Dear Amy: After six years of marriage to our 33-year-old daughter “Karen”, our son-in-law decided he was in love with the woman he had been having an affair with for three years of their marriage.
Last summer Karen filed for divorce and moved back home.
She was devastated, and so was me and her father.
We did our best to counsel him and get him on his feet.
Karen has had many days of uncertainty, anger, grief and sadness.
Fortunately, they had no children.
The problem? For several months, Karen has been dating a married man!
We are beside ourselves with disappointment and her father is outraged.
He thinks that Karen is no better than her ex-husband.
He has condemned Karen’s actions, telling her that she is morally wrong (I disagree) and that the man she is with is a liar, cheater, and lowlife.
Now this man and his wife have announced that they are expecting a child, further infuriating my husband.
I am familiar with the woman’s family. We will never be able to look at them without feeling guilty.
Karen claims they have something special. He’s obviously still in his marriage, and yet Karen defends him.
Why would our smart and talented daughter settle for slow seconds and have an affair with a married man whose wife is pregnant?
Why would he hurt another person the same way he was hurt (and now a baby is involved)?
We are so ashamed – how do we manage?
– Parents with shame
Dear Shameful: You have already judged your daughter. Your husband has expressed his disgust loudly and repeatedly.
Now the way to do it is to bow down and realize you didn’t raise a saint.
If her drama is only a year old and she’s been seeing this other man for a few months, she seems to have jumped headfirst from one mess to another.
Your daughter has been hurt and she is now knowingly hurting someone else.
If your daughter lives with you, it would be better if she left. If she is not in your home, you will not be as tempted to monitor and react to her behavior.
You don’t know why she is doing this. I don’t know why you are doing this. I think it is possible that even she does not know very well why she made this choice.
She needs to see a counselor.
Discussing questionable choices with a neutral therapist is much more productive than trying to defend vulnerable behavior to your angry parents.
I suggest you convey to her, “You know how we feel about your decisions, which we believe are setting you back. We hope you choose to behave ethically. But we also understand that this is your life and you will bear the consequences.
Dear Amy: I have a young relative whom I adore dearly, whose pursuits I have always wholeheartedly supported.
A few months ago, she was offered a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a highly insecure open-ended job overseas. This opportunity may last for several years.
I encouraged him to jump at the chance.
She has a cat that she needed to rehome, and I somewhat reluctantly offered to take the cat.
To put it simply – this is not working. at all.
I am unhappy, but perhaps more importantly, the cat is very unhappy. I live in an apartment and am out all day at my job. The cat often appears extremely agitated and almost frantic, and is quite destructive.
Previously the cat had lived on a large property with outdoor options. I’m sure that would be best for him.
How can I best handle this?
Dear Dissatisfied: You should be honest with your family member, describing everything you have mentioned here. Let her know that for the sake of the cat you believe she should be rehomed and let her know that you will do your best to find the best possible situation for the cat.
In the meantime, work with a veterinarian to see if there are techniques you can try to ease the animal’s anxiety.
Dear Amy: I liked your response to “Separation”, the woman asking if she should go with her husband to inform his parents of their impending divorce.
My big question was: how did they manage to live five minutes away from their in-laws, yet only see them once a month?
Dear Jealous: Several readers expressed similarly sardonic responses.