Dear Amy: My 18-year-old daughter has had a romantic relationship for over two years with another young woman she met online.
They have never met in person, but communicate daily via FaceTime.
They would both very much like to meet, and we support this idea, but there are a few wrinkles.
First, we live on different continents (North America and Europe).
Second, the other teen is not out to her parents about the nature of their relationship or about being gay, which makes it difficult for us to visit her without being deceptive and potentially creating an unsafe situation for her and us.
The apparent solution is for her to visit us, but ... the third wrinkle is that the girlfriend doesn’t have enough money to visit without my daughter helping to foot more than half the airfare.
The lack of money also means that she would plan on staying with us, but we as parents don’t really know her, so it’s a little concerning to host her in our home. The visit could go south somehow, which could put us in the position of having to pay for her hotel and still generally look out for her — until her return flight back.
We’d really like to help facilitate a visit so these two could spend time together in real life, but we are struggling to figure out how best to do that.
Any thoughts? — Parenting in the Modern Age
Dear Modern Age: If you are able (and want) to give your daughter the money to help finance her friend’s trip, then do so. It’s far less expensive to kick in for this girl’s flight than for all of you to take a trip to Europe in order for these two to finally meet in person.
However, it’s wisest for your daughter and her girlfriend to work out the finances on their own, with you generously offering to host in your home.
You should plan for a short visit. If things go so badly between these two that you feel compelled to remove this girl from your household and install her elsewhere until her return flight, then that’s a bridge you’ll have to cross if you get to it (I think this is unlikely).
Everybody here is taking something of a risk, and the best you can do is to assume the best, but allow for the possible downside.
Your 18-year-old daughter should overall be in charge of her own romantic life, including the complications of falling for someone who lives in another country.
Dear Amy: My father was physically abusive to me when I was a child, and emotionally abusive when I was a teenager.
I’ve been depressed for most of my life, with no sense of self-worth.
I confronted him when I was an adult. He tried to explain why he was that way, but he never apologized.
Now he is 93, and in a nursing home. I would like to get closure by telling him how much his behavior damaged my life, but I know it would hurt him at the end of his life. Should I get the closure I have needed all of my life, or should I keep it to myself to spare his feelings? — Still Hurting
Dear Hurting: I think the movies have trained all of us to seek closure, and to expect satisfying endings.
But life doesn’t really work that way. Your father does not know how to apologize. I would venture a guess that he himself was wounded, damaged, and emotionally stunted.
It takes a brave person to confront their abuser. You could try to do this again and likely receive a similar, unsatisfying result.
Do not hope for closure. Work toward personal reconciliation. Acknowledge what happened to you. Choose to release yourself from the blame and shame. And, as you sit by your bad old dad’s bedside, ask yourself if forgiveness is possible.
Forgiving him might liberate you.
Also, see a counselor. Working this out with professional guidance will change your life.
Dear Amy: When did name-calling get so popular? (Oh, someone leading our country made it so. Rocket Man, Sleepy Joe, Crooked Hillary, to name a few.)
Please do not condone “Boomer.”
It is sounding as bad as the aforementioned monikers. You should stop this condescending and mean trend. — Upset
Dear Upset: “Boomer” is the name of the generation to which I belong. It doesn’t strike me as being particularly “mean.” Nor can I make it go away.
You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.