Scary Father-in-law Story

This is how I met my future father-in-law. My wife, then my girlfriend, had practically moved into my little apartment. Now it was time to meet the parents. Her parents were no longer married so I had to meet them separately.

I’ll focus on her father in this particular post. Victoria arranged a visit. We travelled a bit by car and during the trip I imagined the different ways we might connect and begin an enduring family relationship. Bottom line, I’m in love with his daughter.

When we arrived, I was greeted in a warm and somewhat affectionate manner. He seemed like a “regular guy.” On first impression, I figured a relationship between him and me, his future son-in-law, was destined to turn out pretty well.

OK so we eventually sat down at a table, a large one as I remember. I sat by my fiancé, expecting her father to sit nearby as well. Instead he sat at the other end of the table, a bit farther than I would expect in a job interview. I guess I excused the distance, figuring it might have some significance for him. Maybe he was asserting his authority as her father, sitting at the head of the table. Maybe the distance was needed to make a wise point or two about our future lives together. I waited.

He started off with a little small talk that eventually led to what I was doing for a living at the time. Apparently my future wife had told him that I was doing sick leave evaluations with police and correction officers in addition to my private practice. He asked a couple of questions, then impulsively excused himself going into an adjacent room. He came back in with several “rifles and handguns.”

Looking back, I had a few interesting but unsettling thoughts flash through my mind when I first saw him return to the table. As he sat there proudly handled each firearm, and from a distance (firing distance?), describing the particulars of firing each one, I wondered uncomfortably whether or not there was a subtext to this activity. Was he doing some variation of a “shotgun wedding?” Was he sort of telling me I’d better be serious about his daughter or else? Was I going to make it out of his house alive? Gulp…

Glad to report that, this was the only time I got to see the arsenal. In his mind, law enforcement meant guns so he wanted me to see the guns he owned that he was proud of. No subtext? Maybe not. Regardless, he turned out to be a great father-in-law. We shared many good times since that first meeting. I miss the old man. He’s now a memory.

I’m left wondering, what’s it like for a father to meet the future husband of his only daughter for the first time? Feelings… Dr. J.

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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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