Need Opinions, Please!

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by jbrain, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Hi All,
    I am hoping you guys can help me figure out how to handle this situation! Friday night husband and I went out for our usual Friday night "date" of drinks and dinner and then went home. We were hanging out on the living room couch, listening to music, and well, we started "making out" and kind of forgot that difficult child 2/easy child--M--was in the computer room and might come out. She did come out and we didn't hear her so she saw us making out--nothing really bad, our clothes were on, it wasn't that bad...

    But, she got hysterical, was very upset. She was on the phone with a friend so she was telling her how awful it was. I went to talk to her and I apologized--I realized it is gross to see 2 middle aged people in that situation when you are 18 and especially if it is your parents.

    She said it really bothered her that it was her stepdad, not her dad (her dad is dead) and that it was triggering feelings from when she was little, etc. She was upset that we weren't thinking about her, that she might come out at any minute. I told her it wouldn't happen again, she didn't have to worry.

    Anyway, yesterday she barely would speak to me--was "polite" but wouldn't have anything to do with me. She seems depressed and withdrawn, that worries me.

    I will be seeing her therapist tomorrow for my own therapy appointment. so I will certainly tell him about it and see what he suggests.

    I just don't know whether to leave her alone and just act as normally as I can or try to talk to her. My husband and I feel like crimiinals--I don't want to act like we have committed some huge crime and give validity to her apparent feelings that we are as bad as ax murderers, but I don't want her to think we don't care.

    Any advice or ideas?

  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    She seems to have over-reacted to the situation. Certainly, she's aware (or should be) that you and your husband have adult relations. Hopefully the therapist will help her to work out whatever it is that is bothering her so much that this could trigger such an inappropriate reaction. She needs to understand that whatever it is that is bothering her, you don't have to put your life on hold because of it, and that what you were doing was perfectly natural and healthy and shows that you have strength and are able to move on. Hopefully she should be able to move on as well. I wouldn't bother discussing it with her to much myself, but she needs to understand that it's unreasonable to assume that you will be celibate forever - especially seeing as to how you are married - or that you will "carry a torch" for her father.
  3. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member

    I think I would just leave it alone. You and your husband did nothing wrong. That was very normal behavior for a husband and wife! Your daughter should be thrilled that your relationship is so healthy that you both feel that way. If what your difficult child/easy child saw was so disturbing to her, she should have or could have done a very quick about face. I can see that walking into that would be surprising, and she may be grossed out, but I don't think I'd let her dictate with who, when or where I showed healthy emotion. Things could have been much worse!
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh gosh. She really is blowing this out of proportion. I realize kids dont even want to consider that their parents are sexual beings but at some point they do know it intellectually. You werent doing anything all that awful really.

    We are pretty open about this subject in my family. I guess we had to be but even so Jamie covers his ears going "blah blah blah..I dont wanna hear that about my mom and dad!"
  5. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Thanks for making me feel like we are not the worst human beings on earth! Yeah, I think she way overreacted, which is what she does in many situations--reminds me of why she is in therapy. She said the image will be imprinted on her mind forever now--I guess it must be a horrible image!
  6. goldenguru

    goldenguru New Member

    You are married. You were in your own home.

    I know my own adult kids kind of gag when they think about hubby and I - well you know. My son always remarks "How do you expect me to sleep tonight?" and sort of laughs it off. So while her reaction is somewhat normal - she has carried a little over the top.

    I would let it go.
  7. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    I also think she is blowing it out of proportion. At least she goes to therapy. I think I would just let it go unless she brings it up in a "nice" way. It is hard to have a conversation with an adult child - all they want to do sometimes is argue their point. You really dont need to defend yourself. After all it is your house and you also have a life to lead.
  8. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Jane, the truth is, your track record with men is something to be admired. You were married to your kids' Dad "until death did you part." This time you've been married for 11 years and I think it's great that you and hubby still have the hots for each other.

    Do not feel guilty! By living your life you are showing your kids loyalty, compassion, strength, and a determination to have a life. These are all very good things.

    Let her have her fit with her therapist but don't buy into it.

    You go, girl!

  9. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I'm thinking you've been walking a pretty straight parental line for her to pluck this GEM out of the air and run with it......

    More of an "I needed something to hold over your head" situation.

    You were clothed, you were married,,,,,,it's your house.....she's 18. And even if you had been in the middle of doing something more spousal? Sure-privacy needs to be maintained with any children in the house -'re married and she's making a mountain out of a molehill.

    To continue to say "I'm sorry" or let's talk - ? Mistake. I think if SHE has issues with it - then SHE should bring it up with HER therapist and past that? I'd tell her to drop it, I'm married, and it's my house.
  10. Jena

    Jena New Member

    I think it's great that you and your husband her step dad have such a great thing going on that the two of you are making out on a couch to begin with!! LOL so good for you!

    I agree with-the others she might of been totally grosed out, what kid wouldn't be lol, yet you aren't criminals you are healthy adults with a great relationship. rather she see that than the two of you arguing.

    she'll move past it, and maybe it's good in a strange way that it unearthed feelings for her, maybe she wasn't totally done with them and it'll give her a chance to explore them a bit and put them to rest.
  11. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Jane, You and your Husband deserve to be able to be close and kiss in your own home. in my opinion she was the one who acted rude by making such a fuss and putting you and husband ill at ease. I think she was being over dramatic and was being encouraged by her friend's reachion to just esculate it over the top. I also think she was trying to control you by bringing up her father's death as her reason for reacting as she did.

    Buying into your daughter's reaction just gives her control over a part of your life she should have absolutely NO say in. Let her hash this out with her psychiatrist and you and your husband continue to have a close loving relationship without guilt. -RM
  12. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I haven't had time to read the other responses.

