Maternal Instincts

by : Wayne and Tamara

Direct Answers - Column for the week of October 14, 2002

I am a woman in her mid-60s whose husband passed away, and I do not want to enter into a relationship with another man. I have no family in town other than my daughter.

I always counted on the fact she would be around for me in my older years. However, I recently discovered she may be moving eight hours away to live with her boyfriend. How can my daughter behave so unlovingly and selfishly?

I always helped her when she was in trouble. How can she treat me this badly? I have threatened to disown her if she moves away. What can I do to change her mind?


Minerva, don't enter this letter in a "Mother of the Year" contest. I don't mean to be completely unsympathetic, but where is the sense of love a mother should feel for her daughter?

You are threatening your daughter as if she has done something wrong. All she has done is fall in love with a man. This is a small world. With telephones, airplanes and the Internet, eight hours isn't far away.

Your daughter is a single woman looking for her companion. Just because you aren't interested for yourself, doesn't mean she should be put in the same position. You aren't looking at this from the right direction. Instead of having just a daughter, you could be gaining a son-in-law and an extended family.

We don't threaten the people we love. If we open our heart, we find joy. Close our heart, and we find more isolation than we could possibly imagine. Your attitude so far indicates your daughter has made the right decision.


True Companions

I've fallen out with someone I regarded as a close friend of 10 years. My friend and an ex-boyfriend had an hour-long telephone call discussing my personal life with him. This boyfriend is a possessive so-and-so I ended up having to call the police about.

I couldn't believe someone I trusted would do such a thing. We didn't speak for months. Eventually she said she was sorry, though our friendship cooled a bit. A few weeks later she rings and falsely accuses me of stealing another girl's boyfriend. Again, I forgave her.

The next month I had surgery on my knee. Two days later she sent me a text message asking me to go out. I told her I was on crutches and couldn't go, but she was more than welcome to visit for the evening. I got a mobile text message calling me selfish and saying it was true what my ex said about me.

I tried to call her but she wouldn't answer the phone. I sent a message back saying if she wasn't going to speak to me, then stop sending nasty messages.

Now she's sent a letter asking if I've been sending her mobile text messages from someone else's phone. Like I've got nothing better to do! I haven't answered her, but part of me desperately misses our friendship. Most of my single friends have paired off or moved away, and I'm finding it incredibly hard to make new friends to trust.


Elisa, your friend sounds more like a tormentor. If you reestablish contact with her, in 10 weeks your life will seem even more chaotic than it does now.

What if you used those 10 weeks to change a few patterns in your life? Perhaps you could change your phone number and where you go out. You could join a short class on doing macramé or throwing pots. Or you could go to the café inside the bookstore where they discuss books.

Then 10 weeks from now you will not only have learned something, but will probably have a new best friend, perhaps a woman wise about human affairs. Small decisions about who we spend time with make huge differences in our quality of life.