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Thoughts? Regarding daughter and boyfriend


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Posted (edited)

I imagine some of you have run into this. I'm curious of people's thoughts.

My DD 19 has been dating her boyfriend since their junior year. He is 21. 

My DD is going to be a junior at a school 6 hours away from home. Her boyfriend went through a welding program while in HS through a local CC. 

She told me the other day that they have talked about getting engaged. The only thing I have ever asked is that she doesn't get married before graduating from her first 4 years. That wasn't an issue. They both felt like that was the plan anyway.

She said he BF recently told his parents about this plan, and they were not happy. They like my daughter, so this had came as a surprise.

Their first objection was that they had only been in the same physical location for a year and a half. I always thought if you could keep a relationship going while being apart was a good thing. I had a boyfriend when I left for college and it died. 

Her student loans were the next objection. I get it, but I also had huge loans when my dh and I got married. We made choices to get them paid off. They were before our oldest was in MS.

His dad got married very young and divorced. His mom and dad married each other when they were older. Not sure how much but I think they were in their early thirties. My dh and I got married right out of college. 

They want them to wait until she is out of grad school plus a couple years. They will have been dating for 10 years be then. 

His parents made him tell some other relatives who had the same objections. 

I feel bad for my daughter, because she thought they would be happier. We all assume they will get married, it's just that one set of parents expected it sooner.

I told her to tell her boyfriend to keep a calm head with his family. He isn't pleased with them right now. I don't want them to blame my daughter.

ETA: When my dh and I got married my mom was thrilled, thrilled, thrilled 😄 I could have gotten married right out of HS and she would have been happy. My dad wasn't upset, he was just being a dad. My dh's parents were also happy. There weren't any objections.

Kelly

Edited by SquirrellyMama
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I try to remember that concern often equals love.  It doesn't mean a person should take those concerns as fact, but as an expression of love, and know that they are loved - but do what is right for them anyway.

It's too soon to start making plans, obviously, but learning how to set mental boundaries with people who love them may be a really good step for now.

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4 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

I try to remember that concern often equals love.  It doesn't mean a person should take those concerns as fact, but as an expression of love, and know that they are loved - but do what is right for them anyway.

It's too soon to start making plans, obviously, but learning how to set mental boundaries with people who love them may be a really good step for now.

I'm trying to decide if they are the type to expect their concerns to be taken as the way things should be, or as something to think about. I'm hoping they can get used to the idea, and be calmer about it in a couple years.

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I would shrug and say that there are plenty of statistics that show marriages are much more stable if you wait until both people are over 25 (neurological adults) to marry.  At the same time people aren’t statistics. I know plenty of people who married their high school (and in one case middle school) sweethearts and are still together. And I know some who are divorced. 

Ultimately what DD and FSIL decide is up to them. If I thought they brought out the best in each other I’d encourage them to do whatever they thought best. 

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Posted (edited)

I don’t think his parents get a say about when grown adults decide to marry.  I think he should calmly tell them that and that their reaction was hurtful.  Then go forward as he planned to with respect and forgiveness.

Personally I think it’s stupid (bad word choice. Not stupid per se. but foolishly wasteful?) to be engaged more than 2 years tops. (She’s 19 now. 20 with her bachelors. What get married at 21 after graduation and he will be 23/24?  That’s not scary young at all to me.  Young. But not scary crazy.) Either commit or don’t. But that’s my general view of marriage at any age.

I wouldn’t like the debt either. But debts are sadly a part of life for the vast majority of this generation thanks to political decisions they had little say about.  Life doesn’t stop for debts or in-laws. 

If they were my kids, I’d offer to pay for premarital counseling through our diocese. Which would discuss things like how to the young couple needs to discuss how to handle debt and money for me. 

Edited by Murphy101
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I don't know when they will actually get engaged. My dh and I were engaged for 4 months after dating for 1 year. I think 2 years would be the most I would encourage. She'll be 22 when she graduates. I was 23 when we got married. 

I wouldn't care if she was 30 when she got married, but 14 years of dating seems extremely excessive 🙂

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My inlaws objected so our marriage..so we went to the JP. Then MIL got angry she did not get her big party. Whatever. My wedding would have been non-alcoholic which I knew she would object to anyway.

