My 40-year-old daughter, “Marta,” and I are widows. I’m retired, and my daughter has a small home-based business. She and her three children live with me. Because the cost of living is high in our city, living together has allowed us to pool our resources and co-parent my grandkids.
Marta has had a boyfriend for a year and a half. I have not warmed to him. He has four kids by a previous girlfriend or wife. The youngest is 18 months old. He works at a grocery store, and I just don’t see a viable future for my daughter with him.
My dilemma: She sneaks him in, and he spends the night several nights a week. Marta never asked my permission. I guess she assumed it is OK. To me it is unseemly and untrustworthy on both their parts. It sends the wrong message to my grandchildren. My mistake was not having said anything to her the first time it happened. How should I proceed now?
– Bothered in California
Proceed by having an adult conversation with your daughter and tell her exactly how you feel about this arrangement. While whether or not the boyfriend is good enough for Marta is not your decision to make – face it, she’s 40 now – the talk may clear the air. If her sex life is important to her, she may opt to look for another place to live, so don’t be surprised if she does.
I had major surgery 8 months ago. When I came out from under the anesthesia, I was disappointed to find my wife wasn’t there. It turned out she had left the hospital to have lunch with my sister instead of eating on-site.
I have expressed my disappointment to her twice, and I know she regrets not being there, but every few months the memory of what felt like abandonment rises up and depression sets in, often for several days. How do I let this go?
– Post-Surgery Blues
Your wife did not abandon you; she had lunch with your sister. It was a mistake she regrets. You were feeling helpless and vulnerable, which is normal.
I’m wondering if your reaction could be connected to the surgery or medications. Please talk about this with your doctor. If that doesn’t help, a licensed mental health professional can help you get beyond this. Your doctor or health care provider can refer you to someone who can help with these episodes of depression.
My dear friend has a terrible habit of ALWAYS talking about her husband, “Bennet.” According to her, he can do everything and knows everything. In one evening she mentioned his name 19 times. (I counted.) For the record, Bennet is an average guy and nondescript in every way. Even her kids think he is royalty.
How can I kindly tell her she is embarrassing herself, and her friends find it annoying? This has been going on for years, and it keeps getting worse.
– Not Impressed in the East
Dear Not Impressed,
For the record, Bennet must be doing something right or his family wouldn’t idolize him the way you say they do.
If you think there is anything you can “kindly” say to your dear friend about her Knight in Shining Armor being nondescript in every way, you are dreaming. Tell your friend you appreciate how proud she is of her husband, but you’d like to hear about some other subjects. If it falls on deaf ears, see her less often if you must, but don’t smash her idol.
Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.