The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a woman in my 50s. My daughter, in her early 20s, had sex with her boyfriend and is lying to me about it. I am very shocked.
My daughter told me she was going away from home to travel with a woman friend, so I willingly let her go. I felt a little unsure about what she had said and asked her on the day of her departure who she would go with. She said once again she would travel with a friend of the same sex, while looking straight at me. So I was convinced and saw her off.
I still remained uncertain, so I checked her belongings after she came home, even though I was, of course, aware I was doing something wrong. My hunch turned out to be right, though. She went out with her boyfriend. And since that time, she has sometimes stayed away from home overnight, each time giving me some excuse. I know it’s all lies.
I did hope my daughter would have a platonic, sound relationship with her boyfriend by restraining their passions. I’d told her to have such a relationship whenever I had the chance, trying to sound nonchalant each time.
In reality, however, she has been lying to me without any hesitation, even wearing a smile on her innocent-looking face, which makes me even feel like hating her. I wanted my daughter to remain a virgin until she gets married. Do you think my hope is outdated?
J, Kanagawa Prefecture
Dear Ms. J:
How hard it is for any parent to find their children have lied to them. What’s more, your daughter, a young woman of marriageable age, has developed her relationship with her boyfriend so far as to have overnight stays. I understand you are very concerned about this as her mother.
On the other hand, you should be aware that your daughter doesn’t lie to you because she wants to; instead, your attitude drove her to do it. What people consider acceptable to do when dating a person of the opposite sex has changed a lot over time. The idea that women should remain virgins until marriage has become just a social formality that probably is not accepted anymore by today’s young generation.
However, I believe there are two timeless rules we should always keep. One is to have sincere affection for your partner. The other is that both men and women should have enough knowledge and consideration to not cause harm to women’s bodies through thoughtless deeds.
As her mother, you should be most careful about how well your daughter understands these two rules. I also want you to consider the dilemma your daughter is facing, as she ended up lying to you because she was aware her mother was offended by her choice and wouldn’t accept it. I’m afraid she has no option but to just continue lying to you as long as you give her a reproachful look as if she is something disgusting.
Masami Ohinata, professor