Dear Annie: I am married to a man with two children from a previous marriage. They are adults. My husband is 15 years my senior, and he married early the first time, so long story short, his children are only four and six years younger than I am. The problem is with his daughter.
She really doesn’t have much of a social life and because of that spends much of her spare time at our house. This summer, she has been at our house seven days a week. She had vacation from work for three weeks and spent the entire time here. One of my biggest complaints is the lack of boundaries. Sometimes she’s here when I arrive even when my husband isn’t home.
I am feeling suffocated, and the lack of privacy for me is driving me crazy. I feel it’s disrespectful on her part and on my husband’s part. I don’t think it is fair to me to have a grown woman (54 years old) spending so much time here. It is weighing on me and, frankly, on my marriage. I have to tread lightly because she takes everything personally, and my husband says she’s fragile, so everyone needs to be nice.
How do I get this to stop? – Had Enough of the Helicopter Child
Dear Had Enough: You are wise to tread lightly. It is probably difficult for your husband to face the fact that his 54-year-old daughter does not have a life of her own and spends almost all of her time with her father. Tell your husband how you feel. All couples need alone time, and you are not getting any with a roommate, especially one who is still so tied to her father. Cutting the cord slowly will benefit everyone. The trick is to communicate with all parties involved, set the boundaries that you know are necessary and welcome her warmly when she visits according to the schedule you all agree upon.
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