Should I Worry and Why Am I Taking It So Hard?

Updated on March 14, 2018
G.V. asks from Houston, TX
20 answers

My 20yr old daughter broke up about a month ago with her boyfriend of 2 years. He is of the same age and is a wonderful young man, polite, brilliant future, a gentleman, funny, from a very good and close knit family and treated her like fine crystal. Very handsome as well. He would spend hours on end here at home since he lived just 5 minutes away and they had a healthy relationship with no fighting or bickering. She suddenly felt that she wanted to be single and the last couple of days before the breakup I could here her crying in her room at nights. He took the breakup very badly but he has kept his dignity and has not begged her to take him back and has only texted her a couple of times and she has answered back politely. There is no other love interest on her part and she just immersed herself head first into her studies at college. I do remember about a year ago she mentioned to me that she found him somewhat immature and that she felt he wasn't "The One" but that she loved him and was The One for now. She is my only daughter and I got attached to the guy, I guess seeing him almost like the son I never had and so did my husband but to a lesser degree. A month later after the breakup, she seems to be doing fine and doesn't like to talk about the ex although when she does, its always with great affection and regard. I just can't understand how she let him go just like that. She knew he was a catch and admitted that she doubted he would remain single for very long because the girls were going to pound on him once they found out he was single again. It's been hard for me. I cried a lot and I miss the ex although I know it wasn't my relationship. I love my daughter and I want her to be happy. Any advice of what might be going on in that head of hers?

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your responses although I had left out some information. She has only had two boyfriends, the first one was quite traumatic for her because he was a real jerk and when she broke it off it just got worse where he bullied and verbally abused her almost daily. He also managed to have a lot of the kids isolate her (it was a small private school in Costa Rica) and she would come home in tears. It got to the point where my husband and I had to go speak with the counselors and threatened to put a restraining order on the guy if he kept up with it. So it was a difficult Senior year for her although she kept her grades up and it was quite hard for us parents as well. She met her last boyfriend in college (who has the same mixed cultural background States/Costa Rica as my daughter) and he was like a breath of fresh air compared to the boyfriend from hell which by the way I tolerated and allowed into our home but made it clear to her that he gave me a bad vibe. So yeah, I miss the last guy. How can one not feel affection for someone who sees what I see when they look at one's daughter? I cried a lot the fist couple of weeks but not anymore unless I'm PMS'ing. Of course I don't keep communication with him at all and I most certainly wouldn't do it behind my girl's back. She has always been a sweet, smart and wonderful daughter and has an exceptional relationship with her Dad for which I am greatful since I never did have that with my Dad and I still don't and I believe is so important. Once again, thanks and I will look into the therapy thing although I think I will be just fine once she graduates and moves to the US

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J.G.

answers from Chicago on

I didn't get married till I was 29. I've already told my children that they shouldn't even think about marriage till they are around that age. There is so much living to do. 20 is so young. Good for her!

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N.Z.

answers from Los Angeles on

Many young women in their early 20s do what your daughter did. It's almost as if women go through some sort of mental/emotional milestone in their early 20s and realize that for whatever reason, the men we are dating isn't "the one." I went through it and broke up with a boyfriend of 3 years at 22. And many of my girl friends broke up with their long-term boyfriends in their early 20s. My husband's high school/college girlfriend broke up with him when she was 22 after dating for over 6 years. It's very normal.

Instead of wondering "what might be going on in that head of hers," you should think about why you were so invested in your daughter's ex and their relationship, and what's going on in YOUR head.

13 moms found this helpful
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M.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

She is growing up and her head is on completely straight. Just because a person looks good on paper doesn't mean that he is the one she should marry. I'm glad that she realized this so that both of them can move on. Personally, I still think fondly of the guy I dated seriously in college. He was and is a great guy - he just wasn't the guy for me. We are both now happily married to other people.

To be honest, I'm more concerned about what is going on in your head. You really REALLY need to let this go. Do not ask about the ex anymore. Do not talk about him. Do not get so invested in your daughter's love life.

