Dear Amy: My daughter is 33 and a kind and caring person.
She has a good job and a dedicated boyfriend who lives with her in a house we helped her buy.
She was normal weight until she gained about 30 pounds in college and after joining AA to quit drinking.
During the pandemic she got depressed and gained an extra 20 pounds, but in the past 18 months (since her boyfriend moved in) she’s gained at least 60 pounds.
She now weighs 100 pounds above her BMI of 25, a healthy weight.
She left her gym during Covid and did not return.
She’s been on several extreme fad diets, including vegan and keto, but has now embarked on a high-carb diet and has a BMI over 35.
Her normal-sized boyfriend also gained at least 10 pounds.
Six months ago, she saw a doctor who recommended bariatric surgery, which she declined.
She does not see doctors, despite good health insurance.
I read in your column that I can’t talk to her about it since she is fully aware of it, that she will resent me, and that only she can change it.
I’m terrified of her becoming so obese that she can’t find a new job or a boyfriend – if either of them disappears.
She has some social anxiety but is quite adamant about her own judgment.
I suggested she see an endocrinologist because she might have a metabolic disorder (in addition to overeating).
She hasn’t called that doctor yet.
How can I help him take the first step? I am paralyzed with the fear that she will die of morbid obesity.
— Desperate Mother
Dear Desperate: Your interest in your daughter’s height, weight, and BMI is obsessive, and I suggest you take control of your own anxiety by discussing it with a therapist.
You say your daughter won’t see a doctor — and yet she saw a doctor six months ago. This doctor recommended bariatric surgery, which she refused. She also did at least one other positive and honestly monumental thing to protect her health, which was to join AA and get sober.
How and why did your daughter’s BMI (body mass index) come up in the conversation? Either you broach this topic, or she shares these details with you, perhaps testing your answer. Don’t bite that hook.
If the 12-step AA model works for her, she might find a 12-step program like Overeaters Anonymous (OA.org) to join — but again, that should be her choice.
Stop. If stalking people helped them lose weight, then I assure you, we all would.
Your obsession with your daughter’s weight is meant to damage her self-esteem, if it hasn’t already.
Dear Amy: I have a parenting question.
I have an adult son in his mid-twenties. He’s been with his girlfriend, “Kris”, since they met in college.
My wife and I welcomed Kris into our clan. We sincerely love it.
We assume our son will ask Kris to marry him – maybe this Christmas. We haven’t discussed it with him. They live together and both work full time.
The problem? My wife and I are both convinced that our son and Kris are not meant to survive long term.
How do we know? We both had brief first marriages.
We think our son is going to ask us to be honest with him about his relationship, and we’re not sure how to respond.
What do you think?
— Meditating Parents
Dear Parents: Your son might seriously ask, but I suggest you answer extremely carefully. Start with this question: “What do you expect from us?”
Don’t criticize him, “Kris,” or criticize their relationship. Talk only about your own experiences. Would a warning have kept you out of your brief first marriages? Keep this in mind when weighing your answer.
Premarital counseling can raise many deeper issues. It’s a shame that more couples don’t take advantage of it.
Dear Amy: “Disgusted dad” described two of his three children as disagreeing and demanding separate holiday celebrations.
I agree with you that giving in to this emotional blackmail is a slippery slope.
My own parents allowed this and then exhausted themselves trying to please everyone. I wish they hadn’t.
Dear sorry: Besides being exhausting, holding separate celebrations offers no path to eventual reconciliation.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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