Confront or bite my tongue?

(42 Posts)
niceguy2 Thu 18-Apr-13 09:58:02

My DD is 16. She's been going out with her first serious BF now for about 7 months. I've tried so hard to like him despite some warnings from my friends about signs they've seen because I don't want to be the sort of dad who hates her BF's. I've tried so hard to include him in family activities and make him feel welcome.

But it's starting to become obvious that he's showing many signs of a classic abuser. He's constantly around. Spends every moment with my DD to the point where I lost my temper with them yesterday cos he's literally here 7 days a week. DD has already lost one close friend as a result of never spending any time with them.

On top of that he is constantly jealous and quite controlling. He's always going on about how my DD will cheat on him needing constant reassurance from her that she won't. How she can cheat on him whilst he's always next to her is beyond me.

He had a go at her a little while back because she was wearing 'revealing clothes'. Erm...i'm her father and I didn't have a problem with it. And I don't think a wooly jumper counts as revealing! It was snowing for christs sake, she wasn't walking around in a bikini!

DD has been upset over the last few days because of the way he speaks to her and the jealousy issues. Yesterday I thought she'd finally seen the light and was going to dump him but he's apologised (again), gave some stupid reason as to why he's in a bad mood and mistreating her and like a naive fool she's forgiven him.

Right now I just want to confront him and warn him to sort his shit out. Well actually I want to take his head off but I will need to resist that.

But am I better off biting my tongue? Thing is I'm not sure i can when he's constantly here until I kick him out at 10pm. He always tries to be friendly with us but it's got to the point where I just can't stand the sight of him. Yet if I refuse to let him in, she'll just go elsewhere and I can't keep an eye on things.

Aarrghhhhhh any wise words of wisdom?

Dumpylump Thu 18-Apr-13 10:03:02

Does your dd want to spend all her time with him? Or do you think that she might like to spend a wee bit of it with her friends?
Maybe you could try a bit of chat with her about that....a suggestion of catching up with somebody else at the weekend or whatever? Or maybe a bit of study time.
If she's feeling a little smothered by him then being able to say "it's a pain but dad says I can't see you tonight because I have to study" might be easier for her than "I don't want to see you tonight".
Of course, if she's quite happy, then it's different.

niceguy2 Thu 18-Apr-13 10:10:55

Up until recently I think she wanted to spend every waking moment with him.

Now I am not so sure. I am wondering if she's scared to spend less time with him and thus giving him the chance to claim that she must be cheating on him. I might see if putting a limit on the time she can see him will help. I'm sure at first she'll go nuts but generally she follows my rules.

Dumpylump Thu 18-Apr-13 10:27:49

We had a similar situation with dsd, and by us forcibly limiting contact under the guise of studying she was able to blame us for her not seeing him, she moaned a bit initially, but then admitted it was quite nice to chill.
She was supposed to be studying, but she had a couple of nights with a friend over when I think they mostly ate ice cream and Pringles, and gossiped.
Afaik he accepted that it was our decision, not her choice, and seemed ok with that.
Dp did speak to him and ask him to lay off on all the texting, FaceTime and fb messaging on her study nights though.

niceguy2 Thu 18-Apr-13 10:32:54

Actually that's a good point. Her study leave is coming up. I might use that as the pretext for limiting her time with him. I might introduce it now so if she's going to resist then she'll be over it by the time she actually goes on study leave.

AgathaF Thu 18-Apr-13 10:34:11

Perhaps it would be a good idea for you, or someone she trusts and get along with, has a chat with her about desirable and undesirable personality traits in boyfriends/girlfriends. Something perhaps fairly general, but that she can mull over in her own time and draw her own conclusions from.

I think you are right to keep welcoming him into your home - as you say, at least you are there to keep an eye on things and he will also get to see your family dynamics too and hopefully take something positive from them himself.

niceguy2 Thu 18-Apr-13 10:36:58

My fiancee has already said she will speak with her when she finds an opportunity. Which is hard given he's always here and she's at her mum's this weekend.

2cats2many Thu 18-Apr-13 10:39:09

I don't know what to advise you, and mine aren't teenagers yet, but I'm 99% sure that if my husand was in your position he would have scared the crap out of that boy by now. But then he's a big scary chap and does tend to rely on his physical presence to get his <ahem> point across.

Are you and DDs mum together? What does she think? Will she have a chat to DD?

AgathaF Thu 18-Apr-13 10:40:36

Does she get on well with your fiancee and do you think she would welcome relationship advice from her? Could her mum speak to her? What about a cousin/aunty?

Remember your DD is just starting to learn about relationships, and these early lessons are often painful for both them, and us as parents to watch.

Littleturkish Thu 18-Apr-13 10:44:59

I had an awful relationship like your daughter and at the time I wished my family would have stepped in. I think you're intuitions are correct.

What does her mum think about it?

I agree with the above- use study period as a reason, and don't accuse him of anything but do try and get a dialogue going with her about what to expect from a partner and boost her self confidence.

GoblinGranny Thu 18-Apr-13 10:53:59

I have no specific advice, even though both of mine are older than your DD.
One thing I've always been though is a willing shield and excuse. If one of mine was at a party that's getting out of hand for example, they can ring me and use a code phrase. Then I became the heavy parent and insisted that time's up and I need them home, and sometimes I'd go and get them.
I've limited contact time with certain individuals in the past too, with the thanks of the child involved.
Point is, I have broad shoulders and I am comfortable being painted as the bad old witch if that's what it takes to resolve a problem.
If your DD clearly understands that it's not the boy you dislike, but the way he is mistreating and manipulating her, she may be willing to let you step in and take the blame for things she wants or needs to happen. Like a ban on seeing him as much because she needs to study.

niceguy2 Thu 18-Apr-13 11:05:22

@2cats. I can be all big & scary if needs be but at this stage I'm afraid it would do more harm than good. The last thing i want is for her to feel that she must hide their relationship from me. Then I can't step in if absolutely necessary and I also become the glue that holds them together.

As a father it's incredibly frustrating that you can't just take him outside and beat the crap out of him. I'm sure every dad who has a daughter thinks that it should be perfectly legal to do so! grin Even if he's seemingly perfect we should be allowed to....just in case.

lljkk Thu 18-Apr-13 11:14:25

Ooh... I like that heavy parent routine code work, must suggest it to DC.

I would have to say something to OP's DD.
Be very specific about exactly which of his behaviours upset you & why.
Emphasise that she deserves the very best in her relationships and you don't want her settling for anything less.

They say that good self-esteem is always the key to having healthy relationships.

Best if she comes round to thinking it's her decision not to stay with him, and that she has the power to make that decision.

Startail Thu 18-Apr-13 11:32:28

Firstly you need firm rules for time apart during study leave.

Then I think you have to tread very carefully you need her to realise he's being controlling and jealous.

I'm not sure how you do it. I guess its the odd open ended question, the odd careful comment along the lines of why don't you go to A or get X or Y to help you revise. Anything you know her BF is likely to disapprove of.

I think she may already be finding him annoying, if you can fertilize the seeds of discontent that's good, if you can get her mum, your fiancee and her friends in on the act that's even better.

niceguy2 Fri 19-Apr-13 12:10:42

Well....my chat didn't go according to plan. Lost my temper with her when she said that she didn't want to spend any time with me anyway.

Ended up having the biggest row i think we've ever had and her telling me that she doesn't love me, hates me and the only person she loves in her family is her brother. That the only person who makes her happy is her BF.

FFS. Anyway, to cut a long story short I ended up getting him to come round and spoke to them both. Told them to have a think over the weekend (since she's at her mum's anyway) and we'll talk again next week. I want a suggestion from them about how much time here is reasonable and which days. It would be easier for me to know he is round on this day and that day rather than him just being here all the time. Plus on the nights he's not, she can spend some time with us and maybe friends.

We'll see how things go. But right now I think i've just drove them closer together. Me & my stupid temper.

GoblinGranny Fri 19-Apr-13 12:43:42

Oh dear. Well. at least you know what you did wrong. smile
What made it so hard to stay fixed on your goal and ignore her rudeness?
Set the number of days with her, and the times and make sure they stick to them, but be prepared to negotiate and compromise.but if you lose your temper, she may just not come home.
My dad did something similar when I was 16, and I didn't come back for a fortnight.

Maryz Fri 19-Apr-13 12:48:57

Sorry, I'm a bit late to this thread but I don't think that anything you say will have any effect.

dd's best friend has been going out for the last six months with a boy who sounds like this. He "gets upset" if she goes out with her friends, so she doesn't any more. If she is will him and meets dd or any of the others he "won't allow" her to talk to them. He "gets upset" if she doesn't see him every day after school and every Saturday.

She has told dd that she is afraid of what he will do if she goes out with her frinds sad. And told dd quite a lot of other things that makes dd think he is controlling. They were going to go away together this summer (dd, the friend and another friend), but now she won't commit because "he would be angry".

But there is nothing any of her friends can do until she realises it. At the moment she wants a boyfriend, any boyfriend, and so will put up with anything he says or does.

dd has resigned herself to being there to pick up the pieces when it all goes wrong, and just hopes it will be sooner rather than later.

I know the friend's parents are worried about her, but unfortunately they know that saying anything will drive her further into his control.

AgathaF Fri 19-Apr-13 14:34:36

At the moment she wants a boyfriend, any boyfriend - I think this is true of lots of teenage girls, Maryz. I can remember waaaayyyyyyy back at school lots of the girls being like this, and putting up with lots of rubbish from boyfriends.

niceguy - I'm sure it will work itself out in time. I know it's not nice seeing your DC being treated less than brilliantly by boyfriends/girlfriends, but to some extent she has to work it out for herself and find out where her own boundaries lie. If she has had good relationships demonstrated to her as she has been growing up then she already has some idea of what normal actually is. She just has to learn how that applies to her and to put it into practice.

I'd say try not to be too heavy with her/them. Encourage them to spend time at your home so that the relationship develops, or otherwise, in a safe environment for her.

Maybe try to encourage her friends to spend time with her and him in a group situation. Perhaps suggest she has a few of them over for a BBQ? That way at least she will maintain some contact with them.

niceguy2 Fri 19-Apr-13 17:26:29

Thanks all. She came home from school today and is still very angry. At least she's at her mum's this weekend so hopefully that will give her space to calm down.

Then again maybe not. The thing I haven't mentioned to her is that my actions so far have been far more mild than what her mum says I should do. According to her mum I should have laid down the law much sooner and simply tell her xyz. So if she tries to tell her mum how unreasonable I've been then she's in for a shock! lol

mrsjay Fri 19-Apr-13 18:55:26

ctually that's a good point. Her study leave is coming up. I might use that as the pretext for limiting her time with him. I might introduce it now so if she's going to resist then she'll be over it by the time she actually goes on study leave.

^ ^ this is a great idea he maynot be an abuser or anything like that but i really dont think it is healthy for them to be together 24/7 and she isnt seeing her friends,
I know that is a sign of abuse but sometimes teenagers can be intense IYSWIM
, I had to reduce dds boyfriend hours at 16 in fact i used exam time to do this it was convenient to say you need to study, but I felt they needed space they have been together for 4 years almost and they are a bit more relaxed they both work dd goes to uni has her own friends sees him, it is much more healthy than what they had at the start

chocoluvva Sat 20-Apr-13 01:12:25

I feel your frustration, niceguy2.

Your DD will feel that you are criticising her and/or her BF if you make any comments IME. Part of his appeal to her is probably that she feels she is being grown up by having an intense relationship. Also she will feel that nobody understands how it is for her and her BF so she won't value any advice.

I know that these relationships sometimes last for a long time but they don't usually. It's so hard to bite your tongue, but it's probably the best thing to do.

niceguy2 Mon 22-Apr-13 11:14:22

Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or cry. So after telling me Thurs that he is the only one who makes her happy etc. Over the weekend apparently he's allegedly been flirting with another girl and it's all over now.

Naturally she's very upset but to be fair she's taking it very well it seems and it's nice to have my girl back. I'm not 100% convinced he won't slime his way back but let's see.....

Maryz Mon 22-Apr-13 11:21:29

Excellent news smile

Now, resist the temptation to say to her "great, he was a waste of space" just in case she gets back with him. Concentrate more on "oh dear, you must be so upset but I'm so proud of you for not putting up with shitty behaviour" type comments.

mrsjay Mon 22-Apr-13 11:22:53

least she has seen sense for now and no dont say he was bad news etc etc or say I told you so

chocoluvva Mon 22-Apr-13 11:29:51

Fingers crossed that he doesn't "slime his way back".

I second Maryz's advice. Be sympathetic to your DD and acknowledge that it's horrible when you break up with someone you've loved. Your relationship with her will be strengthened by being supportive.

chocoluvva Mon 22-Apr-13 11:32:06

Cross posts - second mrsjay's advice too.

Don't let her see that you're delighted, just give her TLC.

AgathaF Mon 22-Apr-13 11:44:00

What everyone else has said. Support her and acknowledge her sadness.

Good outcome though.

niceguy2 Mon 22-Apr-13 12:02:30

Yep, that's exactly what I am doing. I've said nothing negative about him at all. Even though I am secretly dreaming of pulling his arms off and clubbing him with them.

senua Mon 22-Apr-13 12:03:11

Can you try some cod psychology with her?
He wouldn't let DD out of his sight because he was "always going on about how my DD will cheat on him needing constant reassurance from her that she won't." And why was this? - precisely because it's the type of thing he would do. He was projecting his poor morals on to her.
Understanding his motivations might be another nail in the coffin for the relationship. <hopeful>

mrsjay Mon 22-Apr-13 12:03:22

oh yes you can club away in your head thats ok grin

niceguy2 Mon 22-Apr-13 12:23:23

Senua. I totally agree with you and it is something my fiancee & I were talking about last night after DD had gone to bed. If I say it, I'll just get the roll of eyes. My fiancee will speak to her when she gets the right moment and given her checkered history with dating undesirables, she can make that point much easier without it sounding like being the parent IYSWIM.

Months ago he justified his jealousy issues on the fact his exGF cheated on him. And as I explained (nicely) to him, that's not my DD's fault so don't make her pay for someone else's mistake. He agreed with me and promised myself (and more importantly DD) that he'd change. Ofc he hasn't. But what I really want to say is "Get a f'ing grip...you are 17! Your exGF cheated on you. It's not like she was your wife! Get a grip and grow the fcuk up!".....but of course I can't....just have to bite my tongue and keep my fingers crossed that this relationship will implode and I can start to pick up the pieces.

TheWave Mon 22-Apr-13 12:49:26

Maybe talk about different things completely. Work on gently supporting her future to distract her, for example 6th form, career options etc. What does she enjoy generally in and out of school?

niceguy2 Mon 22-Apr-13 12:54:37

Yeah, we haven't spoken about him at all today and she even said to me last night that she realises she's got a lot to look forward to. And that she realises that she'll go to college and meet others on a more similar wavelength. My DD is predicted straight A's at GCSE's and determined to go to Uni. Her BF left school at 16 and has bummed around for the last 18 months and let's just say he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

I'm really pleased that she's got back in touch with one of her close friends whom (to my horror) she dropped when she met her BF. I wouldn't have blamed this friend at all had she turned round to tell my DD to sod off. But thankfully she hasn't and they're going to go into town later today for a shop since it is an inset day here.

chocoluvva Mon 22-Apr-13 13:14:18

That all sounds very positive. And it sounds like you're doing a grand job.

If she's anything like my DD was in a very similar situation she'll now be free to have fun with old and new friends, do normal teenager things without the shackle of a no-fun BF and just be happy again.

Good luck to her with her exams. smile

Greenkit Tue 23-Apr-13 18:08:45

Try this

She gets to see him three nights a week, of her choosing

You do some fun family things with her, without him.

Arrange some fun friend time with her, without him.

Keep this up for as long as you can, hopefully she will see sense and realise its fun being with others (family and friends) rather than him, see sense and dump his arse.

x

niceguy2 Wed 24-Apr-13 10:16:22

Well Green, it finished over the weekend.

But after a strong start, DD is starting to crumble a bit now. She's foolishly texting him trying to talk reasonably to him and he's being an arse.

I'm trying to explain to her that she needs to leave it be and he'll eventually come chasing her. But she can't leave it alone, texts him. He'll send snottograms back, she gets upset and so on.

I'm not very good with the whole emotional thing. I am hamstrung by the need to make sense. My fiancee will take her out for dinner tonight and hopefully will be able advise her better than I can.

lljkk Wed 24-Apr-13 11:26:55

They've got to learn from own mistakes...
Just make sure she knows you're always be there to help her pick up the pieces.

chocoluvva Wed 24-Apr-13 11:28:22

Oh, your poor DD.

This does sound like it's at least the beginning of the end of him. Try to make her time at your home as nice as possible without being too intense. Lots of TLC, laughing.

Greenkit Wed 24-Apr-13 11:31:40

Niceguy2, your her dad and a man, so explain to her how a man should treat a women and how you would never hurt someone like he is hurting her. How she is beautiful, intelligent and deserves someone who loves her and doesn't try and control her, who wants to see her succeed in life and so supports her in her school work. That is loving someone.

Good luck because teenagers are hard x

ghosteditor Wed 24-Apr-13 11:49:25

I'm late to this thread, but having watched a close friend go through this recently (in her late 20s) there are certainly a few warning signs, but then again he may just be very immature.

Now is the time for you to step up. Ask if you could talk for a few minutes while she listens, then ask if she wants to say anything while you listen.

Apologise for losing your temper. Tell her you love her and have been worried, and that from the outside it seemed like her former boyfriend showed some controlling behaviour. Tell her you are proud of her for how she handled herself and for making the break when she did (ignore the recent texts). Now is the time to rebuild her self esteem and reassert what a healthy relationship should feel like.

My friend has serious self esteem issues, partly from her dad's emotional issues. It took until her late 20s for an abusive idiot to find her and break down her ideas about the relationship she deserved. Her behaviour begged for help, but she insisted everything was fine.

Sometimes it's worth playing the bad cop in order to prove that you love someone very much despite them not liking you much at the moment.

Good luck!

chocoluvva Wed 24-Apr-13 11:59:04

IME it's perhaps too early to talk to your DD about why you feel the ex-BF is controlling etc. She'll still be missing him. It's hard for her to stop contact with him. She probably isn't ready at the moment to hear negative things about him.

I'd give it a bit more time before you discuss his behaviour with her. It's still very raw for her. You'll churn things up for her. Acknowledge her sadness and difficulties and tell her things to make her feel good about herself. Try to provide nice distractionsShe will learn from this once this intense phase is over and be glad of your support.

AgathaF Wed 24-Apr-13 18:24:02

I agree chocoluvva.

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