Ask Amy: Staying single is a valid choice

May 22, 2013

DEAR AMY: My daughter, 40, was married to a man who was mentally abusive. He estranged her from her brother and friends and tried to end her relationship with her father and me. When she divorced him about five years ago, we were very happy. Fortunately there were no children.

A few years after the divorce she went to therapy, but I don’t know how much progress was made. Now she has no desire to date or to have a committed relationship with a man (or woman, for that matter).

She just says she is not interested. Her brother, who is married, has tried multiple times to encourage her to have a relationship with someone. The way he approached the subject was somewhat harsh, and she is more adamant than ever about meeting or dating.

She is a beautiful and intelligent woman and a very successful lawyer with her own practice. She and I are close. We are able to speak openly with each other, but this is a delicate subject. We are a very small family, and my husband and I won’t be around forever. I would appreciate any advice you can give me. -- Worried Mother

DEAR WORRIED: My advice is that you (and her brother, especially) should stop urging your daughter to believe that there is something wrong with her.

You don’t say that she is angry, depressed or friendless, only that she is a successful survivor and a very successful professional and a beautiful, intelligent and lovely daughter.

Marriage and intimate emotional partnerships are not the answer for everyone. If your daughter says she is not interested in having this sort of relationship in her life, I think it would be great (and honest, true and supportive) for her family members to believe her. And then stop bothering her about it.

DEAR AMY: My daughter is a sophomore in college. She lives with three other girls in an apartment. One of her roommates has had a boyfriend for six months who is spending more and more time at their apartment. He still has a dorm room but stays at their apartment about four days each week.

He has started to walk around in his boxers, and my daughter does not appreciate that. I fear that he could essentially move into their apartment this summer.

At what point has he crossed a line for what should be allowed, and how can my daughter resolve the situation without creating hard feelings with her roommate? -- Concerned Dad

DEAR DAD: It would be swell if your daughter’s roommate (and her boyfriend) showed some concern about creating hard feelings with the other roommates in the apartment. As the concerned dad in this scenario, you should counsel your daughter to grow a backbone and assert her reasonable rights in a no-nonsense and neutral way.

Let’s start with the issue of walking around common areas in boxer shorts. If your daughter doesn’t like this, she should say, “Hey, could you put on some pants, please?” It’s that simple.

All of the roommates should decide what to allow in the home they share. If they are fine with him moving in (and if it is allowable with the lease they have signed), they should have a roommate meeting and mutually determine what the terms are. If they don’t want to cohabit with him, then the roommate and her boyfriend should find somewhere else to live.

DEAR AMY: What a heartbreaking letter from “Wanting to Move On.” She and her husband had to terminate a pregnancy for medical reasons, and her mother was undermining and disrespecting them.

I went through exactly the same thing and was so hurt when my parents didn’t call me for two weeks after we had to end our first pregnancy. I think they were just so confused about what to say to us, and so they didn’t say anything.

I think most people can’t imagine having to make such a gut-wrenching decision. For what it’s worth, we went on to have three great, healthy kids. -- Chris

DEAR CHRIS: This was a truly heartbreaking situation; thank you for offering a hopeful future to this couple.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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