Daughter and Boyfriend

brennaflyJune 19, 2006

Okay, I'm not a parent, but I do have a question for all of you who are (esp those with adult children). My mother hates my boyfriend. My father just tolerates him. What can I do to show them that I'm not making a mistake, that he really is wonderful and makes me happier than I ever imagined? Or, if that's impossible, how do I at least make family get-togethers less painful, for them and him? (and don't suggest not inviting him, it's not an option)

We have lived together for almost a year (before someone jumps on me for this, this is NOT the issue, my parents told me flat out that I need to live with whoever I'm serious about, just so I know what I'm getting into) and started dating a few months before I moved in with him. We live less than an hour away from my parents, yet it took them 9 months to come for dinner. And they only ended up coming because we invited family friends over as well.

This is really hard for me to deal with, I have always gotten along with my parents. I'm not a problem child, I make pretty good choices with my life. I'm 21, graduated from college at 20, hold (and have always held) a job that totally supports me, and have never been in a relationship that would make my parents question my judgement. He is 25, has a 5yo son from a previous relationship that he loves and takes care of to the best of his ability (he doesn't have custody), has a decent job and a plan for the future. He's not perfect, neither am I. We make each other happy and we have healthy, solid relationship. I just wish my parents could accept that.

Any suggestions on helping that process? I know it's not my problem, but it drives me crazy to see how much it hurts him that he's not welcome around my parents. I've already told my mom that I won't listen to snarky comments about him and I try my best to mention whenever he does things for me above and beyond what I expect, but I don't know where to go from here. Anyone else been here? On either side of the issue?

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#1 Have you asked you Mom why she hates him? Just curious. Could it be somethign that happened, or just "because he's taken her little girl away from them". Some parents react that way.

#2 Could it be a racist thing? It isn't mentioned, but sometimes those emotions run VERY deep.

I woudl say sit down with your parents, state he is in my life, I would like for you to like him, if you can't do that, then I woudl like for you to be decent towards him when he is over. After that sorry to say the only thing you can do is to support him when they are around. IF they treat him unkindly, support him and infomr them you will NOT tollerate that. Invite them to your place, make sure he comes with to thiers (you may have to do the "if he's not invited, then neither am I attitude, sorry to say).

Good Luck!


    Bookmark   June 19, 2006 at 9:40PM
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Like vicki asked...what is the reason your parents don't really like him?

At first I wanted to side with you and bash your parents but it's hard to get a good impression of what is going on without knowing you or your parents. I will tell you this, in retrospect, my parents really were a pretty good judge of character. Could you be blocking something that they are seeing? Does he insult you in public? Has he hit you in the past? Has he been disrespectful to them? Or, maybe it has something to do with the child he has -- Could they be overly judging him for that?

You should really get at the root of why they don't like him. Give them a chance to really open up and let you know. Sometimes others, even parents, are more objective about people's negative traits but just don't know how to espress their concerns the right way. When you're madly in love sometimes you can't see clearly. And, I'm sure your parents just want the best for you. I'd have a nice little talk with them.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 12:12AM
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Thanks for the advice. My mom and I have talked a bit about why they don't like him, it basically boils down to three reasons. a)She doesn't think he does enough for his son. b)He doesn't have a solid job history and his current job isn't good enough. Essentially, he's not responsible enough. c)She thinks our town is suffocating my career potential.

My response? a)Yes, he has room to improve as a father. However he's trying, and he *is* improving. He and his son's mother have a horrible relationship and have been in and out of court for the past three years to get visitation hammered out. And it still isn't working. It would be wonderful if the little boy could come up every other weekend and spend weeks with his dad over the summer, but it's not going to happen anytime soon, for circumstances out of my BF's control.
b)He's a chef. Restaurants are not very stable workplaces. The current job doesn't pay him well, but it has health insurance (which he needs for his son). He feels he is still learning things and will continue to work there until something better opens up (not likely in our small town), or there's no more room for advancement.
c)I love our town. There aren't very many jobs (which is why I commute 2hr to DC), but we're not staying here forever. Besides, we don't make enough to live in DC, where they do.

She had me right out of college, 18 months before marrying my father and never pursued the career she had dreamed of having. She has told me not to make the same mistakes she did, but I don't think her life was just a string of mistakes. I'd be thrilled to have the marriage, kids and house she does! I think part of her disliking my BF is the fact that we are serious and she doesnt want to see me "throw away my life."

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 4:57PM
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So from what you're saying she is projecting her life onto you? What about your father, why does he only "tolerate" your BF?

Keep lines of communication open, you can't FORCE them to like him, but maybe he can grow on them, if they will let him. See if they will try.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 9:47PM
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Well, going over the reasons...

If there is any truth to "a" that one could be a biggy. Why would your parents get that impression if there wasn't something to it? They are only getting info. from what you told them, right... so what is leading them to think that he doesn't do enough for his son? Has he skipped payments, missed visitation times or not fought for his right to see him? Your comment "Yes, he has room to improve as a father" may tell more than you think. Granted, it could just be your personality or perceptions, and of course, no one is perfect, but if I were serious about a man I would hope the main thing I would think about his fatherhood is that he is a great father, not that he needs room for improvement. What exactly needs improving on?

