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My husband refuses to see my daughter from a previous marriage

Group Therapy is a relationship advice column to which readers contribute their wisdom.

A reader writes: My husband will have nothing to do with my daughter from my first marriage. She had a baby two years ago and is now a single mom. He says she ruined her life and he is hard on me when I spend time with my grandchild. He won't talk to anyone about it. Advice?

Do what you want

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I'm curious why you are asking for advice: Are you too timid to have a relationship with your daughter and grandchild without him? It's your daughter and your grandchild – have whatever relationship you want with them, including inviting them to your home. If your husband doesn't like it, you have a different problem.

Patricia MacDonald, North Bay, Ont.

Make a choice

Someone once said, "there are no illegitimate children, only illegitimate parents." Guess which one your husband is? This choice is painfully obvious. My guess is that if you choose your daughter he will change his thinking – or else you will have sped up the inevitable breakup of your marriage.

Mike Forsey, London, Ont.

Include them both

There are bonds between a mother and daughter that transcend the bonds with the second (or third) husband. You should make it clear that love forgives and your love for both your daughter and husband means that you will include both in your life, even if it means spending time with each independently.

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Ian Galton, Barrie, Ont.


Snow White had the same problem as your daughter. She was a model citizen, loved domestic servitude and firmly believed in sex after marriage, but all for naught: She was despised by her stepparent anyway. Is your husband not the fairest of them all? I kid, I kid.

You're caught between two very important people in your life. But Ian's right: Bonds between mother and child are forever, come bad boyfriends or high water.

And yes, as Patricia says, you have an absolute right to visit your daughter whenever you want. But let's ease into that scenario. Your husband sounds like a guy without a lot of hobbies or friends and you're the centre of his tiny, emotionally dependent universe. He's going to need time to change his attitude.

Reassure him that this marriage is a priority for you and you want it to thrive. That may mean spending extra time doing things he loves – date night, fly fishing, demonstrating correct condom use. Building up a bank of goodwill will help neutralize some of the hostility, and give you opportunities to open up the conversation.

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And despite Mike's take, let's not choose between them yet. Your daughter is in your life, but she doesn't have to be in your husband's. This can be a good thing. Once, while visiting my mother with my two-year-old son, he reached into his diaper, pulled out a piece of poo the size of a small poodle and plopped it onto her pristine kitchen table. After the screaming subsided, my mother told me that, for the next little while, she'd visit me in my own home.

With time and effort, your husband will realize that your relationship with your daughter isn't going away and more importantly, not affecting his relationship with you. Let's hope he'll be more open to her presence in your home. But keep the pooper scooper handy.

Regina-based Zarqa Nawaz is the creator of the CBC-TV sitcom Little Mosque on the Prairie .

Next week's question

A reader writes: We're a group of women who've been getting together on trips for years. One of us, who gets very emotional when drinking, recently said some unforgivable things to one of the groupher friend. Now some of us want to exclude her permanently, and others say no. No one sees her often enough to confront her about her drinking. What should we do?

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About the Author

In 2007, Zarqa Nawaz created the television series Little Mosque on the Prairie, which premiered to record viewership and ultimately became CBC’s highest rated sitcom. The success of her series ushered in a new era of television in Canada. More

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