Ask Dad: My Father-in-Law Won't Stop Groping Me!

Andrew Dalton

Summer lovin' been more work than play? Relationship woes got you hating the dog days of the season? Well thank God it's Monday, when Ask Dad can answer your tough questions on love and sex. 

My husband’s father is WAY too affectionate. He slathers me in hugs and kisses at every hello and goodbye. How do I get him to stop?

The slimy tentacled father-in-law is so common it's practically a tradition in some cultures and generations. (Be glad he doesn’t come from a culture where fathers expect to go even further with the wives of their sons.)

The old man may honestly believe that his wandering hands are perfectly acceptable. So he may not be a creepy groper, or even a gropy creeper. Or he could actually be a jerk just trying to cop a cheap feel.

But motives don’t matter. If he’s making you feel uncomfortable, he needs to stop.

A few tricks to try first, just to see if they work.

  • When you see him, beat him to the punch by grabbing his hand, shaking it firmly, and slapping him on the shoulder with a smile and a laugh. He may get the hint.
  • Take a self-defense class. (Or just learn a few martial arts tricks online. It's a good idea anyway.) When he gets a little too huggy, pull one on him, and when you've got his arm chicken-winged behind his back, ask if he likes your new trick, laugh, and let him go. If he tries it again, show off another move. Hopefully it'll defuse the situation, and again he may take the hint.
  • Have a coughing fit when he comes near you and don't bother to cover your mouth. Maybe he's a germaphobe. If you have the rare gift of throwing up on demand, maybe barf on his shirt and he'll forever find you revolting. At least picturing this could feel cathartic until you think of something better.  

And if none of these fine ideas work, there's no way out of the situation other than confrontation: You're just going to have to rip that Band-Aid off the hairy arm. But be forewarned: Feelings will be hurt.

It may be tempting to talk to your father-in-law directly, but you shouldn’t go over your husband’s head: He needs to be involved in the solution. If you haven't already, tell him. Chances are, this is going to dig up some serious daddy issues. (We’ve all got ‘em.) He may be defensive and stand up for his old man. Or, he may overreact the other way and try to kick his ass.

Or, he may actually have good thoughts on how to deal with his creeper dad. You may not even be the first to come to him. A good man will understand.

Does your father-in-law have wandering hands?


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