Adult boy-band groupie

Stepmother wonders if daughter is obsessed and out of control.

Dear Amy: My husband has a daughter by a long-ago relationship. This daughter (my stepdaughter) is in her 30s now. She has been very happily married for 10 years. Her husband is devoted to her, but is a workaholic. They do not have any children.

When my stepdaughter was a teenager, she was completely enamored of a boy band. Her mother encouraged groupie-like behavior by traveling around the country with her for concerts. They even hung out in front of the favorite group member's house until the police asked them to leave.

Eventually, the boy band's popularity faded, and my stepdaughter grew up. Her mother passed away.

About three years ago the boy band (all grown men now) made a comeback. Immediately, my stepdaughter started spending lots of money going to every concert. She springs for cruises and high-dollar tickets for meet-and-greet parties. She follows them around the country. Her husband seems to support her in this pursuit.

My husband and I see her spending lots of money, taking time away from her job and her husband, and wonder if she is out of control. It seems like an obsession.

We feel that she may have a void in her life because she lost her mother.

We have let her know that we disapprove of her obsession and she has said to us that she knows "it's crazy." However, she still continues the immature behavior.

If her husband doesn't have a problem with her behavior, should we just butt out? Should we try more pointedly to show her the error of her ways? Should we recommend therapy?

Amy says: Some people drop everything to attend golfing tournaments, religious revivals or baby beauty pageants.

If this pursuit is interfering with your stepdaughter's ability to hold on to her job or her relationships, then she has a problem, but so far, this seems mainly to bother you.

I appreciate your assessment of this and agree that her behavior could be related to a void in her life.

If you decide to talk to her again, don't frame your conversation around your disapproval of her behavior. Ask her what she thinks about it and if her obsession enhances or detracts from the most important things in her life.

Therapy could help her explore all of her relationships -- including her feelings about and relationship with you and her father.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Av., Chicago, IL 60611.

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