Dear Fiona: My daughter is seeing my boss’ brother – but I know he’s a waste of space

17 March 2022

The problem…

“I am so worried about my daughter and nothing I say or do will get her to listen to me. She’s 21 now and she’s been going out with her boyfriend since she was 17. She just won’t see that this man is not good.

“She started to go out with him shortly after her 17th birthday, and I am sure it is down to him that she failed her A levels. She was so infatuated with him, she just stopped working at them, even though she was predicted to do well. He’s my boss’s brother, so I know a lot about him and what’s going on in his life. He’s now 30 and has been married all the time he’s been going out with my daughter.

“He’s told her he’s divorced, but I know he’s still living with his wife! On top of that, I know he’s had several girlfriends while she’s been with him, although he’s dumped them when I told him I knew about them. There may, of course, be others I don’t know about – but why he persists with my daughter, I just don’t know. I think it may even be because he’s trying to upset me.

How can I get her to see sense? (Alamy/PA)

“Nothing I say to her will make her wake up to the fact that this man is a waste of space. How do I make her see sense?”

Fiona says…

“You cannot make someone see something they don’t want to see, and clearly your daughter only wants to see the positives where this man is concerned. You daughter must come to recognise for herself that this man is not treating her well. It may sound perverse, but I suspect she will do it a whole lot sooner if you stop making him seem attractive to her.

“You’re doing that with your opposition to him, because it’s in the nature of most young people to want to rebel. It is hard to watch them make their mistakes, but sometimes you have to do it because it is the only way they learn. It’s part of a desire to prove themselves different to their parents, that many young people will take a stand entirely opposite to that of their parents.

“So, try to be tolerant and meanwhile say nothing against this man, however tempting it is and however much you find out from your boss. Sooner or later, she is going to want more from this man than he wants or is able to give, and at that point she will start to question things.

“She will need your love and support when she wakes up to what has been happening, so try not to voice your opposition any more but let her understand you will be there for her if she needs you.

“If she thinks you will be thinking, ‘I told you so’, she is less likely to turn to you for help. So instead, tell her you give her your blessing to whatever she decides is best for her – and try to mean it – then stand back and let her get on with it. It will probably happen a whole lot sooner if you don’t make any further issue out of it.

“Working with this man’s brother gives you an insight into his life most parents would never have. I would suggest you stop trying to find things out, stop listening to any stories or news about him, and simply steer clear of anything to do with him. You’re hurting yourself by knowing these details, so distance yourself – you already know he’s no good, so you don’t need to know anything else.

“One day, your daughter will probably say, ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ when she wakes up and realises how badly she’s been used. Your only answer to that can ever be, ‘Would you have listened?’”

If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to [email protected] for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox