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Advice on Acceptance
Old 12-05-2013, 01:39 PM   #1
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Advice on Acceptance

DW and I have always had a very close relationship with DD. DD is 24, a working nurse, and very much now all grown up and financially viable.

She has been dating a guy for 9 months now and signs are pointed to engagement soon. DW and I have big concerns. The boyfriend is a nice guy, a Christian, and seems to treat her nicely. But he is 28 and only graduated HS. He has no college schooling. He has an hourly job that amounts to a gopher/errand guy in an oil firm. He readily admits that is not what he wants to do long term but is vague at best on where he wants to head in his career. He lives barely paycheck to paycheck.

We are concerned about his inability to provide financially to the future of their potential marriage and family. It will limit DD's options and choices and indicates a life different that what she is used to.

We have directly expressed our concerns in an extremely difficult conversation with DD. She was highly upset and we are of course worried about damaging such an important relationship between us. For now, DD has made the decision to move forward with this relationship and we have told her we will work towards acceptance and peace with her decision. But it aint that easy as it turns out. We really feel deep down she is making a terrible mistake and I envision an 'I told you so moment' in the future that would be awful and too late by then.

How do you accept and come to peace with something like this when you truly believe your DD is making a terrible mistake? I do not think there is any choice but to try. But still we struggle with it.

Have you ever struggled to accept something so important that went against everything you felt deep down? If so, I'd love your guidance. Maybe it helps some just typing it out on here.....not really though.

Thanks.

Muir
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:53 PM   #2
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My daughter is getting married next April to a young man. He is a good person, treats her well and has a good career as an Optometrist. The problem is that he has 250 thousand dollars of debt. Want to trade? JK
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:54 PM   #3
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I think it's tough to watch others we care about make decisions we don't agree with, especially our children.

My feeling is you give your advice and then leave it. Adult children need to be free to make their own decisions and then deal with the consequences. And it will be painful to watch if there is a failure of the marriage or if your daughter is unhappy, but we all have to learn to deal with life (problems/failures/disappointment) as adults.

If I were you I would recommend that they attend some sort of pre-marital counseling (Ministers usually do this) because it will make your daughter confront/discuss many issues including $$$$. You don't need to say more.

Yes, it will be tough to stand by and watch, but many people find themselves in their 20s, so maybe her boyfriend is still to find a goal for his life. I have seen several men who went through this growth in their late 20s and now are over 50, and doing fine.

And please, don't go the "I told you so" route. What does that accomplish? You already know about life, she is still learning. I-told-you-sos are relationship killers, not builders.

Try the serenity prayer on a daily basis and work to let go of the need to make sure her life is without mistakes. I wish you peace.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:00 PM   #4
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. We really feel deep down she is making a terrible mistake and I envision an 'I told you so moment' in the future that would be awful and too late by then.

My parents needed to go through this with me many years ago. We had several difficult discussions about a man I was planning to marry, but they always made it clear it was my decision, and they would be available to help in any way should the day come I needed them.

That day came after being married for several years, and I unfortunately needed their help to get safely out of an abusive marriage.

I was always so very grateful that my parents never ever said "I told you so...." . They never even hinted at it. They just gracefully accepted the situation, loved me, and helped me move forward into a much better life.

That would be my only suggeston.....don't ever allow an "I told you so" moment.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:04 PM   #5
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My parents needed to go through this with me many years ago. We had several difficult discussions about a man I was planning to marry, but they always made it clear it was my decision, and they would be available to help in any way should the day come I needed them.

That day came after being married for several years, and I unfortunately needed their help to get safely out of an abusive marriage.

I was always so very grateful that my parents never ever said "I told you so...." . They never even hinted at it. They just gracefully accepted the situation, loved me, and helped me move forward into a much better life.

That would be my only suggeston.....don't ever allow an "I told you so" moment.
Thanks to you and 2moreyears for making that point. And to clarify, I totally agree. I hope I would never throw an actual 'I told you so' in my daughters face. I was simply saying that I can see that moment of realization arriving in the future. Not that I would actually do it. If that day does arrive we all will be feeling too badly to even consider throwing such a useless comment out.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:07 PM   #6
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DW and I have always had a very close relationship with DD. DD is 24, a working nurse, and very much now all grown up and financially viable.

She has been dating a guy for 9 months now and signs are pointed to engagement soon. DW and I have big concerns. The boyfriend is a nice guy, a Christian, and seems to treat her nicely. But he is 28 and only graduated HS. He has no college schooling. He has an hourly job that amounts to a gopher/errand guy in an oil firm. He readily admits that is not what he wants to do long term but is vague at best on where he wants to head in his career. He lives barely paycheck to paycheck.

We are concerned about his inability to provide financially to the future of their potential marriage and family. It will limit DD's options and choices and indicates a life different that what she is used to.

We have directly expressed our concerns in an extremely difficult conversation with DD. She was highly upset and we are of course worried about damaging such an important relationship between us. For now, DD has made the decision to move forward with this relationship and we have told her we will work towards acceptance and peace with her decision. But it aint that easy as it turns out. We really feel deep down she is making a terrible mistake and I envision an 'I told you so moment' in the future that would be awful and too late by then.

How do you accept and come to peace with something like this when you truly believe your DD is making a terrible mistake? I do not think there is any choice but to try. But still we struggle with it.

Have you ever struggled to accept something so important that went against everything you felt deep down? If so, I'd love your guidance. Maybe it helps some just typing it out on here.....not really though.

Thanks.

Muir
This Is America. Parents' voices are just behind Donald Duck's. My older son married a woman who had a good education and a good job, but IMO was likely flat out crazy. Her mother was certified. Son never asked my opinion, and I never gave it. I went out into the parking lot before the wedding and threw up. I did my best at the reception, and behaved all the time the marriage lasted. He woke up, and thankfully avoided having a child with her. He finally moved out and filed for divorce, which was an expensive lesson but far cheaper emotionally and financially than other possibilities.

IMO there is little to do other than grin and bear it. It may even turn out well. It sure beats your child having a fatal illness.

Ha
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:08 PM   #7
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You seem to have the stereotypical marriage/family envisioned for your DD. And there's nothing wrong with that. But times have been changing. The woman in the relationship could very well be the primary bread earner throughout their lives.

You say the gentleman, despite not having a formal education past high school, is a nice guy, treats DD well and they are apparently in love. He has a steady job, although it appears he will not have a financially lucrative career. (Although he might, you never know.) DD is a nurse which in today's world says she'll always earn a decent income and have a wide selection of jobs. It certainly seems there are many, many scenarios more worrisome than that.........

Perhaps they choose to have a family. DD works her way up to Director of Nursing at a hospital with a nice salary. Future SIL becomes a stay at home dad and, as grandparents, you're impressed with what a good dad he is. Not a bad scenario.

Or the guy turns into a bum leeching off DD to support his booze and drug habits. Ehhh.... not so good.

In my own life, I've seen more marriage "disasters" based on one or both members of the happy couple drifting into some extreme undesirable bad behavior than I have from one of the members of the couple having only a so-so career with few upside possibilities.

BTW, prior to this, had you given DD your career requirements for a potential hubby? You know..... must have Harvard MBA or medical degree. Should be in line for a multi-million dollar inheritance. Must have a lake home you and DH are free to use. Etc. (Just kiddin'..........)

Kids are always a worry. At least mine are. I understand your concern.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:17 PM   #8
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[QUOTE=youbet;1387474]
BTW, prior to this, had you given DD your career requirements for a potential hubby? You know..... must have Harvard MBA or medical degree. Should be in line for a multi-million dollar inheritance. Must have a lake home you and DH are free to use. Etc. (Just kiddin'..........)
QUOTE]

No, I had not given such a list. But I very much like the one you have created.

