My daughter tells me more than I want to know. She’s a young teenager, and we’re very close. Her older sister is reserved, they don’t have much in common and she’s impatient with her younger sister.
So, the younger one turned to me. I love being close with my daughter but I feel sometimes she tells me things that a dad shouldn’t discuss. For example, I’m obviously concerned and helpful when she has menstrual cramps and back pain, but I don’t need to know the physical details of her cycle (unless it’s out of the ordinary, which it’s not).
When she starts to get specific, I’ll suggest she speak with her mother, and then she does. I’m a very hands-on involved dad, but I don’t want to be that involved.
How do I explain to my daughter that boundaries are healthy in every relationship, and this goes beyond my comfort level?
You mention that your daughter has a mother, who is still your wife. Work with her on this. Explain to her that you’re uncomfortable – not because you’re squeamish, but you just feel it’s out of your wheelhouse and your daughter has her for female guidance and mentoring.
Your daughter may get distant vibes from her mom, the way she does from her older sister. You didn’t mention your wife’s personality. Maybe your daughter doesn’t feel comfortable with her.
I suggest having a group discussion in which you could say to your daughter, “This topic is a bit much for me. I’d prefer if you talked to your mom about that.” But if she persists, or comes out and says she’d prefer to talk to you, well, then Dad, you’ve got to rise to the challenge.
My problem, to put it succinctly, is that I have none. Does that mean I am not living life to the fullest?
You could be pulling my leg with this question, but I chose to answer it anyway. Consider yourself fortunate, for starters.
Are you living safe and quiet so as to ensure an easy life, without any avoidable problems? Perhaps. I don’t know – you haven’t given me any information whatsoever.
Are you just a fortunate person where everything works out for you just as you would like, and that’s why you have no issues? Perhaps.
Or are you simply easygoing and not bothered by things so that when something could upset you, you don’t let it?
The only thing I know is that life isn’t perfect for anyone. There are lots of things over which we have no control. But my worry here is that you are living in denial and one day your world is going to implode and you won’t be able to handle it because you haven’t had any experience in damage control.
A friend of mine once told me that she and her husband never argued. I thought it the most absurd thing to brag about because it meant they weren’t ever having deep discussions. Guess what? They’re divorced.
On the flip side, I had a friend in high school who seemed to always be in trouble – with the school for not doing her homework; with her parents for not abiding curfew; with her friends for doing stupid things. But she always bounced back, had lots of great friends, a loving family life, and good grades. This same girl was in a car accident that dramatically changed her life. Guess what? If anyone could handle it, she could, and does, because she was resilient and had experience dealing with negativity in her life.
Take a good look in the mirror and figure out why your life is so perfect.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man missing sex with his wife (May 25):
Reader – “There may be underlying issues happening with his wife that are driving this loss. My two thoughts:
“One, his wife may be experiencing perimenopause, which may be affecting her hormones and her sex drive.
“Two, their children are in transition on their way to adulthood and intimations of them leaving the nest are already happening. The fact that his wife is spending time with the younger child could be her recognizing this, and enjoying the remainder of this part of family life they’ve all had together.
“In raising a family, the days are long and the years are short. His wife may be seeing the end days in sight and experiencing a form of anticipatory grief foretelling an empty nest.
“If any of this rings true for the husband, he might want to include himself in the hanging out. The sports TV will always be there.”