April 26, 2013 in Features

Daughter should be honest with self

Washington Post
 

Dear Carolyn: Our daughter, 27 and married for just more than two years, is feeling she “is living the wrong life, like I’m not in the right place.” We are fond of our son-in-law, but our primary concern is our daughter.

He wanted to start a family, but his, “When do you think you will be ready?” has caused her to put the brakes on and have a rethink of where she is, where they are as a couple, etc. Bottom line is that she doesn’t love him the way you would expect a “newly” married couple to feel for each other.

I have suggested counseling but she is hesitant and/or embarrassed with the notion of being a “statistic” and “stupid” for such a serious lack of judgment. – Concerned Mother

I answer you with some misgivings, because while this is your daughter and your heartache, it is not your problem to solve.

From one sometimes-can’t-help-it meddler to another, though, I do have one suggestion for you that I think is both important and in-bounds: Please challenge her implied rationale for her less-than-full reckoning with the problem here. If she defers to feeling “embarrassed” or “stupid,” then she passively makes a priority of avoiding difficult feelings, putting a facade on difficult appearances and postponing any difficult decisions that will create difficult scenes.

In essence, that passive decision-making would put her right back where she was when she made the decision to marry this man despite what she now recognizes (right?) as serious doubts. You can’t make your daughter do, think or feel anything she doesn’t choose on her own, but you can point out at a crucial time in her life that the only way any of us can make sound decisions is to be honest about and accountable to our own needs.

I hope she summons the strength to follow through on admitting and serving her own needs – because authenticity best serves her husband as well, even if it makes him an ex.

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