    But honestly..........I'd have probably started laughing at her response. That may sound a bit crass but humor often lightens the tone for one thing and sends the message that it's not that big a deal.

    M is 19........not 5. Her response is over reacting and over the top.

    Ok. So my kids once they hit teens were never thrilled to see husband and I showing affection to each other. I cured it by deliberatly showing affection in front of them. Not that we hadn't before, but we'd over exaggerate it a bit and then laugh at their silliness.

    Personally, I'd tell her to **** it up and get over it already. It's not like she doesn't know what goes on in a loving relationship. And it is your house afterall. You have a right to do what you want where you want.

    The more you play up to her reaction......the worse she'll behave over it.

  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have been thinking about this for several hours. I truly think your daughter was WAAAYYY out of line.

    You and your husband have NOTHING to apologize for or be upset or embarrassed about.

    SHE owes YOU a BIG APOLOGY. The appropriate response was "Ooops, sorry. I will leave." and then she should have gone into her room or another room.

    I think telling you it upset her because it was her step dad and not her father was just a way to make you feel bad.

    To me her whole response smacks of manipulation. The need to create drama and chaos sometimes is strong in our kids. When they create a big scene over this normal behavior they should apologize or not be very welcomed. A cooler response to her until she apologizes would be in order. It is not as though her father just died and you dragged a stranger home from a bar.

    I am sorry she reacted so inappropriately and tried to make you feel bad.
  14. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Well, I did talk to her after all because my gut was telling me there was far more going on than her just reacting to my husband and me--she seemed withdrawn and depressed and she truly is not a manipulative kid most of the time.

    It turns out that seeing us like that triggered a bunch of stuff from when she was little--very painful feelings of being left out, feeling like my husband took me away from her. She was only 5 when her dad died and then I started dating really quickly and met my husband 8 months after her dad died.

    It is more complicated than that though because her older sister was emotionally and physically abusive to her and I had sort of checked out emotionally for awhile. After my husband died I acted pretty much like a crazy woman--I was dating, didn't really have much interest in the kids though I didn't neglect them, just really did not want to be a single parent. I left the 2 younger ones at home a lot with their 12-13 yr old brother to babysit and he was not very good at it.

    Once husband and I started getting serious it was some better but still he and I went out a few times a week and I still just did not have much interest in the kids. I feel awful about it, I know that time period of about a year and a half had a bad effect on all the kids and I didn't see what difficult child 1 was doing to M and they all felt like they didn't have a mother they could recognize anymore. By the time I came back to my senses and felt like a regular mom again the damage had been done.

    So, anyway, this episode was really not about me and husband making out on the couch and I'm really glad I talked with M. We had a good talk and I feel much better. I am hoping she will feel better too--she has a lot of unresolved anger but it working on that in therapy. She couldn't get angry as a child--too risky. I am strong enough now to be able to hear about how she felt back then and her life has been stable and unchaotic since her sister left home about 2 and a half years ago so she is feeling safe enough to work through all this stuff.

    Thanks for all your input, it helped immensely. Once I heard from you guys that this was a major overreaction and that husband and I had done nothing wrong I was able to see that there had to be a lot more to the story, that I had triggered something. You guys helped me see I had nothing to feel guilty about and that made it possible for me to come out of my defensive state of mind and to focus on M.

  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I just have to chime in about how cool I think it is that you and hub still date and make
    Methinks I have to ask my hubby out and make sure our own couch is clear when we get home...teehee.

    I give both of you big kudos!
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    WOW! Given the history and what came out, I guess her explosion was a good thing. It got the 2 of you talking and she was able to express how she felt and what was going on.

    I think we all go through times when we are not at our best. It can come for a variety of reasons and losing your husband is a pretty understandable one. Recognizing now that there are still issues left to handle from that time is awesome! Lots of parents demand that the kids just "get over it" because they don't understand or don't want to/can't afford therapy. I am glad she is in therapy. Having the abusive sibling is really hard, esp when they don't tell us. Abusive sibs can be very manipulative to keep it hidden.

    You probably should work some on understanding that you were doing the best you could back then. Things were not the best. But you NEVER woke up and thought "How can I mess my kid up the most today?". You just were doing the best you could.

    I am glad you talked, and I hope she feels better for being able to talk to you.
  17. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    I think JBrain said it correctly! It is a good thing everyone is thinking and talking instead of sweeping it under the rug. Sometimes blessings come in disguises!
  18. Dollhouse

    Dollhouse Guest

    Hi there!

    I guess I have a different stance than everyone else -- I know that you are adults and should be able to show affection in your home and I agree.

    However, when I was your daughter's age and my mom was dating her boyfriend at the time (11 yr relationship), I was a teen and I felt she was disgusting!! I remember driving them both from an outing and they were in the backseat kissing and holding hands; I wanted to run the car off the road with all of us in it.

    I guess I just understood your daughter's reaction.

  19. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    They are pretty different scenarios, Dollhouse.

    Heck, I would have been grossed out in your situation, too. Your Mom and boyfriend were intentionally making out in front of you (YUCK!); Jane and her husband weren't.

    I never saw my parents touch each other. I knew they loved each other but I never saw any physical exhibit of that. If I had, I'd probably have :faint:


  20. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    I understood the reaction too, Dollhouse and did apologize for grossing her out. I would have felt the same way with my own parents. It turned out though to be not so much that but that it triggered a lot of feelings in her related to her past. If she had been simply grossed out I think she would have been over it by the next day. Instead she became withdrawn and depressed, that is how I knew it had to be more. With the support of this board I was able to approach her--the board let me know that she was way overreacting--sort of a reality check and a reminder that M still has a lot of issues although she may appear to be a easy child.

    Thanks again, everyone!