Ask Amy: Couple’s age differential brings on questions
Dear Amy: Our 24-year-old daughter recently moved out of state, before entering grad school in the medical field.
After graduation from college a year and a half ago, she worked in a rehab hospital, where she made many friends.
She became close to one of her co-workers and it seemed like they had a strong friendship. We have met him on several occasions and we like him — he is kind, intelligent, grounded, and treats her with respect.
Recently, she told me that the two of them have been dating for about six months. She was reluctant to tell us because she thought we would not approve. He is 17 years her senior.
She said she is very happy that she still made the move west even after they became exclusive, because she is still pursuing her dreams and goals.
She says that they are taking it one day at a time.
My daughter has always been strong and independent. She was in one other serious relationship and said the relationship taught her that she wanted a more mature partner.
I realize that she is an adult and gets to make her own choices, but I am wondering if I’m negligent as her mother to not point out the possible challenges, should this relationship continue.
I know our opinion means a lot to her, but I also know she will do what is best for her.
Should I just keep my concerns to myself?
– Caring Mom
Dear Caring: Your daughter sounds smart, independent, and capable. These qualities make her well-equipped to handle her intimate relationships.
Like all of us, she will occasionally struggle and make mistakes. But unless there are mitigating circumstances which you don’t mention (he is married, was married, has children, or a previous unhealthy history with relationships), you must trust that your daughter will make her own way, as we all must.
A child’s job is to grow up. A parent’s job is to let them.
It seems that your daughter has done an exemplary job. You should continue to do yours.
If she explicitly asks you to point out the challenges to her relationship, you could weigh in, but she is likely already aware of these challenges, because she is experiencing them.
Dear Amy: My eldest son is getting married a year from now.
My concern is how he might choose to include his late mother in the celebration. She died from ovarian cancer two years ago.
His fiancee had several interactions with my late wife near the end of her life, so I am hopeful that the couple will recognize her on their special day.
I have not mentioned this to either of my sons and I will wait to see what the two think should be done regarding their mother, without my prompting.
I have, however, asked a dozen or so close friends for suggestions.
One mentioned putting a rose where my late wife would be sitting. That seems very subtle.
What do you think?
– Wondering Father-of-the-Groom
Dear Wondering: As you all get closer to the date, you should raise this idea with the couple. They may be avoiding this question in the mistaken belief that including a symbol devoted to your late-wife during the wedding would make people sad on what should otherwise be a happy occasion – but I agree with you that symbols representing a beloved family member serve as reminders that weddings are family-building events.
I like the idea of you and your sons perhaps wearing a special flower on your lapels as a way to keep their mother’s memory close to you all during the day. There might be an item your late-wife owned – a piece of jewelry, perhaps – that you could offer as a gift to the bride.
You will also want to mention your late wife in your toast and ask the assembled guests to raise a glass in her memory. Remind them to do so — with joy.
Dear Amy: I could not believe your disgusting response to “Guilty Bystander,” who thought it was her duty to report a rumor that a high school teacher had slept with one of his students.
Maybe someone should accuse you of reprehensible behavior – and see how much you like having to prove your innocence.
Dear Disgusted: I agree that this presents a true ethical dilemma, which is why “Guilty Bystander” wrote to me in the first place.
And yes, if I were accused of a serious crime, I would expect an investigation.
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