June 20, 2008,
D.R. asks from Fort Wayne, IN on June 18, 2008
Adult (Technically) Daughter and Boyfriend We Don't Like
Any advice from Moms of young adult women or from young women who have been on the other side of this issue. My youngest dd is 20 and lives at home--she is a full time student at local university and works part time (full for summer), does her chores and is mostly very respectful and a great girl/woman. The problem is that when she was 16 and rebellious she met a guy who was 24--I knew that forbidding her to see him would not work so I requuired that thay meet only at our home or in public with family around(me, her older sister, her stepdad, aunt etc) until she was at least 18.I am sure he was not comfortable with all the questions we put to him when he was here! But that was not enough --she started sneaking around with him and then I called him and threatened to report him as she was still a minor--he must have decided that it was not worth it for he was soon out of the picture--she was very angry with me for awhile, but got over it. Then when she was 18 they connected again (my other daughter just told me about this) and he "broke her heart". Now they are seeing eachother again--she is being open about it--and says that she feels connected to him in ways she has never felt with anyone else. I fear it is the "bad boy" syndrome. She broke up with a sweet boy that we all liked not long ago because he was too much like a brother(her words). Now what do I do--we have always welcomed both girls' friends and boyfriends here--she has not asked to bring him here or to ask him to a family outing. I feel very uncomfortable with him--my partner thinks we should just wait and see if it blows over and be here for her when she is broken hearted--which he thinks will happen--but if she continues to see him then eventually we will have to accept that this is who she has chosen even if we don't like how it all started. What do you ladies think?
So What Happened?™
Well thaks to many of you Moms--there was some good advice in here--I think I will invite him over soon for a family night. I guess I just have a hard time with a 24 yr old guy who pursues 16 yr olds--and other problems that I have heard about this guy. But maybe as one of you said if we accept him then either she will start to see what he is really like or maybe he has matured and become a better person(I can hope!)I also would add that I was one who looked for "bad boys" because of father issues. Mine was abusive and cheated on my Mom many times--I married abusive, cheating men--but divorced them. I had just hoped that with finally having a good role model(in present partner) she might not go that route--it certainly has made a difference with her older sister who says John is a good role model in how a relationship should be and she will accept nothing less! And to those of you with the unsolicited advice--a piece of paper from the state means nothing in the larger context of the relationship. My relationship with John is far more spiritual and committed than the marriages I had and many of those I see(neighbors, family etc). If we had already been married and they were his bio kids than it would be different but why should he have to pay for their educations as well as paying bills and supporting them in many other ways because their Dad is worthless? We are not poor but we are living very modestly and without help from the state they would have to get a lot more student loans(and both of them are going into careers that will be helpful to society--education-- but not high paying--making it harder to pay back student loans)I also beleive that any person who wants to go to college--it should be paid for as long as they are good students.
And for those who are obsessed with the marriage thing--I would prefer my girls to live with a great guy who treats her well than to marry a jerk! to Cynthia--if you live in Indiana you can sign your kids up for the 21st scholarhsip program when they are in the 8th grade--which pays tuition at state schools(kids sign a pledge to stay drug and crime free and keep at least a C average). And with 5 kids you should be elegible for aid. Some of you maybe need to think about what you write in responses to other Moms as this is supposed to be a support group --not a judgemental group.
D.Y. answers from Cincinnati on June 19, 2008
Have you ever heard the old saying ? - The apple doesn't fall very far from the tree??????????????
J.M. answers from Indianapolis on June 19, 2008
Hear is what I know, given that I am in the midst of the same. As long as they can romanticize the bad boy, as long as they see themselves in that role of the Harlequin romance heroine who magically changes the bad boy into a good boy -- as only she can, of course -- OR until she wakes up to reality and sees what she doesn't have and kicks him to the proverbial curb, there isn't a thing you can do. But you know what you can do? There is wisdom in keeping the enemy closer. Got a car trip coming up any time soon? I have found that a good long road trip brings out the true person every time, as do card and board games, believe it or not. Who ever a person is ultimately shows up after being in a car together for three or four hours, the more the better. Even with gas at 4+ a gallon, the investment might be worth it...for all of you. Otherwise you will have to wait it out making sure your relationship with her stays open and positive.
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K.P. answers from Columbus on June 19, 2008
When our oldest son chose his future wife, we worked hard to accept her into our family despite definite reservations about how they met and the kind of person she might be. Things were going along fine until she began saying some things that had me really very seriously concerned for our son's future. I talked to our son about it and he accepted it well until he talked to her. It didn't take long for me to learn I should have kept my mouth shut. More than six years later, she is still my daughter-in-law and now the mother to one of my wonderful grandsons. We've managed to work through our differences and her rough edges are beginning to smooth a little, but neither of us will ever forget the long period of tension and struggle.
It sounds like your situation is similar (without the marriage) in that you made a valiant effort with this boyfriend then said something that put a strain on their relationship and now find yourself in a position where there is a gap between you and your daughter since she has chosen to be with him anyway. If she isn't inviting him to do things with your family, perhaps you could. No doubt you will still have all the reservations you have had all along, but he might change and the influence of your family on him might help bring some of those changes into his life. And you know, even if he doesn't change at all, you will end up keeping the relationship with your daughter as close as it can be by doing all you can to have a relationship with her significant other.
