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Losing my Daughter

(38 Posts)
TheSacredCow Mon 26-Mar-18 09:05:44

My DD is 18.5, she was the light of my life. I’ve been a single parent since she was 11 and we have been really close. DD came out as gay when she was 16 and had a GF who I welcomed to the family and really liked. However, they only saw each other at school (6th Form) and DD only sees her friends at school too, as they don’t live locally and must of them are very studious and don’t go out much. DD has been very studious and is predicted straight A’s in her A-Levels and we have spent the summer looking at Russel Group Universities, which she has chosen, and we were about to apply.

Since January, DD has started going out with some local young people in our village, which I was pleased about as I thought she was probably quite lonely. On March 15th, DD announces she is no longer gay, she has a boyfriend. I am shocked but pleased for her. Since then, I have not coped well. DD has not spent a single night on her own since March 15th. She mostly sleeps at her BF’s house, but she pushed me into letting him stay at ours last Thursday night, even though I had not met him and I felt reluctant. I noticed that his FB profile says he is in a relationship with another girl, and there is a picture of her wrapped around him. I asked DD about this and she said he has left it because his ex-GF is struggling to come to terms with the break up. DD says she and BF have been seeing each other for 5 weeks, but still the profile is there.

In addition, DD has said she does not want to leave BF to go to University and will either have a gap year (doing voluntary work!) or go to the local University which is considerably less prestigious than the Uni’s she has been looking at. I have told DD that I am disappointed, as I suspect if she has a gap year she won’t actually go to Uni, and I think she is making a mistake.

When BF left in the morning having stayed at our house last Thursday, I introduced myself, shook his hand and he then said “I am in a hurry”.

Yesterday, DD announced he was coming to stay again last night. I then said that I felt 2 nights per week was enough at our house, and that I thought spending every night with him was too much at this stage of the relationship, and DD said it was perfectly normal and everyone does it.

Due to a number of other awful things happening this week, I had a kind of breakdown, and went to my bedroom and cried the whole day. DD came to my room and said “are you OK?”, I said that I felt angry and upset and that I would prefer to stay quietly in my room rather than say things I might regret. She could still have BF round but I would not be around. DD then said “it feels as though you hate me” and I replied that I just felt overwhelmed, I’m worried she is making mistakes with her life but it is her life to do that with. DD then said “I’ll move out, then shall I?” I said “well you have BF now, why don’t you go and move in with him and his family?”

DD said “see you tomorrow, or maybe never again”. We have never had a disagreement like this, and I don’t want to lose her, but I am very unhappy with what she is doing and I don’t really like her BF, though I know I will have to bite my tongue and try and get on with him if DD and I are to stay in each others’ lives. DD could go to her fathers house but he is flakey and always in the pub and won’t really want her. I am worried I am messing up badly here and don’t know what to do.

Helpmeplan Mon 26-Mar-18 09:24:42

Deep breath. Might be worth going in with an apology but make her aware it is because you are worried about her. Make sure she hears you say you love her and she is always welcome home.

Don't push the Uni issue. She'll make her own way. It's hard to stand back but I think you need to.

NC4Now Mon 26-Mar-18 09:29:48

Rushing, but can’t read and run. I took a gap year for exactly that reason. Parents hated my bf, went to uni the following year and swiftly dumped him.
I’m 40+ now, decent job, good home, good Mum.
She’s just asserting herself.

Helpmeplan Mon 26-Mar-18 09:30:15

I don't mean you should apologise for how you feel about the bf btw you are entitled to your feelings.

Raven88 Mon 26-Mar-18 09:37:24

Why not sit down and be honest with your DD about how you are feeling. You aren't losing her, she is becoming an adult. Maybe a gap year wouldn't be so bad for her if that's what she wants. Honestly I wouldn't openly dislike the boyfriend because that will push her closer to him. Just be there for her and maybe suggest a day out together and get to know her as a young adult.

DancingLedge Mon 26-Mar-18 09:46:04

If you're not sure about her bf, encourage them to spend time at yours.
Don't push them together by rejecting him.

It's so hard, but try to stay calm. The most important thing you need to do for a teen who is maybe not making the best choices is to stay friends with them. Otherwise, they're effectively on their own.

