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

(101 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.

Shelflife Wed 11-Aug-21 20:11:34

You got your answer Claire 72 . Your daughter is not here to live her life to please you! Please get a grip and be happy she has found a man who loves her and your granddaughter - surely you must be pleased about that. You seem determined to dislike him because he is American ! It has already been said he is not an alien he is a man who loves your daughter - what's not to like!?

BlueBelle Wed 11-Aug-21 20:11:57

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
Good grief do you realise how selfish this sounds, why should she choose her partner to fit in with your dreams
You are being extremely unreasonable and I feel quite upset for your daughter that you have tied the apron strings so tightly
Im trying to be polite and not show my feelings but underneath im seething and i dont know how to deal with it
Why on earth are you seething it’s not YOUR life, you ve had your chance and still have, it’s her turn you cannot dictate how she chooses to lead it Concentrate on you and your partner and leave them alone to be the little family unit they want to be You’re even stressing about a child not even born yet
Goodness me I can’t believe what I m reading
Many of us have children and grandchildren in far flung places but we all get on knowing they ve chosen the life they want and we tuck any sadness deeply away and get on with getting on

Look after your partner and your own life

Shelbel Wed 11-Aug-21 20:17:32

I agree with others here. She has to live her life although I can understand that the possibility of her moving to the US to be with him is very upsetting for you.

I think you will have to sit tight and see if the relationship survives long distance. Most don't.

Ro60 Wed 11-Aug-21 20:25:47

You are not being unreasonable - it's good you've managed to put your fears down on 'paper' - I often find this helps me rationalise.

Who knows? A few years down the line the UK might be the better option (global was for one instance)

Try to find common ground with the young man - at least he's polite & acknowledges you.

Love life in The Now.

Best wishes ?

Hithere Wed 11-Aug-21 20:51:58

Very yanbu

Being addressed as 'madam' is a sign of respect.

He is being very polite and respectful to you

Hithere Wed 11-Aug-21 20:52:17

Very yabu, sorry

Newatthis Wed 11-Aug-21 21:02:43

Have you ever been to the USA or know any other people from the USA? Would a 'local lad' treat her and her daughter as well. She sounds as if she is happy with him but you sound a little selfish to me. It's her life and her future happiness not yours. Maybe therapy would help you because it sounds as if you need it.

grannysyb Wed 11-Aug-21 21:17:21

Why would you expect your daughter to think of you before she falls in love?

sodapop Wed 11-Aug-21 22:27:44

Let your daughter live her life clare72 and you enjoy yours. My daughter married an American service man and went to America with him. They had a good life out there and were very happy. Its not about you but your daughter's happiness.

User7777 Wed 11-Aug-21 22:49:05

If it was me, I would try to go with them. A new adventure in my 70s would be perfect. Too many of us cling to outdated old ways and we age and never think spontaneously.

Hithere Wed 11-Aug-21 23:33:58

Apart from 10000% disagreeing with the idea of following her daughter to a different country and continent, what about the legal aspect of this?
Is his future SIL going to sponsor OP too?

Time to cut the umbilical cord.

Newmom101 Wed 11-Aug-21 23:49:50

How is it a ‘slap in the face to you’ to date an American? She doesn’t have to consider your preferences in her relationships.

The fact that you worry that she may be dating him as you’re too involved in their lives makes me think you are quite overbearing with them, and you know this but aren’t prepared to change.

and if both of them will cope being in a different country without me there
This is just absurd. She’s 38, your daughter will cope just fine. And yes, your granddaughter may be a bit sad to move away from your at first but to be blunt, she will get over it and could have some great opportunities living in America. Back off and let them figure it out for themselves.

All the talk of how you’re saddened that your eldest doesn’t have children and how the youngests partner is ‘taking your place’ is all quite odd. You need to stop being so over invested in their lives, they’re adults. And your granddaughter isn’t your daughter to make these decisions for. Worrying is not unreasonable but you are coming across as borderline controlling.

NotSpaghetti Thu 12-Aug-21 00:46:25

I think you are simply afraid.
You are close to your daughter and her little daughter and don't want things to change. BUT, one day you won't be there. Your daughter has found someone here where she sees a future. Please try to be happy for her.

Remember how it felt when you met your husband? If your mother hadn't liked him (or even the idea of him) would it have brought you closer to your mother or pushed you away from her? For your own sake try to find the good in him.

Regarding the things you definitely don't like - being called "Ma'am" is pretty normal in America in this situation but why not say "oh, please me Claire" and I'm sure he'll oblige.

It sounds like the "tip" situation was supposed to be a joke. It seems to me he was thinking the meal was very good and as he is more full on then my older daughters husband and not like any of our family it strikes me he was attempting to be jolly. Is this possible?

Most of us can remember the awkward "meet the parents" scenario. Try to relax more with him and see something that your daughter sees - and then his real self no doubt will shine through.

What does your husband think?

