Ask Merrily


Dear Merrily 

My husband’s daughter has graduated from college. Her father continues to pay her car insurance, cell phone bill, and college loan even though they agreed before she went to college that she would help to pay the loan off when she found a job.

To really complicate this matter, this daughter is the only child who speaks to
him after a nasty divorce. He believes if he doesn’t continue to support her, she will turn away from him.
(ooooh – I am getting angry all over again!)
New wife/step mother – the “bad guy” – would be happy to help the daughter if she would make ANY attempt to help herself OR show appreciation.
New wife has suggested counseling. Husband feels guilty, . . . knows a counselor will tell him . . . to say “no”.

Dear Help, 

Your husband is leery of a counselor telling him to just say no, because he is cannot risk losing the last remaining member of his family.  The pain of his losses is probably huge and unacknowledged, as men tend to suffer alone.  More loss is not an option. 

Money is possibly the only bond they have.  They will need time to establish a real relationship, where she can give up being the needy little girl and he can connect with her on an adult level. 

You could choose the good guy role by nurturing the growth of their relationship, as their bond of money changes to a bond of love.  You would need to enjoy their process and be patient with your own discomfort with their financial arrangements, which clearly go against your values.  

Your honest anger is refreshing and useful. 

Anger is about someone invading our personal boundary. Your husbands financial arrangements with his daughter are in your space. 

Look back to a time in your life when something triggered the same feelings you are experiencing now.  Your husbands behavior may be bumping into old wounds.  This can be a gift which opens your life if you are willing to be conscious of your feelings here. 

Is your marriage worth giving this a try?   You will have to make decisions which are best for you if the financial situation between your husband and his daughter does not resolve. 

Merrily Preston is a life facilitator who lives in Woodbridge. Contact her at