Criticism should be extremely sparing, and always expressed as loving concern for them.

You need some place else to vent, so that you can lower the emotional temperature between you, and remain the adult.

At her age, whatever her choices, the bonds between you are going to stretch and loosen, and rightly so.

Teenageromance Mon 26-Mar-18 09:46:25

Sleeping at each other’s houses every night is not the norm by the way. Just wanted to throw that in and say I agree two nights a week is more than enough with exams etc

senua Mon 26-Mar-18 09:47:38

Don't push her into the arms of the boyfriend. Don't force her into a corner with no way out.

Invite bf into your house, invite him for dinner (i.e. a situation where he can't escape) and make polite chitchat where you can find out that either he is OK or you can show DD that he's a bit of a loser eg subtly ask about the FB photo - why he thinks old gf's feelings are more important than current gf's feelings.
Don't panic, chances are that this will run its course and come to nothing.

Make sure that she keeps up with revision and make sure that she is using reliable contraceptives.

appleblossomtree Mon 26-Mar-18 09:50:59

I would say very normal. I did a similar thing at 18, put my bf before studies. Still ended up with an amazing career. I do look back and think I should have made a different decision but I think it's very normal and I would be supporting her rather than pushing her away. She is a young woman in the first flushes of love. I remember that feeling well. Let her enjoy it and be there when it ends in tears! Part of growing up and letting go.

TheSacredCow Mon 26-Mar-18 13:43:48

Thank you all. At the moment I wish that DD would go and live with her dad or with her BF's family but that is because I feel so angry and let down.

I will have to grit my teeth and try to be civil with her next time I see her, whenever that will be if she is only spending 2 nights per week with me now. It will take a superhuman effort to be pleasant to the BF.

The good thing is that my DS, DD's big brother, who is 26, is due back from working abroad this week, and he might be able to talk some sense into her, as she isn't listening to me.

badger2005 Mon 26-Mar-18 13:53:08

Something about your post is worrying me. I think maybe you have not come to terms with the fact that your dd is growing up, and will make bonds that are at least as important as the bond between you and her.
I imagine it must be enormously painful to let go - but if she always does what you want her to do and stays with you all the time, then she won't be able to really grow up.
The choice really is between having your lovely daughter living her own life, making her own mistakes, but still coming to see you and loving you too, while you cheer her on and admire the way that she recovers from her falls etc, or not really having your daughter in your life.
There is no option for keeping her at home doing what you want her to. Well - there is that option, but your daughter would not be growing up in a normal way then.
Please just tell her you love her, and you're very sorry for interfering, and she is welcome anytime and you'll do whatever you can to help and support her. And don't say a word against her boyfriend. I'm sure your feelings are already known to your dd. She can meditate on them and come to her own conclusions in time.

Battleax Mon 26-Mar-18 13:56:29

My DD is 18.5, she was the light of my life. I’ve been a single parent since she was 11 and we have been really close. DD came out as gay when she was 16 and had a GF who I welcomed to the family and really liked. However, they only saw each other at school (6th Form) and DD only sees her friends at school too, as they don’t live locally and must of them are very studious and don’t go out much. DD has been very studious and is predicted straight A’s in her A-Levels and we have spent the summer looking at Russel Group Universities, which she has chosen, and we were about to apply.

So she’s repeated one year at school?

badger2005 Mon 26-Mar-18 13:58:13

And don't get her big brother to 'talk some sense into her'. She is probably fine. She will be having a relationship with a bit of a tosspot, perhaps - but it hopefully won't be forever. Plus he probably won't be a tosspot forever. Either way, it's not ruining her life. It will just be one of the (maybe many) relationships that didn't work out. And she isn't ruining her life by not going to a Russell Group University. Maybe she'll just take a gap year and then go, or go somewhere else, or go later on, or do something else. None of these are disasters!
I bet she already knows how you feel about the uni thing (as well as her boyfriend), and that can just simmer away in the back of her mind when she makes her decisions over the coming months. No need for you to do anything more to influence her choices. The priority for you is to reverse that sad idea she has got that her own mum hates her! Give a her a big hug, tell her you love her, and that you were just having a bit of a funny turn and of course you want her to stay whenever she wants to!

