I was advising my adult daughter on a great investment in a field we know well. I even offered financial assistance, but she told me she was afraid to proceed. So I shared a very personal story: When her father and I were engaged, he was offered a similar opportunity. I begged him to postpone our wedding and use the money to make the investment. But he didn’t; he was afraid, too. I told her that marrying her father, instead of making the investment, had been a poor financial decision I’ve regretted ever since. I urged her not to make the same mistake. She then forwarded our entire text exchange to my husband (her father)! It didn’t cause any trouble between us. But she didn’t know that it wouldn’t. How do I deal with such a betrayal? I will never trust her again.
My first impression was similar to yours: Your daughter shared a text chain with your husband to put you in hot water. If that’s where we stop, though, there’s little room for growth or forgiveness. (And you may want that eventually.) Did your daughter think she was protecting her father? Has she complained about you before — maybe for pressuring her on investments?
Speaking as an adult child of parents who tried their best but didn’t always nail it, I can assure you there are many ways to express long-simmering resentments. That may be what your daughter was doing here. It may also be the case that her betrayal hurt you badly enough that you need to take a break from her for now. I get that, too.
Still, I hope one day you will feel ready to explore with her why she behaved the way she did. Talking openly with loved ones is the only way that I know to build back trust and understanding. To do that, though, we have to be able to set aside our own strong feelings (even momentarily) to hear what the other person has to say. I wish that for you and your daughter.
When Risqué Photos Outlast the Relationship
My former partner and I created intimate photographs together when we were a couple. We have since broken up. My ex has now asked me to delete those images. I would prefer not to. I enjoy looking at them, and they are password protected. What’s more, my ex has kept copies of these photographs, too. Doesn’t that make the request to delete them seem like a double standard and unfair?
The mere existence of intimate photos in the hands of an ex (whether they depict nudity or sexual activity) would make many people feel vulnerable. And even though some may be unsympathetic toward people who willingly created such images — “What did they think would happen?” — let’s not stop there.
I am not interested in your arguments about double standards or fairness. Be a good person and recognize the distress these images may be causing your former partner. Offer to delete them if your ex will do the same. That’s the best result here.
Making the Right Kind of Stink at a Restaurant
How do we tell a dear, old friend that we no longer want to eat in restaurants with her? She is often unkind to waiters — always looking to find fault and, when she does, she harasses workers until she gets something for free or they reduce her bill. We are uncomfortable with this and embarrassed for the waiters. We mostly avoid restaurants by inviting her to our place for meals, but we can’t do that forever.
Don’t be “embarrassed for the waiters” — defend them! It is wrong to stand by silently while your friend routinely bullies workers who have less power than she does. Next time, speak up: “Please stop treating the waiter disrespectfully.” Or tell her directly that’s why you choose not to dine out with her.
There are plenty of times when keeping quiet is a fine approach. We are not generally in charge of our friends’ behavior. But letting cruelty slide (or inventing white lies to cover your reluctance to meet your friend at restaurants) is not OK in my book.
Craving Intimacy After the Death of a Spouse
My much-loved wife died after a prolonged illness. I am almost 80 and in good health, but I have not had sex with a partner in over a decade. I am still grieving, but I also crave another warm body and confirmation that I still have sexual skills. What would you recommend to someone in my position?
I am sorry for your loss and sympathetic with your bind. Human touch can be a healing balm. You don’t say how long you have been widowed, but I would urge any surviving spouse to move slowly. Grief can be overwhelming, and its pangs strike unexpectedly.
Frankly, you seem pretty focused on sex. I hope your definition includes more than just intercourse. Touching, kissing and other intimate contact can be extremely satisfying. As for finding a partner, check out group activities of interest at your local community or senior center, or explore dating apps that cater to seniors. Be careful to avoid scams online and be honest about your intentions with the women you meet.
For help with your awkward situation, send a question to [email protected], to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.