent father who doesn't care about them. Well he's absent because SD refuses to see him after BM's poisoning. And if he doesn't open his wallet when they call for money then he doesn't care. It's only in the last year that DH has finally acknowledged that continuing to pay isn't the right way.

His two choices are to keep on paying which teaches his daughter it's ok to treat people like garbage because she'll still get rewarded. Or not pay, not see his daughter, maybe one day she'll develop some empathy and figure out where she went wrong, most likely not. There is no third option. The hardest thing to accept and let go of is the relationship with his daughter that he thought he would have, one of mutual respect and understanding. The little girl he knew and loved is well and truly gone. I think sending token Christmas gifts at this point is just a waste since it'll never be acknowledged. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. May as well don't and hang onto the money.

notsurehowtodeal's picture

While it is pretty obvious that she has reached out due to the season and her hope for presents, it was probably the right call for your DH to send her one gift. If she ceases all contact after the holiday, then he will know not to send one next year. On the off chance she is really trying to reconnect, then maybe his acknowledgement will he

still learning's picture

My DH would pick right up where they had left off like nothing ever happened and send him a gift.  A few years back ss had stopped talking with dh for approx 6 months because DH talked to him about being responsible. Out of the blue ss needed gas money and help moving furniture (ie: lost another job and moved back in with mommy). DH was there with money and help. This is just the way it is with him and his enabled mid 30's son.  I used to have something to say, now I just ignore them both when they get into their little codependant cocoon.  He's doing his failed human no favors but hey, not my kid...Thank you Baby Jesus!  

ndc's picture

I don't know for sure what my DH would do.  His kids are still pretty young, so we've never dealt with anything like that.  I suspect, just by how he handles other things, that he'd buy something from the list (probably one of the smaller items), but not send it, so the skid would have to visit to get the gift.  I am very sure that if he was cut off again after the gift grab, he'd be done with gifts.

Catmom024's picture

Who knows what my SO would would all be kept secret from me. 

The best thing for you in the future is to just stay out of it.  If you insist he not send her a gift and she refuses to speak to him, it could come back to bite you.

It's great he had the gift delivered directly to her...she won't darken your doorstep for a gift grab!!  Maybe she'll be mad he just picked one thing and she'll give him the silent treatment for another year!!

JRI's picture

My DH would use the whole situation as an excuse to call the child.  In the end, he would buy the gift but find a way to deliver it in person, or lure the kid over.  

Wicked stepmo.'s picture

This is exactly the relationship my SO has with his daughter. She is 14 and only makes contact when she wants something. He has only seen her 2x in the last year.  But, I don't anticipate he will ever stop buying her things for birthdays and holidays. I find it's best to just stay out of it.

tog redux's picture

My SS was alienated from 15-18. During that time, DH did buy him gifts, but he left them at our house, and didn't mail them to SS. To his credit, my SS was not grabby and did not ask for gifts, but he had a pile to open when he finally started coming by again.  He did ask for stuff from his room, though, and DH told him he could have it if he came over, and he did, so that was a way to break the ice.

Now SS is almost 21 and while he does speak to DH, it's superficial, and he hasn't gotten DH a gift, or even wished him Happy Anything in years, so DH doesn't plan to get him a gift this year.

I don't think your SO should buy something from the list necessarily, but get her a small gift and let her know he'd like to meet up to give it to her.  I'm sure he still wants a relationship with her, and he shouldn't try to buy it back it again with gifts - but he also shouldn't just cut her out to teach her a lesson.

hereiam's picture

My DH would laugh his ass off, getting a wish list after being told off by his daughter.

He might still get her a gift, it might or might not be something from said list.

My SD (now 29) has told my DH that he's a terrible father and she has given him the silent treatment. We haven't given her gifts for quite a few years, now. She has never had the nerve to give him a list. That really would make him laugh.

Thumper's picture

The last time my dh saw bm's kids they called him such awful things. humiliated him in public. That was years ago. It was not long before that we were threatened in our own home...Soooooo

So, to answer you question I will put it this way. Dbags and Assholes don't buy Christmas gifts.

I will leave it right there.


Exjuliemccoy's picture

My DH's middle-aged eldest daughter, a GU with strong narcissistic traits, was always big on sending holiday demand lists for herself & the grandskids. She even efficiently sent different lists to each family member in order to avoid duplicates.

But when it came to Father's Day, DH's birthday etc, she never exerted herself. Perhaps a handful of times she sent a text, but that was it. The last time I invited her to dinner for her dad's birthday, she brought her entire blended family of eight plus her eldest SS's gf. I got stuck with the check, & they didn't even get DH a gift.

If I could go back in time, I would TOTALLY send her demand lists for every freaking applicable special day I could think of. 

Hesitant to try's picture

...your idea of sending her a list is funny! I think I'll ask my SO what was on his return list to her? On the list could be:

1- respectful, appropriately grateful daughter who is not a victim

2- new pair of jogging shorts

He won't appreciate my humor but I do! *ROFL*

Rags's picture

FIrst, unconditional love by a parent for an adult kid is naive.  If the kid is a POS behaviorally, then the love of a parent for that kid needs to end at the concept level and remain at the concept level until the kidult earns the love of that parent on a real world level.  This includes financial support, gifts, etc...

Lather, rinse, repeat until the Kidult earns the love of the parent and continues to earn that love without setback.

IMHO of course.

Tenn9lov's picture

 DH has a 23 yr old adopted daughter who is a single mom with 2 kids. (2 different dad's, both ran off to avoid sd and the kids). SD is on all sorts of assistance. Medicaid, food stamps, housing assistance, daycare assistance ect. She calls all of the time and only for 2 reasons. 1. To ask him to babysit and 2. Money. He used to ask me my opinion. I finally had it and told him I can't be bothered with her and her bs anymore. He no longer gives her a penny and refuses to babysit her kids. We've had 3 blissful years of No!!! SD had rebelled. She talks about us behind our backs and tells lies about us and my children. I could care less. DH and I have a great relationship with his other bio children and my children. (None of whom have ever asked for a cent btw). As for the gift.... We'd send her a gift card for $50 and call it good. 

TwirlMS's picture

has a 40 year old daughter that emailed a Christmas wishlist with 24 items on it.  She is divorced with no children so that leaves us with the responsibility of playing Santa clause to her, I guess for the rest of her life since she's been dateless for over 8 years now.  (long sigh)  

it's my job to do all the shopping for everyone too, the steps and step grandchildren in addition to my own children and grandchildren.    

In your case OP, I would have your DH get her the one gift, have it shipped directly to her, see if she thanks him for it.  

caninelover's picture

Would buy one gift like yours did.  I wouldn't necessarily agree with it but I would leave it to SO to judge.  21 and in college is still fairly dependent.

I would, however, expect this would not be the last time the child used silent treatment to punish your SO.  My toxic SD23 did it to SO recently to get back at me for kicking her out of 'her' room.  I told him when it happens again, he is on his own to deal with it.