Dear Amy: I don’t like my 33-year-old daughter’s decisions regarding her choice of partners.
I provide financial support to her and her three children. She lives in a townhouse I own, and she pays a discounted rent. She drives a car that I purchased for her.
I didn’t like her most recent man from the start, and I verbalized my concerns (which she ignored).
She got pregnant with her third child, and my opinion of him never improved. He never worked. He had excuses for everything. The older kids don’t get along with him.
Then federal marshals showed up at the door, and he is currently serving a two-year sentence for drug distribution.
I told my daughter that after he gets out, he is not welcome in the townhouse. She was not happy, and I don’t think she believes me when I say that this time, I am serious.
I told her that if she chooses to stay with him, that’s her choice — but they cannot stay in the townhouse.
I’m so torn with my decision, and I wonder if I’m being unreasonable.
— Torn Mother
Dear Torn: Yes, you should lay down a non-negotiable regarding providing housing for a drug dealer. If you could look at your own choices with total clarity, you might see that your decisions have, in some ways, been as fateful as your daughter’s.
You don’t say if she has a profession or ambitions to continue with her education or improve her life. It is possible that she has never had to face the actual consequences of her choices. She knows that you will continue to provide housing and financial assistance, regardless.
Because there are children involved, you should do everything possible to protect and support them. During this man’s incarceration, you should start to wean your daughter off of your support, perhaps by raising her rent gradually. Maybe you could watch the children while she increases her work hours. (If she is working hard to support her family, her self-esteem will improve, and she will feel the pressure of having a partner who does nothing to contribute to the household. She might also choose NOT to have more children until she can support them.)
She risks the safety, welfare (and possibly custody) of her children if she creates an unsafe environment in the home. When her partner is released, he should stay elsewhere.
Dear Amy: My mother is adamant that the two sons of her recently deceased second husband attend his military funeral. One son, “L,” is a convicted sex offender.
My mother remarried when her and her new husband’s children were adults in their 20s — three children each.
L sexually abused his brother’s daughter, my brother’s daughter and his own daughter, and he exposed himself to my daughter.
All victims were tweens. When he sexually abused his daughter’s friend, the police arrested him. His prison term ended last year.
My mother’s late husband championed the offender, saying he “earned back his trust” without ever saying how. He insisted that we all welcome him back into the family. My mother has bought into this under the heading of “Christian forgiveness.”
Frankly, I do hope the best for the offender — I want him to live a productive life and to NEVER HURT ANYONE AGAIN. I am not out for retribution. I just need him to never be in my life. His actions broke a trust that cannot be mended. His membership to the family terminated when he abused our most vulnerable.
My mother is livid that the offender’s brother will not go the funeral if he is there. I will not go if he is there. What is the right thing to do?
— Won’t Forget
Dear Won’t Forget: You can forgive someone — and want the best outcome for them — but still not want to be in their presence.
If someone sexually abused my child, I’d definitely need to stay away from them — in part, for their own safety.
You should not attempt to control your mother’s choices, but — I agree with the decision of those who have decided to steer clear.
Dear Amy: “Worried Mom” was concerned about her college sophomore daughter, now taking a gap year due to COVID-19.
I could definitely relate. In addition to your suggestions for her, I would like to recommend a daily yoga practice. YouTube has many offerings.
— In Child’s Pose
Dear Child’s Pose: Absolutely. The yoga mats strewn around my household are evidence that yoga can work wonders.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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