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Conflicting feelings over dd's boyfriend


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Met dd's serious boyfriend yesterday. He came to visit for Easter. He's very nice and funny but he's so very laid back, like there is no effort to be on his best behavior, you know? I found myself getting irrationally irritated at the fact that he kept yawning and not bothering to cover his mouth! It got so I could barely look at him! I never thought I'd be like this but I am definitely having those "you aren't good enough for my daughter" feelings. When My daughter went to meet his parents, she baked them cookies and brought them a book by an author she knew his mother liked. Not that I was really expecting anything, but he could at least say thank you after dinner or offer to help with dishes. He seems kind of clueless.

 

Dh thinks he seems awfully young, like 22 going on 17. I don't know. He is nice in that he smiles and jokes pleasantly. The younger sibs have taken to him right away. We'll have to see what today brings. In laws are coming over for a big dinner.

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Don't let yourself go there. Focus on all his good points; you listed some important ones. Why is being nice, joking and being the kind of person the younger sibs would take to right away not being on his "best" behavior? Be really careful of becoming the etiquette police even in your mind and heart. Did you know that yawning is often a stress reaction? (I realize that you're focused on the fact he wasn't covering his mouth, not the yawning itself.) Commit yourself to loving him and seeing the best in him. You'll be glad that you did, whether dd marries him or not. :grouphug: Parenting adult children is really hard.

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Trust your gut and keep an eye on the situation. I know the "popular" idea is that we should never interfere with our children's decisions but I am VERY glad my mom ignored that idea. She trusted her gut and kept me from marrying someone who would have been terrible for me. I was mad at her at the time but she was willing to live with that and I later understood and thanked her for it.

 

It may turn out to be fine but it may not. If my ds acted like that when meeting his girlfriend's parents I would be mortified. Keep an eye on it.

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Met dd's serious boyfriend yesterday. He came to visit for Easter. He's very nice and funny but he's so very laid back, like there is no effort to be on his best behavior, you know? I found myself getting irrationally irritated at the fact that he kept yawning and not bothering to cover his mouth!

 

 

He might just not have been taught these pieces of politeness. He was tired and didn't know he should cover his mouth. And maybe his mother never allowed him to help in the house - some people just don't like 'interference'. I would try very hard to look beyond.

 

Laura

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He didn't say thank you for the meal, and he didn't help with the dishes? Next time he comes over for dinner, set him to work! He can work alongside your daughter helping out. He might really be clueless, and you can help him out by telling him explicitly what he needs to do.

 

I was *very* clueless at that age. I was so awkward that it would never have occurred to me to offer to help out. But I wouldn't have been offended if someone had asked me to.

 

It should be very easy at this early stage to establish good ways of interacting with this boy, before he and your family fall into a rut and it's too late to prompt him to be polite.

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I am very grateful that when we were dating, DH talked to me about what was important to his parents. Your DD should be standing up from the table, saying "Thanks for dinner, Mom! We'll do the dishes!" It can be awkward to jump into someone else's kitchen when you've just met.

 

He may also have a mother who prefers to do it all herself. I know some like that. ;-)

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Don't let yourself go there. Focus on all his good points; you listed some important ones. Why is being nice, joking and being the kind of person the younger sibs would take to right away not being on his "best" behavior? Be really careful of becoming the etiquette police even in your mind and heart. Did you know that yawning is often a stress reaction? (I realize that you're focused on the fact he wasn't covering his mouth, not the yawning itself.) Commit yourself to loving him and seeing the best in him. You'll be glad that you did, whether dd marries him or not. :grouphug: Parenting adult children is really hard.

 

 

I totally agree with this. After dh & I got married, I had to tell my mom to stop being so negative towards my dh, it was not healthy for me. Is he perfect, no, but it was my choice, not hers.

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Having BTDT and interfered once, I would take the tack of watching him a time or two more, then asking dd what she thinks about traits x, y, and z? Hopefully she will consider it, decide whether she can live with it or not, and you'll be in a good place with her.

 

Sometimes, seeing a certain trait in a young man and then identifying it in a conversation between mom and daughter can help daughter ID something she knew was off but hadn't yet put her finger on. The tough part is being willing to roll with it if dd says it isn't important to her. Before they are "hitched" is also a good time to see if he is willing to learn something and to cultivate a new habit/trait for her.