On to reason "b"... Let me ask you this...If nothing changes with his job, will it be enough, will it be ok with you? Would it be ok if he (and his son) lived off you? Because that's what it sounds like may happen if you were to marry him. It's nice to dream that someday he'll get a big break and have a really nice job but from the info. you provided it looks like he really just may continue at his current job. What exactly is his plan for the future? And, is it really a plan or just more of a dream?

As for "c". I wouldn't hold that against him personally. It sounds to me like your mother just doesn't want you to make the same mistakes she made....It's not just about aquired money and lifestyle... but about missed opportunities and choices. Do you feel mature/old enough to settle down with anyone? Or, are there things in your life you'd like to do before you get married?

Sorry if I'm playing the devil's advocate here...I'm just trying to figure why your parents don't really care for him. I hope everything works out for the best and that if you do stay with him, your parents grow to love him.

Finally, I wonder if you notice how your description of him changed from your original post... first he "has a decent job and a plan for the future" (I took this to be he was like a dentist with a plan to enter into a big partnership next year) not a poorly paid chef working for insurance money with no real opportunities in your town. Even your description of him as a father changed. Just make sure you love him as he truly is, not just a perception of what you want him to be. Good luck with everything.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 12:55AM
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I think your parents would wish for someone for you with a brighter past, a brighter future and not so much "baggage." I think they are disappointed in your choice of a divorced man, a father who could do better with his son, mediocre job, probably not college educated like you are. What success has he demonstrated in his life?

His child may need to come live with you at some point.
Make sure you are totally comfortable with that as it would cause a major change in your relationship with him. Things will never be the same after that. It may not be a possibility now, but boys need their dads, and at some point it could happen. Also, if you marry him, his ex-wife will also be a part of your life in one way or another for years to come also.

If you have children, will he be a good father to them? He has not demonstrated dedication to his own child.

I am so very sorry you are having this problem, and I know it is deeply disturbing to you. As someone else said, do keep the lines of communication open with your parents. That relationship is too important to lose. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 4:57PM
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I think my previous post may have been the wrong tone. He really is wonderful, not the deadbeat that popped up in responses, and I don't think I explained things well enough. So, sorry for the long post, but I'm going to try and clarify.

a) His son. He was never married to the mother and they had been broken up for two months when she announced she was pregnant and the baby was his. She was 18, he was 20, both were in college and neither one was prepared to have a child. Fast-forward to today, and BF is trying to figure out how to see more of his son (and at set times) without taking the mom to court, which would (and has) result in a nasty battle and her refusing to let him see his son for months on end. He is torn between letting things stand as they are and not seeing his son more than once a month or trying to change things and ruining the truce they've come up with. Right now he's decided to let things stand. I don't agree, but I fully support his decision, it's not my son and he knows the situation better than I do. The important thing is that the little boy is well cared for and has a good relationship with both parents. And he is and does.

b) His job. He has a degree from a culinary school and while his job doesn't pay much, it's good experience that he can take elsewhere. Don't knock health insurance, it's hard to find a company that will offer it. He is trying to buy a building in town to open his own restaurant (he already has a business plan, financial backing in place and investors willing to give sweat as well as money) and if he can't get the property, we're moving to a larger town with more opportunities for both of us.

Hes does come with baggage. I knew that when I met him. But we're able to talk about all of it and compromise when we need to and accept and deal with situations that we don't have any control over. We make an effort to put the other first and we're happy.
What I want is for my parents to recognize that I'm capable of having an adult relationship and that my decisions are not always going to agree with their dreams for me. And I think that treating him with respect and not constantly trying to bribe me to leave him or badmouth him when he has to work instead of come out to dinner is not too much to ask for. I just don't know what else to do to get them to that point.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2006 at 1:54PM
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You seem to have good communication with your parents.

I think they need to let you get on with your own life, and make your own choices.

My parents did not like the man I married, and they told me, before the wedding I was asked to leave home and live on my own. After the wedding they just carried on like normal.

Fast forward to today, 25 years later....after a coupla years of marriage my parents appologised for what they said and did. This meant a lot to me.

I am happily married and have a daughter 19, and son 14.

I think about what happend back then, when I was just 22, and I realize they thought I would not be happy marrying the person I did, and they spoke out of love and concern for me. They are only people, and parents make mistakes, and are constantly being presented with new situations that they may have trouble dealing with in the right way.

I think my parents should have said to me that you are an adult you make your own decisions, if you need us, we are there, and we will always help you and love you.

I think you will be fine, maybe you could tell your parents what you want them to do.

Something like "I know you have problems with him, but I am going to stay with him, and you have to respect my judgement. We all have to move on, and make the best of the situation."

You seem to be well aware of what is in store for you.

I wish you all the best.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 4:04AM
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We need more education out there on this subject

Art culinary school culinary cooking schools weekend cooking school. Family cooking lessons Culinary Schools in Michigan cooking lessons la.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 6:37PM
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What are you talking about?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 11:07PM
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mjulie - This post is OVER FOUR YEARS OLD!

Seriously, why resurrect something so dated?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 7:29PM
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I almost responded to this too and then noticed how old the post was.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 4:43PM
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