Do I tell him I think he's making a huge mistake?(25 Posts)
A close friend of ours (mine and DH) has been with his GF for less than a year and just a month ago he was ready to split up with her due to her general bad attitude towards him and lack of support, she's also very jealous and needy.
They have just found out she is pregnant (apparently by accident but if I'm honest I'm not entirely sure on her part I think it might be an attempt to save a dying relationship - she knew he wasn't happy) and because of the pregnancy they have booked to get married in September, because he "feels that's what he should do". They weren't engaged and hadn't spoken of it before the pregnancy.
I really want to speak to him, not to actually try and talk him out of it because really it is up to him and it's his life, but I want to make sure he's thought through the marriage and what things will be like in the future, not just the wedding iyswim.
I don't think either of them actually love each other, whenever they are out together they don't spend much time together and he's often telling my DH that he's cross with her or she's done/said something thoughtless again. I know all couples have their moments, and I'm sure DH talks to our friend when I've been a pain, but they just don't even seem comfortable together most of the time, let alone happy.
I'm not suggesting for a moment that he should split up with her or anything like that, but I think he's rushing into a marriage that he hasn't through about properly. There's no reason they can't live together still and marry later on.
We are quite close and I feel it's a conversation I could have with him, but I'm not sure I should. DH wants to say something too but knows he can't as he has more of a tendancy to be a bull in a china shop and the friend would just shut down and refuse to discuss it, but DH won't say to me either way whether he thinks I should talk to him.
The friend and I have been through some similar (unrelated) issues in the past and have always been able to talk openly and honestly.
So, do I talk to him, or just let them get on with it, suspecting he will end up unhappy? I just don't want to see him hurt.
Definitely talk to him - about how he can still be a Dad to this baby, without a) marrying her or even b) being with her. Remind him of how he was ready to end the relationship before she got pregnant - her being
oh so conveniently pregnant doesn't need to change that.
If he is marrying out of a sense of duty it is not a good thing. Not sure how you could possibly broach the topic though if he doesn't want to.
You could drop round for a chat and see if it comes up but either way it's very tricky.
I think it is something that you could have a conversation with him about, rather than talk to him about IYSWIM.
If you encourage him to express and explore his feelings about it, it will be more useful to him than you simply giving him your opinion, which is more likely to cause him to clam up.
So, lots of open questions, discussions of pros and cons of things hypothetically, rather than just rolling in and telling him he is nuts.
Thisteldew, that's a very good approach!!
I have been undecided about how to even bring it up if I did decide to talk to him but that would work, thank you.
Like I said, I don't want to actively talk him out of it, he's an adult and can make his own decisions and it's not my place to tell him he's wrong, it's more that I want to be clear in my own mind that he's really thought about what he's doing.
(FWIW though; on this occasion I think he's completely nuts!! I just can't say it in those words)
A good opening might be to mention the wedding and then say "that must have been a very difficult decision for you".
if they are going to have the baby together and parent as a couple, then i don't see how marriage is any 'more' of a mistake. in fact, it will make things easier to formalise if they then split up.
but if it's a question of whether they should even be a couple, then that is something worth exploring perhaps in conversation with him... but perhaps he's not doing the wrong thing, being a NRP from the very beginning must be very hard, it's not like a newborn can go for sunday visits or if breastfed have shared residency...
Fluffles, I can sort of understand what you mean, but I think if things were to go wrong, wouldn't it just be more complicated if they are married rather than just living together? Genuine question, I don't know.
I think it is a question of whether they should even be a couple, but I don't feel it's for me to offer that as an option, I want him to expore whether he should marry her or not, then if he comes to his own conclusions re the relationship as a whole that's his perogotive, is that fair or not?
I think it all needs exporing in a conversation, not one I will look forward to though.
BTW, what does NRP mean? sorry.