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I think waiting til graduation is perfectly adequate. Gosh, they'll have been together for years by then -- why NOT get married?! At most, I'd say maybe work a year after the 4-year school to possibly bring down the debt?  But to want her to do grad school + a couple of years = ridiculously demanding. (And no longer their place to say. They're both legal adults.)

 

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My husband and I got married at 20 (me) and 26 (him), 29 years ago.  We are very happy.  My daughter is 24 with a masters degree and a steady job. Her fiancé is 24, with steady job as a civil engineer and is an Army reserve 2nd Lt.  His parents did not want him getting married.  They objected in every way the could, on every angle possible. They even, at one point told their son that he couldn't possible be sexually attracted to my daughter (she is 5'8" and wears a size 12, very athletic build).

They tried to prevent the marriage in every way they could (we are Catholic and they convinced the priest who was marrying them to refuse, my D and SIL went around him to the the bishop and got it approved)

My SIL is now totally estranged from his family and getting married in three weeks without his family being present.

Hopefully, your daughter's boyfriends parents will see that they are adults and back off before they lose their son.

We have stayed out of it in everyday we could other than to provide listening ears and hugs along with love and support. It has been a hard road.

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Just now, SquirrellyMama said:

I don't know when they will actually get engaged. My dh and I were engaged for 4 months after dating for 1 year. I think 2 years would be the most I would encourage. She'll be 22 when she graduates. I was 23 when we got married. 

I wouldn't care if she was 30 when she got married, but 14 years of dating seems extremely excessive 🙂

It seems that way cause it is. Either commit to go through everything together or don’t. 

And they are just talking about what if? Geez. His parents are blowing it in over reaction. 22/24 when she graduates. Possibly 23/25 when they get married sometime soonish after that. So we are talking what they might do 3-4 years from now?  The entire world could change by just next year. As a parent I’d just smile and say that sounds lovely and I hope it all works out and tell them I’d like to pay for premarital counseling when they get closer to actually planning things. And then I’d pretty much let it go because I have plenty of more pressing actual happenings to worry about until then. LOL

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She is literally still a teenager. I wouldn’t be thrilled either, even if I adored her as a person.

People go through a huge amount of developmental change ages 18-24. I see no reason to rush marriage or childbearing. (Early marriage tends to be followed by early childbearing.)

We have started the convos now—well before serious girlfriends and boyfriends are on the scene. Our advice is for them to develop themselves and secure good educations before they partner with someone else. 
 

We are saying this now, because ultimately their decision is theirs. We wouldn’t try to tear apart relationships, iykwim. 

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I’d never say it to my DD, but if I’m understanding you correctly...and she is going away 6 hours from her boyfriend, I’d wish she would break up or take a break, with the understanding she would be dating other people at college.

I’d want her feel free to be on her own, with some physical and emotional distance, at an age and point in her life where she could explore other relationships, and not feel guilty if she is attracted to someone else.

 

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2 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

She is literally still a teenager. I wouldn’t be thrilled either, even if I adored her as a person.

People go through a huge amount of developmental change ages 18-24. I see no reason to rush marriage or childbearing. (Early marriage tends to be followed by early childbearing.)

We have started the convos now—well before serious girlfriends and boyfriends are on the scene. Our advice is for them to develop themselves and secure good educations before they partner with someone else. 
 

We are saying this now, because ultimately their decision is theirs. We wouldn’t try to tear apart relationships, iykwim. 

But they aren’t talking about getting married at 19. They are talking about getting engaged after she graduates college. So not until 22. And married sometime after that. 
 

If they were talking getting married THIS year? My reaction would be the same (bc why hurt relationships?) but I’d be a bit more... insistent on counseling and I’d try to kindly voice my financial concerns for them and state what I am or am not willing to do to help when they are married just so that everyone understands where everyone stands. 

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I think that they can revisit the idea in a couple of years after her being away at college for a few years.  Then they will know a) if they are still together and b ) if they are ready to get married.  They aren't really ready to be married until they are ready to "leave and cleave".  That means being able to talk to relatives and consider their advice but still make their own adult choices for their own adult marriage.  They aren't responsible for any one else's reactions to their decisions. 

