Dear Amy: Our 23-year-old daughter is with her first boyfriend. They have been together for nearly a year, and they have been basically living together.
We feel that she is only seeing and hearing what she wants to see and hear, and that this otherwise nice young man doesn’t really know what to do with her.
Amy, we don’t think that he (or his family) value her. For example, he is going to renovate a house with his father, but the young man’s parents have told him they will withdraw their financial help if our daughter is involved.
In addition, although the boyfriend acknowledged her recent birthday, the parents did nothing.
The list of indignities goes on, and we are hurt and disappointed for our daughter, whom we feel deserves much better.
We are trying to be supportive, but it is heartwrenching to see her basically throwing herself at someone who does not seem to know the first thing about standing up for the woman he says he loves.
What can we do to help her?
Does this young man’s behavior seem like that of someone seeking to make a proper future with our daughter? Are the days of asking a young man what his intentions are gone forever?
Dear Parents: You can ask this young man any question, including what his “intentions” are. But really – the person you should be asking is your daughter. What are her intentions?
Do not promote marriage unless you want them to get married, and it sounds as if you definitely don’t. In that case, shouldn’t you feel relieved that he won’t commit?
You should not lead the charge against this relationship, or criticize this man or his family. You should only reflect to your daughter what you see as your own relationship values: putting your partner first, building a home and family together and committing to shared values.
She will make mistakes as she matures. But unless she comes to you and asks you, point-blank: “What do you think and what should I do?” you should let her experience this relationship in her own way.
Dear Amy: After almost 30 years of togetherness, my partner and I decided to finally tie the knot. It was very spur of the moment, and it fell into place quickly: a church wedding with only my groom, his best friend, me, the pastor, my groom’s daughter and her husband, and my brother and his wife (who were visiting from out of town).
Since we had decided to keep the wedding quiet, I did not invite my older brother and his family who live a few hours away.
How do I break the news to him? I am concerned that there will be hurt feelings and, even worse, that it could cause an irreparable rift.
My husband and I thought about sending a printed announcement to our very closest friends and a few relatives – many of whom I’m sure already thought we were married.
Would I include my brother on this list? (I do think that would be the coward’s way out.) I want to minimize any emotional pain.
Dear Bewildered: The wrinkle here is that one sibling was included and the other was not. Don’t you think that the brother who was with you on your wedding day would mention this to your other brother?
You should call your older brother and tell him that you two have just gotten married, that it was a very spontaneous thing and that you wanted to let him know before the news got out.
Tell him that you are going to send out a card/announcement, but wanted to make sure he found out before other people did.
If his feelings are hurt, at least you will be on the phone with him, versus sending him an announcement, which really is the chicken’s way out.
Dear Amy: You published a letter in your column from a married couple who signed their letter “Jeannette Franks, Ph.D., and Richard Baker, M.D.” In responding, you chose to address them as “Ms. Franks and Dr. Baker.” How incredibly sexist of you. She is a Dr.! You owe that woman an apology!
Dear Disgusted: Yours was among the more polite of the dozens of responses to my choice to use Ms. Instead of Dr. in addressing this couple. I adhere to the AP stylebook for newspapers, which restricts the use of Dr. to those with medical degrees. I certainly meant no disrespect.
Email Amy at email@example.com.