 

 

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I remember when my soon to be hubby came to TG dinner. First faux pas, according to my sil, happened even before we got there--he brought a book to read in the car on the trip (we came to brother's house in OH and they drove us to CT where Mom and Dad lived). Then we stopped to take a restroom break--Brother was all about the "pee and go" and dh went to the diner and ordered a donut and coffee...big mistake.

Then at dinner, dh used his hand to push a veggie onto his fork--OMG< hell could've froze over just from the look of my mom.

 

 

They love him now.

 

No one was good enough for their children at first. They all grew on them over time.

 

Ask her what she sees in him,,. and then try to see that. (But keep your eyes open for things she may not see that could be harmful, not just a matter of family training differences or preferences.)

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I think you should tell her what you noticed. Then she will no doubt tell him and he will have some important information he needs about whether he would be happy and a good fit in your family, whether he will confirm to your standards, and how much time he wants to spend with you if he decides to marry your daughter and she agrees.

 

I know a few families in which girls distanced themselves after marriage because they had heard the negative comments during courtship and remembered them forever after. I think the girl's parent probably regret it now, but at least the guy found out what he would be dealing with.

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I hope, (not there yet) that I would try to react with grace. I agree with asking him to xyz on anything that is bothering. Then you can see if he reacts and responds with kindness. He may just be uncomfortable, tired and clueless of how to make a good impression; he is under a bit of pressure meeting the family who will be his in-laws.

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He didn't say thank you for the meal, and he didn't help with the dishes? Next time he comes over for dinner, set him to work! He can work alongside your daughter helping out. He might really be clueless, and you can help him out by telling him explicitly what he needs to do.

 

I was *very* clueless at that age. I was so awkward that it would never have occurred to me to offer to help out. But I wouldn't have been offended if someone had asked me to.

 

It should be very easy at this early stage to establish good ways of interacting with this boy, before he and your family fall into a rut and it's too late to prompt him to be polite.

 

 

This strategy benefits everyone--you will be lovingly helping this young man to be a good husband!

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Thanks for all the responses. I don't want to say anything to my dd as I don't want to hurt her feelings or alienate her or him in any way. I am pretty easygoing usually. I was surprised at my own negative emotions! But truthfully, he does seem awfully young and yet old enough to want to marry my dd. That's got me nervous! I've already agreed to let him stay with us for the summer. He doesn't have any plans for after college and he doesn't want to move back home to CA but would rather move out here to be with dd. His parents don't have money and he doesn't either. So I told them we could put him up for the summer (in the guest room!) while he tries to find his feet. So I will try to focus on the positive. DD loves him, so I'd better try to be open minded, at the very least!

 

Thanks again, everyone for your words of wisdom.

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I agree with setting him to work too. Just throw him a t-towel and include him in the family clean up time. In the end he might feel more included into the family and you'll feel better that he did something. He might just be unsure of what he's supposed to do.

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I'm always awkward when meeting new people (and new is defined as someone I don't know well - I can meet the same person more than once and they are still 'new'). Put him to work. It will be good for your dd and the young man to do chores together if they are planning on a serious relationship. Ask them to do the dishes, or clean/vacuum one of the rooms. If he's planning on living with you for a summer, I would start having him help out or you will feel resentful if he doesn't do anything later on.

 

Truly, I don't move from the sofa when I'm at someone's house because I'm not very graceful at first. I've always appreciated the hosts who helped me over my shyness (even though people wouldn't picture me as shy).

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Thanks for all the responses. I don't want to say anything to my dd as I don't want to hurt her feelings or alienate her or him in any way. I am pretty easygoing usually. I was surprised at my own negative emotions!

 

Thanks again, everyone for your words of wisdom.

 

I think that if your reaction surprised you, that it is quite possible that it has to do with the normal, natural process & feelings of letting go of dd to another human being who will be her #1 love, rather than with him specifically. :grouphug:

 

I think you're wise to not say anything to dd at this point. Since he will be staying the summer, you can sit down with them ahead of time and work out expectations. That would be pro-active, viewed as a pretty normal thing to do, so would be unlikely to be seen as criticism.

