The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a homemaker in my 50s and I need your advice about my daughter, who is in her late 20s. For about a year, she’s been seeing a man who is in his mid-40s, divorced and has two children: one in junior high school and the other in high school. I hear the children live with their mother and the man sees them from time to time.
My husband was outraged when he found out about their relationship. We talked with our daughter, but my husband said he can’t accept the age gap and the fact that the man got divorced despite having two children. My husband also said he is concerned about the fact that the man’s parents are over 80.
My husband hasn’t talked to our daughter since then. My daughter said she wants us to meet the man, but my husband warned me against doing so.
My daughter is thinking about moving out. When I think about the possibility of her leaving the house without receiving our blessing, it makes me feel like crying. I think my husband and I just have to wait and see what she does because we have already fulfilled our responsibility as her parents.
On the other hand, I understand how my husband feels. I’m not sure how I should handle the situation.
Dear Ms. F:
I was thinking to myself how wonderful a mother you must be while reading your letter. I assume that most moms whose daughters were thinking about marrying a divorcee nearly 20 years older with children would oppose the marriage, especially if they had been seeing each other for less than a year.
You are a wonderful mother because you let your daughter make up her own mind about whether to marry a man who does not represent what most people would consider a good candidate for a “happy marriage.”
I assume you had hopes and dreams about what your daughter’s ideal husband would be like, but you are respecting your daughter’s decision and have decided not to impose your values on her. I think it’s best for you to maintain this attitude.
Even though you accept your husband’s stance, it’s not necessary for you to change your attitude or attempt to mend the relationship between father and daughter.
Marriage is a matter between two people, whether the union has the blessings of the people around them or not.
Even if two people are in a marriage that did not receive the blessings of those around them, it may be possible for them to find happiness. You should support your daughter so that she’s able to find happiness.
Junko Umihara, psychiatrist