My husband and daughter always play around physically. I have been telling them to stop because it could get out of hand one day. Well that day came. She was in the shower and he went in the bathroom and played around opening the door asking to see her. She thought he was playing at first but because of the way he said it, she was scared and yelled at him to leave. He claims he was and did not mean to scare her. He said it got out of hand and now I am stuck with this situation. Do I throw him out of the house? Or being she is 19 do I let them work that out themselves? Keep in mind the type of horse playing they have done in the past have been pinching each other,pulling down their pants and running, slapping each other butts, things like that. Regardless how much I have told them to stop, they both said I worry about nothing that it’s playing around.
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In reading your E. Mail I could not help think to myself that Sigmund Freud was really not the fool that some people today believe he was. It is natural that there is sexual attraction between daughter and father, son and mother. It is what Freud referred to as Oedipal Strivings. However, it is equally true that there are powerful boundaries in families. Among these inflexible boundaries is that once daughter became pubescent a lot of the old and childhood types of play with their fathers come to a complete halt. It is the same with sons and mothers.
You son and daughter each flirted with crossing those boundaries with the types of physical play you describe. At 19 years of age your daughter is no longer naive and within her mind there had to be some awareness of what she was doing. This is equally true for your husband and, when he opened the shower, though he may have been “kidding around,” there had to be some awareness of the inappropriateness of what he was doing.
I know that, when the engaged in this flirtatious play behavior you ordered them to stop but to no avail. What I am asking myself is whether or not you sat down and privately talked calmly to each one of them, away from the other.
I believe that, whether you have done this or not in the past, you must do it now. As the wife, mother and senior woman of the house, it is appropriate and necessary that you set boundaries with each one. Please not the use of the word, “each.” To repeat, it means that you speak to your daughter, then, to your husband, separately, privately and without anger. In that talk you need to emphasize the importance of this type of thing never happening again.
In talking with your husband, it is going to be important for the two of you to discuss your sexual life. Many couples, after years of marriage, fall into a sexual rut in which the frequency they find that the frequency of sex diminishes due partly to their experiencing it as routine and dull. There is noting inevitable about this. It is possible that the two of you need to find ways to reenergize the sensual and erotic side of your marriage.
I am pointing this out because it does happen that family boundaries can be crossed if one or both parents are not being attentive to one another. This does not in any way forgive your husband’s behavior but it does explain it. In addition, it explains the necessity of your seeing to the sexual needs of both your husband and yourself.
Please understand that I have no way of knowing the nature of the marita intimacy between the two of you but am simply discussing something that frequently has happened in these types of situations.
Good luck with your marriage family.