Short shorts and shorter patience
My 15-year-old daughter wears those really short shorts most of the time. Well, all the high-school girls do these days. I think it’s really too much, but she’s a good kid and there is really not much I can do about what she wears. I just worry when I’m out with her and notice men staring. I know she has no idea. My ex-wife is not much of a role model, but I try to talk to my daughter about appropriate behavior and clothing. Is there anything I can do to get her to choose more appropriate clothing?
Yes, parent her. Decide whether you are an adult responsible for chaperoning his daughter through life or someone who is just responsible for ensuring that a 15-year-old gets her way. Swinging between “There’s not much I can do (and all the other kids are doing it, too)” and “I don’t like what she is doing” is hopeless. If men are gawking, point it out to her. It may be the reaction she wants because she has self-esteem issues. If she is not soliciting salacious attention, she will dress differently in the future.
Teach her how to confront such men safely and appropriately. As a teenager I regularly challenged catcalling construction workers with “Have some respect!” It worked. They immediately apologized. Your daughter will also discover that some people ogle others because their primary way of communicating is sexual. So get a backbone and be an adult. Your daughter needs a father more than she needs another pal.
My boyfriend has a really good relationship with his ex-wife, and that’s my problem. The two of them are still really close and talk regularly. They finish each other’s sentences, hug each other too long for anyone’s comfort level but their own and have a load of inside jokes. When my boyfriend and I are alone together, he treats me like a princess. When his ex-wife is in shouting range, his focus is on her. By the way, she asked for the divorce. What is going on here?
Your man is emotionally needy and drowning in denial. If you pointed out his intimate connection with his ex-wife, he would probably balk. He might even accuse you of being jealous or insecure. Then he would likely wax philosophic about how evolved he is because of his “good” relationship with his former spouse. Don’t be seduced into agreement. After all, you have choices. Decide that your relationship is worth the occasional discomfort of his smarminess with another woman, or opt out. If you end this relationship, be certain that your next man has better boundaries. That way, he will know the difference between being friends with an ex and having an unfinished emotional attachment to a former lover.
My brother is getting married in July. Our mother will attend the wedding, and I have not spoken to her in years. She is a narcissist to the core and I always bore the brunt of it, so I stopped talking to her. My partner and I will attend the wedding, but I am getting anxious thinking about dealing with my mother. Ideas?
When anxiety rises, remind yourself that you are no longer a child. As an adult, you possess the skill set required to face your mother as an equal. Take care of yourself beforehand by requesting to be seated away from her. If she approaches you at the wedding, be kind but brief in conversation. Trust that your choice to be estranged from her has been good for you, but be open to other possibilities. People do change. You have.