DEAR AMY: I am a college student. My mother and I have a great relationship -- I feel like I can tell her anything -- but there is one problem that has become increasingly frustrating. If I give her the name of a guy I would maybe consider dating, she insists on conducting extensive Internet searches until she has found his hometown, his high school activities, his parents' professions, his past girlfriends -- everything. This has been happening since I was in high school, but it grew worse last year, when I showed interest in someone who we later found out was keeping some pretty significant information from me. I have no problem with looking through Facebook and Twitter profiles myself, and I've turned down prospects with no regrets. However, the threat of a profile check has made me somewhat unsure of myself because I'm ultimately worried that my mother won't approve. I've brought this up, but she has continued searching, anyway; her reasoning is that since everything is on the Internet, she might as well use it to her advantage. Honestly, she is usually spot-on in her judgments. I understand that she has good intentions and doesn't want me to waste my time with the wrong person, and I don't, either. Should I limit what I tell her (which will make me feel guilty)?
-- Distressed in Dallas
DEAR DISTRESSED: This outrageous behavior doesn't seem to bother you enough. I can only assume this is because your mother has successfully gaslighted you into thinking her behavior is acceptable. It is not. She might be a great private investigator, but her parenting skills leave a lot to be desired.
The obvious answer is for you to not tell her anything relating to your intimate dating life. Call a complete moratorium. Explain this by telling her, "No more background checks, Mom. I'm going to have to figure this out on my own." This will definitely interfere with your mother-daughter closeness, but that is a consequence of her being so untrustworthy.