12 moms found this helpful
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J.B.

answers from Boston on

Um...how about you reframe this in a way that values your daughter and the awesome person she is? She's 20 and sounds like she has a good head on her shoulders and the maturity to know that the relationship had run its course. Good for her! One doesn't need to wait for a relationship to turn bad to know it's over. It's sounds almost like you think he was the best that she could do and that she should have held on to him for that reason.

I'm more concerned about what's going on in your head. She's doing just fine - you should maybe think a bit about why you are so involved in this. Your feelings are not healthy or rational. She's happy - you should be too.

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N.K.

answers from Miami on

Only your daughter knows why she felt she was better off without him. The fact that it is affecting you so much that she came to this conclusion is concerning. You should respect her decision-making and stop worrying about the superficial, like the fact he was handsome, and a catch. Maybe she wants to focus on school, or something about his behavior bothered her. You never know someone 100%. What if he raised his hand to her, or mocked a friend of hers, to the point she was so turned off she wanted nothing to do with him? Would you still want that for her because you fell in love with him? (And let's face it, you sound more in love with him than she ever did, and she's the one who had the 2-year-relationship!).

You should trust her to make her own choices in her love life and support her, no matter what. She obviously IS happy on her own, not to mention, she told you from the start she found him immature and he wasn't "the one." If you made him out to be "the one" in your mind, that's your doing, not hers. Kudos to her for having her priorities straight and not settling for a relationship she's not happy in, for fear of being alone or wanting to fit in with your ideal and others' ideals of what a girl in her 20s should be. So many girls her age are in unhappy or abusive relationships because they are afraid to be single and judged, or fear being lonely. That she is fine with this and is mature enough to realize when something isn't good for her and isn't worth dragging out is a good sign. It shows logical reasoning and maturity. You need to move on, like she has.

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A.L.

answers from Atlanta on

Actually, I think it is a great sign that your daughter doesn't feel the need to hang onto a relationship just so she can feel complete, not lonely, loved, etc! I encourage you to see how rare that quality is in a person her age, and to appreciate that she is serious about her studies. Truly, she seems like a very mature young person. She is doing exactly what she should--focusing on building her future career and probably having fun with friends without the pressure of being In A Relationship. Perhaps you should consider whether you have an appropriate vision of your daughter's future? Can she not be complete in your mind unless she has a partner? Couldn't she be happy in school and a career until age 30? Just suggesting some alternate visions.

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

Your daughter sounds well adjusted and well grounded.
Don't worry about what's going on in that head of hers.
Worry about what's going on in yours.
Your daughter doesn't need a man to feel complete.
She might marry sooner or later or never - and be perfectly happy no matter which it turns out to be.

You on the other hand - seem to be over the top in love with the concept of a son in law.
Why is that?
That's what you need to figure out in therapy.

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L.W.

answers from Nashville on

"She knew he was a catch" and you can't understand why she would "let him go"? Good Lord woman, give the girl a break! You are acting like your daughter's life is ruined. Here's something to consider, I did not get married until I was 39. Your daughter is making a life for herself and seems to be doing so quite successfully. And she is only 20, give the girl a chance to breathe and live her life.

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G.♣.

answers from Springfield on

If he's not the one for her, he's not the one for her. Sometimes it's difficult to put into words, but good for her for following her heart. He does sound like quite the catch, but if she isn't in love with him, she is very wise to say that now. I doubt that she "suddenly felt that she wanted to be single," especially if she mentioned finding him immature about a year ago. This is probably something that has been on her mind for quite some time.

I know a couple of people who met their future spouse in college. Most of the people I know met them later.

She's only 20 years old. She is so young. You said many wonderful things about her ex, but you didn't say much about your daughter. You did mention that she is in college. Keep in mind that this is a time for her to try things and to explore and to discover who she is and what she wants to do with her life.

