Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Wife wonders why gift-giving is her job

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: Our daughter is a college graduate, working full time and living at home. She has been with her boyfriend for six years, and while he is a "good guy," he has few aspirations and life goals. He is a college dropout, and has only worked at menial jobs.

My husband and I feel that she is postponing her dreams because of him, and this concerns us. We've gently discussed this with her. Sometimes, she has been receptive; other times, defensive.

Other people see this, too (including her siblings). She is the only one who does not see the light. She'll speak her mind to him, but is also very forgiving. We just want her to reach for her dreams without being held back by him.

We also know that it's her life and we need to tread carefully, but since she still lives at home, we see it, and it hurts.

We have a great relationship with her and the last thing we want to do is push her toward him. Is there anything we can do to nudge her? Or should we stay silent and let time tell?

-- Concerned

Dear Concerned: If it were possible for parents to make children break up with partners the parents don't like, everybody would do it -- and the world as we know it would fold in on itself like a dark star.

It is hard to see someone you care about in a relationship that might not be good for them, but contrary to what romantic comedies tell us, there's no way to make your daughter see that she picked the wrong guy.

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Forget about the boyfriend for a moment and look at everything else in your daughter's life: She is clearly moving forward, just at a slower pace than you expected. This is not uncommon; graduating from college can be a jarring experience, and many people cling to things that are familiar. That includes old relationships.

Give her a chance to figure things out; she will get there. For now, your only job is to let her grow into her own adulthood and to absorb the consequences for herself.

Dear Amy: "Debating DNA" was wondering about contacting a "secret" half-sibling who had emerged after DNA testing. Thank you so much for understanding the complicated issues surrounding these revelations. Most important (to me) was this: "No matter what anyone thinks about the actions of the parents, the siblings did nothing wrong."

-- Grateful

Dear Grateful: This issue is increasingly common, and I believe that -- overall -- these revelations have mainly positive endings.


(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: Readers may send postal mail to Amy Dickinson, c/o Tribune Content Agency, 16650 Westgrove Drive, Suite 175, Addison, Texas, 75001. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.)


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