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To what extent should a boyfriend stand up to family?


goldberry
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Or quite frankly they decide they aren't for each other. If it's genuinely important to him to have that vision, then they shouldn't be together. And likewise, if she can't accept that "getting along" is good enough, then she shouldn't be with him either.

 

And that's okay. Better to know now than when marriage or kids come along.

Yep, better to maybe air some things out now before the dynamic gels. If the relationships survive, they may be stronger, or least they will be more honest. If they don't, better to know now. Stuffing down hurt feelings doesn't do anyone any favors. Edited by Barb_
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She's getting a preview of what it would be like to be married to him. If I were her, I'd run the other way.

 

Yes, and yes again. He is very young though - both are. Perhaps things will be different years from now - but I would definitely not rush into marriage under these circumstances. Can you or rather she imagine raising children in this environment and future husband standing by shrugging his shoulders?

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On the front end, I'd think it very romantic to have a boy stand up for me to his family.

 

If at 18 I could see down the road, 30 years of marriage to a mom-fearing firstborn son and associated MIL negotiations, I might think about taking a step back from the relationship.

 

(Sorry maybe that's not the response you were looking for. Others will surely be more helpful.)

 

ETA that's me, I've been married near 30 years to mama's firstborn.

 

I am not the one who is married to the first born but my dear SIL who was married to the first-born and also had the first grandchildren endured quite a bit. Perhaps there is a pattern with the oldest having to plow the way to independence.

 

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Yes, I think this is very much part of it.  

 

From the mom's perspective, she may not know if this is just the first girl friend among many that he will have before he finds a wife, and so she isn't going to commit to being "family" at this point.  Because it sounds like this is his first girlfriend?  If they get engaged, that may change. 

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Idk. Bottom line the guy can't make his mom do anything. Especially in her own home. I guess he can choose to spend less time with his mom. That's about it. But really I can understand him not wanting to do that. If the girl can't and just can't stand being around his family - then she should exit now. Because if this is small stuff, how's it going to go when they are arguing about grandchildren?

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I am not the one who is married to the first born but my dear SIL who was married to the first-born and also had the first grandchildren endured quite a bit. Perhaps there is a pattern with the oldest having to plow the way to independence.

 

I suspect you're right. When the eldest is male, it may be harder that when the oldest is female.. I don't believe I've ever dated an oldest sibling. I'm an oldest myself, so maybe I'm drawn to the laid back younger siblings. I didn't have much trouble at all attaching to my oldest daughter's two serious boyfriends, but I can see where it might have been more difficult to absorb another female into the fold back then.

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 That's about  If the girl can't and just can't stand being around his family - then she should exit now. Because if this is small stuff, how's it going to go when they are arguing about grandchildren?

 

She can and does, she just doesn't choose to spend a lot of EXTRA time there.  Times in the past where they have gone back to his house after a date for example, to hang out or watch tv, something weird always seems to happen. She's around the family in plenty of other circumstances. 

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Idk. Bottom line the guy can't make his mom do anything. Especially in her own home. I guess he can choose to spend less time with his mom. That's about it. But really I can understand him not wanting to do that. If the girl can't and just can't stand being around his family - then she should exit now. Because if this is small stuff, how's it going to go when they are arguing about grandchildren?

I don't know. He could say, hey mom, I love goldberry's daughter. I feel like she makes you uncomfortable, but she really wants to feel welcome here. Is it something she's doing that bothers you? If not, can you just chill out and smile more? Or whatever, lol

 

Communication is important. He doesn't have to make her do anything, but he can absolutely bring it to her attention. Maybe she has no idea how obvious her fear/distaste is?

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She can and does, she just doesn't choose to spend a lot of EXTRA time there. Times in the past where they have gone back to his house after a date for example, to hang out or watch tv, something weird always seems to happen. She's around the family in plenty of other circumstances.

And what does he do at the time it happens? Does he notice it at the time? Does he think it's weird?

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I do think it's a good idea for the girlfriend to speak directly to the future in-laws rather than leave it to the boyfriend.  I mean, they are not strangers at this point; they are serious about being family forever.  She really needs to be able to talk to them, and they need to be able to listen to her.  And vice versa.  But, he needs to be more encouraging vs. "well you deal with it, leave me out of it."  He should come up with some positive suggestions for how both sides can contribute to a better relationship.

 

Hard to advise without knowing what the specific issues are - I have a SIL who used to cry if my family mentioned politics which she didn't agree with.  My mom was of the opinion that she wasn't going to change or hide who she is in her own home to please a new person.  The tension eventually did subside, without anyone having to change his/her basic nature.

 

On the other hand, my sister's MIL would say absolutely horrible things including calling her cuss words to her face.  My sister would leave and her boyfriend would talk to his mom.  His mom never did improve though.  Worse, boyfriend (now husband) gets just like his mother when he's drinking, which has pretty much destroyed the marriage.  So that's something to think about.  The apple and the tree....

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One other thing to remember is that the boyfriend comes from a family with many siblings (all younger), so relationship-wise, they are all used to letting things roll off and very little is a big deal. I know several families with 6, 7, 8 kids, and honestly, it really is a whole different dynamic. They are very used to getting ignored or knocked down, and have learned how to compromise, let go, and just plan not have things go your way, and keep getting up and going as a family. The boyfriend may honestly not see that this IS "anything", because whatever is being a big deal to your DD has never been an issue in his family.

 

In contrast, your DD is an only child, and very frequently, only children are very used to all the focus being about their feelings and what they need to make relationship work.

 

Not at ALL suggesting that your DD is a prima donna! But I am suggesting that the two of them have extremely different backgrounds in how relationships work. ;)

 

 

re: the mom

Since you didn't provide specific incidents, it's really hard to tell *what* is going on. 

 

Yes, it could be she's giving your DD the cold shoulder, or that mom is having a hard time letting go of her first born, or that mom is not a friendly person.

 

But it could also be she's just stretched thin and frazzled keeping up with the needs of 6 kids (5 of them not yet adults) and a husband, and doesn't have the *time* or energy for initiating. Especially about something that might not even be on her radar as "a problem" that needs addressing. And especially since DD is a friend (girl friend) of one of her children, and not an about-to-be-family-member.

 

Maybe what DD perceives as "a pattern of not being welcoming" might be a woman who is very introverted and finds it incredibly hard to initiate anything social, or she has constantly used up her small amount of social-energy as an introvert on her family, and the very thought of having to set up a time for coffee and a heart-to-heart feels completely fatiguing to her. Maybe from her perspective as a mom juggling a big family, your DD has loads of free time, so she may think that if this really IS important to your DD, just like with her own kids competing for mom's limited energy/attention, that your DD will initiate. Or maybe mom has struggles with depression, or stress in the marriage, or stress with one of her kids that your DD knows nothing about.

 

And maybe none of those things are what's going on... But my point is that it's really hard to make these kinds of judgments or have expectations on another family that is very different from your own.

 

Since DD and boyfriend are both young, perhaps some relationship counseling would be wise -- and could be fun! Not marriage counseling or troubled couples relationship counseling, but more of a joint side-by-side learning about communication skills, expectations and how/when you need to let go of expectations, and when/how to clearly express needs/wants, whether it's a friendship, a workplace co-worker, a parent-adult child relationship, or a marriage. It could also help them see how very differently men and women approach things, which is vastly helpful in any kind of relationship.

 

BEST of luck! Warmly, Lori D.

I don't have any idea what is going on in the OP's situation, but this post really spoke to me!  After reading MIL posts on these boards for awhile (and dealing with a rather difficult MIL myself for going on 24 years), I am really dreading my older kids getting into serious relationships, especially with girls from small families.  I *am* stretched thin.  I *am* introverted, and it takes a lot out of me to deal with everyone all the time, much less initiating get-togethers!  I definitely worry that a girlfriend will feel overwhelmed with all the other people around--or that my older boys will feel overwhelmed on their behalf, and just not want to bring a serious girlfriend home.  I am definitely not a clingy or controlling person, and I am eager for my sons to find mates--but at this point, I just don't have tons of extra emotional energy left over to devote to girlfriends.  :(  

 

It is helpful, I think, to read about the really rude things--I know I won't do those things, lol.  My future MIL wrote my then-fiance a letter basically telling him I was a gold-digger, and our marriage would never succeed because we didn't have anything in common, since I neither skied or played tennis!  Somehow, we have overcome . . . and actually, I've become fairly friendly with my MIL as well--although we never lived closer than 4 hours away, which definitely helped!  My instinct is to get along with people, so hopefully that will help in the daughter-in-law department--but boy, it is something I've started worrying about a lot more since my boys have gotten older!

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 I can't tell you how weird it is to have your eldest son truly grow up while still depending on you for his daily lunchbox and sleeping in your garage. I've probably embarrassed them both. Mistakes will be made, even if overall everybody is behaving themselves and being polite.

 

 

 

But he needs to take his dirty socks and lunchbox and move out before I can totally switch gears, however much I do try to respect them both.

 

Tibbie you are very wise!

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Eh--deleted my post. I was just parroting what others said while I was typing. I like they way they said it better.

 

You shouldn't have. I thought you did a good job pointing out how delicate and complicated the situation can be. This is why in-law problems are almost universal.

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My husband's mom used to make dinner for the family and they'd sit down and eat while I waited in the living room. I thought that was rude, but maybe they thought I was rude for not taking a hint and leaving. Family dynamics can be weird.

 

Oh boy. I could not imagine having someone sit in the living room and not inviting them to the table. But maybe you are right and it's all in the different perspectives.

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This is very true and I totally admit it, even though we tried to avoid it. 

 

Re: the mom, when the two first started dating, the mom confided in me that she was so not ready for this, that she had no idea how to deal with it, that she was so freaked out by it she was referring most things to her husband to deal with.  Boyfriend was 18.  We are both pretty conservative families, but ... wow.

Ahhhhh a question about "conservative"... Please understand I mean this in a thoughtful, kind way, forgive me if I have trouble finding the right words...

 

Are they of the conservative sort that believes that girls are "temptations" to boys? I'm talking about an overemphasis on purity issues. Does the mom see your DD as someone who could "defraud" her firstborn son, merely by being female-shaped? I really hope I'm completely wrong. But I have had women (not in dating situations with our kids) berate me because my girls were obviously female-shaped and they did NOT want their sons looking at my daughters. (Think cute Old Navy style, not club or formfitting clothing) and she was cold and kind of rude to the girls, but treated boys and very young girls much differently.

 

Not sure what I think of the situation. I do believe everyone should stand up to anyone who is treating someone poorly, but that isn't clear from the original post. I hope they get it sorted out before marriage. No way would I recommend marriage to someone who won't stand up for their fiancée or spouse.

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My husband's mom used to make dinner for the family and they'd sit down and eat while I waited in the living room. I thought that was rude, but maybe they thought I was rude for not taking a hint and leaving. Family dynamics can be weird. 

Wait, you mean while you were dating you would be invited over, hang out, then it was dinner time and they didn't ask you to join them for food they just went in the other room to eat and left you behind?  And your boyfriend didn't ask you to join them or mention that there would be a specific time you would need to go ahead and go home?  He just left you there?  Did you have your own transportation?  This whole thing would wig me out.  Were they just expecting you to join them without being invited?  Or were they really expecting you to sit and wait while they ate?  Or just walk out the door without them at least escorting you to the door and saying goodbye?  Wow.  Weird.

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And what does he do at the time it happens? Does he notice it at the time? Does he think it's weird?

 

Most of the time he notices it, but doesn't say anything.  He gives DD a look or rolls his eyes. So he sees it but doesn't understand why it upsets her. And probably isolated incidents would not, but since there has been a pattern, she's sensitive to it. 

 

In our household, when we have visitors or guests, we don't expect them to be just like our family. (i.e. the way we act, speak, interact, deal with things).  Someone would have to be either incredibly rude, incredibly mean, or otherwise for us to say anything that would make them feel out of place.  We would never assume they would just know how we do things, etc. DD gets looks but also comments for things she thinks are normal.  She is happy to do things another way, but how would she know that?  It's always done in a way that seems to draw attention to her being an "outsider" or "not doing things right'", if that makes sense.   She always feels like she's on her toes, being found not up to par.  That's one example of things that go on.

 

So, no, not a huge deal, and certainly not like what some people deal with.  But enough that you might think, yeah, I'd rather not hang out there. So boyfriend is "let's hang out more at my house" and she is "I'd rather not so much." 

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Most of the time he notices it, but doesn't say anything.  He gives DD a look or rolls his eyes. So he sees it but doesn't understand why it upsets her. And probably isolated incidents would not, but since there has been a pattern, she's sensitive to it. 

 

In our household, when we have visitors or guests, we don't expect them to be just like our family. (i.e. the way we act, speak, interact, deal with things).  Someone would have to be either incredibly rude, incredibly mean, or otherwise for us to say anything that would make them feel out of place.  We would never assume they would just know how we do things, etc. DD gets looks but also comments for things she thinks are normal.  She is happy to do things another way, but how would she know that?  It's always done in a way that seems to draw attention to her being an "outsider" or "not doing things right'", if that makes sense.   She always feels like she's on her toes, being found not up to par.  That's one example of things that go on.

 

So, no, not a huge deal, and certainly not like what some people deal with.  But enough that you might think, yeah, I'd rather not hang out there. So boyfriend is "let's hang out more at my house" and she is "I'd rather not so much." 

 

 

I'm switching camps, based on new information.

 

Goldberry, that sounds like shunning, unwelcoming behavior, after all. :(

 

That is not excused by somebody being new to the idea of being the boyfriend's mom. And that's not the kind of thing that the boyfriend should allow -- because he shouldn't allow it for any kind of friend, or guest in the home.

 

And the family shouldn't treat guests like that.

 

For reference, I'm in the awkward phase with a potential future daughter in law, but we have NONE of this. We have a lot of "Do you mind if I..." and "would you rather..." and "we've always XYZ but I don't care about it, we can change it if you prefer..." which I think is normal for working out hospitality with ANY frequent guest!!

 

And I am totally the harried and overwhelmed introvert mom who doesn't always get it right, as others have described upthread. Yet I can manage basic hospitality!

 

Does she know any other nice boys?

 

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Or quite frankly they decide they aren't for each other. If it's genuinely important to him to have that vision, then they shouldn't be together. And likewise, if she can't accept that "getting along" is good enough, then she shouldn't be with him either.

 

And that's okay. Better to know now than when marriage or kids come along.

 

 

Yes! to all of this but especially YES to this!!!

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Most of the time he notices it, but doesn't say anything. He gives DD a look or rolls his eyes. So he sees it but doesn't understand why it upsets her. And probably isolated incidents would not, but since there has been a pattern, she's sensitive to it.

So basicly he finds his mother a bit much too but feels it's just something to be endured for the greater good type of situation?

 

oh wow. I'd totally call him on that. "Don't roll your eyes at *me*."

 

In our household, when we have visitors or guests, we don't expect them to be just like our family. (i.e. the way we act, speak, interact, deal with things). Someone would have to be either incredibly rude, incredibly mean, or otherwise for us to say anything that would make them feel out of place. We would never assume they would just know how we do things, etc. DD gets looks but also comments for things she thinks are normal. She is happy to do things another way, but how would she know that? It's always done in a way that seems to draw attention to her being an "outsider" or "not doing things right'", if that makes sense. She always feels like she's on her toes, being found not up to par. That's one example of things that go on.

Without being there, it's hard for me to call on that. Done in good humor, it sounds like she is not being treated like a guest but new extended family. Sure they don't say how they do things. They just do them and then notice that oh yeah newcomer doesn't do that. Or does this other instead. Haha! If done wrong, this doesn't come off as being being included but as ridiculed. Does she speak up at the time? If she does, what do the family members say, how do they react?

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I'm switching camps, based on new information.

 

Goldberry, that sounds like shunning, unwelcoming behavior, after all. :(

 

That is not excused by somebody being new to the idea of being the boyfriend's mom. And that's not the kind of thing that the boyfriend should allow -- because he shouldn't allow it for any kind of friend, or guest in the home.

 

And the family shouldn't treat guests like that.

 

For reference, I'm in the awkward phase with a potential future daughter in law, but we have NONE of this. We have a lot of "Do you mind if I..." and "would you rather..." and "we've always XYZ but I don't care about it, we can change it if you prefer..." which I think is normal for working out hospitality with ANY frequent guest!!

 

And I am totally the harried and overwhelmed introvert mom who doesn't always get it right, as others have described upthread. Yet I can manage basic hospitality!

 

Does she know any other nice boys?

Yeah, me too. That is really weird, and I can't ever imagine being like that with anyone, especially a prospective spouse!

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wrong wrong wrong 😣

What's wrong?

 

When I was growing up, if a mom or dad or friend said, "we're eating at 500" and there was no specific invitation for me to stay, it was clear to me that I needed to leave.

 

If I arrived at a friend's house and they were eating, I said I'd come back later. Often times, I'd get invited in and offered something or I was told I was welcome to stay while they finished up.

 

I wouldn't assume I was welcome for a meal unless I was specifically invited, even if I was at the house near meal time.

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Most of the time he notices it, but doesn't say anything. He gives DD a look or rolls his eyes. So he sees it but doesn't understand why it upsets her. And probably isolated incidents would not, but since there has been a pattern, she's sensitive to it.

 

In our household, when we have visitors or guests, we don't expect them to be just like our family. (i.e. the way we act, speak, interact, deal with things). Someone would have to be either incredibly rude, incredibly mean, or otherwise for us to say anything that would make them feel out of place. We would never assume they would just know how we do things, etc. DD gets looks but also comments for things she thinks are normal. She is happy to do things another way, but how would she know that? It's always done in a way that seems to draw attention to her being an "outsider" or "not doing things right'", if that makes sense. She always feels like she's on her toes, being found not up to par. That's one example of things that go on.

 

So, no, not a huge deal, and certainly not like what some people deal with. But enough that you might think, yeah, I'd rather not hang out there. So boyfriend is "let's hang out more at my house" and she is "I'd rather not so much."

I'm missing what the mother DOES that makes the son roll his eyes or your DD have these feelings?

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Ahhhhh a question about "conservative"... Please understand I mean this in a thoughtful, kind way, forgive me if I have trouble finding the right words...

 

Are they of the conservative sort that believes that girls are "temptations" to boys? I'm talking about an overemphasis on purity issues. Does the mom see your DD as someone who could "defraud" her firstborn son, merely by being female-shaped? I really hope I'm completely wrong. But I have had women (not in dating situations with our kids) berate me because my girls were obviously female-shaped and they did NOT want their sons looking at my daughters. (Think cute Old Navy style, not club or formfitting clothing) and she was cold and kind of rude to the girls, but treated boys and very young girls much differently.

 

Not sure what I think of the situation. I do believe everyone should stand up to anyone who is treating someone poorly, but that isn't clear from the original post. I hope they get it sorted out before marriage. No way would I recommend marriage to someone who won't stand up for their fiancée or spouse.

 

I don't *think* so.  But it's an interesting thought.  I don't think she thinks of DD as a temptation, but more as a disruption, the same as I think of him really.  When they are so young, you always hope they take more time to find their path.  But sometimes things just go the way they go!

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What's wrong?

 

When I was growing up, if a mom or dad or friend said, "we're eating at 500" and there was no specific invitation for me to stay, it was clear to me that I needed to leave.

 

If I arrived at a friend's house and they were eating, I said I'd come back later. Often times, I'd get invited in and offered something or I was told I was welcome to stay while they finished up.

 

I wouldn't assume I was welcome for a meal unless I was specifically invited, even if I was at the house near meal time.

Not wrong on you. Wrong on the bf's mom for not making you feel welcome, for not inviting you to at least sit at the table and enjoy the fellowship, whether or not you actually ate anything.

 

At least that's how it is in my world. If you're in my house, and there's food going on the table, we pull up a chair and find a fork for you, even if we have to squish elbows to make it so.

 

ETA and I am the textbook introvert limited social energy mom.

 

ETA2 and I obviously thought I was responding to barb.

Edited by Seasider
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 And for what it is worth, I think it is totally normal and appropriate for your 18 year old daughter to ask advice navigating this situation. 

 

Someone mature enough to be considering marriage should be adult enough to not go running to Mommy and bad-mouthing her BF. If she wants to be making adult decisions, she needs to start drawing adult boundaries around her personal life.

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Barb, I'm with Liz. There's no way that wasn't just plain rude. Even if you were some sort of walking etiquette disaster, which I'm sure you weren't, they could have handled it some other way than that!

:lol: No, my mama taught me manners.

 

I think it's a culture thing. They immigrated from South America, so there were a lot of weird differences I was happy to leave behind when we moved away.

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What's wrong?

 

When I was growing up, if a mom or dad or friend said, "we're eating at 500" and there was no specific invitation for me to stay, it was clear to me that I needed to leave.

 

If I arrived at a friend's house and they were eating, I said I'd come back later. Often times, I'd get invited in and offered something or I was told I was welcome to stay while they finished up.

 

I wouldn't assume I was welcome for a meal unless I was specifically invited, even if I was at the house near meal time.

 

Um, we aren't talking about 8 year old neighbor kids trying to score a hot dog. She was dating the guy.  She should have either been invited, or explained to how sorry they were there wasn't enough food if they weren't expecting her (which I would never do but would still be less rude than letting her sit in the living room.)

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Not wrong on you. Wrong on the bf's mom for not making you feel welcome, for not inviting you to at least sit at the table and enjoy the fellowship, whether or not you actually ate anything.

 

At least that's how it is in my world. If you're in my house, and there's food going on the table, we pull up a chair and find a fork for you, even if we have to squish elbows to make it so.

 

ETA and I am the textbook introvert limited social energy mom.

My family is the same way...if you're around, we'll feed you, mealtime or not, if you're hungry.

 

But that is not everyone's family culture. Shrug. What can you do? You can't force your way into a family and impose your will upon them.

Edited by unsinkable
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Someone mature enough to be considering marriage should be adult enough to not go running to Mommy and bad-mouthing her BF. If she wants to be making adult decisions, she needs to start drawing adult boundaries around her personal life.

That isn't fair. You sound like you're projecting. Asking for advice isn't bad-mouthing.

Edited by Barb_
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Someone mature enough to be considering marriage should be adult enough to not go running to Mommy and bad-mouthing her BF. If she wants to be making adult decisions, she needs to start drawing adult boundaries around her personal life.

 

If you read my response you would see that she did not come running to me and did not bad mouth her BF.  Also "adult boundaries" is not equal to "don't seek advice or input from those with more experience".

 

Proverbs 15:22  Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.

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I was leaning towards maybe just different family dynamics but with the latest post I would be somewhat concerned that they have a kind of overall judgmental attitude and she may NEVER be made to feel welcome.  If she and he can handle that, fine.  If she will be hurt by never truly fitting in and he will expect her to just find a way anyway with a suck it up buttercup attitude then this may not be a workable long term relationship. It is really hard to tell, though, from the information provided.  This may still be just a difference in the way the family operates vs. what your DD is used to.  I can't really tell.

 

At this point they are not yet engaged, though.  She has time to try and work through this if she feels it is worth it.  First, if I were her I would still try to have lunch with the mom.  Talk to the mom when the boyfriend isn't around and do it in a neutral place.  See what kind of vibe she gets.  Maybe this can still be worked through.  Family dynamics are tricky and can take some significant effort to get on the right track.  There very well may be a component of just different expectations going on here that could be smoothed over.

 

I would also be very frank with my boyfriend that I need to feel welcome in the home and while I will make an effort to get to know his parents and especially his mom better, if over time I still don't feel welcome then I absolutely will not hang around there much.  If he cannot accept that then maybe our relationship is not as important to him as I had expected and we should consider parting ways.

 

I would also expect him to try and support my concerns even if he doesn't agree.  Rolling his eyes when his mom's behavior is not what it should be isn't actually being terribly supportive.  Honestly, though, I'm not sure what he can do from his end.  If he goes to his parents and says that his girlfriend doesn't feel welcome and doesn't want to come over anymore if they can't make more of an effort they may see her as trying to pull him away from his family, or trying to control him, or something else along those lines.  If they are not the type to accept constructive criticism it might put them on the defensive and right or wrong it could make things worse.

 

As others have said, though, better to explore this now and find out if this is workable or not.  In many instances the early issues can and will become much bigger issues down the road.  Usually in the early days people are less likely to "let their hair down" and be truly honest in their behavior.  If they really are sending out very negative, unwelcoming vibes, that may never actually improve.  For instance, if the mom is pretty rigid in her perception of how things should be, and has a hard time accepting that someone else may do things differently, can your daughter handle her criticizing how they rear children?  Or career choices?  Or choosing between which family for holidays?  How they decorate their home?  What and how they serve meals?

 

I would tread very carefully.

 

 

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Um, we aren't talking about 8 year old neighbor kids trying to score a hot dog. She was dating the guy. She should have either been invited, or explained to how sorry they were there wasn't enough food if they weren't expecting her (which I would never do but would still be less rude than letting her sit in the living room.)

I don't know how else to explain it...in my neighborhood/circle of friends, including boyfriends, if you weren't specifically invited, as in, "would you like to stay for dinner?" then you weren't invited to dinner.

 

Maybe it's unique to my area, that people don't assume they're invited unless they are specifically asked.

 

My kids still have friends where sometimes they eat with their friends' families and sometimes they don't. My DD's one friend will say, "My dad will be home in a half hour" and that's the code for "it's time for you to go!" We laugh about it. This same family has also had her stay and eat.

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Someone mature enough to be considering marriage should be adult enough to not go running to Mommy and bad-mouthing her BF. If she wants to be making adult decisions, she needs to start drawing adult boundaries around her personal life.

Wow. What a negative view of having a strong relationship with a parent.

 

She didn't go running to Mommy or badmouthing anyone, she is turning to her mother for some advice and a sounding board. I think it is great that they are close enough she feels comfortable doing this. She didn't ask her mom to call the other mom and chew her out or ask her mom to "fix" the problem. She is seeking counsel, getting some feedback. I absolutely still seek counsel from my mother and I've been married over 20 years. I am very grateful I still have my mom around to seek counsel from and that my mom is a very levelheaded, caring human being whose counsel I can trust.

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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Someone mature enough to be considering marriage should be adult enough to not go running to Mommy and bad-mouthing her BF. If she wants to be making adult decisions, she needs to start drawing adult boundaries around her personal life.

 

Maybe her adult boundaries include seeking counsel from her elders.  Should she ask her peers instead?

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Update:  DD is going to try and reinitiate the coffee date again.  BF agreed that he needs to be more responsive and respectful of her feelings, but still feels lost of how to handle his mom at times.  He thinks his mom is just "being mom" (hence the occasional eye roll) but realizes that he needs to respect DD's feelings and not dismiss them.  

 

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That is fair. You sound like you're projecting. Asking for advice isn't bad-mouthing.

 

It didn't sound from how you described like she came to you calmly asking for advice. It sounded like she was pouting, you asked what was wrong, and she trashed her BF to you. That is not a mature way of handling the situation IMHO.

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If they are helping her to better understand the way the family does things, that could be with good intentions to include her, rather than treat her as "other."

 

Again, it's hard to say without knowing the details.

 

For example, in some families, all the women come together to do xyz in the kitchen before/after meals.  If she isn't used to that, it's fine for someone to tell her so she can join in.

 

In some homes, we remove our shoes at the door etc.  A person who is a special guest would never be told.  A person who is viewed as family would have it gently pointed out to them.

 

My mom does certain things at certain times of the day.  If you're a special guest, she will give up her usual activity and tend to you.  If you're family, she'll tell you it's better to talk to her at other times of the day.  :)

 

So knowing that her boyfriend's mom is telling her "we do things this way" does not automatically bother me, without knowing the tone and the types of things and how often it's happening.

 

That said, I could understand not wanting to go there all the time.  It's stressful to always be wondering if you're doing things "the right way" in other people's view.  Though, I have always had that exact feeling when visiting family of a guy I would consider marrying.  :P

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I wonder if a pp was right, that he disagrees with mom's style but feels limited as to what he can do while living under her roof.

 

Which brings us all back to the material point - your dd is not going to know how he's going to act toward his parents for the long haul, until he moves out.

 

If he's going to speak this seriously about marriage, he should probably be independent, and able to respond to his parents without being tied to apron strings...she needs to know who he's going to be on his own...it's a reasonable thing for her to insist upon, before she commits to anything.

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In an ideal world, the couple would wait about four more years and mature a bit before talking marriage.  I have a feeling that the majority of 19 year old boys who live at home would have no clue how to stand up to their parents on this issue.  

 

From your update, it sounds like they're making progress.  Sounds like the BF is realizing he needs to do *something* but doesn't know what.  He's only 19.  How would he really know that his mom isn't acting appropriately?  It's not like he has anything to compare her behavior against.  Until your DD pointed it out, he probably thought it was all perfectly normal.

 

My advice would be that they need to talk, talk, talk about it.  And your DD needs to give him concrete examples of what she wants him to do.  "When your mother says X, I need you to say Y."  

 

 

I wish they had met 4 years from now, when he is more of an adult so she could see if this is a maturity issue rather than his character.  If it's a maturity issue, it'll get straightened out.  But if this is his character, then she'll have in-law troubles for a long time.

Edited by Garga
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It didn't sound from how you described like she came to you calmly asking for advice. It sounded like she was pouting, you asked what was wrong, and she trashed her BF to you. 

 

Where?  I don't see the OP even mentioning that she asked her daughter at all what happened.  Was the original post different than what is there now?

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ok- I haven't read other responses, but this is my 2cents.

 

boy isn't mature enough to get married.  period.

things that are flags now, will be huge if they do get married. (and utter sinkholes if they have children)  unless they are directly - and satisfactorily - addressed now.

 

he lives at home.

this is his family, their behavior is normal to him, and he thinks it's ok.  your dd has told him she feels disrespected and uncomfortable.  he's bringing her there, he does have responsibility to stick up for his girlfriend.

 

I would start walking her through how she expects to be treated.  what is respectful to her.  how she expects her husband to treat her. how she expects her husband to treat their future children.  how she expects  her husband to tolerate from his family.

help her to see how many of those things this boy is failing at doing - and that she deserves to be treated with respect.   that SHE needs to listen to her own concerns that this isn't a situation she will want to be in - and if she has children with him, she will more likely feel trapped and leaving would be more complicated.

 

there is a guy out there who will treat her with respect - she needs to believe in herself and her worth, and not 'sell herself short'.  so to speak.

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I don't know how else to explain it...in my neighborhood/circle of friends, including boyfriends, if you weren't specifically invited, as in, "would you like to stay for dinner?" then you weren't invited to dinner.

 

Maybe it's unique to my area, that people don't assume they're invited unless they are specifically asked.

 

My kids still have friends where sometimes they eat with their friends' families and sometimes they don't. My DD's one friend will say, "My dad will be home in a half hour" and that's the code for "it's time for you to go!" We laugh about it. This same family has also had her stay and eat.

 

I was raised similar ... and I tell my kids to notice if the people they're visiting are getting ready to eat, and if so, scat.  In my culture, it's embarrassing for people to hang around until they "get themselves invited" to eat.

 

If the person is from out of town, different story of course.

 

The person who has invited the person over needs to inform the cook in advance if an additional person will be at table for dinner.  It's not something you spring on someone at the last minute.

 

I don't really know where that comes from, but I do relate to it.

 

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