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I am just throwing this out there after all I wasn't there to meet him so I don't know. My youngest boy has tourettes and often he looks as if he is yawning when his jaw jerks. He doesn't even know he is doing it and it happens often when he is nervous. He isn't trying to be rude it just happens. He is also very goofy when he gets nervous. I would be upset that he forgot to Thank his host though.

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Thanks for all the responses. I don't want to say anything to my dd as I don't want to hurt her feelings or alienate her or him in any way. I am pretty easygoing usually. I was surprised at my own negative emotions! But truthfully, he does seem awfully young and yet old enough to want to marry my dd. That's got me nervous! I've already agreed to let him stay with us for the summer. He doesn't have any plans for after college and he doesn't want to move back home to CA but would rather move out here to be with dd. His parents don't have money and he doesn't either. So I told them we could put him up for the summer (in the guest room!) while he tries to find his feet. So I will try to focus on the positive. DD loves him, so I'd better try to be open minded, at the very least!

 

Thanks again, everyone for your words of wisdom.

 

 

You sound very wise to me. :) He could just need a few years to mature a bit, or maybe he's just a very laid-back person who doesn't believe in pretending he's not tired when he is. I might not mention some of those little things to your DD quite yet, especially since he seems to have passed one big hurdle -- getting along well with other members of the family. I think I'd give it the summer, or at least a few weeks, and see how it goes. That should give you a better idea of whether there are serious issues (ie he thinks women should do all the cooking and cleaning, so he didn't offer to help), or if it's just a matter of family/cultural differences (ie his mom happened to do all of the cooking and cleaning, so it didn't occur to him to offer, but he's not opposed to doing so).

 

I'm relatively certain that my DH does things that bug my parents, and I probably do things that bug his parents too. I'm also sure that I do things that bug my own parents, and I know DH and I do things that bug each other! But when it comes down to it, they're generally small things, and the big things are okay.

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It would never occur to me that a girl's boyfriend would be expected to help with the dishes -- ever.

 

So maybe the young man comes from a family like mine, where guests simply do not help in the kitchen.

 

He sounds like a nice guy, and if your other kids liked him, that is a huge thing in my mind. Often, kids can see right through a phony!

 

I would be relieved that he was friendly, funny, and good with the other kids -- a nice guy is ultimately a better catch than a super-ambitious guy who lacks warmth. (Obviously, it's nice to have both, but the guy is 22, not 32, so I wouldn't be too worried about his seeming lack of serious ambition just yet!)

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Honestly, guests are not to offer to do dishes nor should we expect them to. Maybe if he was engaged to your daughter, you could ask him. It sounds like it was his first time at your house. In fact, when I was growing up, you did not do the dishes until people left the party.

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I normally don't ask guests to do the dishes either, but in this case it would serve several purposes:

 

1. It would ease some potential tension by keeping everyone bustling around.

2. You could see how amiable and willing to be useful he is.

3. He would begin RIGHT AWAY to fit into the family.

 

I know some people are going to say he was coming over for a meal, not to be tested, but let's face it, all potential suitors DO get scrutinized when they first meet a girl's family. I'm sure he would rather have a chance to be actively participating than sitting awkwardly on a sofa answering questions.

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I'd expect a level of formality and respect on the first meeting. I understand not feeling impressed if he was super laid back. My in laws can be lazy and hippie like. They annoy me when I need to get things done. Maybe you're worried he's going to be a slacker and you don't want your daughter picking up his slack? Hopefully he'll be motivated and grateful while he stays with you.

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My oldest dd's boyfriend lived with us for a while. There were things that bothered me but they weren't hills to die on, especially because I can say that about every member of my family. I didn't expect anything from him when he came over the first few times. He was a guest. I'm completely uncomfortable with the idea of asking a guest to do housework after sharing a meal at my table. I'm also a little freaked out that it would never occur to me to be a guest in someone else's home and offer to do the dishes. That seems so rude like I don't think they are being gracious hosts. FWIW, he did help out when he lived here because at that point he was part of the family. If helping out is important to you, you should most definitely have a talk with both of them at the start of summer and lay down some ground rules. Don't assume he'll jump in and offer and please don't think badly of him if he doesn't. Now, if he doesn't try to help out once you've explained things to him, then you can question his character. At least that's how I see it.

