As far as you feeling bad about abandoning your daughter – stop that right now! Just because you’ve “always been there for your daughter and granddaughter” doesn’t mean that is the way it always has to be…or that “being there” for them 24/7 is necessarily in their best interest or your own. Your availability and willingness to be your daughter’s go-to person, even as an adult probably contributes to her lack of self-reliance. Why should she develop the necessary skills to be independent when her mom cheerfully picks up all the slack? Far from “abandonment,” allowing her to do things for herself and her daughter is probably the most nurturing, productive, encouraging thing you could do. Yes, you had a duty to care for her in her formative years, but it is equally your obligation to give her the tools to care for herself and her child. You’re not abandoning her, you’re giving her the opportunity to grow up. Please don’t take this as a criticism. All parents are guilty of this to some degree. And it is only natural that breaking this pattern is difficult and painful. After years of having our kids depend on us for everything, suddenly relinquishing control to them can be terrifying. Nonetheless, that is something every parent must do if they want their offspring to become responsible, contributing members of society.
Now to perhaps the most important part: you. Despite the fact that you may have never considered marrying again, you have found a wonderful man who brings great joy into your life and offers you happiness both in the present and the future. Having parental obligations, real or perceived, do not release you from the responsibility of providing for your own happiness. If you let this opportunity for your future slip away, you will not only be hurting yourself and the man you love, but you may be jeopardizing your relationship with your daughter. You see, at least subconsciously, you may blame her for ruining your romantic chances and develop animosity toward her. And even if you don’t, always subordinating one’s own needs in favor of the needs of others is the perfect recipe for discontentment and bitterness.
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So what does all this mean? It means that you need to guiltlessly set your daughter on the fast-track to adult independence and take pride and pleasure in her newfound self-reliance. And yes, a marriage proposal, when it’s from the right person, is a joyous occasion. Embrace your new relationship and start making plans to get on with your life as you simultaneously give your daughter the ability and incentive to do likewise.
© 2009 David M. Matthews. All Rights Reserved.
Besides being a relationship coach and author of the controversial book, "Every Man Sees You Naked: An Insider's Guide to How Men Think," David M. Matthews is an Emmy-winning TV Writer/Producer who's worked on some of television's best shows.
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For more information on David or to get a copy of his free report on "The 3 Things Men Are REALLY Looking For In A Relationship," go to www.EveryManSeesYouNaked.com.