Problem Solving => Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters => Topic started by: Bamboo2 on November 25, 2017, 08:05:21 PM

Title: Should I speak up?
Post by: Bamboo2 on November 25, 2017, 08:05:21 PM
Hello, Wise Women!
My DD has a new guy in her life - and that's good in that the abusive ex-BF is unequivocally out.  Big sigh of relief there!  New BF seems friendly, kind and hard-working.

My new dilemma is this: DD has confided in me some things that new BF needs to change about himself to be a better partner.  What is my role here?  Listen and shut my mouth?  What about when she asks my opinion?  I know she is carefully "reading" my facial expression and non-verbals, and it's unfortunately too easy for me to speak up, even if it's just in a generic way about relationships, or examples of situations that I know of that are similar to what she is facing.

True confession: There are some things that I wish she hadn't shared with me and I worry that more is coming as the two of us  spend more time together next month. Does anyone have any experience in dealing with an AC sharing too much information?   

She has a tendency to move quickly in relationships, and I worry that she will be married within a year, with children soon to follow.  They've only been a couple for a few months and already she is living with him and his roommates.  I've spoken up about that - she claims she had to get out of a bad roommate situation (it WAS awful) and there is no one else to live with.  But I'm sure this is her number one preference anyway.

Any opinions are greatly appreciated.
Title: Re: Should I speak up?
Post by: luise.volta on November 25, 2017, 08:44:28 PM
I learned the hard way that my observations were passed on and it went downhill from there. The 'he said or did' and the 'she said or did' is called triangulation for good reason and the promise not to quote me lasted until their first fight. Then all bets were off. Eventually I had to say I didn't want to know the inside details of the relationship. It was their private business. All I added was that, for me, my intimate, live-in relationship(s) were the most difficult venues I ever experienced but/and they brought me the most valuable lessons of life. Adding, that I had to do it alone, via trial and error. I also passed on the fact that a couple of times, I needed a counselor to help me...but that was very different than involving a family member. And I stuck to it. Not easy. We are all protective and hate to see our not-quite-adult children flopping around.

The fact that your daughter already has 'noted some things that her new boyfriend has to change about himself to be a better partner', is a red flag. He probably has a similar list, right? Oh, oh...

Sometimes I had to pretend I actually had tape over my mouth. Hugs...
Title: Re: Should I speak up?
Post by: Bamboo2 on November 25, 2017, 10:08:25 PM
That was really helpful, Luise.  Hopefully I will be able to benefit from your experiences.  I wish I could tell DD about the red flag.  I think part of her knows, but another part desperately wants this to be her forever love.  The counseling idea is good.  It was useful for me when I needed clarity.  At any rate, there will be learning from this relationship, as you say.  Same as from the last one.  We hope the lessons transfer from one relationship to the next.
Title: Re: Should I speak up?
Post by: Stilllearning on November 26, 2017, 03:19:46 AM
Luise has, as usual, given some wonderful insights into how to handle your situation.  The only thing I would add is that when my DS mentions things that my DIL needs to change I have always told him that when you are in a relationship you have to accept the faults of the other person.  You cannot expect them to change for you, you must adjust your expectations to align with the way they are.  If you cannot do that then the relationship is....well......doomed.

I think that if you tell your DD that often enough she will stop telling you the faults of her BF.

Good luck!!
Title: Re: Should I speak up?
Post by: Bamboo2 on November 26, 2017, 11:15:20 AM
Thanks, StillLearning.  There are issues that I think would best be handled that way, such as how they each spend/save money or how many hours they each work.  But what about drinking too much and getting into fights?  I don't want to give her the message that she just has to accept that (actually, when she relayed an incident recently, I just listened - I'm pretty proud of myself).  Her last relationship had issues when ex-BF drank too much and became abusive, so I thought she'd have her eyes wide open regarding alcohol use this time around.  Sigh....  Maybe this is a rebound relationship and it will take a few more to really learn the lesson. 

Also it seems I have to practice detaching from her relationship drama. I was optimistic about this guy so it's been a disappointment to hear of DD's recently expressed concerns.

More practice ....  :-\
Title: Re: Should I speak up?
Post by: Stilllearning on November 26, 2017, 01:52:59 PM
Sorry Bamboo2!  I did not mean that she just needs to accept flaws, especially flaws like you describe.  I stress to my DS that he cannot expect his wife to change for him.  Most people who are forced into a change they do not want to make (like stop drinking) will either relapse repeatedly (but honey I love you and I will never do it again!) or resent the heck out of you for forcing them to give up something they enjoyed.  That is where the acceptance is vital.  "If you cannot do that then the relationship is....well......doomed."  So if the behavior is unacceptable now, during the wonderful start of a relationship then the writing is on the wall. 

Trying to stay quiet and still available to your DD is vital!  Congrats on just listening!!  My DS has started mentioning things that my DIL does that he cannot live with and I struggle all the time with not standing up and cheering!  It takes a tremendous amount of restraint to tell him that I hope it works out but I want for him to be happy.  I am surprised that I haven't choked!! 

Also, I have a niece who was sure that she and her DH were on the skids and she said things that made me want to punch him(seriously!).  I somehow managed to keep my mouth shut (a miracle actually) and they worked through their rough spots and are going strong 5 years later.  When we are angry at someone we say things to get the people we are talking to on our side and sometimes we regret what we said later.  Maybe things are not as dire as your DD made them sound.  I hope that is the case!!

Trusting our children's judgement is the hardest part of this time in life.  Good luck!!
Title: Re: Should I speak up?
Post by: Bamboo2 on November 26, 2017, 10:57:52 PM
I appreciate your sharing about your DS and your niece.  It takes time to see how a relationship will go, and so much depends on the motivation and persistence of the two partners.  Your niece and her husband seemed to have it.  Your son has exhibited it up to this point, and he is probably seeing some things about DIL differently than he did in the past.  The other thing is he is seeing how she interacts with their young children as their mother, which he probably never could have predicted before they became parents.  I can just imagine how hard it is for you to come off sounding neutral when he shares his insights with you.  Good job!  I'll bet he doesn't really have others to confide in about this situation, certainly not anyone else who knows everyone involved like you and your DH do.  You're in a unique position to offer a safe place for him to express himself.

My DD's BF called me on Thanksgiving to wish me and my family a happy day, and called again today to say he and DD were safely in the city they drove to overnight for his relative's funeral.  He told me when they would be driving back, planned a day to come visit us, and asked me if he could take her on a driving trip to visit other family members next month.  It was sweet.  Seems like he is trying hard to make her happy and connect with his and our families. 
Title: Re: Should I speak up?
Post by: nikncon on November 27, 2017, 11:08:03 AM
Dear Bamboo.I would keep my mouth shut.You can never erase what you say or write especially on social media.If she asks for your opinion try to change the path of the talk as to really make her think about her choices.I’ve learned this from Luise and the ladies on WWU.You didn’t mention how old DD is.Good luck.
Title: Re: Should I speak up?
Post by: luise.volta on November 27, 2017, 11:22:16 AM
I think the hardest thing for me to learn was that it was "none of my business"! And to convey that information to my 'adult' son. What was going on with him was 'my business' for so long and he was used to asking for my counsel that it wasn't easy or even natural for either of us. I had to tell him that along with leaving home was leaving the kind of interactions that worked for us in the parent/child context. He wasn't ready or even able to make wise choices at first. The point was for him to choose and then learn from the consequences...or not. When his sons left home, he did the same thing and thanked me for the 'tough love'. They are now grown and my 23 year-old great granddaughter is on the same track. They have all become outstanding adults...but maybe that has nothing to do with any of the above. Who knows? Hugs...