 

Oh, and dd and her boyfriend broke up and he moved out. It was a sad day.

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Thanks for all the responses. I don't want to say anything to my dd as I don't want to hurt her feelings or alienate her or him in any way. I am pretty easygoing usually. I was surprised at my own negative emotions! But truthfully, he does seem awfully young and yet old enough to want to marry my dd. That's got me nervous! I've already agreed to let him stay with us for the summer. He doesn't have any plans for after college and he doesn't want to move back home to CA but would rather move out here to be with dd. His parents don't have money and he doesn't either. So I told them we could put him up for the summer (in the guest room!) while he tries to find his feet. So I will try to focus on the positive. DD loves him, so I'd better try to be open minded, at the very least!

 

Thanks again, everyone for your words of wisdom.

 

This really jumped out at me. Is he the first generation to attend college? I think that sometimes children from lower-class backgrounds are not explicitly taught etiquette in the way that middle-class children are. I grew up very poor and I had to learn some of those little etiquette issues as a young adult. I am very grateful for those that gently set an example for me or nudged me in the right direction with kindness. Unfortunately there were others who raked me over the coals, because they saw lapses in etiquette as evidence of character flaws. My mil was one of these and the things she said to my dh while we were dating damaged their relationship greatly.

 

The fact that you were surprised by your own response says a lot. Probably you know that your feelings were out of proportion with the offense. Forgetting to thank you for dinner and not offering to help with the dishes are very minor things. I agree with others that the best way to handle it is to gently lay out some expectations prior to him moving in with you. I bet he would be happy to help with the dishes if you simply asked. It says a lot to me that the younger children really like him. Children are surprisingly good judges of character.

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If he's going to be moving in with you, I would gently suggest to you that you insist that he has at least a part-time job before he moves in. If he does nothing but hang around the house all the time, that will get very old, very quickly.

 

Our friend let their dd's fiance move in with them "temporarily," assuming he would be hitting the streets looking for a job. Well... not so much. He was a very sweet guy, but he was very happy living for free at our friends' house, and was in no hurry to leave. He wasn't actively looking for work, but said he was waiting for his "dream job." :rolleyes: Finally, they sat him down and laid down some ground rules -- he had to get a job. Period. ANY job. He could keep looking for his dream job, but in the meantime, they didn't care if he was washing dishes. He was an adult, and he couldn't just lie around their house all day. (There's a happy ending to the story -- he did get a job, married the dd, and although I'm not sure he has his dream job yet, they seem very happy together -- in their own little house.)

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Really? He is an adult. I don't ask adult guests to XYZ on anything bothering. I can't imagine that. My dad has an annoying habit of nose sniffing while he eats. It drives me insane. Should I ask him to stop? I wouldn't. I think that would be way too rude on my part. That's barely appropriate to do to children in the presence of guests let alone a guest who barely knows you.

 

No, I wouldn't personally ask a guest to do anything. That said, this is bothering the op a lot, and I truly wouldn't be offended if someone asked me to help with the dishes. I imagine they are all under a bit of pressure right now and getting to know each other can be a difficult road to navigate.

 

 

OP, after reading your update. Do include him in the household expectations as you do the rest of your family. I think it would help him feel more comfortable.

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The issues that would concern me when the time comes when dd thinks she wants us to meet her boyfriend would be:

A. Does he treat her good.

B. Did he graduate from high school

C. Does he have a full time job or working on a degree.

D. Does he have his own vehicle.

 

Looking bored and yawning would not bother me. I'd like to see him try to help clear the table but some young adults, not just boys have not been taught this.

 

side note: I need to make sure my boys know to at least attempt to help clear the table unless otherwise told "no thank you."

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You sound like you aren't sure whether to treat him like a "friend of a child" (you can 'parent' him a little if he lacks life skills or manners), an "adult guest" (you would lay out a dinner and expect formality), a "extended family member" (less formal, but still a guest), or like a "potential member of the household" (should be contributive, not merely a receiver of hospitality).

 

He sounds like he thinks he is an "extended family member". He puts his feet up and acts like he's at home, and received your hospitality in a way that lacks formal manners. This is the way my aunts and uncles act when they visit me. It's probably the way he acts when he visits his aunts and uncles -- so it's probably the model he is using. That's nice -- you see him when he's not 'on his best behaviour' which is more honest... but on the other hand, you seem to have sort of wanted to see his 'best behaviour' too (you would feel worthy of the way he took you seriously as important people), and you also wanted to see that he can be contributive (since he is going to be a member of your household).

