To think DH is wrong to threaten to not speak to DS over university choice

(441 Posts)
DPSN Fri 29-Jan-16 17:01:11

DS has an offer to study at Cambridge but is considering turning it down to study closer to home at a university with a reputation for his subject which is nowhere near as good as Cambridge's to be near his girlfriend. I think basing a life choice on a current GF is a mistake but he is very stubborn and I cannot force him to go to Cambridge. If she is the love of his life, love will conquer time and distance but if she isn't,I think he will regret turning down Cambridge for her.
I have asked him to weigh up the pros and cons of each option carefully.
DH , on the other hand, has said he will not want to speak to him again if he doesn't go to Cambridge and would want to limit financial support.
I feel I am living in a parallel world with DH thinking he can control DS' s choices with threats and bullying tactics. He says I am too soft for saying ultimately it is DS' s life and choice.
Opinions please.

RhiWrites Fri 29-Jan-16 17:03:52

There's more to life than Oxbridge. I went to Oxford and it was not the best option academically. The Russell Group can rest in their laurels rather than providing an excellent teaching experience.

Abbinob Fri 29-Jan-16 17:04:18

Well your DS is aan adult, or very nearly an adult ao it is up to him.
Your dh is being an arseholes, you can't bully your kids I to doing what you want, and refusing to speak to him ever again is bullying him.
I'd try to convince him to go to Cambridge, it would be a mistake if the only reason is his girlfriend. Had he even spoken to his gf, surely she's not happy about that?

SummerMonths Fri 29-Jan-16 17:05:01

Well you are of course rugly. Although I can sort of see why he might threaten cutting off financial support. I imagined me he is thinking "Why pay for a child's uni of the child's priority is clearly his girlfriend?"

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Fri 29-Jan-16 17:05:25

I can understand why your DH feels like he wants to do that. I get where he's coming from and do think he is being U.....but there is also a very big part of me that is also hugely in agreement.

In the long term, if it was meant to be then they'll last past university. If it wasn't, he's squandered a frankly amazing opportunity for sex on tap for a short time.

buckingfrolicks Fri 29-Jan-16 17:06:07

I must admit I'd be very very keen for DS to take up an offer from Cambridge because of the (very unfortunate) advantages that it will bring him throughout his life.

I wouldn't go as far as your DH perhaps, but I'd be very vocal indeed about the stupidity of making such an important decision based on love interest. Does DS not realise that most relationships are over by the end of the first term, anyway? If it is going to last, it will last despite the distance, not because of the proximity, of where they live.

So yes, support the choice he does eventually make, but don't not fight for him to make the right choice and go to Cambridge!

chrome100 Fri 29-Jan-16 17:06:33

I dropped out of Cambridge after one year and transferred to be with my boyfriend at his (much less prestigious) university.

My parents, understandably, went mental. They wrote me letters begging me not to do it, pleaded with me, got angry. I wouldn't listen.

Of course, it was a bad decision. Boyfriend and I broke up and I regretted it. But my parents had absolutely no influence in that decision as at that age you think you know it all.

grumpysquash2 Fri 29-Jan-16 17:07:14

If he truly feels that Cambridge is not for him, no problem.
If the decision is absolutely all about the girlfriend, big problem.

Cambridge terms are only 8 weeks long. What if you offer to pay for her to visit him (or vice versa) on alternate weekends? A carrot rather than a stick approach.

There's a high chance they won't be together by then anyway, or break up in the first year of Uni......

Which is the other uni? Is it a good one?

Katenka Fri 29-Jan-16 17:07:46

Your dh is being an arse.

Is he usually?

If not this can be resolved.

I kind of get how he feels. Someone in one of my a-levels class did what your ds is doing. And regretted it. Even now in her thirties. University ended up being a bit pointless as when coming up against other grads at interviews, they went to better universities.

I would be gutted if this was child.

But threatening not to speak to him is awful.

prettywhiteguitar Fri 29-Jan-16 17:07:49

Tell him about the archers storyline, it's a very common problem. I think if he realises that you are recognising his dilemma he might be more amiable to rethinking it. Also would the girlfriend think about moving Uni to be nearer Cambridge ?

ThroughThickAndThin01 Fri 29-Jan-16 17:08:28

Such an age old problem isn't it, turning down uni place because of a boyfriend/girlfriend at home.

Hmm, obviously your Dh is unreasonable. Its your sons life to live and make mistakes himself. Who is to say that the second university ultimately won't be the best one for him anyway.

How would your Dh have reacted if your ds hadn't been offered Csmbridge? Presumably he wouldn't have threatened to not talk to him and withhold financial support then?

DPSN Fri 29-Jan-16 17:08:30

GF is clingy and would love him to stay in the area and move in with herhmm. I understand DH's concerns - and share them- but not his tactics.

Katenka Fri 29-Jan-16 17:09:19

Well your DS is aan adult, or very nearly an adult ao it is up to him.

You could as easily argue that the ds is an adult and accept he needs to support himself like an adult

I imagined me he is thinking "Why pay for a child's uni of the child's priority is clearly his girlfriend?"

Yes I think I would be thinking the same

reallybadidea Fri 29-Jan-16 17:09:32

I have a lot of sympathy for your dh tbh. I would find it very difficult to be as detached as you sound about it.

Yes it is your ds's decision to make but otoh I wouldn't be keen to finance what is likely to be a bad decision. Having said that stubborn people don't usually respond to threats, so your dh's tactic is likely to be counterproductive.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 29-Jan-16 17:09:49

Yeah. What is the other university? Edinburgh or John Moores for example?

ThroughThickAndThin01 Fri 29-Jan-16 17:11:13

I don't think any parent would be happy about it btw, of course not.

harshbuttrue1980 Fri 29-Jan-16 17:11:26

He has to do what is right for him. Plenty of people do marry after being together at uni - for a high profile example, look at Kate and Wills! Would you take a dream job if it meant being miles away from your DH? Some couples do, choosing to try to make a distance relationship work as they pursue their careers. Others prefer to focus on the relationship.

I don't think its true that "if it's right, it'll last even if they're apart". Plenty of relationships founder if there is a huge distance. i don't think people should be dismissive just because they are a young couple.

A previous poster had a good idea - if he does go to Cambridge, you could pay for them to visit each other.

HelpfulChap Fri 29-Jan-16 17:11:34

I wouldn't threaten to blank my DS or DD if they had received Oxbridge offers and turned them down but I would have got the serious hump.

Katenka Fri 29-Jan-16 17:11:59

GF is clingy and would love him to stay in the area and move in with her

Hang on so she in influencing him to do this to keep hold of him.

I would think your dh is panicking. No intention of not speaking to him. But can see his son throwing a great opportunity away because his girlfriend doesn't want him to leave.

If this was my dd and her BF was trying to get her to stay with him instead, I would be doing everything I can.

LottieDoubtie Fri 29-Jan-16 17:12:16

Your DH is fool if he thinks that tactic is going to do anything except cause your family unhappiness. Does he really think an 18 year old is going to turn around and say 'gosh, dad, you're right, and I'd much rather be pressured into going to Cambridge than stay near my GF?'

I'd be gently encouraging him to go to Cambridge for obvious reasons but in the back of my mind I wouldn't be panicking - my most 'materially successful' friend from uni turned down a Cambridge offer to come and study with us oiks at a 'red brick'. He's done ok.... as have the rest of us wink

WickedWax Fri 29-Jan-16 17:13:31

Of course your DH is being unreasonable in saying he'll refuse to talk to his own son based on university choice.

I can see where he's coming from wrt financial support, in that it seems like your DS isn't really taking the whole thing too seriously. I wouldn't be keen on throwing good money at foolish decisions.

RidersOnTheStorm Fri 29-Jan-16 17:14:42

DH turned down Oxbridge offers for UC London back in the late 60s. He decided the formality wasn't for him. Plus he'd been offered London and it was the 60s. grin

No regrets. Both DS's decided on Russell Group rather than Oxbridge for their subjects.

HawthornLantern Fri 29-Jan-16 17:14:53

I understand your concerns - not great to make a big decision based on what may be a temporary state of affairs - and as a PP points out - it may be a case that nothing either parent can do or say will make a difference.

FWIW, I think your approach is much more effective - you aren't trying to make it a fight - you are recognising that he has a decision to make and that it's his decision. Most of us have a tendency to dig our heels in when faced with coercion so I think your DH may have taken the worst possible route for the outcome he wants.

I'd be more inclined to try and get him to see the long term positives in Cambridge (assuming the GF isn't just his cover story for really, really not wanting to go there) - short terms means that he may have more flexibility in seeing her in non-term time. Depending on what direction he wants post college, a Cambridge degree might help him get a job more easily that will fund their future together. If he sees it as GF or Cambridge then GF may well win. If he sees Cambridge as a path to a better future with GF then it might help tip the scales back again.

DPSN Fri 29-Jan-16 17:15:14

GF wants to stay put in hometown and never move as she can't imagine moving away from her Mum. She won't be going to uni.
The local uni - rather not state it as it would out me - is not bad for his subject but it's not in the same league as Cambridge.

Marynary Fri 29-Jan-16 17:15:23

Your DH shouldn't bully him but I don't blame him for feeling a bit desperate. I also don't blame him for wanting to limit financial support. Rather than sitting on the fence and just advising him to "weigh up the pros and cons" I would be telling him very strongly that he is making a very bad choice.

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