You sound a little bit like the only thing you know about her is this relationship. She is a complete person, with or without a boyfriend. Be happy that she made a decision that is right for her. You don't have to understand it. Just be proud of the strong woman she is.

9 moms found this helpful

D.D.

answers from Boston on

She's 20 yrs old. She's not the same person she was at 18 when she started dating this guy. People change and as they get older they see things differently. Good for her for seeing that this guy wasn't 'the one' for her. Far too many people just plod along in a relationship getting engaged and married because that's the course of how things should go only to admit years later that they don't really love that person.

My daughters have brought many guys into our lives. Some we were sad to see go and others we were happy to see them go. Its ok to be a little sad for the loss of this person who won't be in your life any longer however don't dwell on it. She made up her mind and you need to step back and let her make that choice.

9 moms found this helpful

D.B.

answers from Boston on

I have nothing but admiration for your daughter! She knows she is only 20 and she has a lot of living to do. She is concentrated on her studies and she wants - someday - to be with a more mature man than this recent boyfriend. She always told you he wasn't the one, but you bonded with him anyway and focused on his future career and so on. You were so grateful that he didn't treat her like garbage that you didn't figure out (and didn't believe her when she told you) that he didn't meet her needs. Just because he was better than Boyfriend #1 doesn't mean he's ready to be Husband #1. Making him your "son" was your big error in judgment here - definitely understandable but also definitely putting the cart way before the horse.

Maybe you didn't have a good adult male role model and so you are nervous about her being secure - but I do think that's your challenge to deal with and not her burden to carry.

I think it would be great if you could see your daughter as a complete woman without a man - not as someone who isn't complete at age 20 unless she has her life partner all set. The fact that they are both handling this with dignity and respect says a lot about her - and if you will, about the way you and your husband raised her. Have some confidence in what you see, and try not to pine for the guy who was "better than" but not "enough." You didn't see everything - only the side they chose to present to you. Give her credit for focusing on making her own future and not relying on a man to secure it for her.

She's 20. Give her a whole ton of time, please. She'll be better for it.

9 moms found this helpful

T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

What's going on in that head of hers?
She is a normal, healthy young woman who might not want to spend the rest of her life with the first young man she ever loved.
Look, I get it. My son and his college girlfriend broke up last year because their lives took them to different states. I LOVED that girl, still do, and I was sad for my son. I would happily welcome her as a daughter in law, and maybe someday they will get back together but maybe they won't. That's life.
I really wonder why you have "cried a lot" over this. It doesn't sound healthy, I hope you can get past this and encourage your daughter to enjoy her life with so many exciting things in front of her that have nothing to do with having a boyfriend.

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E.B.

answers from Honolulu on

I'd worry - a little - but NOT about your daughter. She sounds as if she is concentrating on her studies, and she sounds as though she realizes that she's okay as a single young woman who's a student, a grounded and sensible person. It would be much worse if you had written that your daughter doesn't feel she can survive without a boyfriend, even if she knows he's not the guy for her at this stage of her life.

What I'd worry about is yourself. Obviously you raised an intelligent, thoughtful daughter, which is great. Many mothers desperately wish their daughters were like yours. But you're not appreciating the person who's right in front of you, as she is. Not as she was. Not as she might be. Just appreciate what she IS today.

You wrote that you love your daughter and want her to be happy. Guess what? You got your wish! She's happy. She didn't create a lot of drama, and torture the boy she broke up with. Prior to that, she chose a polite, good-humored boy to have a relationship with. And now, even after the breakup, she's maintaining a good attitude, being polite to him. And she's dedicated herself to her college studies. And she's only 20! But you're kind of stuck in the rut of "what happened? That guy was so nice!". Get out of that rut quick!

So you need to look at the big picture and realize you have a happy daughter who won't settle for less than her best, who's doing what a 20 year old college student should be doing!

Enjoy your daughter as herself, not just half of a picture-perfect romantic relationship. Maybe she won't get married until she's 35 and has 3 college degrees. Maybe she'll find the perfect forever guy tomorrow. Maybe when they're both older, she might get back together with the guy she broke up with.