 

I want you to know that that level of "polish" -- the formality to show that you consider others important enough to try to impress, the informality to be cozy and treat people like family, the honest transparency to seem like he's being himself, and the added bonus that he would be most like himself in offering all kinds of helpfulness... that's a tall order. That's the way someone with charm and class and (or lots of practice) can behave, but it's not natural. It's crafted. It's nearly political. It's not the basis of a relationship with a young adult future housemate and possible SIL... and it's certainly not a minimum standard for someone to be 'good enough' for your daughter.

 

Welcome to the awkward phase! I suggest you take his lead and treat him like you treat your nephews of that age, who might come over with their parents, and pretend you've known him all his life in that way -- at least until he moves in. It's going to be too hard to try and do the relationship from all angles at once.

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None of these issues are moral issues. I would give him some more time. Maybe a family outing with him along would be a good way to get to know him. I used to always offer to do dishes when invited to someones house for a meal. Then one host got offended. I am now much more careful when invited to dinner. A lot of guys are not used to doing kitchen chores.

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In reading your update, I'd offer this advice--Make your behavioral expectations on your guest and on your dd very, very clear, and don't let any discomfort with setting limits/boundaries interfere with the process. I'd even put a time limit on the "living here" part--a limit that can be revisited. I'd be upfront with sexual behavior expectations, too, particularly if you have youngers in the house, as well as use of media and cleanliness levels, chore expectations, and food expectations (is he eating with the family? Does he have complete access to the kitchen/food you've bought or are you letting him cook his own things, does your kitchen close at night, should he do his own dishes, etc.).

 

A conversation that is direct, frank, and perhaps laced with a little humor can go a long, long way in keeping things smooth.

 

Also, I'd talk with your dd about what their "fighting" style looks like, and ask about some possible scenerios--even down to "how do you think you might be comfortable handling it if you do decide to break up" type of stuff. He should have a back-up plan if it doesn't work out or if there are rule violations that require you to tell him to leave. Be honest and don't play nice-nice--IOW, be wise.

 

Just mho.

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This is one case when butting out is best. He was not outright rude, nasty to anyone, you said he was funny, and nice and the younger kids liked him (which for me would be a big thing if they didn't). But not covering the mouth or being clueless to not say thank you or offer to do dishes, that is likely a combination of nervousness, cluelessness and awkwardness that is there with a first meeting like that. Bringing her bf home to meet the parents is a huge step and even if he appeared laid back I am betting he was still quaking in his boots. See what happens tonight with the big dinner.

 

He is not a creeper, abusive, wierdo etc based on what you have seen/said thus far and to feel negatively about rather innoncent(albeit annoying) behaviours of 1 meeting will do more to drive your dd away than to drive him away kwim.

 

Keep an open mind, joke around at dinner that boys are on dishes detail after dinner. That what it was like growing up/continueing now, when the whole family gets together at my folks place. Mom and sister do the cooking, the men do the cleaning (I float between and "supervise" rofl. Actually I am generally too busy dealing with my kids to help out either way. But even new bf/gf brought home if they are there for a big meal get pulled into helping. But half the special dinner is focused around the cooking and cleaning (the kitchen, dining space and livingroom are all 1 open space so everyone is still laughing and visiting. Once dinner dishes are done dessert is served. I generally clean up after dessert and the board games are pulled out. A new partner is put through being one of the clan right from that first big meal and it becomes the real test. If they came over for a regular meal they are not put to work. The yawning thing, well I can't imagine no one saying anything if that was so profound. If not one of the adults than one of my kids likely would say something about seeing all the way to back of his throat lol

 

Basically all that to say, take the backseat for now and don't be quick to judge

 

ETA: just read the update, that sounds like a great plan, and if he is living ther than those ideals you feel he is missing could be cultivated simply by virtue of him living there and you can learn more about his character that way too.

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I am very grateful that when we were dating, DH talked to me about what was important to his parents. Your DD should be standing up from the table, saying "Thanks for dinner, Mom! We'll do the dishes!" It can be awkward to jump into someone else's kitchen when you've just met.

