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Ask Amy: Girlfriend’s daughter convinced her that our relationship is wrong

4 min

Dear Amy: I’m a retired man in my early 70s. For almost a year, I have been dating a woman my age. (We met online.) We live over two hours apart but enjoy visiting each other and meeting in other destinations. We have developed a caring and intimate relationship.

Recently, she visited her daughter. This kept us apart for several weeks. Then she caught mild covid and so we kept our distance, although we have stayed in daily contact by phone and text.

I was shocked, disappointed, and concerned when my friend then abruptly called to say that she needed to end our relationship because it was a moral conflict with her belief system. We are both people of faith, although I am rather more liberal in my beliefs than she is.

We both lost our spouses after decades-long marriages and we had discussed how we were on the same page about letting our relationship develop.

After a tearful second phone call, my friend shared that her daughter had told her that our intimacy outside of marriage was very wrong on religious grounds and that if she didn’t break it off with me, she wouldn’t be allowed to see her grandchildren. My friend ended the second call by asking me for a do-over and to not break up. I don’t think that our relationship is morally wrong, and I don’t want to lose it, but this is troubling.

I’m angry that the daughter would try to control her mother’s life through coercive means. I’m disappointed that my friend would let herself be bullied and wasn’t truthful about the daughter’s ultimatum at the outset.

I’m also inclined to think the covid brain-fog may be playing a role. Should I allow the do-over, or should I rethink this relationship?

— Lost in the Fog

Lost: Yes, you should allow the do-over. You should also rethink the relationship, for all of the excellent reasons you mention in your question.

The way some parents use contact with grandchildren as a way to bully their folks is mean, coercive, controlling and unfair. Threats of estrangement also demonstrate terrible judgment, as well as deeply flawed parenting.

But a threat of estrangement won't work if the other party refuses to play. And in this sense, your friend has enabled her daughter to control her life, essentially opening the door and inviting her into your relationship — where she has no business being.

You'll have to see how this plays out, but, realistically speaking, if forced to choose, a mother and grandmother will almost certainly choose her kin.

Dear Amy: My nephew and his fiancee came to my home for Thanksgiving. The last time I saw this couple they told me their wedding would be on a specific date, but that they did not have a venue secured. I participated in lots of wedding talk.

I greeted the fiancee with a welcome hug, and asked how the wedding planning was going. She replied that the wedding date would be moved out several months.

I replied that I had made vacation plans around the initial date and hoped that the new date would work out for me. The next day my nephew called, telling me how upset his fiancee was with my comments. I apologized over and over and assured him I would have no further comments about the wedding.

I am very hurt and unsure if I should send the bride a note of apology, even though I’m not sure what I did wrong.

— Hurt and Unsure

Hurt: Your choice to mention that you’d planned your vacation around their wedding date reminded the bride that their wedding planning has been messy and might inconvenience people.

You should not have said that you hoped the new date would “work out” for you. Wedding plans are in a special and very sensitive category. It’s best not to weigh in at all, unless it is a matter of extreme importance (your vacation plans don’t qualify).

The over two-year break on gatherings during the pandemic continues to mess with wedding plans. You’ve apologized. Let it lie.

Dear Amy: “Disgusted Dad” mentioned that two of his three children don’t speak to one another. They refused to attend holiday celebrations together.

You immediately took this father’s side! You don’t know what might have caused the siblings’ conflict. Maybe they’re right and he’s wrong!

— Upset

Upset: The father was the one who asked the question, and yes I did agree with him that he should not perpetuate this estrangement.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency