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AIBU to think my son's girlfriend should let him live his own life?

(59 Posts)
TooBusy4TV Fri 04-Nov-16 14:56:50

Please give me your thoughts on this subject. My son has just turned 18 and is in his second year of A Levels. He wants to go to university to do a specific degree which is his passion. He doesn't want to stay local, he wants to go to the Capital to study.

He has been dating the same girl for just over two years and they are at the same stage in their studies. Having failed one of his AS exams he has ditched that subject and restarted a new A Level fresh this term. That means come next summer he will have two and a half A Levels which may or may not be enough UCAS points to get in, but it's worth a try and there's always clearing. Otherwise he'd maybe have to wait another 12 months until he got all 3 A Levels completed.

His girlfriend will finish all her A Levels next year and intend to work for a year before she thinks about university. She does not want the big city. Historically in their relationship she calls all the shots and uses her emotions to control him eg 'if you do that it shows you don't love me'.

She has made it clear to him that he is not to go to university next year as she isn't intending to go herself. She has made him promise not to apply. He feels she will put him through enormous pressure (and I think emotional blackmail) if he did apply and go next year to follow his dreams sooner rather than later.

He thinks that staying at home another year is the path of least resistance but if asked if he wants to go next year - he certainly does. He is quite kind hearted and does not like upsetting anyone - least of all her.

AIBU to think she should butt out and let him do what he bloody well wants to do?

From a frustrated mother

amusedbush Fri 04-Nov-16 14:59:54

Of course she should butt out but you really can't say anything to her. You can advise your son and hope that he follows his heart but he's almost an adult, it's ultimately up to him.

mishmash1979 Fri 04-Nov-16 15:00:46

The biggest mistake I ever made in my life was putting long term bf before my studies and future plans. A silver lining of conpletely cocking up my exams and following said bf to a shitty university was that I met an amazing boy (now my husband of 15 yrs) and dumped my lame excuse for a bf at the time!!!!

VintagePerfumista Fri 04-Nov-16 15:00:47

And he tells you all this, does he?

How very odd.

If he doesn't like it, why doesn't he finish with her?

Be careful that you don't become the "other" interfering woman in his life though...

TinklyLittleLaugh Fri 04-Nov-16 15:02:07

It's not a relationship I would be encouraging. Any chance he could get on a degree with a foundation year, in the subject he wants, with two A levels? They are very young to be factoring each other into their life plans.

Boundaries Fri 04-Nov-16 15:03:44

Your son and his girlfriend should work it out between themselves.

If it's an option he'd probably be better studying his 3rd A'level next year so he has 3. Perhaps combined with part time work. It's tricky getting the right course in the right city with low UCAS points.

Zebra999 Fri 04-Nov-16 15:04:02


I have a dd in first year A levels with a boyfriend who thankfully doesn't exert that type of pressure

you need to have a word with him about standing up for himself. It's hard I know. But if he doesn't learn that lesson now, he will have a whole adulthood full of people who are going to try and coerce him into positions he doesn't want to be in. He has to learn to say no!

if that fails, I would consider a word with her parents

gleam Fri 04-Nov-16 15:11:06

'if you do that it shows you don't love me'

You could rephrase that for him and see if it sparks off any thoughts?

If you loved me, you wouldn't mind if I went to university.
If you don't want me to go to university, it shows you don't love me.
If you don't cover my bed in rose petals every night, it shows you don't love me' etc etc.

Show him how ridiculous a line of thought it is.

TheNaze73 Fri 04-Nov-16 15:14:27

All too common in young adults. Emotional blackmail at its worst.
I would be very concerned at how manipulative she is

TooBusy4TV Fri 04-Nov-16 15:16:02

Thanks all. And yes you're right I don't want to interfere too much in his life either. I have spoken to him about standing up for himself and he agrees that he needs to work to this.

He does confide in me Vintage when something is bothering him a lot. He knows I wouldn't say anything to her directly. I think he knows he needs to have a difficult conversation with her about wanting to keep his Uni options open for now.

GruochMacAlpin Fri 04-Nov-16 15:17:11

The issue isn't the girlfriend really. The issue is about your son standing up for himself and having the courage of his own convictions.

If he's off to Uni next year he needs to be able to say "no" to friends rather than take the path of least resistance.

anydaysoon Fri 04-Nov-16 15:30:13

Similar but different experience here, be aware the GF may try to raise the stakes in terms of maintaining control of the relationship.
Make sure your son is using adequate birth control - Condoms! and not relying on his GF being on the pill that may be me projecting our own family experience too much

TataEs Fri 04-Nov-16 15:43:18

it doesn't hurt to apply, just to see where he stands. think of it as a practice run. he doesn't even have to tell her really. he could apply and defer.
i would definitely encourage him to apply this year. tell him he doesn't have to take the place if that makes it easier. also offer him the option to 'blame you' (mum is making me apply this year, but i won't get a place as i won't have completed my a levels, if i don't apply she won't let me do x/y/z or whatever) then if he does get a place he can decide if he wants to go.
he should bare in mind that she might not apply the following year. she may get a job and prefer that life. if she doesn't want to move to the city is it ever going to be the right time for him to go?
she is holding him back and subsequently i don't think she is the right woman for him. she's not thinking about their long term future together (good education equals good qualifications equals good job equals good pay equals financial security), which could imply she doesn't see one for them. so i wouldn't worry about trying to get him to apply against her wishes.

Sunshineonacloudyday Fri 04-Nov-16 15:45:13

He's been p&*%y whipped I have no advice to give you on this topic.

Trifleorbust Fri 04-Nov-16 15:46:57

He is either going to stand up for his own ambitions or he isn't. Absolutely nothing you can do here.

CheesyWeez Fri 04-Nov-16 15:52:12

I am in a similar position with my DD. I have mentioned to her what Michelle Obama said to a crowd of high school girls "Don't make choices about YOUR education based on boys".

Many 18 year olds are in this position. I was in this position myself when I went to uni. I'm afraid I made the wrong choice at the time :-( I still ended up with the degree but feel I missed out a bit on the student life, for a relationship which inevitably didn't work out.

I would say to him to think about his education, follow that, and if the couple is meant to be, then it will work out! And he will be well qualified in his chosen career. Anyone who loves him would let him get qualified.

TooBusy4TV Fri 04-Nov-16 16:00:33

Actually anydaysoon the 'accidental' pregnancy has been on my mind too. It would be the ultimate way to have him never leave.

TataEs , my mum has suggested he try anyway and then has the option to defer. He seems keen on this idea.

PaulDacresConscience Fri 04-Nov-16 16:03:46

There was a really similar thread last year I think. So much so I wondered if it was a zombie thread when I saw this.

From memory, boy wanted to go to Uni, girl was intending to finish school and start working and wanted to stay in same town - uni never in her plans. Girl wanted boy not to go to Uni and stay in same town so that they could move in together. Boy decided to go for Uni and brought relationship to an end because he wanted a clean break and felt things had become too intense. Girl then claimed she was pregnant - but apparently ended up not being and was a tactic to try and convince boy to stay.

I'd echo the advice about being very careful about contraception.

BakeOffBiscuits Fri 04-Nov-16 16:06:13

He has to learn to stand up for his own wants or he will have a miserable life!

I'd start by having a general chat about how he is responds to other people rather than a full on 'your GF is controlling'. He needs to see it for himself.

JW13 Fri 04-Nov-16 16:12:41

Hi OP, I'm new here but I just wanted to share my experience.

When I was doing A Levels, the situation was reversed - I was going to go to uni and my boyfriend (older, left school quite early) didn't want me to go. He basically pressured me by saying our relationship wouldn't survive if I moved to London which was only an hour away and he regularly went there! I ended up taking a gap year as I wanted to work abroad for a few months. Low and behold doing that would also have meant the end!

In fact, we broke up well before either happened (despite having been together for 2-3 years) but I would have done both things notwithstanding his behaviour. Your son should think about what he wants - I know many people whose relationships survived being apart at uni (for at least the first year). If they're meant to be together then their relationship should survive being apart.

Wdigin2this Fri 04-Nov-16 16:14:04

Oh dear, this is such a common theme when young adults find luuurve and I'm not belittling youngsters or love, we all probably felt like this at some time! Of course she should encourage him to follow his plans, but she's a young girl, exerciseing her control over the opposite sex.....and its absolutely up to him to make these decisions!
I would encourage the 'apply anyway' idea, then if he doesn't get in, nothing lost, but if he does it may well be enough to push him into making the decision you want for him!

Bluntness100 Fri 04-Nov-16 16:14:34

Are you sure, and I mean this with respect, that your son is not struggling to stand up to uou? That maybe he wishes to defer for a year and is struggling to tell you, so blaming the girlfriend? He is with her through choice. And kids do things like this. Especially if the parent is quite strong willed.

As for accidental pregnancy, this is a girl who wishes to work, who wants to go to uni, I doubt she'll have a baby at 18, catch yourself on. If what you're being told is true, she wants her boyfriend to go to uni at the same time as her, that's all.

Try to remember this girl may one day be your daughter in law, and starting off on the wrong foot is never ideal.

I've been with my husband for 27 years since I was 20. When I first met his mother i had been with him three months and was graduating. I stayed at their house for the first time as they lived close and I had a terrible case of food poisoning and was vomiting, the morning of my graduation his mother and his aunt knocked on my bedroom door and came in and asked me if I was still being sick, when I said, God yes, she asked me if I was pregnant with this disdainful look on her face. No I wasn't, in fact it was another eight years before we decided to try for a child. But it was offensive in the extreme on so many many levels.

Oh and when I was eventually pregnant, she couldn't have been happier and wanted to be with her granddaughter so much. Guess who really gets to make that decision?

So go lightly here, don't burn bridges you may one day need. Because for sure uour son is telling her what you say,

Chickoletta Fri 04-Nov-16 16:15:52

Agree that your son shouldn't be pushed into making decisions about his future but, speaking as a teacher, think he would be far better off applying a year later with a full set of A levels in hand.

The tone of your post is very emotive, OP. As a pp said, beware of being the other pushy woman in his life! Don't dismiss this relationship on grounds that they are young - my serious boyfriend from the 6th form is now, 20 years later, my DH and father of my children.

DinosaursRoar Fri 04-Nov-16 16:24:13

I would suggest you say to him it wouldn't hurt to apply this year and then defer his place if he gets it, that way he can have next year without the 'pressure/worry' of getting a place as he's already got one lined up. That way as avoids him being talked into applying for a Uni closer to home as he's already got the London place sorted.

If he doesn't get it, he can apply the following year with the extra A level.

Be careful not to overtly criticise her too much. You might regret that every christmas for the next 20/30+ years...

anydaysoon Fri 04-Nov-16 16:29:38

bluntness if you comment is partially aimed at me? I was just passing on my experience without going into full details but I can assure you it can happen. I fully expected my son to take responsibility for contraception but he was careless.
My grandchild is due in February and my son is 17. His GF's best friend fell pregnant within a month as well!
He and his girlfriend are living with us as otherwise they would be homeless so I am having to be very involved.

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