Thanks to you and Ha for sharing your experiences. Right now I can really relate to the throw up scenario Ha mentioned.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:30 PM   #9
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....The boyfriend is a nice guy, a Christian, and seems to treat her nicely. ....
Marriage is not a financial transaction.

His loving your DD, being a nice guy, treating her nicely and having a steady job (even if it isn't up to your expectations) is ahead of the game for a good portion of the 20-30 year old male gene pool. I suggest that you count your blessings.

Many 28 year old men in entry level jobs live paycheck to paycheck.

They will figure it out so don't worry. Enjoy their happiness.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:30 PM   #10
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Muir, I feel your pain.

We went through something very similar many years ago. DD#1 had a steady boyfriend throughout high school. Nice kid, but no one in his immediate or even his distant family ever attended, much less graduated from college. It appeared to us he had little ambition and wasn't a good match for her. Although we never had an open discussion with her about our concerns, we hoped once they were out of HS and DD went away to college they would go their separate ways - but it didn't happen.

He worked part time at various jobs and took a few classes locally while she ground out an accounting degree, returning home to work as a lifeguard during the summer months. Once she graduated and started a job in public accounting they got married. She rode his @ss vigorously encouraged him to continue his education and he graduated a couple of years after they tied the knot.

Fast forward almost 20 years and they are happily married, both doing well in their respective careers. They have three kids, the oldest a sophomore in HS, the same age as they were when they met. He is an absolutely great dad and we could not ask for a better SIL.

Sometimes your worst fears turn out to be nothing more than a waste of mental energy. All endings aren't bad ones.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:34 PM   #11
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If your daughter was a nice Christian girl with a high school education and hourly job and she was in a relationship with a nurse who is all grown up and financially viable, would you sit him down and say "Our daughter isn't good enough for you"?
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:43 PM   #12
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Muir, I feel your pain.

We went through something very similar many years ago. DD#1 had a steady boyfriend throughout high school. Nice kid, but no one in his immediate or even his distant family ever attended, much less graduated from college. It appeared to us he had little ambition and wasn't a good match for her. Although we never had an open discussion with her about our concerns, we hoped once they were out of HS and DD went away to college they would go their separate ways - but it didn't happen.

He worked part time at various jobs and took a few classes locally while she ground out an accounting degree, returning home to work as a lifeguard during the summer months. Once she graduated and started a job in public accounting they got married. She rode his @ss vigorously encouraged him to continue his education and he graduated a couple of years after they tied the knot.

Fast forward almost 20 years and they are happily married, both doing well in their respective careers. They have three kids, the oldest a sophomore in HS, the same age as they were when they met. He is an absolutely great dad and we could not ask for a better SIL.

Sometimes your worst fears turn out to be nothing more than a waste of mental energy. All endings aren't bad ones.
Great story. Thanks for the encouragement. Nothing would make me happier than to be wrong about our concerns.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:46 PM   #13
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If your daughter was a nice Christian girl with a high school education and hourly job and she was in a relationship with a nurse who is all grown up and financially viable, would you sit him down and say "Our daughter isn't good enough for you"?
I doubt it.

Seems worrying about my own family is a busy enough job. Don't think I care to project those worries outward for others.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:51 PM   #14
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You say you had a difficult conversation but expressed your concerns. I'm not surprised she was upset. That's how 24 year olds react when they don't like what they hear.

I suspect that once she has some time to think things over, your concerns will sink in. I wouldn't be surprised if she makes the decision to end the relationship at some point in time if things don't change with his career.

I was just watching the news about the fast food workers strike. A young woman was being interviewed complaining how she can't possibly afford to take care of her four kids while only making $8.00 per hour. So, it could be much worse!
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:52 PM   #15
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Muir, I feel your pain.

We went through something very similar many years ago. DD#1 had a steady boyfriend throughout high school. Nice kid, but no one in his immediate or even his distant family ever attended, much less graduated from college. It appeared to us he had little ambition and wasn't a good match for her. Although we never had an open discussion with her about our concerns, we hoped once they were out of HS and DD went away to college they would go their separate ways - but it didn't happen.

