Dear Annie: My married daughter has decided to estrange herself from her stepfather and me.
We have not spoken since she rudely shrugged me off at her son’s graduation party last June. I recently began counselling to help me deal with the situation. The counsellor thinks my daughter may have narcissistic personality disorder. The additional heartbreak is that she told my sister I abused her terribly when she was a child. My sister suggested she seek therapy, but my daughter said she was “over it.” Annie, this abuse never occurred, and I am sick about the accusation.
I also have a son who lives in our area. He and his girlfriend recently had a baby, and my daughter told the girlfriend things that I supposedly said and did, and now this young lady does not want to associate with us.
I am slowly coming to terms with my grief. My daughter has five children, four of whom live at home. The oldest, who is in college, is the only one who contacts us on occasion.
My husband and I have always been supportive of both our children, making countless trips to visit. I don’t see my daughter and I reconciling anytime soon, and I have given up on my son’s girlfriend. Life is too short for so much stress. So, should I continue to send birthday cards and gifts to these grandchildren? I did not receive any acknowledgment for the presents I sent at Christmas. — Confused and Sad
Dear Confused: The grandchildren haven’t been taught to send thank-you notes, and Mom obviously has no interest in encouraging them to correspond with you. However, sending cards (and gifts, if you like) is one way to maintain contact in an otherwise estranged relationship, so you might want to continue even with no expectation of acknowledgment. This type of situation is terribly sad for everyone.
Dear Annie: When two people start going out, what is the accepted length of time between the first date and when he can ask for a kiss? — New At This Teenager
Dear Teenager: At your age, it is probably best to wait until you are more comfortable before asking for a kiss. How long that takes depends on the individuals involved. You’ll know. Don’t rush.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.