From the New York Times gossip column:
A mother is concerned about her adult child’s involvement with a polyamorous man.
By Philip Galanes
Jan. 13, 2022
My 30-year-old daughter is in a polyamorous relationship with a married man. She brought him home for the holidays, and while he was charming, I felt uncomfortable. (This may have been triggered by my husband’s infidelity that led to our divorce.) Now, my daughter tells me she would like to bring this man on our family trip to Greece this year. It may be petty, but I don’t want to foot the bill for another woman’s husband. And I don’t see any way this relationship can lead to my daughter’s happiness. Should I lay out my boundaries and risk my daughter not joining me on vacation?
I may be off-base, but I don’t think the real issue here is the cost of a trip to Greece
I mean, how much can a trip to Greece cost? It’s not like they use an expensive currency in Greece. You can probably get about a million drachmas for a dollar, right?
or your ex-husband’s infidelity. This is about respecting your adult daughter’s choices. You have substituted your idea of happiness for hers. This is a common (and often well-intentioned) trap for many parents. It’s not productive, though.
Of course you should pay for the married man who is having an affair with your daughter to tag along for free on the family vacation you are footing the bill for. Every mother should be proud to have a daughter who is sleeping with a guy who is both married to somebody else and a freeloader on you. This isn’t the 1990s anymore, when Kamala became Willie Brown’s mistress and got a BMW and a couple of sinecures out of it. Now, the mistress’s mom subsidizes the philandering husband.
Let’s put aside the trip to Greece and the specter of your cheating ex. Unlike him, people in polyamorous arrangements usually set ground rules with their partners for opening their relationship to others. (No one is cheating!)
This man isn’t some two-timing horndog like your ex-husband, he’s polyamorous. That’s his identity. He is one of the good guys undermining society’s monogamous structure. He might even be nonbinary and will hit on all the Greek waiters on the trip you are paying for.
In contrast, you sound like you’d rather save up your money to pay for your daughter’s wedding to some bad guy who will forsake all others to stand by her and support her as she gives birth to your grandchildren. Shame, woman, shame.
Try to understand, as best you can, what your daughter likes about this arrangement and how it satisfies her.
And never ever have any doubts that maybe she’s not rapturously happy being this guy’s side piece while he uses up her fertile years.
As a show of respect, read up on polyamory before you broach the subject with her. Then ask questions. I am not suggesting that you set aside all of your concerns — only that you try to respect your adult daughter’s decisions. In a more open-minded context, you may find that the trip to Greece resolves itself.
Also, my advice to you is that you should take up smoking crack and playing Russian roulette.