Ask Amy

Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 12:00am

DEAR AMY: My daughter turned 18 in May. She has recently met a guy who is also 18 and lives with his 21-year-old brother in an apartment.

My daughter has been spending the night there several times a week.

When I voiced my displeasure, she explained that I'm old-fashioned. She says this is what kids do when they turn 18: "They crash at each other's apartments."

She still lives at home and will leave for college in September.

What's wrong with this?

Am I wrong to be upset that she just drops in for meals and clean clothes?

— Worried Dad

DEAR WORRIED:
If your daughter lives at home, then she should also sleep at home.

If she no longer lives at home, you should pack her things into those giant plastic tubs and deliver the tubs to wherever she is living, the way you will do when she goes to college.

Then she can come home for an occasional meal as a non-resident dinner guest.

I know this is tough because you might not want to push her toward this relationship, but she is already doing as she pleases, and you obviously have no authority.

I say that you have no authority because for you, her accusation that you are "old-fashioned" seems to be a sufficient explanation for her behavior.

Some parents might not mind what your daughter is doing, but if you mind, that's what should matter the most in your home.

I can tell you from experience that 18-year-olds today do exactly what they've always done: whatever they can get away with. When I ran your letter past my own 20-year-old, she rolled her eyes — not over your daughter, but over you.

Please get some clarity about this and be prepared to communicate your position to your daughter.


DEAR AMY: My mother is 70 years old and a widow, but she has been dating "George," a very nice widower, for a number of months.

The relationship has become more serious, and my mother told me that she and George are sleeping together.

On a recent vacation, a friend and I joined them for a long weekend at our family lake home. They were very affectionate with each other during our stay, which was a little embarrassing. We understand what it's like to be in a new relationship, and it was actually sweet to see this romance blossom. However, my mother's house does not offer much privacy, and my friend and I could hear my mother and George making love at night. They were in the loft.

It really freaked me out.

My friend said that she felt awkward about it too.

My mother invites many guests to visit during the summer, so I wonder if I should mention this. My friend says to leave it alone.

This wouldn't be an easy conversation for me, but I don't want her to be embarrassed or her other guests to be offended, because they aren't married.

What's a daughter to do?

— Concerned

DEAR CONCERNED: If your mother is open enough about her relationship to tell you she and her guy are sexually involved — and if she is willing to expose her intimate relationship to houseguests — then she could probably handle a carefully worded comment about it.

You should try by saying, "Mom, I'm happy for you and 'George,' but I hope you realize that the lake house is a pretty open environment and doesn't offer you two much privacy. You might want to keep it in mind the next time you have houseguests."


DEAR AMY: You asked for reader responses about anonymous services that notify people about uncomfortable issues. I like the idea. That doesn't make me a coward. It actually makes me considerate of the other person and our relationship.

There are people who need to know that they have body odor, mouth odor, poor table manners, etc. However, they don't need to be reminded of that embarrassment every time they see my face. If my boss or a teacher needed to know something, I would use a service to tell them. I'd tell a friend in person.

— Donna

DEAR DONNA: Anonymity is a powerful shield, as I know from this column.

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