 

He may also have a mother who prefers to do it all herself. I know some like that. ;-)

 

 

Well said! As to the yawning, I too have heard it's a stress mechanism. He may not even realize he's doing it!

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In my family (and culture), men and boys are not expected to lift a finger when it comes to "women's work". Guests were also fussed over and not expected to help with dishes. When my dh met my family, he was fussed over like he was a king with food and he LOVED it!

 

I have to admit I am the same way with dh and my son... I fuss over him with meals, laundry, and they are not expected to lift a finger. However, they know if I need help, they pitch in. Son can adapt to other folk's home rules too. Your ways may be different from his family's ways. I would not go by a first impression.

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I have two sons and even though they are 10 and 12 (so too young to date - lol), I can imagine one of them acting this way at a girlfriend's house. He is shy, introverted and slow to adapt to social niceties. But he has a sweet, gentle heart. The other son is extroverted, friendly, naturally picks up social niceties, and would be clearing the table and cleaning the dishes and thanking you all over himself. Even at his young age, he would not yawn repeatedly. They just have different personalities. Give this young man a chance - he may be a little slow with the manners, but it is his heart that is important, IMO. If you hope that he will help with the dishes and such, I would make this clear to your dd so she can communicate with her boyfriend. This seems the least awkward way to do this.

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DH and I have been together since he was 14, and I don't think he has ever helped with dinner clean-up at my mom's house. I don't think it would have ever occurred to my mom to ask for his help, either. He doesn't do well in a kitchen where he doesn't know where things go, which is why I can never find anything in my own kitchen after he unloads the dishwasher.

 

That being said, when we started dating, I lived in a trailer with one working bathroom, which had a pipe burst under the floor. The carpet was perpetually soaked and molding. I was always embarrassed by it, but he never said a word about it and pretended not to notice. He could have been picking his nose at the dinner table and still been a keeper, and any family member that thought otherwise could go pound sand.

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Thanks for all the responses. I don't want to say anything to my dd as I don't want to hurt her feelings or alienate her or him in any way. I am pretty easygoing usually. I was surprised at my own negative emotions! But truthfully, he does seem awfully young and yet old enough to want to marry my dd. That's got me nervous!

 

Give yourself time to consider how much of what your are feeling about him relates to these feelings in general. Really, could anyone be good enough to marry any of our children? ;) That's a huge leap for a child to take, it has to have many parents wanting to spin that time wheel in reverse.

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Boy, I wish I could introduce you to some of the guys I dated when I was younger. He doesn't sell drugs? Doesn't cheat on her? Isn't an alcoholic? Sure, you could say something to embarrass your dd and get her to end it, but then what are you going to do if the next guy is much, much worse? People are more the the sum of their social faux pas. Let it go.

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Alright, I am starting to like him. We were getting ready to have the Jewish side of the family over for Passover. He took out the trash and helped make the charoset. And he was very pleasant and funny at dinner. So I am warming up! I guess when I am houseguest at someone's house (not just dinner but staying over for a couple of nights) I do ask if I can help, even if the the hosts say no to my offer, I still see it as something polite to do. But I think I was being too judgmental just because of the situation. I am relaxing! Hopefully, I'll be better at this with the next 4 kids. . . .

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Alright, I am starting to like him. We were getting ready to have the Jewish side of the family over for Passover. He took out the trash and helped make the charoset. And he was very pleasant and funny at dinner. So I am warming up! I guess when I am houseguest at someone's house (not just dinner but staying over for a couple of nights) I do ask if I can help, even if the the hosts say no to my offer, I still see it as something polite to do. But I think I was being too judgmental just because of the situation. I am relaxing! Hopefully, I'll be better at this with the next 4 kids. . . .

 

 

Don't count on being better with the rest of your kids... they're all your babies and you want the very best for them!!! :)

 

Glad to hear you're warming up to the guy, and I think it's great that you're trying to see the best in him. He sounds very nice.

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I am very grateful that when we were dating, DH talked to me about what was important to his parents. Your DD should be standing up from the table, saying "Thanks for dinner, Mom! We'll do the dishes!" It can be awkward to jump into someone else's kitchen when you've just met.