He worked part time at various jobs and took a few classes locally while she ground out an accounting degree, returning home to work as a lifeguard during the summer months. Once she graduated and started a job in public accounting they got married. She rode his @ss vigorously encouraged him to continue his education and he graduated a couple of years after they tied the knot.

Fast forward almost 20 years and they are happily married, both doing well in their respective careers. They have three kids, the oldest a sophomore in HS, the same age as they were when they met. He is an absolutely great dad and we could not ask for a better SIL.

Sometimes your worst fears turn out to be nothing more than a waste of mental energy. All endings aren't bad ones.
Great story. Congrats to everyone involved.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:58 PM   #16
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As you point out, your daughter is a grown-up. Assuming that is the case, she is going to do what she is going to do.

As I see it, your decision is this: Do you want to cause some seriously bad feelings between your daughter and yourself that may last for the rest of your lives? If she produces grandchildren, do you really want to cut yourself off so that you can never see them?

Do you want to gain a son (however flawed you may feel he is), or lose a daughter?

These are my honest thoughts and I hope they do not seem too harsh. I sincerely feel for you and your DW and what you are going through. It is obvious to me that you care deeply for your daughter and I hope for the best for all of you.
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:00 PM   #17
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A similar situation has happened in my extended family with parents who disapproved of an adult child's choice of spouse. The result is that now the parents aren't welcome in their own adult child's home (the spouse won't allow it), the adult child doesn't come to visit, and they don't get to see the grandchildren.

If it were me I would back off, let her make her own decisions and not risk alienating either her or the future spouse.
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:01 PM   #18
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If your daughter was a nice Christian girl with a high school education and hourly job and she was in a relationship with a nurse who is all grown up and financially viable, would you sit him down and say "Our daughter isn't good enough for you"?
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I doubt it.

Seems worrying about my own family is a busy enough job. Don't think I care to project those worries outward for others.
Let me rephrase the question:

If your daughter was a nice Christian girl with a high school education and hourly job and she was in a relationship with a nurse who is all grown up and financially viable and his parents sat him down and said "She's not good enough for you", would you think that they have a point?
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:10 PM   #19
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We have directly expressed our concerns in an extremely difficult conversation with DD. She was highly upset and we are of course worried about damaging such an important relationship between us.
We can all sympathize with your wanting the best for your daughter, that's only natural and healthy.

And I can't know since I wasn't there, but "directly," "difficult" and "upset" sounds as though while you thought you were discussing the boyfriend, the real upshot of your discussion was to seriously question the decision making ability of your self-sufficient, successful 24 year old daughter. And it may have only registered with her subconsciously, she may not realize exactly why she was upset. Understand?

Maybe you already know, but what are her views/expectations for the financial outlook for the marriage? I'd guess getting her to think through her own long term expectations, financial, emotional, spiritual, etc. would be far more productive than anything you can "tell" her. You can only ask the right questions, you can't expect to give her the answers too - that's hopeless, she's not a child anymore.

Like any adult, she's better off if she comes to her "own conclusions." I'd spend my energy making sure she thoroughly thinks it through and doesn't make any decision this large until she's satisfied she's thought it through, not trying to tell her what to do. And then trust her...

[edit] And I'd take advantage of every opportunity to get to know the boyfriend. She may come to appreciate your concerns, but you may come to see what she sees in him also...
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:17 PM   #20
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We really feel deep down she is making a terrible mistake and I envision an 'I told you so moment' in the future that would be awful and too late by then.
Yes.
Quite understandable how you feel.
But irrelevant.

As haha implied, your opinion is just that -- yours. Not hers.
We all have to make our own mistakes.
And it's not at all certain that your DD is making one.
My advice is to shut up about it.

No disrespect intended; I absolutely empathize with your distress, but you asked for advice.
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