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DD (22) surprise engagement...worried
My DD is engaged, she is 22. She has been with him for 3 years since they met at the start of uni. They want to marry next christmas. They have never stayed overnight together or been on holiday and refuse to move in together before marriage. She has just got a reasonably well-paid job and we are helping her buy a flat but he is struggling to find a job. I knew they were considering marriage (they are both religious but DH and I are not) but didn't realise it would happen so soon. I have always felt living together for a few years and getting careers sorted was wise.
I'm concerned there is no real spark. They see each other every few weekends (DD is living in our hometown, he is living at their old uni town). DD seems to love the idea of it all and security of being 'sorted' (her words) but I just don't see real, passionate love and excitement. His upbringing and what he wants in life is very different from DDs but she says they'll work it out. It all is very rushed. Apart from church friends, none of DDs friends are engaged. Some have boyfriends but marriage is definitely not on the cards anytime soon!
If this was 4-5 years time and they had lived together (or even just been on holiday or generally seen that they can cope with extended periods of time together) then I'd be overjoyed. I don't believe he isn't 'the one' for her, I just don't think the time is right or see the rush.
Obviously they are adults and can do as they wish. I would not intervene and stop this but words of wisdom/advice would be useful. DD is generally very sensible and open but I know I need to tread carefully.
All you can do is be happy for them. Doesn't matter if you think it will or will not work etc etc and be there to pick up the pieces if it doesn't work out.
I got married very young because I was also religious and the rule of being chaste until marriage is pretty hard to live by. I married young to have sex! I also got divorced young... No advice but if you are able to have a frank talk about why sex before marriage is a GOOD thing, it might be worth a try...
I think you'll get some replies from people who married young and are still together as well as people who will point out that passion fades and that 22 year olds are adults.
I'm not religious but I think I've heard of churches doing marriage courses. I don't know what they entail but I'm guessing it will involve food for thought like future vision, how to deal with arguments...
You sound very sensible so is carry on avoiding any negativity but try and get her to open up a bit as to her motives. Id also try and offer her ideas for alternative futures or talk about your own and friends exciting pasts. Keep the door wide open- this must be hard when you're feeling disappointed/anxious.
With all due respect, you have already stated your dd is an adult & will make her own decisions & mistakes. The only advice I can give you is to support her in whatever she wants. Not all love is passionate & a stable comfortable love might be all your dd wants/needs! Just because you can't see the Sparks between them doesn't mean they don't have them. Some people are very private (myself included).
I'm 22, engaged & have a 3 month old ds. I know as a parent I'm going to worry about my sons life & decisions just as mine do about me but as a parent all you can do is support. I'm speaking here as somebody's daughter & mother. My parents have always supported my relationship & respect the boundaries. None of my friends are engaged or with children but I've always been the "older" one of the group.
Everybody's different. I've never wanted the party lifestyle, I've never wanted to go travelling (apart from the amazing family holidays I'm planning in the future) or spend my 20s single. I always wanted a good job, a husband & a family - no rush but I've found the person I want to spend my life with so WHY wait?? 😊
I was married and had a baby aged 22, separated age 25. But for every bad story there is good...statistically marriages are more likely to fail if the people are aged under 25 but it's your daughter life and her choice. I would be more worried about her having a child young than getting married.
If they are religious, they wouldn't be able to do things like live together first - and nowadays, lots of people marry for passion above all else, which is presumably why half of marriages end in divorce!
I understand why you're worried, of course, because it's not what you'd hoped or planned for her, but I think you need to trust to the way you've brought her up that she's a sensible girl and will have the good sense to think carefully through her decisions.
My brother's year at university all went off and got married right after - the only couple who are still married (to each other - some of them, in their mid-30s, are already married to other people!) are the CU couple. My year didn't marry young - and the majority of us (early 40s) are still not married. In my aunt's house, one of my cousins was religious and got married just before their graduation - 5 kids and 20 years later, they are still happily married. Her twin sister is unmarried (not by choice) and her slightly older brother is just in the process of getting divorced. Clearly not a representative sample, but a sign at least that it won't necessarily be doomed if they are marrying for practical and not passionate reasons!
Of course it's worrying. He has no job, he's religious, they've never lived together before- I'd be having sleepless nights if it were dd- (no doubt it will be dd!)
How does this affect your contribution to the flat? Id be looking at a deed of trust(?) for her possibly.
I am another who married young aged 20. We had known each other 18mnths when we married and although did have sex we never lived together first. Still together nearly 40 years, 3 dc's and 9 dgc's later. Sometimes you just know when you meet the person who is right for you. I hope this is the case for your dd too.