K.B. answers from Cincinnati on June 19, 2008
I'm 25, and had a son with my "bad boy" boyfriend. We didn't last. Don't get me wrong, I still love him and all...I just realized after 6 long years of fighting and arguing that we have very different dreams and goals in life and we want different things. We get along great as friends, work well as parents together yet seperated, celebrate birthdays and holidays together with our current loved ones and other family, and we still have moments (in the VERY FEW TIMES we're alone) that we look at each other and say damn why couldn't we work? We tried multiple times. I could always see the pain in my mom's eyes, but when you really love someone you have to try until you know it's dead. He's my "drug" that I've managed to overcome and have control of my own life as to how much he's involved. It definitly wasn't always like that.
My sister and her boyfriend my parents didn't like are married. We all have our issues with him, but when together we do our best to get along. We invite him along for everything. My mom says he's one of the family and that's that. It's not easy by any means but it's better than the alternative. If we didn't embrace him, my sister would resent us, not come to parties and family functions and we would never see them.
As for the road trip...we are going on our first family vacation since 2002. Driving in cars down to FL. Staying (all 9 of us) in one condo (3 bedroom 3 bath) and spending a wonderful 8 days together...Hmmmmm ;)
L.J. answers from Cincinnati on June 19, 2008
Your daughter sees a double standard in that you won't let her date this guy yet you live with a man that is not your husband. I don't want to sound jugdemental but kids will go beyond the boundies we set for them and ourselves.
A.C. answers from Dayton on June 19, 2008
As difficult and frustrating as it is for you, I think it's best to just let her live her life. If you pressure her to end things with him, it could damage your relationship with her. And if they break up, she will need her mom for comfort. It's best to withhold your judgment with the goal of being her confidante. Show her that you respect her and that she can count on you. And above all, remain prayerful that things will work out for the best. Several years ago, my much younger brother dated a girl we disliked immensely. He had an idea that we didn't like her, and (to our complete and utter horror) they were even talking marriage. I told him straight out "You're an intelligent adult and I respect your decisions. Your relationship is none of my business, but if you ever need to talk, I am here for you." It was amazing how much a difference that seemed to make. He did confide in me. And, after 4 long years, they did break up. I was there for him as much as I could be during his healing process and he hasn't looked back. I thank God everyday for opening his eyes and leading away from such an unhealthy relationship. I will pray for the same for your daughter.
All my best!
A.S. answers from Indianapolis on June 19, 2008
From being that girl with the bad boy syndrome, I never went out with nice guys until I met my husband 4.5 yrs ago and married him 6 months later. It really sounds to me like he was the guy that she lost her virginity to. You seem to have that "connection that no one else has" with that guy. Unfortunately she is old enough where she has to make her own decisions and you may not like them, but are going to have to live with them and be there very supportive when she messes up or in this case, gets her heart broken. It'll happen eventually. I never listened either, but I thank God for my mom almost every day. She was always there to be supportive no matter what happened to me. (Poor woman!!) Good luck! Take some deap breaths and it'll all waork out in the end!
N.C. answers from Dayton on June 19, 2008
I know of an organization that can help in this situation.
Marriage Works! Ohio offers free classes for couples in relationships. One class called Love Thinks was developed around a curriculum originally called "How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk (or Jerkette)". We changed the title so not to scare off potential participants, but it addresses all the issues that are giving you concern about their relationship. You want what's best for her and you don't want to see her get hurt, so I recommend you gently encourage them to attend as a couple, and sell the idea to them as, "so they can build a healthy, happy long lasting relationship." They will probably be in shock that you are so accepting of their relationship but also thankful that you care and want them to be happy. (If he truly is a jerk, she will be able to quickly identify that on her own from the information from the class, and will probably make a decision to move on to healthy relationships in the future.) Worse case scenario is that he isn't that big of a jerk, but they learn to develop their relationship into a healthy one using foundations of knowing someone well (involving time and knowing their families background) before you trust them, being able to trust them before you rely on them and having a commitment with them only after the first 3 foundations have been properly formed.
Marriage Works! Ohio is a federally funded program. There are no religious components in the classes. We serve 6 counties in southwest Ohio. Please go to www.TrustMarriage.com for more information.
Don't forget to mention to your daughter that the class is free and it includes free dinner, and gift cards for attendance! They can make it one of their "date nights".
Then please let us know what happens. You are doing a great job as a Mom, being there for your daughter.
F.R. answers from Columbus on June 19, 2008
First let me say kuddos for handling the whole thing well - the first time around. But here is the thing, your daughter is an adult, she very well may get hurt, but it is her that needs to learn this for herself. (I am speaking from the other side - my mom made me quit seeing my "badboy" in high school, we still saw each other and her and my relationship was rocky for quite a while) Another point, who's to say they would not have been together all this time if you hadn't of outted him to the police?....I understand why you did it, one day your daughter will too. Maybe he has changed, people do? But you don't want to alienate your daughter. If she is being open with you, that is half the battle - meet her half way - invite him to a family dinner and make it clear to the rest of the family that there are no "ill feelings" as not to add tention to the evening. You are well within your right as a mom to pull your daughter aside and let her know your true feelings, w/o being judgemental. Just let her know you are going to stay out of it, but you are here if and when she needs you. Good luck!