Dear Annie: I recently read your column in which you gave advice on how to deal with a toxic relationship between a mother and adult daughter. I have a similar issue with my 26-year-old daughter who lives with me after my recent divorce. Long story short, my daughter and I have had a tumultuous relationship since she was about 12. Every time she likes a guy or gets attention from a guy, she’s really nasty to me, like she doesn’t need me or something.
I had her when I was 16, so we practically grew up together. I feel like I was a decent parent and did the best I could. Seven years ago, she was in a toxic relationship with a man, and they broke up after a three-year relationship. She has not gotten over this, and it was a huge problem for at least two years after the breakup because she was still back and forth with him (and I think still is).
Recently, I got divorced from her stepfather. I was seeing someone who I had a major blowout with and then made up and became friends with. My daughter despises this guy and states I can’t even have a friendship with him. She says he’s not allowed here and, in one instance, came home and told him to leave as soon as she saw him.
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She really put me down afterward. She told me that he was ruining our relationship. I have been open and honest with her that our relationship has always had its ups and downs. I told her that I can be friends with whoever I want. I asked her to go to therapy with me, but she adamantly refused. I have lost hope. Please help!
— Feeling Hopeless
Dear Feeling Hopeless: Perhaps what you and your daughter need is some time and space from one another. At 26 years old, your daughter is an adult and hopefully past the point of needing to live under your roof. You certainly don’t need her dictating who you can and can’t spend time with or putting you down for the choices you make.
Encourage your daughter to look for a place of her own. Strengthening a relationship like this takes time and plenty of patience, but with the added distance, both of your hearts may grow fonder of each other. And just because your daughter has refused to go into therapy with you doesn’t mean you can’t go on your own. Take the time to heal and work through your personal journey; you owe it to yourself.
Dear Annie: After two long years, my sister and her family have rented a beach house for us to take a weeklong trip together in August. We are all in our late 50s, and her children are in their late 20s. Our children and grandchildren won’t be going on the trip.
During COVID, I stopped shaving my arms, legs, the whole bit. My husband and I are quite comfortable with it. Should I shave for the week or be prepared for the looks and questions?
— Happy To Be Hairy
Dear Happy To Be Hairy: Don’t feel pressured to conform to hairlessness again if that’s not what floats your boat. You’ll be surrounded by family in a safe, loving space where I doubt anyone minds what you look like — or what you shave.
If you feel truly comfortable and confident in your skin, hair and all, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
Annie Lane, a graduate of New York Law School and New York University, writes this column for Creators Syndicate. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.