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11 minutes ago, pinball said:

I’d never say it to my DD, but if I’m understanding you correctly...and she is going away 6 hours from her boyfriend, I’d wish she would break up or take a break, with the understanding she would be dating other people at college.

I’d want her feel free to be on her own, with some physical and emotional distance, at an age and point in her life where she could explore other relationships, and not feel guilty if she is attracted to someone else.

 

That’s a huge part of why I’d just say that’s lovely and I hope it all works out and then let it go. There’s a lot of time and distance between now and then for their entire lives to change. No point fussing about it now. 

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My DS and his wife got married straight out of college... he is military, marriage rather than long dating is part of military life (spousal benefits, being on orders, next of kin, etc. Is important)..they started dating in high school. Got engaged their freshman year of college. Got married almost 5 years later. Have now been married 3 years. All seems to be well.

That was always the plan and it seemed reasonable to me. As any parent with any major life decision, I had concerns and reservations but they were adults making adult decisions. 

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I wonder if they'll be calmer as things develop on the plan that your daughter was already thinking about, just because more time will have passed.  Husband and I met my freshman year of college - I had told my parents about this 'older' guy that I had met, so they were relieved when they met him to find that we were 2 years apart in school and less than that as an age difference.  They feared I had met a 40 year old. 🙂  We started discussing marriage my senior year - he was in grad school.  Our families both wanted us to finish grad school before we got married. 

After the first year of grad school I told him that this was ridiculous.  We were both pursuing PhDs so would have been dating for 10 years by the time we were done.  I figured that once you move from just making dinner plans to making life plans that involve another person, it's time to go ahead and get married.  We lived 1 1/2 hrs apart during grad school but got married after my 2nd year - we continued to live apart for another 3 years after we were married  (we saw each other on weekends), something not uncommon in academia.  But, after long enough together you start doing things like mingling finances - even without a marriage or shared account, you find yourselves doing things like saying that you'll buy a new couch that you choose together and whichever of you has the most $ pays for the car repair and one of you buys 2 season football tickets and...and none of that makes sense for uncommitted people, and if you're committed and wanting to get married, then what are you waiting for? 

By that point, our parents didn't say anything - we were in our earlyish 20s, so it wasn't their decision, and we had been together for quite a while.  We had lived independently.  There weren't really any other adulting metrics for them to be concerned about.  But, I"m guessing that if we had told them when we were 19 and 21 that we were going to get married and live apart halfway through grad school they would have tried to dissuade us.  Maybe her situation will be similar? 

Funny enough, our unconventional living arrangements turned out to be great prep for our actual marriage - over the years spouse has traveled for work a lot - often 2-3 weeks a month but mostly home on weekends...the same pattern that worried people when we first got married.  🙂  

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I probably wouldn't even worry about it too much right now.  A lot can happen in two years, even in one year.  In two years, even his family might be more than ready.  Or, your dd and boyfriend might be more confident that they know what they're doing even without family's eager backing.  Or, they might break up.  

But one question:  Are you someone who is intuitive about things?  I've gradually learned to trust my instinct.  I had two children marry quite young (21 and 22).  We were somewhat concerned and had lengthy sit-down discussions with them, but didn't feel we were in a position to tell them what to do, only ask questions to think about.  For one of those children, I had reservations right from the get-go, even though everyone else thought they were perfect for each other and they were both quite mature and independent for their age and very thoughtful people.  But I just had an uncomfortable feeling about it.  For the other, I knew it would be an adjustment, but felt peaceful about it.   The first marriage didn't survive, the second one did.  I wish I had trusted my instinct more back then and been even more honest with the first one.  My opinions may or may not have made a difference.

In other words, are your thoughts regarding this based on a solid instinct, or on just wanting to support your dd and feeling sorry that she might have to wait longer than planned.  That would make a difference as to how involved I would be with trying to slow things down.

My dh and I were married a month after I graduated from college at age 23, and then he went on to graduate school... for 6 years!  ha  So we sort of lived a student's life together for a long time, but we're so glad we were already a team.  We feel like we almost grew up together.

But since then, I've learned that marriages nowadays that young (which didn't seem young at all at the time) are definitely riskier.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

With her going away, these are gestures that often happen before young couples separate to go away to college or for other opportunities.  I think it was premature for him to even broach it with his parents if he sensed their might be tension there.  It may or may not work out.  With her going away 6 hours, I would be encouraging her to stay on campus and embrace every social and academic opportunity there that strikes her fancy.  With that piece of the puzzle, I wouldn't waste emotional energy as a parent on that relationship even if you like this young man and all the energy supporting and encouraging my kid as a college student.  If she were staying home, I would think differently.  If it's meant to work out, it will on it's own.

If they do end up getting married right after college, I'd be encouraging a very low budget wedding if she will be carrying a significant amount of student debt.    I guess if she is just leaving this fall, I can see why his parents might be alarmed at this premature discussion and might hope that he might  work on his career and be doing other things while she is gone.    I actually don't think that is unreasonable.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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The concerns about student loans may be prudent, but it also seems like maybe the boy’s parents don’t quite like the girl enough.

Ultimately, there are lots of reasons people get married. For some people, it is absolutely horrendous to get divorced, so it’s better to wait until one has been dating the same person for 25 years before considering it, even though a break up of a long relationship is unlikely to be easy anyway. For others, it’s okay to get married young or if things are not absolutely perfect in every way. For others, it’s better to get married instead of dating for 2-15 years without any sort of commitment, especially if there are religious views about sexuality or concerns about stability if there are children born in the interim. While parents may have opinions, I think it’s sad to tell someone to wait ten years to get married, and I hope they are able to do what’s right for them.

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My future DIL was talking to me yesterday about conflict between her mother and my son. In this case, her mother is adamant that they buy a condo rather than rent an apartment. 
 

She understands that her mother has insecurities in her past that make her think that this will give them security. I pointed out that plenty of people who buy in a seller’s market end up with less financial security than if they had rented. So we can understand why she wants what she wants, but the bottom line is that she and Ds are both 25. 
 

They need to do what THEY both agree on, not what mom and daughter agree on. I encourage them to focus on listening to each other and forget what relatives might expect. There comes a time when adult kids really need to just do what works for them and ignore parental attempts at interference. 
 

If I were in OPs position, I would be watching closely to see if her daughter’s boyfriend is ready to do this. If he isn’t, he might not be ready for marriage. 

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Posted (edited)

I have mixed feelings on this. I was 20 when I married DH, who was 24. We have had some really bad times together, but it wasn't the age that was the problem, it was undiagnosed mental health issues. But I was ok and ready to be married at 20, that's just who I was. And marrying earlier (after being together for almost 3 years beforehand) we grew together: the neurological changes we went through pre-25, we were able to grow similarly and I think that's helped us overall. 

Also, my parents tried to stop the marriage, including trying to stop the priest from agreeing, which did nothing to convince me otherwise and really just disregard any advice on the topic. They did shoot themselves in the foot; and since it's been a successful marriage, the shot foot is still bleeding 17 years later. 

On the other hand, I'd be concerned if daughter got engaged at the age I did. Not necessarily because it can't work out, but because the mental health issues that may not be known at that age and won't show until more adulthood has been experienced, and there is a chance to address issues away from a family of origin who may be masking/denying it. 

But on the original hand, these plans aren't for next month, which would be alarm bells, but for in a couple years. I mean, so much can change, but also it shows they aren't being immature in their outlook, which is a good sign overall.

 

Edited by Moonhawk
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These relationship binding gestures—ring and promise to marry—aren’t super healthy at 19 and 21. While I do have extended family that were long time engaged, for all emotional intents and purposes they were married—certainly not free to date or explore.

I agree that there are some old souls for whom early marriage is on, but please also remember that I am coming off of a church where everyone marries very young and I am seeing the aftermath of that of people in their 40s and 50s. I see a LOT of regrets even if they love their spouse and children. Nearly to a person, they all wish they hadn’t been engaged or married early.

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If he's financially independent from his parents, why do they think they get a say?  I can see weighing their opinion, and that of anyone else you respect, but I wouldn't get upset as though it were actually up to them.

