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ASK CAROLINE: My teenage daughter won't talk to me

40830612 0 If you have a problem email Caroline at c west meads mailonsunda a 1 1626965185353
If you have a problem, email Caroline at c.west-meads@mailonsunday.co.uk.  Caroline reads all your letters but regrets not being able to answer each one personally

If you have a problem, email Caroline at [email protected] Caroline reads all your letters but regrets not being able to answer each one personally

My teenage daughter won’t talk to me

Q I am in my 50s and six months ago I left my wife for someone else after years of an unhappy marriage. I don’t feel good about breaking up with her, but I really tried to make it work and in the end I saw no other choice. My wife was always negative and complained about almost everything I did. She showed me little affection and at times I wondered if she ever loved me or if she only wanted me for my financial and emotional stability.

Eventually, perhaps inevitably, I began an affair after falling in love with an old colleague who lent me a sympathetic ear. However, while I am now incredibly happy with my new partner – happier than I have ever been – I am distraught that my teenage daughter doesn’t talk to me or have anything to do with me. Her older brother is nicer, but my daughter sided with her mother. I know my wife is not doing well and I am very sorry and worried for her. A few days ago, my daughter called me screaming, “How could you do this to mommy? You know she can’t cope. How could you be so selfish? I know my ex vilifies me to our children. How can I make my daughter understand that I was completely miserable and had to leave?

I know my ex vilifies me to our children

A It’s heartbreaking that your daughter doesn’t see you. In your longer letter, it’s clear that you really tried to make things better with your wife, including going to counseling. So when you say it was “perhaps inevitable” that you would fall in love with someone else, you might be right, because you didn’t feel loved at home. Unfortunately, it will be difficult for your daughter to see this.

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Often when one partner leaves a marriage, even with a valid reason, the other gets all the sympathy. Also, young people can be judgmental, seeing things only in terms of good and bad, simply because they don’t have the life experience to know how complex and difficult marriages can be. . Also, of course, your daughter will see how upset her mother is and it will impact her perspective. I know it’s not very comforting now, but one day your daughter will understand the situation better. Hold on and, in the meantime, write to him. Keep it short and simple and be careful not to justify your actions.

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Just tell her how much you love her, how sad and worried you are for her mother, and how you wish you didn’t have to hurt her so much. Explain that you have been very unhappy for many years. If she tears up your letter and sends it back, wait a while and then write again. Give her space and time to calm down – be patient, don’t try to force a date, just say you love her. Hopefully the continued contact with your son can help persuade her that you’re not all bad. You could try asking another family member or friend to gently explain to your ex that it can be very harmful for children to be separated from one of their parents. That it is in your daughter’s interest to maintain a good relationship with you.

Is it also nice to be well in bed?

Q I am in my thirties and for six months I have been dating a lovely man. He’s kind, smart, funny, and almost perfect except for one thing: he’s pretty average in bed. I can’t help but compare him to my ex, who wasn’t particularly nice but who I ended up staying with for four years as the sex was amazing. I can’t help but wonder if my new man isn’t too nice to be good in bed. Do I have to choose between an average sex life with someone nice or a sexually exciting volatile man?

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A No, you don’t. In fact, very few people are inherently bad in bed. If a sex life is a bit lackluster, it’s often a combination of inexperience and being over-polite. Maybe your boyfriend hasn’t had many lovers or maybe growing up his family was prudish so he’s afraid to let go. You’re probably too scared of upsetting him to say anything. But the only way to get through this, I’m afraid, is to tell her what you like in bed. Whatever you do, don’t mention the previous boyfriend, but maybe explain that sometimes in bed he seems like he’s nervous and you’d like a more confident approach. When you have sex, try moving his hands (or other parts of his body) where you want them or suggesting new positions. Sex in romantic relationships tends to get better as you get to know what the other likes. However, if you can’t overcome the initial hurdles, you can try sex therapy: visit cosrt.org.uk or relate.org.uk. He looks like a keeper so don’t give up.


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