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struggling with the implications of my daughter becoming engaged to an American

(100 Posts)
claire72 Wed 11-Aug-21 18:23:31

Hi, i have 2 daughters 41 and 38. The oldest has been married for 18 years and i do not believe will ever have children. Something which saddens me greatly. my youngest met this man a year ago and they have just got engaged. He is American serving military and i think his deployment ends in another 18 months. She has my only grandchild age 6. We live very close to her and see her every weekend whilst the youngest works.

When this man's deployment ends she has said ""for now"" they will maintain a long distance relationship visiting each other regularly but realistically how long is that going to last. Either they will break up. She will be heartbroken or shes going to go live with him and take my granddaughter with her. He is from Florida. Shes never going to refuse what that offers. I doubt he will come here. He also has a child in the US a bit older and i assume they will have one together soon.

Ill just add that he does treat my daughter like a queen and my granddaughter like a princess and i am not concerned for her wellbeing with him.

Im struggling with this. Im struggling that she might leave. I struggled to relate to him in the start and asking myself i am stereotyping him as hes American. Im also asking myself is she with him as im perhaps too involved in her life. Im terrified my granddaughter will be hurt by being taken away from me, the life she knows and her friends. I want to scream at her date someone British and local and i find myself hoping that she will split with him. When hes here in my house, i just want him out of my sight, im struggling to even speak to him, everything annoys me about him especially the accent and mannerisms and im starting to feel hatred towards him. And as for being called "ma'am". i want to hit him.

AIBU that i want my daughter just to marry a local lad. AIBU i want my daughter hurt by separating from him to protect my grandchild from even more hurt leaving us. AIBU that it pains me that if the US ban on visitors is lifted he will take my daughter and grandchild to see his parents and i worry about my granddaughters safety with all those guns around and if both of them will cope being in a different country without me there. AIBU that i am finding myself even thinking how i could end their relationship to protect my granddaughter. What a mess. Please help me control these emotions.

Scentia Wed 11-Aug-21 18:31:15

But it’s not about you though is it?

grannyactivist Wed 11-Aug-21 18:31:30

I’m sorry for the distress you’re feeling, but I suspect you know that yes, you are being, in my opinion, very unreasonable indeed.

I have children who live some distance away, including a daughter and granddaughter who live in New Zealand, so I’m not unsympathetic to the drawbacks of a physically distant relationship, but honestly I think your daughter and granddaughter will be best served if you put your own needs to one side and focus on what’s best for them.

welbeck Wed 11-Aug-21 18:35:33

you say, we live close, etc, so presumably you have a partner.
there is such a lot of projection going on in what you have written.
it does sound unhealthy. you seem overly involved in your daughter's life, and possessive of her daughter.
i do feel sorry for you, but it is not fair to put all this animosity on to the american.
your GD will in a few years outgrow your company anyway.
and your daughter could move to scotland, or just be too busy/not need to see you so much, even without the american.
also what you say about your other daughter; that her not having children has caused you great pain.
is there any way you could get involved in something else, perhaps volunteer for homestart, so that your urge to nurture could be put to good use.
i wish you all the best.

ElaineI Wed 11-Aug-21 18:41:07

YABU very! You are also being racist in saying all these things about him being American. I can understand why you would be worried if they moved to Florida but your daughter is an adult and happy and he sounds like he is very good to her and your grandchild.
If you can, separate the feelings about him being a different nationality and a possible move to US. A move to US would be sad for you but lots of people on here have family who live overseas and would be able to advise you how to cope. Try to deal with your hatred of Americans by perhaps reading about Florida, life in Florida, schooling in US. He sounds very polite to me.

TerriT Wed 11-Aug-21 18:43:51

You are in my opinion thinking of what you want which is not how parenting works I’m afraid. We enjoy our kids when they are children and then they become adults and off they go and live a life they want. Often not the life we’d choose for them but it’s the life they choose! As for your idea of Americans and America. I spent some years liveing in America in the 80s and have had numerous holidays there. Americans are not only incredibly polite and hospitable they will go out of their way to help you. I always feel ashamed of how people in this country often behave. Your daughter and granddaughters life would be much better in America, chances and opportunities are far more plentiful. But that’s if you work hard and don’t expect the state help that is taken as a right in this country. Some people in this country meet a couple of Americans who they don’t like and then condemn 300+ million as the same!!

beth20 Wed 11-Aug-21 18:48:07

You're not being unreasonable, but you are getting into a tizz.
My brother went to live in Israel over thirty years ago and so our family has lived with the news reports, and there's rarely good news from there, for all that time. He lives in a beautiful village and has built a happy and successful life for himself. He says he would never come back to the UK as they couldn't possibly afford the lifestyle they have if they were here. He is happy with the choice he made.
It took me a long time to be happy for him. Now, I still worry, but respect the decision he made for his own life, and am grateful that it turned out well. Not easy sometimes, especially when we miss a phone call, but there we are, and I can't help watching the news.
I went through a period when I just couldn't talk to him because I was so cross. It felt like the fridge magnet 'I've only got one nerve left and you're getting on it' was coming to life. It's not easy to focus on the good, but he does look after your daughter and granddaughter so maybe that's a good place to start.
So, deep breaths for the next 18 months and then see how the long distance relationship works out. My role was to support my brother regardless, and yours is to support your daughter in whatever decisions she makes for her life.
I hope it works out well for all of you.