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Posted (edited)

DH and I got engaged when he graduated college and I was a sophomore in college.  My mother loved DH, but didn't want us getting married because I was still in college.  My father didn't care.  DH's parents were against it because MIL didn't like me.  We got married when I was 19 and he was almost 23.  I did quit school at the time because he didn't have a job yet and we didn't know where he'd end up since he was interviewing at places all over the country.  He ended up getting a job locally and I transferred to a state school that was much less expensive than the private school I had been attending.  I also had student loans that he ended up paying off.  

We've been happily married for 34 years now - no regrets.  I wouldn't want my kids to do the same, though - now that I'm older, it seems like we were just babies when we got married!  But I would support them no matter what.  It was very hurtful being engaged and then getting married when our parents were against it.  

 

Edited by Kassia
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So his parents aren’t thrilled with the timing of something that’s at least two years in the future?  Meh.

I think he should have nodded at their concerns and not told your daughter.  You should try to forget it and not let it become something that puts a cloud over future interactions with them.  You don’t want your future grandchildrens’ birthday parties to bear the tension of marital advice they gave their son before he was engaged.  

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4 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

If he's financially independent from his parents, why do they think they get a say?  I can see weighing their opinion, and that of anyone else you respect, but I wouldn't get upset as though it were actually up to them.

This is a good point.  Does he still live with them?  Does he have long range career goals?  Does he have a job with benefits?  If he is adulting in all other ways, I especially don't think they needed to express such a vocal opinion.  However, if he is still using a lot of parental scaffolding, they also may not think he is really ready to be talking about it yet.

I hesitate to even say this, they also might be concerned about their welder son making long term plans for someone who is planning to go to grad school now.  When I was early in my college days, I dated a wide variety of people with varying aspirations. But when I got a little older, dating a motivated intellectual peer became important to me.  They may have background concerns about long term compatibility and goals.  I do think his parents would have been better just to zip it for now though.  I guess I wouldn't spend too much energy worrying about it.  They are both very young and a lot can change in a year or 2 at this age.

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Now that he knows his parents' opinion, he can stop discussing it with them. They may be really concerned about the potential debt, which is reasonable for parents to worry about, but they don't have the right to tell an adult son to wait 10 years to get married. That's kind of crazy, really.

Let's say that they wait and get married after all of the debt is paid off. Since they will share finances after marriage, the financial impact of the debt will still be in play -- the same amount of money will be spent on graduate school, no matter whether your daughter pays for it before the wedding or after. It sounds like they might be worried about their son being on the hook for a lot of school expenses, when he avoided big debt for his own education.

I do agree with those who think that getting engaged now is a premature, since they wouldn't plan to marry for a couple of years. I wonder if he is worried that she might meet someone else at college and wants to secure a stronger commitment before she goes. If your daughter is the kind to want your advice, I would suggest waiting a year or more for the engagement. Going through trials (including long-distance relationships) can break bonds or make them stronger. Only time will tell.

 

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I am also wondering along the lines of what FuzzyCatz posted. Perhaps his parents don't see him at a stage of life where he is ready for marriage yet. If he lives at home, still has a beginning worker's salary, and is not fully launched as an adult yet, I think it's not surprising that they would have concerns. I'm sure his parents may fear early marriage, as well, given his father's history.

I think it's nice that he is close enough with his parents and other family members to talk this over with them. But it does make me wonder -- is he mature enough to make his own adult decisions without seeking their approval? Would it benefit your daughter's relationship with him, if he had more time to mature and become independent? I agree with Jean's "leave and cleave" statement. Would his parents to be the type to meddle in their marriage, or are they just kind and caring people who want their son to consider other perspectives?

I hate to say it, but wanting to get engaged before she leaves, and consulting so much with his parents makes him sound less mature to me.

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1 hour ago, pinball said:

I’d never say it to my DD, but if I’m understanding you correctly...and she is going away 6 hours from her boyfriend, I’d wish she would break up or take a break, with the understanding she would be dating other people at college.

I’d want her feel free to be on her own, with some physical and emotional distance, at an age and point in her life where she could explore other relationships, and not feel guilty if she is attracted to someone else.

 

I agree.

What's the big rush to get engaged? They are both still so young, and it seems very confining to be committing to a long distance monogamous relationship at this time. Your dd may change a lot over the next few years -- and so may her boyfriend -- and I would hate to see either of them feel too tied-down to explore new opportunities.

