daughter announces engagement, but I have mixed feelings about it.

As parents you sacrifice every way you can to make sure your kids go to great schools, pursue college, go on to graduate school and then a great career… maybe 5 yrs after that, get married. At least our plans have been such for our kids, however, my daughter (in law school now) met an army reserve guy, fell in love and became engaged two months after they met… he’s been to Iraq and back now. And as liberal as I consider myself to be, I did not approve of my daughter’s declaration: “yeah, mom and dad, I’ll make the bacon ($$$) and he’ll stay at home and raise our kids–cool huh?!!” I responded with nervous laughter, but given that he didn’t attend college, and no real career aspirations, what if fate kicks us so hard in the arse that that’s exactly what happens!!! And I’m just sick about it!!

On the one hand I feel like I’m short-changing this guy… after all isn’t love all that really matters? Considering my daughter is such a high achiever, I guess my worries are that later she’s going to expect a GREAT deal more from him… to those who know her well, she’s on a very different level than he is. Feeling somewhat frantic, I wonder if I should remind her of the quality of life she’s living and is accustomed to, her vacations in europe and s.e. asia, etc. etc. … wow, I’m reading this and it screams “snob! snob!” :frowning: But, I also know my daughter and good bad or indifferent, insofar as relationships go, if you don’t move at the same pace as she’s going, she becomes frustrated and feels trapped. Given this, it just seems odd to me that my daughter thinks he’s THE one.

Sage advice will be greatly appreciated!

Encourage them to have a nice long engagement so she has time to think things through.

Replace she with he. Your daughter seems content to have someone raise her children for her. It sounds like he does not know what he is getting himself into. If he is going to be the primary care taker, will she still be jet setting around the world?

I was once in your daughter’s position. I was very much in love with a man who was, according to my father, below me, though I certianly never thought of him that way. I was in school earning my B.S., and he never even picked up his copy of his high school diploma. I worked part time while I was in school and we were together and he was unemployed for almost a year of our relationship. My family wasn’t rich, but they had money enough for us to live very comfortably, and his father (a single parent at this point) fell below poverty level. My ex had no drive or ambition, but I stood by him because I felt like he would eventually come around and I loved him so much I was willing to wait for that. He broke off our engagement because he said we were too different. He told me it was too hard for him to watch me go to school every day when he couldn’t afford it (I filled out his FAFSA information for him and found him scholarships, but he wasn’t interested.) He also told me he felt bad about not being able to buy me gifts on my birthday or Christmas (he hadn’t even tried looking for a job at that point.) If she loves him, the only thing you can do is love him too, and hope that one of them or the other will find a way to bring him up to your standards or they will end their relationship and both go their own way. I got to the point of almost hating my father for not seeing in my ex the potential that I saw there. He was nice to him, but it didn’t change the fact that I knew he didn’t approve.

Considering the very high percentage of people who make at least one relationship screw-up mistake in their lives, I think you did a great job raising your daughter. Even if this relationship does fall apart, she has a lot of education and drive and will be able to make it just fine.

Thought question: If she were planning to be a stay-at-home mom married to a male lawyer, would you be so worried about the finances? The majority of high-powered professional men have a stay-at-home or part-time employed wife.

To anyone who is getting married, I always recommend premarital counseling. A lot of churches require it to be married in their church. If you’re paying for any of the wedding, you could require it. I don’t think this is such a terribly bad match based on the info you’ve posted so far, but decent premarital counseling will make sure they are both going into this with their eyes open.

Interesting note: My cousin dropped out of high school, got his GED and spent 4 years in the Army. I went to college on a full merit scholarship, then got a Masters degree. Coincidentally, we both wound up working for the same large corporation in different parts of the country. Guess who made more $$$? So military skills and experience can be fairly marketable.

Yeah, my parents aren’t very accepting of my guy either-- not that I go out and work, but that I make the money and he stays home with his daughter (when she first came to live here, she didn’t need to stay home with some strange person, she needed her daddy– and I preferred to work to make that happen, so we were all happy).

Something I would point out to this guy, as well as your daughter-- raising kids to adulthood takes 20-25 years (if you have two or three, a few years apart). What happens then? We have plans for the next few years, do they?

Kids are part of life, but they’re not all of it.

They’re always saying “opposites attract,” but some opposites are big red flags. Lots of education/no education is definitely one of those. It usually translates to lots of ambition/no ambition, and lack of ambition on the male’s part cripples more relationships (let alone marriages) than just about anything.

I also picture his friends huddled in a corner nursing long neck Buds and resentments while hers yak away and network over vodkatonics and passed horse doovers. But let’s not go there.

I was thinking exactly the same thing. It sounds like she’s in the driver’s seat in this relationship and that’s the way she likes it. I don’t think this poor slob knows what he’s getting himself into with your daughter. I feel more sorry for him than I do for her.

In these scenarios the more powerful partner usually winds up discarding the weaker one like a used Kleenex once they get tired of them. With all due respect it’s obvious your daughter is more intelligent and she sounds quite controlling. Regardless of whether he’s marrying “up” this scenario does not bode well for the future, and if I were this kid’s parents I would be trying to get him away from her as fast as possible.

When I was 22, and pregnant, I married my son’s father, against my parent’s advice. They were more concerned with our differences in education, ambition and attitude than me being an unwed mother even.

