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Would you want your mum to say anything if...(64 Posts)
she thought you were sleepwalking into a relationship that had red flags all over it?
Please be gentle and don't just say 'Her life, keep out of it, be there with the tissues...'
I know that!
DD is in a relationship (not yet living together but planning on it) but both me, DH and her close friends can see big red flags. We think she may be digging in because she thinks she is too old (late 20s) to get out and start again, as she would like a family at some point.
She lacks confidence at times, and underestimates herself, but has masses going for her in so many ways ( highly skilled professional career, very attractive, kind, thoughtful...) I'm biased, yes.
If I were your mum (I'm older than many people here on MN) how -if at all- would you want me to have that conversation with you so you don't become defensive and continue to hurtle into what may be a disaster? How would you want the conversation to start? Ultimately it is her life, but I feel it would be remiss of me not to say I have concerns...then of course the choice is hers.
Well, having been the daughter, when I split up was faced with a whole load of 'well none of us thought this was right for you' I would rather have been told at the time when I could consider and act on the worries.
I think I'd talk to her. Just tell her you know it's her life but you have xyz worry.
Another older mother here OP, does she know that you have reservations?
I was like offred - when I split with ex DH my mum told me she always thought it was 'off'.... I married in late 20s for similar reasons.
What the red flags are will depend how you broach it.
I think you should have the conversation though. Especially as they aren't engaged or pregnant yet.
"What would you think if a friend told you her partner was x,y,z?"
But ultimately, her need for babies might outweigh her desire to protect herself from possible harm. Be ready to support, as you already know. How about giving her some Lundy Bancroft to read (though I found it dire and unreadable) and some information about abusive relationships?
I would totally discuss with my DD. She is 16 now and we chat about boy problems, one In particular had a serious issue with jealousy so we talked about how that was his problem not hers and hat she should t change who she spoke to to suit him. I can't imagine not having that kind of chat with her as the years go on tbh
It might take a while for the relationship to end, but what you say now will have an impact.
What worked with my daughter was my saying, "Play the film through to the end" - the boyfriend had a problem with drink, had no friends (had fallen out with everyone), didn't speak to his family, was jealous of his (hardworking) brother, didn't have a regular job (kept getting fired) and was really nasty when drunk.
I pointed out she'd be the adult. She'd have to work full time. If she had £20 left in her purse for the week, he'd take that and she wouldn't see him till he'd spent it. She wouldn't have any friends because he'd upset them. They'd have a baby that she couldn't stay home with, because they needed her money, but which she couldn't leave with him, because he was irresponsible. If she ended the relationship she would have to be in touch with him for decades if they had a child.
Not long after that she got herself fitted with an IUD. I think what I said was sinking in. It took a couple of years for the relationship to end, but she was brave, ended it and has never looked back.
It's the hardest thing to watch - like watching a horror film.
Thanks. I'm reluctant to give too many details in case anyone we know reads....
but it's overall, she puts a lot more thought and effort into the relationship than he does. She seems to put him first but he doesn't put her first. He seems quite immature in many ways and selfish, he has a type of MH issue which he won't acknowledge or seek help with- in denial- and which does impact a bit on their day to day life. She is a very thoughtful, caring person and I just don't see her getting that back from him. I think this is his first 'real' relationship whereas she had a former long term boyfriend for many years and that didn't work out.
He is not British so there is also the issue he'd want to return to his own country. I don't think they have talked that over or how she'd feel and if he'd expect her to follow him.
I don't dislike him and I don't want her to think that, I just see the balance of 'caring' all on her side - it's as if she is too accepting of certain things because I think she wants to settle down. I don't even know if they have had a conversation about what they each want and when (ie children, when etc.)
I suppose I am very wary because my parents had a very critical view of my first real boyfriend- we got engaged at 20 and split up. The more they said about him not being any good for me, the more I wanted him!
I am sure she thinks she is getting too old to 'start again' which is crazy. She's got another 10 good years to have DCs.
How would you start the chat? I don't want to blurt out 'He's not good enough for you...' how can I say anything without getting her back up?
You don't want to risk driving her away from you.
Be there for her. Let her know you love her. Let her know you will support her in any way she needs/wants.
She will know it isn't an amazing relationship. Just be there for her.
supercue I have said a few things in the past like 'He isn't treating you that well considering it's early days in your relationship...' Nothing major, but just not pulling out all the stops. He's a bit of a mummy's boy in some ways - his mum spoils him, financially , and overall I think he's just quite immature. He works, he's working hard, I can't fault him there, but I just don't see him as being supportive when she needs it and this MH issue is an 'issue' which will impact on his health and family life in the future.
It prob depends on your relationship with your daughter. It doesn't sound abusive per say, more like he's a bit of a wanker.
I had a bf everyone hated, he was abusive but trying to talk to me about it just made me try and hide it more and refuse to talk about it. And once someone's said it, it helped the isolation more because in order to rug sweep, avoidance was key.
Every situation and person is different but tbh, I would probably say something, even if it was just asking if she is happy.
i like the play the film to the end option. Living in another country, with someone else's extended family - would her career be transferable? I think you have to expect not to be listened to and take a softly softly approach which I'd find hard as that's not my style. I'd do it in an asking questions sort of a way. How would the MH issue intersect with children?
You do have to tread carefully. I wonder if your DD will guess you have doubts, I think my DCs can read me like a book.
you could find that your daughter has decided that even if she ends up as a single mum that it's a choice she's willing to make, and that's why I would tread carefully - I can understand it, it's not ideal but plenty of my friends have made 'he's good enough' calculations at a certain point.
An older mum here as well to two grown up sons, tbh from what you have said in your last post I don't see "red flags" or at least nothing that would make me feel I had to intervene. Just feeling that he is "not good enough for her" imho is not grounds for interfering. He is her choice not yours.
If it was that he was being abusive, bullying or similar I would totally have a word with her though.
Do you know a couple who have a great relationship where the guy is really decent (and opposite to this man)? It's often good to point out this sort of couple and use him as an example, eg "Could you imagine X behaving like that?"
I think finding out about rights to move back home with a baby if something didn't work out helps, too. I never realised, for example, that if you married an Australian and lived in Australia for a while and had a baby, you didn't have the legal right to return to live here with the baby, without his permission. It's very important people intending to have children with someone from another country are told about this.
Just saw this,
He is not British so there is also the issue he'd want to return to his own country. I don't think they have talked that over or how she'd feel and if he'd expect her to follow him
Tbh I would be surprised if that hasn't cropped up in conversation yet if she's as keen on him as you think.
It's such a difficult situation, OP. My mother tried really hard to express her concerns about the various crap relationships I was in throughout my 20s. I also felt I was too old to start over, that all men were a bit shit, that my mother had unrealistic expectations of what a relationship should be like and I would just have to suck it up and get on with it. Sometimes it just takes the experience of a different and better relationship to open your eyes to what's possible - it's not something another person can help you to understand. What I will say, though, is that I did hear and remember what my mother said, and later on when I was in a good relationship I could understand where she was coming from, and I was thankful that she had spoken up.
It sounds like you're doing the right things - raising some concerns, letting her know you love her and believe a happier and more loving relationship should be possible for her, while still allowing her her autonomy.
The thing is, she's bloody gorgeous! High achiever academically, good job, really pretty, caring, lovely kind person......but underlying it all I don't think she rates herself and that makes me wonder <guilt trip> if I've not done the right thing to boost her self esteem. She has fallen into the role of 'mothering' him with his MH disorder, which he won't admit he has.....or get help with.
It's odd- her dad is the kindest most caring person too so it's not as if she's not had a good role model of what a man should be like. We both bend over backwards to help her out (she moved away to uni and still lives away from us) so she knows what 'caring' looks like.
Itmust As I said earlier, I've omitted various things because they are too identifying. If you want to PM me fine, but there are things I don't want to say here.
is it more likely that the end of her previous relationship really dented her confidence, rather than her upbringing?
I suppose you could use the fact that he might want to return home as an opener for a conversation? It might be a way of letting subtly her know that you are not negative, as such, towards the relationship, but that you have some concerns. It won't come across as criticism of him, in that way, but might help?
Just wondering also, if any of her friends have expressed reservations about him, to her. Not an easy thing to do, I know. I remember a friend who was in a very serious relationship with an absolute dose of a guy. He broke it up, in the end, and she was heartroken. Now very happily married many years to a nice guy. I couldn't have said anything to her though, I know that.
I'd open with "x is a lovely hard working chap. We like him and its your life and choice but obviously we only see bits of it and like all relationships we don't know all the dynamics, but from our perspective....... If we are wrong about our concerns then that's fine, just ignore everything we've said. But please think really hard about how these things might develop in the future. We couldn't not mention this as its really concerning us and we don't want to see you get hurt or embroiled in a life that you are not 100% happy in. But of course we love you and will support you completely in your choices. We just want you to consider really hard what we've said."
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