I hate to say this, Kelly, because I know this isn't what you want to hear, but I can understand a lot of the boyfriend's family's concerns about the relationship, and I agree with them that this isn't a good time for your dd and her boyfriend to get engaged. 

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I have a feeling your daughter may spend a fair amount of time on toxic inlaw support boards in the future. I am saying this based on the fact that they "made" him tell other relatives so that the other relatives can gang up on him, 

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2 minutes ago, Janeway said:

I have a feeling your daughter may spend a fair amount of time on toxic inlaw support boards in the future. I am saying this based on the fact that they "made" him tell other relatives so that the other relatives can gang up on him, 

Maybe they just told him that he should ask some other family members for their honest opinions.

There is no reason to believe that they intentionally tried to get the other relatives to gang up on him.

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I have no issue with them getting married after graduation, but I'd advise putting off an engagment until closer to then. Especially with her moving away right now. 

1 hour ago, Murphy101 said:

It seems that way cause it is. Either commit to go through everything together or don’t. 

And they are just talking about what if? Geez. His parents are blowing it in over reaction. 22/24 when she graduates. Possibly 23/25 when they get married sometime soonish after that. So we are talking what they might do 3-4 years from now?  The entire world could change by just next year. As a parent I’d just smile and say that sounds lovely and I hope it all works out and tell them I’d like to pay for premarital counseling when they get closer to actually planning things. And then I’d pretty much let it go because I have plenty of more pressing actual happenings to worry about until then. LOL

And this. 

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I feel sorry for your daughter.   

I'm old, but it was never considered a bad thing when a young woman was "working to put her husband through medical school" or something.   But in this situation it seems that this is his parents' biggest objection.   Maybe they haven't come right out and told him "Why educate a cow when you can get the milk for free", but that's what I hear from your description.   

However, if he's not currently working as a welder and his parents are supporting him, then I apologize and instead would say he needs to get off his butt and get a job before getting engaged. 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, Laurie said:

I feel sorry for your daughter.   

I'm old, but it was never considered a bad thing when a young woman was "working to put her husband through medical school" or something.   But in this situation it seems that this is his parents' biggest objection.   Maybe they haven't come right out and told him "Why educate a cow when you can get the milk for free", but that's what I hear from your description.   

However, if he's not currently working as a welder and his parents are supporting him, then I apologize and instead would say he needs to get off his butt and get a job before getting engaged. 

 

 

It probably IS sound advice to be a financially independent adult before getting engaged. 

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I will say that my husband almost didn't propose to me because of his student loan debt. He actually broke up with me while we were dating as he felt he was a financially bad risk for me, and because were were living almost 3 hours apart. 

And yes, his student loans have had a huge impact on our lives. I can't say they haven't. But...they were crazy high loans from a predatory program that has been shut down for illegal practices, not normal student loan debt. If she has typical public college 4 yr debt that is different. 

And no matter what impact those loans have, I wouldn't trade more money for a different DH. I have NEVER regretted marrying him, not for a single second, nor have I held those loans against him. I'm angry at the people that took advantage of him, and at his family who steered him badly, but him? He's the best. He's been an incredible father and husband and the idea of missing out on him due to his loans? That's heartbreaking. 

Maybe they can get some financial counseling, at the same time they do premarital counseling - never a bad idea! 

But student loans are not a reason to not marry someone. 

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I agree student loans aren't a reason to not marry someone.  That said, they are a very good reason to have some serious pre marital counseling and discussion.  Like does the OP daughter envision staying home with children?  There is a good chance she will have better earning power than a DH working as a welder.  Could he stay home with children for a few years?  Not uncommon when my kids were younger where we live.  These are important conversations to have.

As the parent of a 20 year old male who chose a college option that will leave him no undergrad debt, as he considers dating more seriously (honestly, I think it could be a while for him yet).  I can honestly see him thinking and worrying about this.  That changes how you can move through life significantly - from homes, to how to raise kids, to how to launch kids, to retirement.  Note that the OP mentioned her own college debt and her DDs.  It's much harder to launch your own kids into a debt free/low debt college experience with your own debt in play.  More than one marriage has been broken by not seeing eye to eye on finances. 