And throw yourself into something to take your mind off things. Take a class. Pick up a hobby. Cook meals from scratch. Bake bread. Volunteer. Learn to knit. Make scrapbooks.

8 moms found this helpful

S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

i think it's natural to love a person who loves your child and whom you think is going to be part of your family. it's definitely a mourning process when it doesn't work out. i felt that way about my older son's first fiancee, and their breakup was a little more hurtful than your situation.

but you deal with it by yourself and don't inflict your conflict and sorrow on your kid, who clearly has her own conflicts and sorrows over it. it's her choice.

i don't think you should worry. what exactly are you worrying about? i can understand taking it hard, but i'm not quite getting the worry.

the only worry i see is your very old-fashioned way of considering him a 'catch' and that some other girl will now snap him up. pretty insulting to your daughter.

i have no clue what's going on in that head of hers, but i suggest you stop trying to police it. trust her, support her, do your own bawling in private, and move on.

it's been a month. seriously. move on.
khairete
S.

7 moms found this helpful

T.M.

answers from Las Vegas on

I applaud her for knowing that her education is vital and cant afford distraction.
If they truly love each other, they will find their way back.
She is a 21st century woman. Sounds like she has a plan for her life.
I'm glad he isnt whining to her as that would create more of a wall between them. He sounds like a good guy but there may be more to the story than she has led on. There very well may be another love interest out there.
Don't continue to bring him up to her as that will also create a wall between mom and daughter. Patience is a virtue.
What is meant to be, will be.

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

I wonder if you're living vicariously through your daughter. Do you and your husband do things together? Do you have a satisfying interest or hobby?

In your SWH you said you'd be OK once she graduates and moves stateside. If this is your daughter's 2nd year that will be 2 more years of pain for you and your daughter. Why wait to move forward in making your own life happier? Counselling can help you learn how to be happy without depending on your daughter and boyfriend. I suggest your relationship with your daughter and her boyfriend sounds like a condition called codependency. Simply described it means one depends on others to be happy. The person is often devastated when a relationship ends. I suggest you read about it to see if any part of it fits with your experience.

It sounds like you live in Costa Rico. How have the storms affected you. News reports say there is chaos with a majority of people without electricity and clean water.

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S.W.

answers from Amarillo on

I'll try this again, computer lost my post.

Let your daughter live her life. Let her enjoy these early years of adulthood in school to find out who she is. Let her be single and live life as a person without being committed to another person for now.

Cultures and customs in different countries tend to put pressure on people and warp the growing process. You do something for you as in taking a class or two and learn about the country for yourself. Your daughter is going to be on her own and you have to adjust to that.

The boy or young men that she will be will be good, bad, ugly, and different but there will only be one or two that may make her standards. Let her figure them out.

My daughter will be 41 in a couple of weeks and is single. She said she would rather not be with someone who is not up to her standards than to be with someone just to have someone. She is happy. Perhaps the one she is seeing now will be the one only time will tell.

the other S.

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K.F.

answers from New York on

She already told you he wasn't the "ONE" but the one for now. She's 20 and that's fine. Why would you want her in a relationship with someone who is only kind of compatible but not a better match?

Your daughter is focused on her studies and other interests right now and that's awesome.

Seems to me like her head is on straight. Celebrate her independence, drive and determination. She gets to choose who courts her, who stays and who goes. There are plenty of great guys out there and the better she knows herself the better she can choose "the One".

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

Someone can be a great person and still not be the right person. The fact is you really have no idea what was going on behind the scenes of the relationship. There may have been a million little reasons they were not compatible even though he was a great guy. Let it go and let your daughter live her own life. Someone does not need to be coupled to be complete.

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N.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

You took him into your heart. That's not a bad thing. It hurts right now and I hope some day when everyone has moved on you'll be able to have a relationship with him. Not the son you thought you had but as at least a friend.

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