Antonia Wed 11-Aug-21 18:49:14

I'm sorry you are so upset by this. But as others have said, your grandchildren do gradually become independent, and have less interest in grandparents.
It's sad,but that's how it goes. If your grandchild does go to America, there is Facetime, and messages, and you may be able to visit, perhaps for weeks at a time.
I hope things work out for you.

Nonogran Wed 11-Aug-21 18:49:27

Our children are only on loan to us. Let your children fly!
You are being unreasonable and worse of all, racist.

Bluebellwould Wed 11-Aug-21 18:53:55

A very wise person once said:
‘A child is only ever lent to us’.
Just as we were only lent to our parents and they let us go to live our own lives, so you should let your child and grandchild go too.
Your job is to love, support and let her go.
If you do that and keep your arms and heart open and mouth shut, she will come back to you.

SueDonim Wed 11-Aug-21 18:55:35

It’s understandable to be concerned when something big changes your world but I think this is an overreaction. I feel sorry for your daughter’s boyfriend, he must feel the hatred emanating off you. There’s no way of telling how this will pan out but if they do go to the US (which is where my son has lived with his family for nearly 20 years) then starting off with a bad relationship is not going to help. You may lose your daughter and GC forever by being antagonistic.

You need to take a deep breath and start thinking of them.

Calendargirl Wed 11-Aug-21 18:59:24

She’s 38, not 18.

Sounds like it really is time for her to branch out from your apron strings.

My DD lives in Australia, plus 3 grandchildren. Would I rather she lived locally? Yes, of course, but she doesn’t and never will.

If her man makes her happy, is caring and kind to her and her daughter, he sounds a good bet.

It really is not all about you.

mrsredboots Wed 11-Aug-21 19:08:34

Honestly, don't worry too much. Up until February 2020 I saw my grandchildren each week, and was very glad when their parents decided not to move out of London after all. But then Covid-19 came along, and I think I saw them maybe 3 or 4 times until May this year - I barely knew them when I started seeing them each week, and they have grown up enormously over the past year. We did chat on Zoom most weeks, so I didn't lose total touch with their lives. I probably won't see them now until term starts and you know what? I'm fine with that! If your daughter does move away, you'll miss her and your grandchild dreadfully at first, but you will stay in touch and then you'll adjust.

Shelflife Wed 11-Aug-21 19:10:48

Believe me you must be very careful! Your daughter will follow her heart regardless of how you feel or what you say. The more you kick against this the more likely you are to become estranged from both daughter and granddaughter. I am sure that even if they move to the US you do not want bad feeling between you. These feelings will destroy you and your daughter if you do not get your feelings under control. She will not change her mind so you would be well advised to change your attitude. I know this sounds hard but your daughter is entitled to live her own life . Try and put these emotions into perspective, you have allowed your dislike of this man to take over your life. Do not allow this situation to continue, your granddaughter is your daughters child , they have there own lives .Try to accept your daughters decision before you loose her respect. I wish you well and good luck , build bridges for everyone's sake. Oh, and for the record I think being called Ma' am ' is a sign of respect! It shouldn't annoy you so much he is American ! If you hate it why not take the first step to recovery by inviting him to address you by your first name . I repeat , please do not let your dislike of this man take over your life! Live it , enjoy it and leave your daughter to live her life. We don't own our children , they move on. She is well and truely adult and deserves to lead her own life and if she makes a mistake it is her mistake.
Sorry to sound harsh , I just want you to take stock if your own life and be happy - please!!!

claire72 Wed 11-Aug-21 19:12:55

i know i know i have to accept it but im just struggling with it. Firstly why did she even date him at the start when she must have known the distress its going to cause. Ive worried about this becoming a reality from day 1. I also know ive been so lucky to have my granddaughter near me. I provide childcare to my granddaughter when my daughter is at work which is overnight on a saturday.

It just feels like a slap in the face from my daughter after all the times we (partner and I) have helped her with granddaughter especially when she was born and its painful to know i wont get that same interaction when she has another child. It feels like he is taking my role which i know is ridiculous as hes the father but having another child makes her more likely to move as will she cope without him there.

Im not racist against Americans - honestly. Ive been to Florida in the past and know exactly why shes going to go there. As i get older its actually a bit hot for me. Im just struggling with him as it feels as if he is taking everything away from me. I am trying to be polite and not show my feelings but underneath im seething and i dont know how to deal with it. I guess i just need to rant and then breathe.

im upset with my daughter, worried for my granddaughter and angry with him and i dont even know why. After all hes the sort of man who tried to leave a tip for me after dinner the first time he came round when we met him. Its also a bit of getting used to his personality. Hes more full on then my older daughters husband and not like any of our family.

grannyrebel7 Wed 11-Aug-21 19:12:56

You are being extremely unreasonable and selfish. If your daughter is happy with this man you should be pleased for her. All you seem to be concerned with are your own needs. Yes, you will miss her and your granddaughter if they go to live in the US, but just think you will have the opportunity for fantastic holidays in Florida.