Overbearing inlaws can be an issue too, you really do marry a family and their baggage.  Though I really don't think we can judge if the young man's family is actually problematic by this post.  If he still living at home and she is just leaving for college, I don't see this type of thought and discussion as unreasonable.  Especially given his father had a young divorce, and if this their oldest it may just be a bigger shock and surprise and they may have been caught off guard.  Maybe there was debt involved in that relationship.  

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, SquirrellyMama said:

They want them to wait until she is out of grad school plus a couple years. They will have been dating for 10 years be then. 

😂 That is ridiculous, in my opinion. 10 years of dating? Besides, it's really none of the in-laws' business what they do as adults. 🙂 

My DH and I started dating at 16, married right after college, and will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this year.

Sorry she has to deal with this.

ETA: We went to different colleges for 1 1/2 years. It was fine.

Edited again because I was feeling testy before. 😊 

Edited by MercyA
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21 minutes ago, FuzzyCatz said:

I agree student loans aren't a reason to not marry someone.  That said, they are a very good reason to have some serious pre marital counseling and discussion.  Like does the OP daughter envision staying home with children?  There is a good chance she will have better earning power than a DH working as a welder.  Could he stay home with children for a few years?  Not uncommon when my kids were younger where we live.  These are important conversations to have.

 

Are you kidding? Welders are in high demand and can make very good money. I know people with advanced STEM degrees who don't make the starting wage that welders make in my area.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, mom2scouts said:

Are you kidding? Welders are in high demand and can make very good money. I know people with advanced STEM degrees who don't make the starting wage that welders make in my area.

Well that isn’t uniformly true everywhere.  It also matters if you are self employed or employed for someone else.   Financial goals and priorities are just a good thing for young engaged couples to discuss.  If he is adulting in all ways financially, that is great and a different discussion.  
 

eta average annual income for a welder in my area is 44K a year.  That is significantly below the average household income of 57K.  I would certainly hope most people earning a masters degree and going into debt for it would have significantly more earning power.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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Posted (edited)

Okay, I did not read all of the replies, but I have a couple of thoughts.

 

One, since they'll be several hours apart for a couple of years, I think they should probably not get engaged or make any official plans for marriage until they've been through at least a while of that separation.  It's easier to quietly go your separate paths if that's what turns out to be right for them if you haven't made a big announcement or bought a ring, kwim?

 

Two, I wonder why his parents are so upset?  

 

Three, ten years of dating seems like quite a lot considering they were almost adults when they started dating.  But, I would have your daughter and her boyfriend consider the issue of children.  If she intends to go to grad school but gets pregnant before that, how will that change their plans/affect her school and career plans?  I say that because I do know a couple for whom that happened, and it changed a lot.

 

DH and I met in eleventh and ninth grade, respectively, and we had been dating for almost two years when he went off to college about five hours from home, and before cell phones and texting.  It was rough on young love, for sure, but we did make it work (we are both super introverted people who had not dated other people prior to meeting, so that wasn't really a big concern), and we were together at college for three years before we graduated together (he took a fifth year, and I graduated a year early), so we got married when we were barely 21 and 23.  He went on to graduate school, but I did not, because I had no desire to do so, but there was no reason for us not to get married at that point; we had been dating for almost seven years by then.  Honestly, if we'd been able to afford to do so, we'd have gotten married sooner, while we were still in college, but when you're in fulltime school, it's hard to have a fulltime job enough to support yourselves.  I don't know what we would have done if he'd graduated while I had another year, if he'd gone off to grad school several hours away without me.  Maybe just done another year long distance?  Maybe I'd have transferred?  I don't think I would have dropped out.

 

I did have moderate student loans, while my husband did not, and we did make sure that he understood that I'd have the loans going into the marriage.  He didn't especially care, but they were not astronomical either; people take on car loans bigger than my student loans.  I worked while he was in grad school, and then he worked fulltime, while I worked parttime until we had our first baby, almost four years into marriage, and the student loan payments were modest.  We did pay off the last chunk eight years after graduation, when we sold our second house.

