I’m so torn on what to do with my daughter, 18. She hasn’t seen her boyfriend since Covid started. Her birthday’s coming soon, she wants to sleep over at her boyfriend’s house, and is using her birthday as an excuse.
I feel for my daughter because she’s been good with physical distancing and hasn’t gone out with her boyfriend since March break.
But I have my 69-year-old mom living with us and don’t want to risk her getting sick.
The boyfriend is also staying at home with his family. Knowing that there are other family members who may or may not be exposed is just too much of a risk.
My heart breaks for my daughter but I need to keep my mom safe. Is there any way this can work out?
What Do I Do?
It’s sometimes lost on those focused on immediate personal concerns, as to how other age groups are affected by this pandemic.
Youngsters have had to be away from friends and indoors for hours doing home-schooling on the very computers/devices their parents used to take away to limit over-use.
Working moms had to leave their close office friendships to spend hours monitoring those youngsters’ studies while keeping up their own work-at-home assignments.
Teenagers have also suffered - more than those who don’t live with them might understand.
Young teens lost their early independence to go out alone with friends. Summer camp is also no longer a choice.
Older teens have had to forego the major milestones of a graduation ceremony, and a final high school Prom.
No wonder your daughter wants to use her 18th birthday as a rare chance for doing what she wants most - spending a time-out from COVID-19, and its restrictions on being with her boyfriend.
But you, as her mother, must explain why that’s not yet possible.
Luckily, she’s been agreeable so far.
Now, don’t hold back any punches of information. A “sleepover” means close contact (even if they promise otherwise).
It involves being in rooms where there are other people whose virus status is unknown.
Returning home from those exposures means risking Grandma’s health, and maybe her life.
There’s no other way to put it.
She’s aware enough to know that older, more vulnerable people have made up the highest percentage of those infected or killed by the novel coronavirus.
But as the curve of recorded cases flattens, our social restrictions will open up more and more.
She and her boyfriend have been able to stay connected since March break. They will be able to renew their closeness in person, soon enough. And she’ll be grateful that she could protect Grandma.
FEEDBACK Regarding a man’s wife (both are 60-year-olds) who flirts with a man, in his early-20s (May 20):
Reader – “If only you’d shared polyamory resources explaining how one person doesn’t fulfill all our life's needs/desires.
“These situations are "normal" and can be witnessed, discussed, resolved.
“I know I won’t be all things to my partner. So if someone (friend or otherwise) fills a void in our relationship, I have “compersion” for her having found someone who can do that.”
Ellie - Note: “Compersion” is used in the polyamorous context to mean “vicarious joy associated with seeing one's partner have a joyful sexual or romantic relation with another” (Wiktionary).
The letter-writer didn’t feel vicarious joy. He felt hurt, jealous and troubled. I advised him accordingly.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the letter-writer who complained that he was abused by his wife, yet had to pay her $1,600 a month!
“I must agree with the reader who said you lean towards the women's side (April 16):
“He can't retire, has to continue working to "support" her until she receives a pension and that is OK?
“That isn’t justice for the man. Justice for him would’ve been her getting charged with abuse.
“Also, I’m not surprised, but am sickened, that the judge looked at him as the abuser.”
Ellie - I agree with you on equality for genders, and for an abused male to be recognized as the victim, not the abuser.
I disagree about my leaning on the women’s side.
The man wrote about a court judgment in a divorce. It was not a criminal trial regarding abuse. I certainly did not take the side of the wife who abused him.
Tip of the day:
Show empathy regarding the pandemic’s restrictions on all age groups, but stay firm that we must still protect our vulnerable seniors from greater risks.