The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a male teenage university student. I haven’t spoken to my father since I enrolled at university.
Up through high school, I spoke with him normally. But now, we only exchange greetings and have days when we don’t see each other. I get along well with my other family members.
My younger sister and brother complain about my father, but their relationship with him is not as bad as mine.
I pay my tuition with a student loan and spend two hours commuting to school. I became tired of it and started working part-time to earn money so I could live on my own. I finally got enough money to do so and I’m thinking of moving out sometime in May. But I can’t talk about it with my father because I feel like he will respond angrily to what I say.
I told my mother about living alone, and she accepted it. When my mother told my father, he responded by saying, “It may be a good experience for him.” But I cannot face him to directly tell him about my plan.
Spring is approaching and I want to have the courage to speak to him somehow. What should I do?
Y, Saitama Prefecture
Dear Mr. Y:
I suggest you let it be. A relationship cannot be kept in the same good state forever, even if it’s between a parent and a child or a husband and a wife. In reality, there are parents and children who don’t get along well, as you often see in this column.
Your relationship with your father will continue for years to come, and this seems like a time for you to keep some distance from him. Just like your father said, living on your own will be a good experience for you. You don’t need to reiterate to your father your plans to move if he already knows about it through your mother. I think keeping things unsaid can be one style of how a family can be.
You don’t have to feel guilty. I think your father understands your willingness to get along well with him. Your father is also aware that you missed a chance to strike up a conversation with him.
You’re not causing any financial trouble, so please feel free to start a new life. It may be a good idea to bring something your father likes when you visit your parents.
It’ll be a good opportunity to build a new, better relationship between you and your father.
Masahiro Yamada, professor