Q. My 19-year-old college daughter is prone to headaches and depression, so I always try and be careful about what I say to her so as not to add to her “problems.” However, I have two issues that I have tried to address with her without success.
First, she can’t get over her “first love” who decided to leave her more than a year ago. She hosts a website where she continues to post her “undying love for him” and where she also posts partially nude pictures of other women/couples that she sees on the Internet.
Without putting down/criticizing the guy, I have told her repeatedly that she is young, beautiful, and very smart, and she would soon meet someone who will value her for what a great person she really is.
On the second issue, I am afraid that her (hoped-for) master’s degree and employment prospects may be adversely affected if school administrators/future employers uncover this website and deem her to be unsuitable. I also think any decent, respectable guy who might be interested in her may be turned off if he sees what she posts on her website. Could you please help?
A. If your honesty consistently brings on a headache or depression for your daughter, then you are allowing her fragility to manipulate you. This isn’t good for either of you. She needs to see a physician and a therapist regularly, if she doesn’t already. I agree with you that her behavior falls outside the norm and that her grief over the breakup with her former boyfriend should have abated by now.
If her partial-nudity website is creative, interesting, well-done, and not breaking any copyright (or pornography) laws, then it might not have extreme negative consequences. If it’s as whack-a-doo as you make it sound, I agree it’s both a turnoff and a cry for help.
Focus on getting your daughter professional help to get a handle on her depression and self-esteem. She may have to bear the natural consequences of her poor judgment to really understand the true ramifications of her behavior.
Q. I have been having issues with my best friend of 15 years, “Jackie.” She will make plans with me and then just not show up, with no call or text to say she had to cancel. She even failed to meet me in another city and left me stranded there when she didn’t show up. I have spoken to her before about how she is treating me, but nothing has changed.
I have come to the difficult conclusion that she does not care enough to make any effort to change her behavior. In the last week, every attempt on my part to find out why she has been treating me so unfairly has been ignored. I no longer want to be a part of this relationship, but how can I convey this to her, considering that she refuses to communicate with me?
A. Do not make any further attempts to communicate with this person. Any message worth communicating has already been conveyed (mainly by her). She does not care about you. She does not want to spend time with you. She is unreliable, rude and a danger to your self-esteem.
Start the new year by deleting her phone number from your phone, “unfriending” her on whatever social media you use and basically wiping your life clean of this toxic presence.Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.