Deedaa Wed 11-Aug-21 19:14:43

My SiL is American. We met him when he was over here with the US Navy. After he went back to the US he stayed in touch with DD. She was 17 and he was 10 years older. Several years later she went over to Florida to spend the New Year with him and he eventually came over here. They were married in 1997 and he worked as an aircraft engineer (Useful chap - he can fix aeroplanes, make napalm and arm nuclear warheads) He later did a degree in engineering and now teaches aircraft engineering. Although he used to do a lot of shooting he is very glad to be living here with our much stricter gun laws and of course the NHS. He's had some health problems in the last few years and would have been in serious trouble trying to pay for it in the US.

I'm just writing all this because at one time it looked as if DD might have just gone over to Florida to live but it all turned out differently in the end.

claire72 Wed 11-Aug-21 19:15:25

The problem with my daughter is she has made monumental mistakes in the past. But this time it would impact my granddaughter

welbeck Wed 11-Aug-21 19:33:45

would it really impact your GD, adversely ?
this is the projection.
you don't want it, so you justify your attitude by saying that it would somehow disadvantage your GD.
you even said,
Im terrified my granddaughter will be hurt by being taken
away from me,
can you not see how ridiculous that is, that you are projecting.
also where you say,
why did she even date him at the start when she must have
known the distress its going to cause
but it hasn't caused her any distress has it. nor her daughter.
you really seem muddled up with whose life is whose. as if you believe your daughter should live her life to please you, centred around you. that is totally cock-eyed.
have you considered some counselling.
or look up these issues on youtube; many useful videos there.

Allsorts Wed 11-Aug-21 19:34:39

She’s 38, has met a lovely man who loves her, don’t spoil it for her, let her go and be happy. She is old enough to choose her own path. If you stand in her way you will lose her,

M0nica Wed 11-Aug-21 19:40:08

I am sorry, you are being unreasonable and your life is far too intertwined with your DD's and DGD's.

Your daughter is a mature adult, in her late 30s. She should be left to lead her life as she wants to. She may have made mistakes in the past, it doesn't follow she is making a mistake now, and if she is, there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot live her life. What she does is nobodies business but her own and that applies to her daughter as well. I had a peripatetic childhood and went to 10 schools, I coped. I think your grandaughter will see living in Florida as a great adventure, settle quickly into school and be happy because her mother is and she is likely to have what sounds like a lovely step father.

I think you need to take a big breath and start to calm down - and then develop a life that is less wound round your DD, seek counselling and help.

For thoseof us who do not have our grandchildren on our doorsteps, whether a mere 200 miles away, like me, or many thousands of miles away on another continent like others. We manage to live fulfilling lives and love and are loved just as much by our grandchildren as they would if they lived around the corner.

Despite your rather hysterical post, I think at heart you are a sensible woman, so slow down, seek some help, learn to like the lovely American man who loves your daughter, and slowly, but surely start to cut the apron strings between you. Whether this relationship becomes permanent or not, that would be still be a good thing for you.

Anyway you do not know whether this will happen.If he has 18 months still to serve in the UK, they try a travelling relationship and then she does decide to go, that is probably three years away, and anything can happen in three years.

You are certainly getting into a quite unreasonable tizz, given the final stage of this drama is probably three years away.

Bea65 Wed 11-Aug-21 19:42:50

Sorry..but get a grip ..he's an American not an ex is American and my sister in law lives in Cali and her daughter was born there and she's AWESOME!!

RomRoot Wed 11-Aug-21 19:47:38


YABU very! You are also being racist in saying all these things about him being American. I can understand why you would be worried if they moved to Florida but your daughter is an adult and happy and he sounds like he is very good to her and your grandchild.
If you can, separate the feelings about him being a different nationality and a possible move to US. A move to US would be sad for you but lots of people on here have family who live overseas and would be able to advise you how to cope. Try to deal with your hatred of Americans by perhaps reading about Florida, life in Florida, schooling in US. He sounds very polite to me.

Americans aren't a race, and the OP has said nothing detrimental about him.

I'm sorry for you OP, they are family and it must be hard. Keep telling yourself how happy she is, plus 18 months is a long way away, anything could happen in this time.

Lincslass Wed 11-Aug-21 19:49:15

As hard as it is for you, it is your daughters life, to do with as she feels is right for her and her daughter. The more you fight this, the more you may push her away, and she will go to Florida anyway. Give her your blessing and support, be thankful she has a caring fiancée, cry your tears, but let her go with love.

Grammaretto Wed 11-Aug-21 20:06:20

I know you are feeling pain at the moment but the others are quite right. Our offspring fly the nest and our job is done. The grandchildren are their children, not ours, and although we love being part of their lives, it isn't a given.

My DS migrated to NZ 15 yrs ago and I have only met my DGS on a few occasions in the flesh, but I still feel a connection. Luckily thanks to video calling we can speak as often as we like.

As for your dislike of this man: It seems highly irrational and unreasonable. Please be careful or you could lose them all.