NRP = Non-resident parent
I don't know, i still think that unless you're very religious, then having a child together is more of a commitment than marriage. and if a marriage splits up there is a process to ensure that everybody in the whole family's interests are taken account of. In the case of a partnership breakdown there isn't that formality.
Hmm, I can definitely see what you mean; having a child together is a huge commitment in itself. unfortunately it's just confused me even more now
I'm worried though that in a marriage she will take more than she's entitled to if they were to split up. He would never leave her struggling or anything like that, he's not like that, but she's the sort that would try to take him for everything he's worked so hard to get. If they weren't married (and they hadn't even discussed it before she fell pregnant) he would be a little more protected wouldn't he?
You are right, he's an adult capable of making his own decisions. No one is forcing him to do this, he's doing it of his own volition.
'Like I said, I don't want to actively talk him out of it, he's an adult and can make his own decisions and it's not my place to tell him he's wrong, it's more that I want to be clear in my own mind that he's really thought about what he's doing.'
To be clear in your own mind? It's none of your business! You sound very patronising - he's 'nuts', he can't possibly have thought this through, she got pregnant by accident on purpose (if he really didn't want to procreate, he'd use a condom every single time), and most of all, the whole 'encouraging him to open up and express his feelings about it by open-ended questions and hypothetical situations' approach, as if he's too stupid not to see right through that. Ditto the 'you can be a parent without being married or with her'. Duh, he's not an idiot, he's well aware of that.
A true friend knows when the shut their mouth, IME.
' If they weren't married (and they hadn't even discussed it before she fell pregnant) he would be a little more protected wouldn't he?'
No. He'd also stand a far higher likelihood of losing contact with his child.
Stay out of it. No 'conversations', no 'I saw this coming' if it all goes awry.
Just be a friend, a supportive one.
He's a grown man who knows what he is doing. He deserves to be treated as such.
She said she had a coil fitted, she's never mentioned to him having it removed. I don't know what she's said to him now about it.
I'm just concerned about a friend who was ready to end the relationship just before he found out she was pregnant but is now about marry her!!
If nothing else, do you not think she deserves better? Honest question, not trying to be difficult.
Having a child together is more of a commitment than marriage
Maybe so, but they only have a choice about one of these now.
I think that if you don't want to be with someone then pregnancy is unlikely to make you want to be with them more. I am generally against "staying together for the children", and getting together for a child who doesn't yet exist (and so won't know any different) seems even more foolish.
lachesis - do you never help your friends through difficult decisions/ situations? Or do you just sit back and say "you're an adult, I'm not going to help you think through this".
I try to help my friends when they are in difficulties or I think they are heading for a fall, and I am very pleased when they do the same for me. I was stuck in a relationship I now really regret for far too long during which none of my friends at the time even tried to say "is this what you really want?". It made a huge difference to me when someone finally did.
TrillianAstra, you've put it perfectly. staying or getting together for the sake of the child is incredibly damaging.
I think I defintiely need to have a chat with him, but I won't tell him he's making a mistake, but try to help him think about the implications of marriage, I suspect he's still caught up in the shock and excitement (wrong word?) of everything that's happened over the last month or so.
'lachesis - do you never help your friends through difficult decisions/ situations? Or do you just sit back and say "you're an adult, I'm not going to help you think through this". '
I don't consider your approach helpful, Thistle, I really don't. Because I respect that they have a brain and know what they are doing. I leave it at, 'You know I support you in every way, and that I am always here for you because that is what friends are for,' and then I leave it at that. That to me is helping, even if it means biting my tongue, and yes, friends have done that for me, too. They know I do not make decisions lightly, even if they may seem light to others. For example, DH and I eloped and married after knowing each other only about a month.
We married for reasons that, to the outside, might even seem dubious.
Our friends never voiced anything but support, because we'd have sniffed through anything else and been pretty pissed off because really, it's not their marriage, so therefore not their business and we were two adults.
11 years and 3 children later, we are still solid as a rock.