The marriage failed spectacularly in about a year. I became a divorced single mother instead.

Twelve years later, I have a good job, home, multiple vehicles, health insurance, retirement accounts, etc. He’s been more out of work than in, thru another marriage and divorce, flirted with the penal system and recently landed back in his mother’s basement without the proverbial pot to piss in.

The upside is, my parents were right, but I turned out alright regardless. So will your daughter.

There’s a lot missing here. What does the boyfriend do now? What did he do between when he got out of high school and went to Iraq. Is he a drinker or doper? Is he laid-back or apathetic. Would he be the kind of stay-at-home dad who becomes a scountmaster, coaches little league, etc. – or is it just an excuse for slacker.

Only two things you can do:

Hope for a long engagement

Make sure she can support herself in case the marriage fails

If they get married keep your mouth shut about any negative feelings about your daughter’s spouse. Don’t make such comments to anyone because the odds are you will get found out.

Part of the reason my husband and his brother are no longer speaking to his parents because we all found out they make rotten comments about me and his brother’s wife.

Your daughter’s first allegience should always be to her spouse. If it isn’t the marriage will be in serious trouble. And if she’s really in love you should want her to stay with her love for a long time.

What exactly is wrong with the guy staying home to raise the kids while the wife earns the $$$?

I used to work for a law firm with a lot of very high-powered, high-income women, and a great number of them had exactly this arrangement–a much lower-key spouse. A couple of the spouses were perennial students, but some of them were just guys who liked working part-time and running the kids around to ballet/soccer/orthodontist, etc. And one of them was just a house-husband. It did not always work out great for them–about the same proportion as other people’s more traditional not-working-out-great scenarios.

Twickster:
I’ll definitely encourage them to consider a long engagement… so they’ve both have more time to think things through.

kanicbird:
I’m sure that once children are in the picture, their lives and priorities will change drastically, on of which will be little to no travel at all.

pbbth:
thank you for sharing your relationship experience. I can’t help but sense that while you loved your fiance, who didn’t have your father’s approval and possibly didn’t seriously have your approval either (you mentioned a few of his shortcomings), your anger towards your father may not have been due to his disapproval, but rather that he was right and you resented it.

astro:
I have concerns for both my daughter and her fiance. A failed relationship would harm them both. My daugther does have a strong personality, and she’s very self-assured/confident… she’s also a very take-charge type of personality, something I am hoping HE will keep in mind when considering their relationship long-term (marriage, children, who supports who).

kunilou:
We are hoping for a long engagement, and find comfort in knowing that our daughter will always be able to support herself.

LavenderBlue:
While I certainly would not speak poorly of my daughter’s husband to her or others she’s close to–excluding my spouse who I should be able to discuss any concerns with–I know that if I perceived serious problems in their relationship I would at a minimum, let her know that her parents are always available to both of them for any support (emotional and otherwise) they need, AS long as they still love eachother.

Queen Tonya:
Considering your circumstances, I’m very happy to know that your life has turned out fine. Since my daughter has been engaged for a short while now, I’m hoping if this relationship isn’t right for them both, that one or both realize it before they make that commitment (marriage).
Many thanks to you all!

Lots of parents have mixed feelings about their child’s mates. It’s hard to say, from the limited information we have, whether these concerns are necessarily warranted. Some degree of concern should be there no matter what, but at the same time, you have to avoid “judging” the decisions or actions of others.

A point to consider: If you are anything other than enthusiastic now, she will never let you see anything that might be wrong in the relationship later–it’ll be keeping up appearances all the way because she knows you disapprove and she won’t want to give you more ammunition or hear “I told you so”. Furthermore, if you disapprove now, she won’t listen if you have specific, concrete concerns later, since “you never liked him” and are just looking for problems.

Yeah, you’re not alone in that.

Ouch.

This Lady is concerned for her Daughter’s happiness… many parent’s disapprove of their kid’s life choices especially the husband/wife one and these seem legit concerns.

**Pace ** it makes sense not being b6thcy about the choice to your Darling Daughter’s (DD) friends - very, very important. I would, as non-passively aggressively as possible try to bring your concerns to your daughter.

What a great guy he seems to be, fun/exciting, but does he really have no ambition and no plans? Is that really what you want, DD – if it is than I am 100% there with you.

And then, if the answer is yes, accept that this bozo is going to be sitting across the table from you at Thanksgiving for the rest of your life, driving your beloved Granddaughter on her first date and teaching the light of your life grandson to throw a football. From here on out greet him warmly when you see him; & make d6mn sure you communicate that you are glad to have him join your family. Show your daughter you support her choice (which it is : hers) by showing him respect if you can’t muster affection. The idea is to make sure that the whatever reservations or fears you have now won’t disrupt your family for the next 45 years. If the worst of your fears are realized you want your DD to come to you without having the GIANT “I Told You So” hanging over her.

As parents you sacrifice every way you can to make sure your kids and Grandkids are happy.

Well, if he’s in the reserve that means any and all of his education will be paid for. Are you sure he isn’t just waiting on college? If not, maybe you should talk him into it. Hell, it IS free after all.

One of my grandmother’s many aphorism’s that I didn’t believe until it was too late (as usual): “Never marry potential.”

Dang!
When you saw the movie The Notebook were you the one siding with her snobby parents?