I adore my daughter's boyfriend . He is a year older than my daughter and he is polite , smart and funny . My daughter is going to college hours away, while he is at Florida State University. He plans on transferring out of state, and it upsets me because I always enjoy spending time with him and I will miss him so much . I want him to stay at Florida State University so at least he and I could see each other when my daughter is away. My daughter finds this "creepy," but I do not want to see both of them leave me . What should I do ?
I hate to say this, but your daughter is right . Yes, it can be pretty upsetting to have your child leave home to go to college, even though you know it is going to happen one day .
It is lovely that you have such a positive relationship with your daughter's boyfriend . That being said, it is inappropriate for you to attempt to keep either of them nearby. Now is the time for them to spread their wings and build their lives as young adults . Your job is to support your daughter as she pursues her education. You should be available to talk to her as she works through whatever challenges come her way . If she and her boyfriend like the fact that you stay in touch him, you can do so ... but only to a moderate extent, and only as a friend. You must remember he is not your child.
I have a niece who is smart and dumb at the same time. She has been floundering about for years . She never finished school . She free-loads off all her family members and gets indignant when people question her choices in life . She came and stayed with me for a few weeks some years back , hoping to figure out her life . The visit was a disaster . She had no direction, no discipline and no money . She just asked me if she could come back to stay with me again . I don't think I am up for her . I tried everything I could think of to help her . She didn't listen before . I don't want to be in the middle of it this time , because I really don't think it will help any . What should I do ?
At My Wits End , Orlando , Florida
Dear At My Wits End ,
You have every right to turn her down . This family member is not your responsibility, even though you care for her. I'm sure you want her to be successful, but maybe saying "no" is what she needs to hear for a change. From your description, your niece is definitely floundering and can't figure out what direction to take. She does need help, but not from well meaning relatives.
This is not an uncommon condition among young people these days, drop-outs and graduates alike. They cannot transition to independent adult life. They are afraid of failure, afraid of the unknown, afraid they will not live up to their parents' expectations and afraid of losing the support system of parents, family and teachers . They expect life to just fall into place for them like the TV shows they have been raised on. But instead they fall into a kind of limbo and can't find the strength to pull themselves out. Sadly, a large percentage of these young adults become depressed and need psychological counseling. The condition, however, is treatable.
What you may want to do is call her parents and let them know that you are not inviting her to visit you . Suggest to them that they help their daughter to find and heal herself by getting her a good psychological counselor. She would also benefit from a careers counseling service.
They say ' it takes a village to raise a child ', but whose responsibility is it to teach that child how to be independent ?
Dear Maxy ,
My father-ln-law "Ron" is having an affair . At first I was not sure, but now I have proof and my husband has seen his father with this woman as well . Even my in-laws have told us that they only coexist with one another . I am not sure if my husband's mother knows of the affair . She might .
Since we saw my father-in-law with this woman , things have not been the same between him and my husband . My mother-in-law is not the same , either . One minute she is fine and the next she is not .
We will be leaving soon for a joint family vacation and I am not sure I want to be there . I don't even want to bring my children to their home to visit. My father-in-law has cheated before .
I think my mother-in-law should divorce him and my husband agrees . He said his parents never seemed compatible when he was growing up . It seemed as though they were forced to be together bcause of his sister and him .
I want to tell my mother-in-law and give her my evidence . My husband says to leave it alone. He says he needs his time . But I feel his mother needs to know now , the sooner the better . I don't want to be the one that knew all about his affair and did nothing .
I am Hurting Too
Dear Hurting ,
This is truly not your business, no matter how awful the implications of not-doing anything may seem now. Forcing your mother-in-law to confront her husband's behavior (of which she is undoubtedly aware) may not be in her best interest .
Sometimes a spouse chooses to ignore evidence in order to maintain the status quo . It is not up to you to decide whether a divorce is better for her .
What you should do is respect their marriage and leave it alone. Absolutely nothing good will come of you getting involved in this. It's hard to watch loved ones make stupid mistakes, but it's very often worse to put yourself in the middle of them. If the marriage breaks down, be as supportive of your mother-in-law as you can. Until then, stay cool and calm and carry on with your own life. And use your in-laws' marriage as an example of what not to do in your own.