FWIW, my first cousin and her husband married because she was pregnant. They were 16 and 21. It was never gonna last, right? If people thought that, they never said it, even her own family and the two men who were the closest thing she had to a father, my dad and my dad's older brother.
Guess who celebrated a 17th anniversary last month?
'TrillianAstra, you've put it perfectly. staying or getting together for the sake of the child is incredibly damaging.'
That is not always true.
Thing is, what makes it a success for one couple is not what makes it a success for others. I mean, just look at so many of the relationships on here that are swimming along, but you might read about them and think, 'WTF?! I could never put up with that!' or what's a dealbreaker for one couple is not for another.
Do you know what marriage is like? Well, does anyone?
I've been divorced and can tell you, my prior marriage is nothing like the one I'm in now.
I guess I've gotten to the point where I'm too old to stick my berk in unless it's specifically asked for because IME, people are going to do what they are going to do and by the time they have announced a decision like this, that's generally the end of it. These days it's, 'I wish you well in every way, I always have. I support you always and if you don't already know this I want to remind you of it. I love you for who you are. Tell me the date, I'd like to get you a wee something.'
Inside I used to think, 'Oh, he/she is makign a BIG mistake,' but often enough, I've been proven wrong, so now I just shrug and think, 'Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.'
I always remember a quote from 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde', 'The more it looks like queer street, the less I ask.'
It's not just that they are getting married though, he was ready to leave her just before they found out she was pregnant, if she hadn't fallen pregnant they would not be together right now.
The problems that made him ready to end the relationship have not gone away, she is still selfish and unsupportive to him, she still wants everything her own way and throws huge childish tantrums if she doesn't get it, however unreasonable or hideously expensive her way might be and they often argue because of it.
How is that ever going to be healthy for him, her or a baby? This is my concern.
I completely understand that each couple is different, and to those who have married after a short time or because they are expecting and are still together, great, I'm genuinely pleased that is has worked out for you, but this couple were having relationship ending problems before a baby and marriage were even thought of.
I'm really worried about them, I don't think it's a healthy situation.
'How is that ever going to be healthy for him, her or a baby? This is my concern.'
It's not your business to do anything but be supportive of their decisions, though. Even my own MIL held her tongue about her own son's marriage. I can tell you right now, it looked like a major disaster from the outside, and like he was totally being taken advantage of.
That's now how it was.
She was the bigger person, when it came to her own child.
Ditto my own mother and friends.
And it's been the same with my own sister with regards to several very close friends and family. She has always held her peace and her tongue and been there to pick up the pieces IF and when it fell apart. This has meant she has a circle of friends and family who are intensely loyal to her.
So I've taken a leaf out of their book. My concern is being there for a friend or relative IF it all falls apart.
One of my first cousins has had an affair. Her husband is jealous and possessive and may get violent. She left him after she'd fallen pregnant to this other man. Her husband had a codicil put into their divorce decree that their daughter could not spend the night with a non-family member.
So she married her other man last week.
Her sister is the one who married at 16, 17 years ago, to her 21-year-old boyfriend because she was pregnant. Things are so fraught, her husband said he sat with his back to the wall at the wedding in case my cousin's ex-husband came into the hall and shot them (this is in Mexico).
But no one butted into her business. All we do is offer support, let her know we will be there for her and her children, no matter what.
Can it be healthy for the baby, to be conceived and born in such circumstances? It may end their lives if her husband is as nutty as he might be. Or maybe he will get over it.
But it's still not our place to say, 'I think you're doing the wrong thing, S.' It is her life.
Hope for the best, not the worst.
And at the risk of being flamed by MN Mafia, the baby deserves the best possible outcome. And thats a stable family unit based on marriage.
It cant be all that bad, they were together for a year and it takes two to make a baby. I hate it when people say she got pregnsnt deliberately.
I hear what your saying, but you dont really know the interal dynamics of the relationship. Fingers crossed for a happy ending!
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