I got engaged when I was 22, to a completely unsuitable man (not that I thought so at the time, obvs) and we'd booked the church, the car, had an engagement party etc when my father said to me, quietly "you know, you don't have to get married and please don't if you're not completely sure"
As a result I called it off, lucky escape. So I think it's worth a quiet chat with her, just to let her know you'll support her if she changes her mind.
I'd also buy the flat in your names and let her live in it, I wouldn't necessarily be giving her a flat tbh.
And I completely get why you're worried, it's very young. Good luck.
Well it's still a year away so a lot can happen in that time.
I don't see anything wrong in expressing your concerns that they are still young etc. Parents are allowed to express their opinions and you can be honest without sounding unsupportive.
The main concern for me would be that he is not working. The number of men I know who currently don't work/don't want to work is astonishing. And funnily enough they tend to have partners who bring in the money through working all hours. It can be a pattern for life too. If he hasn't got the work ethic now, is it going to develop? What is he living on now? Is she supporting him?
Good question on how that affects you buying her a flat. What will his contribution be?
My parents were like you, so in the end they didn't get to come to my wedding. They also accused dh of being a golddigger. It is worse for them than me as they will regret that for the rest of their lives.
I personally don't have a problem with people marrying at that age, not living together for religious reasons, or with the groom being currently unemployed, but when there is no "spark or passion" and "what he wants in life is very different from DDs but she says they'll work it out", would worry me.
As you say, you cannot interfere, it is her life and her choices, but even arranged marriages need common goals and a spark.
I got married at 20 and we are still together 32 years later.
I didn't want my dc to settle down too early but DC1 is almost 30 and still not connected and not got a proper job, so she might as well have done what I did.
If you try to interfere you will only make her dig her heels in. Can you get someone else to have a word with her? I would have listened to our vicar while totally ignoring my parents.
How is it a rush? They will have been together 4 years by then and she will be 23!! until very recently living together before marriage was not the done thing at all.
I was 21 when I got married. We'd been together almost 3 years, never stayed with him overnight, didn't live together before hand, went on one holiday together, stayed at my aunties in separate rooms. 30th anniversary this year.
Youth is wasted on the young....
I reckon she'll change her mind in a year- hopefully she'll meet some different people at work or socially and her desire to 'get sorted' will fade.
You say you've helped her buy a flat: financially helped? On what terms: a gift or investment? If it was a lot of money you might want to see if there's any way you can protect your money in the event of a divorce.
I had two religious friends who suddenly got married at about this age. It became obvious some months after the marriage that she was pregnant at the time of the marriage. Are you sure this isn't the case?
I would be having a word about the finances - you say you are helping her to buy a flat - I hope you have this sorted legally ?
If not you have a year to do so. As one they are married you could see your financial help be handed over to him.
I got married (for the first time) at 18.
I appreciate that my family were trying very hard to respect my autonomy as an adult. I think there was probably a fair old whack of fear that if they voiced objections it would place a wedge, and make me dig my toes in harder. We did live together for two years first. But... that was no immunisation from too much, too young. I think part of me was pushing the boat out to test how far into deep water I could go before they broke the "your life, you're an adult,new respect that" line. In a sort of overgrown toddler way, I think I was testing boundaries. Perhaps in the hope of finding some. I got in too deep and had to sink or swim as a result.
People, despite similar sounding circumstance, are so different, with wildly diverse motivations, and different odds on a good outcomes. So even having had experience of a very early marriage myself, I'm hard pressed to have any advice as to what you should do, or say... becuase I could be so very, very wrong in my understanding of how it would play out in somebody else's real life.
But you evidently love her. And whatever happens that is going to be a vital part in how she manages her ups and downs. Be they related to her marriage, or not.
If it does all fall apart at the seams, you'll be there. Both she, and you, will get through it. My first marriage might as well have had a big red sign flashing "What a Fuck Up in Waiting!" flashing over it. But all the same, 30 years later, I don't regret it. I learned a lot about me (things like "perhaps rushing in where angels fear to tred is not life's best policy") and ultimately, despite the pain it caused me, him, the people who loved us... I wouldn't have just celebrated 20 years with DH or have our 15 year old son if that first marriage hadn't happened. And life is very very good now. So... it all came out in the wash.
At the same time <big fat hug> cos I can imagine how hard it must be in your shoes. Looking at DS it seems unimaginable that over the next few years his growing autonomy will leave him free to make life changing decsions, and all I get to do is stand and watch, trying not to be too obvious about my arms opening in advance ready to catch him should he fall.
I am really not looking forward to that bit at all. Too much concern that will be the time when nemesis comes to bite my arse as payback for my young adulthood and all the grey hairs I gave everybody around me.
When you say they are religious, is it a mainstream church or one of the less 'high street' brands?
Would you be able to talk about sex too?
Tying yourself down to a guy who you've not shagged and who may hold some old fashioned views on sex is unlikely to lead to a happy sexual life.
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