 

He may also have a mother who prefers to do it all herself. I know some like that. ;-)

 

 

I agree. He is a guest and does not know the expectations of your household, so your dd needs to show him. Before they came over she needed to say something like, 'follow my lead,' so he would know what to do. It is awkward going to a family get together with a girlfriend/boyfriend. He is her guest, so she needs to show him how to plug into the family. As she matures she will learn, and as he matures he will need less help in that way, but for now they both need to be taught how to handle gatherings like that.

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I remember when my twin got his first serious girlfriend. At this point I was going into my second year of a long-term relationship, but he had been a serial dater and never settled down for more than a month with any one girl. His serial dating didn't bother me, and I had no reason to believe his settling down with one girl would bother me either.

 

I had NO IDEA how much it would affect me, though! When the girlfriend was still an idea (for me, having not yet met her), I was totally fine and even thrilled for him. I couldn't wait to meet her and I envisioned all sorts of sister-like activities and conversations and .... kind of like, well you're dating my twin so you're indirectly dating me LOL. (I suffered these delusions through many of his relationships, sorry to say!)

 

But once I met her and it became real ... this ugly side of me sort of sprang up. I felt badly feeling the way I did, and I couldn't explain (even to myself) why I was feeling this way about her. But I was kind of nitpicky in a way I wasn't really with our other siblings' SOs. I had made up my mind before I met her that we were going to have a fabulous relationship, so I didn't know why I was indifferent as soon as we did meet. It was like someone possessed my body and turned me into a jealous freak.

 

And it wasn't even jealous per se ... not of her, really ... but maybe I was snippy at the loss of my twin ... of our special relationship, of someone else (a woman no less!) taking my role as the go-to person in his life. She wasn't perfect, but she wasn't worthy of the immediate ... I don't even know what word to use because I liked her I just didn't like what she represented (a change in my life/relationship) ... I guess "immediate criticism" is what I subjected her to. The poor dear didn't stand a chance. I played nicely with her, but couldn't believe how she had FOOLED my brother into even CONSIDERING her long-term material!

 

FWIW, she did jump right in and feel right at home with our family. I was the only one who wasn't immediately wowed, and I wasn't against her I just wasn't hopping on the Love Train like the others did. I needed more time to feel her out ... to feel out how her presence in HIS life was going to affect my own. That was all subconscious, though. Save your insurance co-pay, this psychobabble provided courtesy of me and Kaiser ;) LOL.

 

I don't know if this is the case for you, too, but .... if it is, just know you're not alone. They ended up dating for three years.

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My mil was one of these and the things she said to my dh while we were dating damaged their relationship greatly.

 

The fact that you were surprised by your own response says a lot. Probably you know that your feelings were out of proportion with the offense. Forgetting to thank you for dinner and not offering to help with the dishes are very minor things. I agree with others that the best way to handle it is to gently lay out some expectations prior to him moving in with you. I bet he would be happy to help with the dishes if you simply asked. It says a lot to me that the younger children really like him. Children are surprisingly good judges of character.

 

This. As someone who was very judged by my MIL when DH and I were dating (up to the night before we were married!), please don't say anything unless it is major. It is very possible that your relationship with him/her will never be the same as it was in our situation.

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Tita Gidge, that is such a good explanation of the kind of unexpected feelings that just kind of bubbled up in my heart. I tell you, this loving others bit is always so self-revelatory, isn't it???? I probably didn't have quite the same intensity as you did but your description is very apt. Thank you for putting it into words. Thank you for your psychobabble!

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I haven't read all the replies here, but I will say that I would NEVER expect a guest (especially a first time guest) to help with dishes - ever. I don't really think that's a huge issue in and of itself. The not covering his mouth could just be that he wasn't ever taught that it was impolite. He seems to have other good qualities. I'd definitely give him a little leeway for now.

 

Okay now I HAVE read the thread, and see that you are feeling a bit more at ease with him. I hope that will continue to improve and that he will become a wonderful addition to your family! I'm pretty happy with my 2 sons-in-law, but still a little nervous about what dd3 might end up with! ;-p

 

Let me add that I also like my son's girlfriend, and know that it isn't easy for her to come into this family with all of his sisters and "fit," but she does a pretty good job. Everyone really likes her, and her family really likes my son as well.

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