 

So it seems reasonable to me that they wouldn't make any permanent plans like marriage until your daughter has graduated from undergrad, but I can't imagine wanting to wait after that, and had anyone suggested we do so, we probably wouldn't have listened to them. 😉  We celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary later this summer, 30 years together in the fall.  We'd both do it again in a heartbeat.

Edited by happypamama
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44 minutes ago, FuzzyCatz said:

I agree student loans aren't a reason to not marry someone.  That said, they are a very good reason to have some serious pre marital counseling and discussion.  Like does the OP daughter envision staying home with children?  There is a good chance she will have better earning power than a DH working as a welder.  Could he stay home with children for a few years?  Not uncommon when my kids were younger where we live.  These are important conversations to have.As the

par. 

 

NO, welders make a lot of money.   ANd depending on career, lots of BA kids make less money.  And I am saying this as a person who both I and my dh have degrees.    

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2 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

NO, welders make a lot of money.   ANd depending on career, lots of BA kids make less money.  And I am saying this as a person who both I and my dh have degrees.    

Average welder salary in Florida is around 40k. Now...an underwater welder doubles that...but not many people do that. 

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5 hours ago, pinball said:

I’d never say it to my DD, but if I’m understanding you correctly...and she is going away 6 hours from her boyfriend, I’d wish she would break up or take a break, with the understanding she would be dating other people at college.

I’d want her feel free to be on her own, with some physical and emotional distance, at an age and point in her life where she could explore other relationships, and not feel guilty if she is attracted to someone else.

 

I thought about this, but she's too busy to date. And, I don't know if she would or not. 

I figured I'd leave it up to her.

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5 hours ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

I think that they can revisit the idea in a couple of years after her being away at college for a few years.  Then they will know a) if they are still together and b ) if they are ready to get married.  They aren't really ready to be married until they are ready to "leave and cleave".  That means being able to talk to relatives and consider their advice but still make their own adult choices for their own adult marriage.  They aren't responsible for any one else's reactions to their decisions. 

I think there are many adults that have a hard time with decisions that go against family. I have to think people who are truly able to do this are in the minority.

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4 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

If he's financially independent from his parents, why do they think they get a say?  I can see weighing their opinion, and that of anyone else you respect, but I wouldn't get upset as though it were actually up to them.

He is financially independent. He moved out last year against the wishes of his parents.

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47 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

NO, welders make a lot of money.   ANd depending on career, lots of BA kids make less money.  And I am saying this as a person who both I and my dh have degrees.    

It really depends on the area, the skill level, and other areas of expertise and skill. I know, my dad was a welder and machinist and also taught both.

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55 minutes ago, happypamama said:

 

One, since they'll be several hours apart for a couple of years, I think they should probably not get engaged or make any official plans for marriage until they've been through at least a while of that separation.  It's easier to quietly go your separate paths if that's what turns out to be right for them if you haven't made a big announcement or bought a ring, kwim?

 

Two, I wonder why his parents are so upset?  

 

Three, ten years of dating seems like quite a lot considering they were almost adults when they started dating.  But, I would have your daughter and her boyfriend consider the issue of children.  If she intends to go to grad school but gets pregnant before that, how will that change their plans/affect her school and career plans?  I say that because I do know a couple for whom that happened, and it changed a lot.

 

She is just finished her 2nd year out of state, she has 2 more years. I don't know when he plans on asking. I am fine if he waits longer. 

We have talked about what happens with grad school. I did suggest that if they get married before grad school that she should wait for kids until she is done and settled in a career.

If they don't, they don't. It is definitely something for her to think about. Have another plan. 

Kelly

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My ILs kind-of leave no choice but to go against them, because they take such stands that are so contrary to reasonable adult choices. 
 

This seems to me like they feel very entitled to a future they have envisioned.  It goes a certain way.  Deviations from that will be a disappointment.

We have had to set boundaries and live with their disappointment.

I totally agree it is sad to disappoint family.  It is hard to some extent, but also just sad. It would be much nicer if things were nicer and less focuses on boundaries.  
 

But that is the situation we have.  
 

I hope these parents are less this way than they seem from this example!  What happens next will show how they take it when their desires are not sufficiently consulted.  Or if the son will go along with them to a point that is excessive, compared to his own desires and how things work out with your dd.  

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