Battleax Mon 26-Mar-18 13:58:58

Or you mean you were going to apply this cycle, but haven’t?

It really should be her applying, TBH, not the two of you as a joint effort. Maybe she’s trying to spread her wings a bit? Does she feel stifled by you maybe?

Catspaws Mon 26-Mar-18 14:02:45

I really don't want to sound harsh here at all because this must be terrible for you, but I think you have overreacted to your daughter's behaviour and are in danger of pushing her away.

18 is really young, and yet it's a time when people are expected to make lots of long term choices. Not everyone has the maturitt for that - it sounds like your daughter doesn't. A gap year could be the making of her - and university will be there at the end of it. She isn't going to marry this guy, but she needs to figure that out in her own time. You can't tell her.

Saying she isn't allowed home or that she should move in with the boyfriend is risky. Do you really want her to do that? And crying all day in your bedroom is emotional blackmail. She is responsible for her own choices, not your happiness.

I am totally sympathetic to you - you love her and want the best for her and this doesn't seem to be that. But you have to give her time to make her choices, and she has to know that she still has your love and support.

I think you should apologise to her. Tell her you love her and that you spoke out of concern but that you realise you said things you shouldn't have said. Make sure she knows she is welcome at home. Tell her that whatever she decides you will be there for her. Tell her if she needs advice you will give it but that you won't criticise her choices any more.

She'll be ok, OP. If she takes a year or even two to be ready for university she won't suffer for it, and she'll do better at uni for going willingly in her own time. She's 18 and in love and doing stupid things but she's not off the rails. Be there for her, let her forge her own path, and she will be fine.

Brendaofbeechhouse Mon 26-Mar-18 14:10:04

If she hasn't applied for university she has missed the deadline. Was she intending to go though clearing?

Kleinzeit Mon 26-Mar-18 14:38:08

I'm sorry you are having all this stress. Are you getting any help for your breakdown?

One key sentence is this - "we were about to apply". But "we" weren't. This is her university application not "ours". She has every right to choose the local university even for the wrong reasons. Though prestige is not a good reason either, it should really be about whether the course and environment suits her. Prestige is nice but it's icing on the cake not the cake. Same as being near a boyfriend.

she said he has left it because his ex-GF is struggling to come to terms with the break up.

I would have snorted loudly at that and then let the matter drop. She also has the right to see a total arsehole of a boyfriend. Your DD is aware of his Facebook profile, so don't keep poking at them. And really you shouldn't be looking at his Facebook profile, much less commenting on it.

Your DD is 18 not 16, she is old enough to make her own mistakes and she's not going to get everything right. You can't keep her at home and make her do what you know is right any more. You do need step back a little so as to give her space to grow, otherwise she will push you right away. Why did you turn her choices into "live with Mum or live with boyfriend"? She has other options. There's Dad (even though you disapprove of him). Or a place of her own, even if it's just a room in a flat with other girls (whose opinion of her arsehole boyfriend will probably put a stop to it a lot faster than yours!) You are making it all about your feelings not hers.

I have told DD that I am disappointed, as I suspect if she has a gap year she won’t actually go to Uni, and I think she is making a mistake.

If she has a gap year she will have a chance to mature and get the arsehole boyfriend out of her system and her life. Or if she goes to the local university she will have a chance to widen her social circle and make non-arsehole friends while learning useful stuff. Possibly she should leave home as well, ideally into a properly independent life and not just straight into her boyfriend's family house (to me that's like a teen marriage, why would anyone want to do that?)

But in your anxiety over her, you keep catastrophising and closing off her opportunities. If she doesn't do exactly what you want, when you want, in the way you want, then you immediately jump to her not doing it at all. Take a step back. Enjoy her company when she is there. Make being with you enjoyable so it's hard for arsehole boyfriend to cut you out of her life altogether and so she can keep you as a source of help if it all goes wrong (which by the sound of things it probably will!)

At the moment I wish that DD would go and live with her dad or with her BF's family but that is because I feel so angry and let down.

