Dear Annie: I am 70 years old and have just relocated to the U.S. from overseas after an unexpected divorce. It was my daughter’s suggestion for me to move here. I’ve bought a house and am 5 miles from my daughter’s house. This is the first time in years that I have lived close to her and my two grandchildren. It’s been a huge change for me, and I am still getting used to things here.
My daughter is still married, but she and her husband haven’t lived together for seven years. She is currently furloughed from her job.
While I want to be here and be involved in their lives, I also want a life of my own as I cannot be with them all the time. Using a dating website, I met a woman. I wasn’t sure whether to tell my daughter, but my daughter told me how she’d met a man on a dating site and they were planning to meet soon — so I figured I’d open up and tell her about my new friend. It seemed like she approved or at least didn’t disapprove.
Then it came to my eldest grandson’s birthday. I forgot his card and present, so I asked my new lady friend to bring them to my daughter’s house for me. I got it from her when she arrived outside and gave her a quick kiss goodbye. I went in and gave it to my grandson who was overjoyed with the present. My daughter on the other hand was unhappy, as she saw my lady friend.
Now my daughter wants nothing to do with me anymore because she thinks I’m only thinking about myself. During the last three months, my daughter has only been in my house three times and for less than 10 minutes on each occasion. I’ve been to their house many times and each time for several hours at a time. I’m told I only care about myself and she doesn’t want anything else to do with me now. I’m partially reliant on her regarding the final part of my immigration here. If she withdraws from that, then I’m in trouble and may have to leave as a result.
She feels that I am selfish and don’t care about her and the boys but that isn’t true. I just want some life of my own along with being here to be close to them. This is a huge problem for me and I have no idea how to make it right. — Dissed By Daughter
Dear Dissed: I don’t know what your daughter’s problem is, but it’s not you. Some unhappiness in her personal life is probably causing her to lash out so irrationally. Hopefully, she comes to her senses and apologizes. The immigration factor does complicate things. I’d recommend consulting with an immigration lawyer to see what other options you might have so you don’t have to rely on the whims of a petulant daughter. You didn’t lug your whole life 2,000 miles to be her punching bag.
Dear Annie: With an eye toward Earth Day, I wanted to encourage your readers to try going meatless (and preferably vegan) at least one day a week. Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gases than all transportation combined. — Healing the Planet Together
Dear Healing the Planet Together: Thanks for the letter. I’d encourage anyone to give plant-based a try, at least part of the time. It’s easier than you’d think!