“My name is Sara*, I am 25 years old. I got married five years ago and we have two daughters. My husband is a businessman, who imports merchandise from abroad. Due to the nature of his job, he spends two to three months away.
To keep me occupied, he recently set up a bookshop for me on Nkrumah Road. I must say our relationship is smooth, despite the numerous travels. I, however, have a problem with my father-in-law.
He buys me gifts whenever my husband is away. At first, I thought he was just concerned about me and his grandchildren. He began by buying little things such as apples, bread and chocolate, which I found very fine since it is natural for him to care about his son’s family. As time went by, the gifts changed from edibles to material things.
In November last year, he bought me a pair of high-heeled shoes, a wrist watch and earrings. Any girl would have been glad about the nice gifts if they were from someone else. This was not it. I began suspecting that he had a hidden motive.
I was eager to discuss the matter with my husband on return. But before he even arrived, I became nervous. I feared to cause chaos in the family because my husband is short-tempered. Besides, I felt my husband would not believe me.
The bond they share is strong. Even the money my husband used to start up his business was from his father.
A week to Valentine’s Day, my husband travelled to the UK for business. This time round, my father-in-law bought knickers as a Valentine’s Day gift. I was shocked and felt he had crossed boundaries.
It was time to tell my husband and show him all the gifts. But my friends have aised me against the move to save my marriage. My friends think my husband will not believe me or that he will start doubting me. Others suggested that I should stop my father-in-law from giving me gifts. But I fear to embarrass him since he never mentioned anything to me”.
So is Sara’s* dilemma. Picture yourself in her shoes. What would you do?
Normally, fathers-in-law are darlings because they rarely come with the drama synonymous with many mothers-in-law. But when they cross the line, what is a woman supposed to do? And if your wife confided in you with information similar to Sara’s* situation, how should a man handle it?
Tom Kalyegira, a driver, says he would think that his wife has been concealing something. For him, this would bring their marriage to an end. He would even shift to a distant place where he cannot see his father and wife.
For him, seeing them regularly would ignite his anger.
“I would assume she is telling me after they have probably got a misunderstanding. I cannot help but think that they have already had a sexual affair,” Kalyegira says.
Sarah Nakabuye, a businesswoman, says presents have a way they entice someone. If any of her male in-laws bought her a gift, she would present it to her husband as soon as possible. She would even caution that person not to give her gifts.
Martin Nyakairu, a marketeer, says if he realises his wife has been hiding such a thing, he would assume that she is also interested.
“I would divorce her to save the image of the family,” Nyakairu says.
WHAT IF YOUR FATHER-IN-LAW BOUGHT YOU KNICKERS?
“Of course, I would show it to my husband. I believe it is disrespect by my father-in-law. So, if I tell my husband, he can caution him to stop it,”
“No, I cannot tell my husband because I know it could cause disputes in the family. However, I make my stand clear to my father-in-law. For instance, I can tell him not to buy me such gifts,”
Leah Nambalirwa, Secretary
“Obviously, I would tell my husband. It is better to reveal the truth now, than him finding out. I know it could cause confusion, but blood is thicker than water. They can sort themselves out, than me holding the blame,”
MARY MunguryekI, businesswoman
“I believe that is an evil spirit that should be fought. Even a blind person knows that the man is seducing the woman. If I was the one, I would have discouraged him the moment he began buying earrings. I would have even told my husband about his father’s behaviour,”
Immaculate Nalule, teacher
Compiled by Joseph Kato
When father-in-law buys you gifts
Mugumya Olan: To be realistic, it just needs a woman to appreciate her father-in-law because a gift is not an abuse, after all, all women use them. (knickers).
Angelo Bosa: If I am that woman, I would take them and tell him to buy more but the second time he does it, I would give the gifts to his son to open since it is the dad who has bought them. Awo netulaba (then we see)
Atwine Sheillah Juventine: I would first warn him, if he persists then I would tell my husband.
Nicholas Blessing Balisanyuka: Some men fear to buy such items for their loved ones and hence put them in danger. But why do I wait for my father to buy underpants for my sweetheart?
Sekiwala Bafudde Gagamel: It costs you less to tell me, but why should he do so?
Dorothy Kebirungi, a counselling psychologist at Infectious Diseased Institute, describes the scenario as a time bomb that needs to be diffused. The ball is in Sara’s* hands to prevent the motive, protect peace in the family as well as her marriage.
Kebirungi aises her to disclose the issue to her husband in a polite manner.
Sara* should sit down with her husband and show him some of the goodies the father-in- law has been giving to the family, excluding the knickers. The knickers should not be mentioned because the husband may doubt her or probably attack his father.
Afterwards, she should convince her husband to appreciate his father for the contribution. Kebirungi believes if the husband appreciates his father for the support he has been giving to the family, the father-in-law will feel exposed.
“In case, he had a bad intent, he will realise that his motive has been exposed. He will eventually stop bringing the gifts if he has a hidden agenda.”
She disagrees with friends who aise her to conceal the matter, saying it makes the father- in-law remain hopeful of winning her over (if that is his intention).
“He might one time propose or rape her. The devil you know is better than a thousand angels you don’t know,” Kebirungi cautions.
Compiled by Beatrice Nakibuuka
SOURCE: Daily Monitor