She has not let you down at all. flowers And you haven't lost her either, just make sure she knows your door is always open whenever she wants or needs to come through it.

onemorecupofcoffeefortheroad Mon 26-Mar-18 14:38:59

I had a kind of breakdown, and went to my bedroom and cried the whole day. DD came to my room and said “are you OK?”, I said that I felt angry and upset and that I would prefer to stay quietly in my room rather than say things I might regret. She could still have BF round but I would not be around

Time to loosen the apron strings!

It was mature of her to come and check you were okay. She doesn't want to lose you and telling her "well you have BF now, why don’t you go and move in with him and his family" was a little silly and makes you sound a little possessive.

She just wants to spend time with her bf - at her age that's perfectly normal. She's 18 - she's an adult and can make her own choices. You must allow her to do this otherwise you do risk losing her.

At this stage in your daughter's life the best thing you can do is be her mentor and guide, welcome her boyfriend into your home, say he is welcome to stay but can there be some sort of agreement (three nights a week and not every school night for example). You need to meet her half way.

Why not invite him to dinner one evening so you can chat to him and find out more about him. His rushing off when you introduced yourself is probably just awkwardness - not him pushing you away.

I have two teenage boys and both suffered terribly from awkwardness when meeting their girlfriend's respective parents but it passed once they got to spend time with each other. It all became very normal and natural and their GFs became a part of our family and they became a part of their GFs' families. So much so that when my elder DS split up with his long term GF I was more bereft than he was!

People saying this is not normal I find slightly baffling - at 18 and a half it seems perfectly normal to me.

TheSacredCow Mon 26-Mar-18 14:52:14

Thank you all so much. Just to clarify, DD applied for 5 Universities in the autumn and got 5 offers. She was about to firm up the University she has chosen. The application was for finance which we both needed to do together as it was about my income etc. Sorry I did not make it clear.

A lot of what you have said resonates, I sometimes find it hard to understand my own emotions. I did not expect to react in this way as I was totally happy for her to leave home in October to go to Uni.

I have never acted in the way before (taking to the bedroom) but I have had a lot of bad news this week (mother terminal, cat put to sleep etc) and I just needed some space to myself and there was nowhere else to go. I would have gone to see my own mother once upon a time, when I was upset, but she's too ill now.

I feel you have all given me a much needed slap round the head with a wet kipper, and I will see if I can make amends with DD later today, unless she has already gone to BF house, as I expect she will have done. But I need to accept that she is moving on with her life and I must move on with mine, whilst trying to have a reasonable relationship with her.

badger2005 Mon 26-Mar-18 14:59:50

Ah flowers for you. You have had a very tough week with news about your mother and your cat being put to sleep.
Perhaps it was all these feelings that just came out directed against your dd and her boyfriend.
Get in touch with your dd (email, text etc?), tell her you love her, and of course she must make her own life decisions etc. Explain that you've had a tough week, and ask her to just forgive and forget the explosion - emphasise that she hasn't done anything wrong. Your dd sounds lovely so I'm sure she will understand.
And when you have figured out how to have a good relationship with your grown up daughter, please come back and tell me - I have yet to get to that point but am trying to imagine the mixture of pain and joy it will be to watch them grow up and away from me and make their own way...

Kleinzeit Mon 26-Mar-18 15:59:57

flowersflowersflowers So sorry about all your bad news. Do hang in there.

Wet kippers'r'us.

crimsonlake Mon 26-Mar-18 18:14:51

I think you are too wrapped up in your daughter and I say this kindly as naturally you have been close as you have brought her up alone for several years. What is it they say - you have to let them go to keep them close?
I think your greatest dread is her imminent departure to uni as that is a big step for both of you. More so for you as a single parent and you will have to re-evaluate your life then, perhaps she is going through the same thing? I have been there myself as a single parent when both mine went to uni at the same time, I dreaded the thought for a good few years, but life goes on as they say. I still miss them being around 3 years later but I have to accept that they have their own lives now and be happy for them. Luckily they come home regularly, hopefully not out of a feeling of duty as I do not pressure them.
I would be worried about the bf taking over her life at this critical stage in her A levels and it affecting her revision. There is a helpful interesting book called The Empty Nest Syndrome to help you prepare.

