Dear Jane,

My father died a few years ago and his passing left all of us absolutely heartbroken, particularly my mother, who had been married to him for more than 40 years. Initially, she retreated into herself, wouldn’t spend time with friends, didn’t want to socialize – and my brother and I have worked really hard to encourage her to put herself out there, including suggesting in recent months that she try going on a few dates.

To our surprise, she agreed. She joined a dating site and has really thrown herself into it, which is great. There’s just one major problem – she won’t stop talking to me about her sex life. She used to be pretty buttoned-up about stuff like that, but now every time I see her, it’s all she wants to talk about. And in very graphic detail! Positions she’s enjoyed or wants to try, questions about technique, asking me for recommendations for sex toys… it just goes on and on.

I don’t want to sound like a prude, but my 73-year-old mom talking to me about oral sex is just far too much for me to handle. I don’t want to rain on her very sex-positive parade or make her feel like she’s not entitled to have some fun, but it’s reached the point where I’m so uncomfortable I actually avoid taking her calls so I don’t have to have yet another chat about her latest bedroom adventure.

Any ideas on how I can make her stop without hurting her feelings?

From, Flustered Daughter

Dear Jane, my widowed 73-year-old mom won't stop oversharing about her sex life and it's making me increedibly uncomfortable

Dear Jane, my widowed 73-year-old mom won't stop oversharing about her sex life and it's making me increedibly uncomfortable

Dear Jane, my widowed 73-year-old mom won’t stop oversharing about her sex life and it’s making me increedibly uncomfortable 

Dear Flustered Daughter,

I am delighted your mother is having a second shot at life, particularly after such a happy marriage and subsequent enormous loss. 

And, I am horrified that she is sharing everything with you. Good God, there are some boundaries that must never be crossed, and I am firmly of the belief that children neither want, nor need, to know anything about their parents’ sex lives. 

International best-selling author offers sage advice on readers' most burning issues in her weekly Dear Jane agony aunt column

International best-selling author offers sage advice on readers' most burning issues in her weekly Dear Jane agony aunt column

International best-selling author offers sage advice on readers’ most burning issues in her weekly Dear Jane agony aunt column

It is oversharing, over-stepping a boundary, and, as I think most children will agree, very much not appropriate.

Your mother sounds fantastic, and how brilliant that, thanks to your advice, she’s embarking on a series of sexcapades, but I am shuddering in horror at her asking you, her daughter of all people, for questions about technique. What it does suggest to me, however, given how new this is for her, is that she needs someone to talk to, preferably someone she hasn’t birthed.

There is no need to rain on her parade when you tell her that this must stop. I encourage you to practice the words before you sit with her so you aren’t clenching in horror at such an uncomfortable subject. 

When you are ready, and preferably in person, tell her there is something you would like to talk about. Start by saying how thrilled you are at how she’s embracing life and having adventures again. Convey just how delighted you are at her explorations and that it’s brilliant that she is having a sexual awakening, however, as her daughter, you are deeply uncomfortable hearing about it. If she needs to talk about her sex life, she has to find another confidante. 

Perhaps she has a friend, or if not, she could find a counsellor. At the very least, Dr. Google and now Chat GPT will have a myriad of suggestions on technique.

If she refuses to stop, interrupt her and remind her that you are not comfortable talking about this with her. It may take a few times for the message to sink in, but if you take a deep breath, are brave enough to always intervene with this sentence, she will stop oversharing with you.

Dear Jane,

My younger sister went through a particularly nasty divorce almost a year ago now and essentially found herself unceremoniously thrown out of the home she had shared with her horrible ex-husband.

At the time, she asked if it would be OK to come and stay with me for a few weeks while she got herself sorted out – and of course I was more than happy to welcome her into my home. My kids love her, she gets on with my husband really well, and I thought having her around for a little while would actually be a wonderful way for us to spend some time together.

The thing is… that was ten months ago now. And she’s not showing any signs of wanting to look for a place or to try and make a move. I’ve made a couple of hints about it and even tried to encourage her to sit down with me and go through online rental listings, but every time I do she just says it brings up too many horrible memories of her divorce and she starts crying.

I don’t want to be mean, but I want my personal space back! She works from home so she’s always around and I just feel like I don’t have any time to myself, or any time to be with my husband. She’s a wonderful person, but I feel like I’ve landed myself with a third child!

Any advice on how to tell her she needs to move on?

From, Stuck with a Squatter

Dear Stuck with a Squatter,

As so many of us know, after three days most guests, like fish, start to stink. You have lasted ten months, and frankly, you deserve a medal. 

What a lovely generous offer you made by welcoming her into your home, but boy is she now taking advantage. The fact that she bursts into tears whenever you bring up her moving out tells me she is very aware of how to manipulate you and has you pretty much exactly where she wants you – wrapped around her little finger.

Dear Jane’s Sunday Service 

The Victim, Rescuer, Persecuter ‘drama triangle’ was developed by Dr. Stephen Karpman almost 40 years ago, and many of us regress into familiar roles, created in our childhoods, to help us survive. 

But this particular triangle is as unhealthy as it gets, and recognizing our role, can help us to break the cycle. 

Victims see themselves as helpless and look to be saved or rescued. Rescuers can often be enablers, needing to be needed, and can turn into martyrs, with festering resentment underneath. And when the rescuer stops rescuing, they are seen as persecutors.



You need to be with your husband and children, and she needs to leave. Ignore the tears, which will come when you talk to her about it, because tears have always got her exactly what she wants. So wait for her to finish crying. Hell, maybe whip a handy box of tissues out from under the sofa, and give up the hints. 

Tell her, clearly, that you have been happy to be a landing pad during this difficult time, but all of you need your space back and it is time for her to leave. Give her a date, with enough time for her to find something. Ignore tears and any histrionics, and stay calm, stating that she needs to have found somewhere else by that date.

This isn’t going to be easy, because she is taking advantage of you. Living in your house rent-free is rather fabulous for her. 

Ten months on, tears about finding somewhere else to live reminding her of her divorce is manipulative, wrong, and keeps her a victim, with everyone else tiptoeing around her. 

As long as this continues, she doesn’t have to take responsibility for her life. 

Please don’t be fooled by the tears. Stay calm and clear and stick to the date by which she has to leave. 

You can always hire a truck and you and your husband can help load it up. Either way, no more hints. You and your husband need your space back, and if she doesn’t organize the movers on that date, you must. 

Things may be difficult for a while with her, but I imagine your relationship will find its equilibrium again when she is standing on her own two feet and taking responsibility for her choices, none of which will happen as long as you fall for the tears. Stay loving – and stay STRONG.

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