Q: My adult daughter is attractive and bright, but she makes terrible choices in men. There have been many opportunities for me to set her up with quality men, but she never lets me, and instead goes for the next bozo she sees who treats her poorly. There’s a growing friction in our relationship because I can’t stand around and watch her date these people when she won’t even give my ideas a chance.
You know the saying: You can lead a daughter to a smart, handsome guy who knows how to make paella, but you can’t make her date him!
I can imagine your annoyance at seeing her with these guys while you’ve got Prince Charming waiting in the wings. But if she’s against the idea of a setup, then the chances of her emotionally opening herself up to these possibilities are so nil that you’re wasting your time. Back off and let your daughter make her own (cringe-worthy) choices – barring abuse, of course – and eventually, she’ll remember that you have prospects for her. But she’s got to feel like she chose that option rather than having you forcing it on her, just like that time with the lima beans.
Q: I went to lunch with the wife of one of my husband’s friends and she hinted that my husband was doing things that floored me – lots of time at strip clubs, drunken lunches, getting in trouble for taking the company car out too much, etc. My husband is very reserved and mild-mannered, but her husband knows him better than anyone, and I can see grains of truth in these stories. I feel like he’s leading a double life. We are talking about having children.
This is tricky, because it could be your husband’s friend leading the double life, and what you’re witnessing is some cover-up he’s told his wife. Regardless, you’re rightfully unsettled, and it seems you know deep down that your husband is probably a different man around you than he is elsewhere.
You need to talk. Start with: “I’ve got something on my mind, and it’s been bothering me. I’ve heard some stories about how you are at work lately, and it doesn’t seem like you. Can you help me understand what’s going on?” It might be substance abuse; it might be depression, or it might be a deeper, darker deception. But you have to get the dialogue started.
Andrea Bonior, a clinical psychologist, is the author of “The Friendship Fix.” www.drandreabonior.com.
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