“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#1 Nov 28, 2012
DEAR AMY: When I was an adolescent, my father came out of the closet as gay and my parents divorced. At the same time, my father, who is also bipolar, made some poor financial decisions that forced my family into bankruptcy.

That was 17 years ago. Since then he has lived out of the country with limited communication. I know my father loves me unconditionally, but with only a handful of visits, I have trouble feeling close to him beyond the obligatory love of distant family.

I've become more and more disillusioned about him. He may have the best intentions in the world, but ultimately he spent my childhood focusing on himself.

Now, for health reasons, my father wants to move back to the States to be near me and the rest of his family. This is a positive step for him, but I am terrified of the burden that I imagine it will place on me.

I worry about the need to support him financially and the expectation to give him time that I don't really have. I'm also not comfortable with the fact that he will want to hit fast forward on our relationship to make up for lost time.

How do I set up boundaries that will allow me to maintain a comfortable distance but still show some measure of respect for the fact that he is my father?-- Anxious Daughter

DEAR DAUGHTER: Let's talk about unconditional love. It's the perfect concept to ponder while you wrestle with this.

Unconditional love requires surrendering your personal harsh judgment of your father to simply accept him -- as deeply flawed as he is. This sort of love does not require that you surrender your sense of self, your other relationships or your money.

Your first job is to protect your own health and well-being. You should notify your father ahead of time that you are open to a relationship with him but that he simply may not receive everything he wants from you.

You should be vigilant and honest. You should be aware of the various "hooks" your father may dangle that you must avoid biting.

To attain more clarity and for help creating and maintaining boundaries, you should see a professional counselor. Your father should also receive mental health counseling.

DEAR AMY: Our 17-year-old son has been accepted at a university two hours away. The university has a great program for the field he wants to pursue. He also has his first girlfriend, who will be starting out at the local community college.

Now our son is talking about going to the local university (which also has a program in his desired field, although it is not as highly ranked as the other school's) so he can stay near his girlfriend.

We have paid into a state-sponsored program that guarantees tuition will be paid at any state school. The college that accepted him has also offered a scholarship, which will help with room, board, etc.

I feel it would be good for him to go away to school. I have tried to ask him what he will do if they break up, but he refuses to discuss it. Your thoughts?-- A Mom

DEAR MOM: Don't frame this issue to anticipate this young couple's breaking up, but in terms of your son's education and the choice you feel he should make. Be very honest and talk common sense with him concerning what you will and will not pay for. Ask him to give the desired university one year's commitment but ultimately leave this up to him. If your son feels forced to go away, he may find a way to torpedo his own success.

DEAR AMY: You and "Frustrated Husband" sure let his stay-at-home wife off the hook!

Many women manage to raise children and keep a decently clean and well-ordered household. That's the mother's job if she doesn't work outside the home!-- Mom at Home

DEAR MOM AT HOME: You're right. And many dual-career parents also manage to keep a well-ordered home. Obviously this couple didn't get that particular memo.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#2 Nov 28, 2012
1 Amby, why does this woman need therapy? Every thing else you said was ok.

2 tell him how he is wasting his life, and throwing away his future. You will be amazed at how quickly you become a grandma.

3 Nice way to still blame the husband too amby.
Community Disorganizer

Florham Park, NJ

#3 Nov 28, 2012
LW 1: Your father is twisted, tell him to stay where ever he is.

LW 2: I'm surprised he doesn't want to get as far away from you as possible.

LW 3: I bet the lazy wife sits around watch Oprah, Dr Phil, and the rest of those trashy day-time TV shows.
Sam I Am

Knoxville, TN

#4 Nov 28, 2012
1. You talk. He's moving back so someone will take care of him. He needs to be told that he doesn't get to turn on the father switch when it suits him. Boundaries.

2. A teenage crush is not a basis for a decision that will affect the rest of his life. Tell him that if they really have something then they will be able to survive a 2 hr. drive.

3. Don't care.

Since: Dec 07

DuPage County

#5 Nov 28, 2012
1 Any parent who abandons their family has forfeited their right to expect anything from their children. LW doesn't need therapy. Sounds like she has her head screwed on straight to me.

2 Never let having a bf or gf dictate where you go to school! I did that and it was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.

3 RACE, the husband did allow the situation to progress to the current state. He's guilty of allowing it to go on.

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#6 Nov 28, 2012
L1: Gotta agree with that. having your boundaries already known to the LW will help her maintain them.

L2: You can't compete with the first girlfriend. Keep your discussion on what he'd like to see in the future and which school will fit that. In the overall realm of things, he's going to do what he's going to do.

L3: Rehash.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#7 Nov 28, 2012
1- Oh get over yourself. He's the reason you exist, he wasn't violent or abusive towards you, you can at least be cordial with him.

2- He has to do as you say for at least another year.

3- Best way to keep a clean house is to live alone!

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#8 Nov 28, 2012
LW1: What Amy said.

LW2: He's not really thinking with his big head now, is he? Keep showing him the benefits of going to the better school for his future career, and maybe his big-head thinking will kick in.

LW3: Ha! I don't, but I've stopped letting it bug me. No one is going to catch a disease from a dustbunny or two.
PEllen

Chicago, IL

#9 Nov 28, 2012
RACE wrote:
1 Amby, why does this woman need therapy? Every thing else you said was ok.
.
Becuase the LW is conflicted and anticpates her father manipulating her

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#10 Nov 28, 2012
L1: I really wish you had written to CH for this serious issue. IMO, you owe your father nothing. No more than what he ever gave you. Protect your money/assets, and your sanity.

L2: Just tell him "It's only two hours away, you two can see each other on weekends."

Since: Mar 09

Miami, FL

#11 Nov 28, 2012
L1: Amy kinda nailed this one. And in addition to PEllen's response to RACE, I was thinking that therapy for the LW could be sort of preventative medicine so she goes into this with eyes wide open and her "father" doesn't have as much of an opportunity to take advantage of her.

L2: I chose my college due to proximity to a boyfriend. I got divorced, but I also got a 4-year degree from a well-respected university. I think unless someone is in a really specialized field, WHERE you got your degree doesn't matter nearly as much as the fact that you got it.

Since: Mar 09

Miami, FL

#12 Nov 28, 2012
L2 Part 2: And when they break up after the first semester, he can always transfer.

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