TheSacredCow Wed 18-Apr-18 10:18:17

Last month you all gave me some very helpful advice with coming to terms with my DD and the new relationship she has entered into.

I wonder if I could ask for some more advice and just update you as to what has happened next?

I have now managed to calm myself down and detach from the situation. I have said the BF is welcome to come to the house and stay for two nights per week. We have chatted in the house and DD has asked if I can take them out to dinner to get to know them.

Since 15th March when DD told me about BF and they entered into this fast paced intense relationship, DD has only spent one night on her own in our house. 5 nights of the week she sleeps at BF's mothers house with him, and two nights with BF in our house. I have asked her to spend a couple of nights on her own in her bed at home, because I think it is too much at their age and stage of relationship, but she has ignored me. She says it is quite normal for newly dating couples of that age to sleep together every night.

I have also asked her to prioritise her work, especially as exam periods are coming up, and she shown signs of working throughout the Easter holidays, and as far as I can tell she is keeping up her revision and work, which is the main thing.

Sadly, DD has moreorless dropped her friends, other than seeing them at school, to spend all her spare time with BF. It also appears that his employment is very precarious and he doesn't always get paid, and DD is lending him money from her savings.

She asked me for some money this week from petrol, which I gave her, I then heard BF come through the door and saw DD wave the money at him and say "I've got some money!" and they promptly went off down the pub not coming home until gone midnight.

The two nights that they spent at my house this last week, DD asked to sleep in the guest room which is on the third floor of our town house, because it is bigger. I said that's OK. I was then woken up by them having very loud sex at 3:30 am, both nights. My son lived in that room for 6 years, and would have his lovely mannered GF to stay, and never did I hear them having sex. I feel this is disrespectful of DD and her BF and I would really like to ask them not to sleep at my house, but I feel I can't as I'll potentially lose her. I am pretty sure they are having sex every night and I just hope she got an implant in the Easter holidays as I asked. My DP says he thinks the BF is using DD for sex, which may be a bit harsh.

The closest person in the world to DD is her cousin who is like a sister to her. DCousin is at Uni but when she was home at Easter, she asked me how I was getting on with DD's BF. I said I didn't really know him expecting DCousin to say "oh he is lovely, get to know him". She didn't. She said that she'd been in the same school class as him for 6 years and she really didn't like him, and that he is punching above his weight in dating DD. That DD is paying for them to go out with her savings, and that they are seeing too much of each other. DCousin said she is going to have a talk with DD when she gets back from Uni next month, but I don't suppose she will listen.

That is where I am, desperately worried and unhappy for DD as my instincts, which are often right, tell me lots of things are wrong. However, DD looks so happy and in love. I really want to tell her a few hometruths and stop the BF from coming to our house, but I can't.

Puzzledmum Wed 18-Apr-18 16:00:40

I really feel for you OP, sounds like a nightmare which you just have to ride through. It seems that your DD will learn her lessons the hard way. Unfortunately, some young people are like this, especially when they first fall in love. "Love is blind" as they say. I hope all goes well with your DD's exams and she takes up a uni offer which might separate them. Good luck!

VerbenaBorensis Mon 23-Apr-18 13:16:30

I wonder if she'd be embarrassed if she knew she could hear her?-maybe worth keeping it light hearted? That its keeping you awake so would u mind keeping the noise down a bit......? The more you go against her/her BF, the more she will react and do the opposite. We have all done it to some degree and rebel just cos we can, even if we know parents are right. Just stay outwardly calm-yes, she may be being used but hopefully she will learn by her mistakes and when yr not expecting it. may suddenly make a big turnaround, dump the bugger and head off to uni!! and you will just have to smile to yourself and NOT say 'Well, I did try to tell you......' but congratulate her on her decision. You can only guide so much, at the end of the day, it's her life even though it's hard to see someone going through that-don't forget, at the moment, she's happy, no concept (perhaps-althou she may be fully aware but in a little love bubble) of the situation. How many friends have you seen in relationships they shouldn't be in and still stay? I realise its different when its yr DD though. Good Luck.

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