Lolo81 Thu 12-Aug-21 01:05:39

Whilst I understand your fears and commend you for putting them down in writing like this (rather than vocalising to your DD), she is a grown woman who will (and should) make her own life choices for her own immediate family (her and her DD).

No-one can “take away” a person - your DD is a person with agency, not an object for you to keep beside you forever. Your GD is fairly young, but the reality is that in the next decade she won’t need you - what will you do then?

I’d tread carefully here OP, your disdain for DD’s partner because of your fears may spill over into behaviour (if it hasn’t already) and if DD is committed to this man, then she will likely put her partner first. I can certainly tell when someone doesn’t particularly like me so I’d imagine that there is an awareness already. If she does eventually move wouldn’t it be better to have a good and continued close emotional relationship instead of sabotaging what you currently have over your fears? It’s almost like a self fulfilling prophecy in a way - your fear of being left may damage what you currently have and actually make it easier to leave!

If this is as consuming as it is coming across on your post OP maybe look into speaking to a counsellor? It might help you sort through your feelings in a healthy way.

denbylover Thu 12-Aug-21 02:58:58

I understand how you feel, I’ve not been in your situation granted, but I can understand. I suggest you dislike your new daughters fiancé not necessarily because he’s American, but because he’s a threat to how your life is presently, and you like how your life is, that part isn’t unreasonable. You dearly love your granddaughter, she’s your only grandchild and the interaction you share, that’s certainly not unreasonable.
But what is unreasonable is your reluctance to understand that your daughter, at her age is entitled to make decisions. You simply have to come to terms with the fact it’s time to let go. If you create friction here, you will ruin the next 18 months she says she will be living nearby. It sounds as if she is not racing into changes quickly, and as another poster has said….who knows what the next 18 mths may bring, the engagement might even be called off. But for now, talk to your girl, be interested in her plans, she needs her Mum - and despite possible future distance, always will.

Nansnet Thu 12-Aug-21 09:01:16

I understand your fears. I have 2 adult children, and 2 grandchildren, who all live overseas, and of course I'd prefer it if they lived close by, but they don't. They choose to do what they want, and we can't run their lives for them.

Your daughter is 38, not a child, and she's found a man she loves, whom she's chosen to become engaged to. By your own admission, he treats your daughter, and your granddaughter very well. I would be beyond happy if that were my daughter, and she had found someone to love her, and her child, and treat them well. Even if that meant they would one day move away to make a new life with him. I understand how upset you feel, but it's not the end of the world, and you can't, and shouldn't, dictate what your adult daughter chooses to do with her life. And, that's what it is, her life, not yours.

For the sake of your daughter's happiness, please try to find it within you to at least be cordial to her fiance. If you end up making your unreasonable thoughts known, you could risk ruining your daughter's relationship with her fiance and, even worse, losing the relationship you have with your daughter altogether ... that would be far worse than the prospect of her, and your granddaughter, relocating to Florida.

luluaugust Thu 12-Aug-21 09:10:30

You love her and her child, you will miss them but it is a funny old life, just try hard to be thankful she has found someone who also loves her.

glammanana Thu 12-Aug-21 09:28:19

You have brought your DD up to be strong and independent so if the time comes let her go with your blessing and be proud of her.
You cannot dictate to her who she falls in love with and he sounds like a good man who will take care of her.

henetha Thu 12-Aug-21 10:18:59

If you want to maintain a good relationship with your daugher and grand-daughter you simply have to accept this man.
You could lose them otherwise. If his only sin is that he is an American then you are behaving unreasonably.

DiamondLily Thu 12-Aug-21 10:28:46

My son emigrated to America 11 years ago, when he married an American girl. They have one son (my grandson) and live in Illinois. They’re extremely happy, working hard, got a lovely lifestyle, far above what they could afford here.

Yes, I worry about guns etc, but they live in a very safe area, and are ultra cautious when they have to travel to central Chicago.

Obviously, I was sad when he went (although I never let him see that, as it wouldn’t have been fair!), but I bought up my children to be happy, confident and to follow their own dreams.

The last couple of years have been difficult, with travel restrictions, and worries about Covid, both sides of the pond, but we keep in close touch by Skype, social media, messaging etc.

They are (hopefully) due over in October to see us, and are bringing some friends and relatives with them. It’ll be chaotic, as it always is lol, but we can’t wait.?

Parents shouldn’t be selfish. Let adult children use the wings, we should have given them, to fly. They have to walk their own paths.

I track, online, their flights over lol, with anticipation, and I come home after they’ve gone and cry, but he’s happy and that’s all I ever wanted.

Summerlove Thu 12-Aug-21 18:58:53

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

I’m sorry OP, I know you are struggling, but you need to get many grips. Your daughters love life is nothing to do with you.

Please look into therapy or you risk losing them completely.

I sincerely wish you well

justwokeup Thu 12-Aug-21 20:01:36

Firstly why did she even date him at the start when she must have known the distress its going to cause.
You ask this and want her to marry a 'local lad'. Well, she's had a long time to meet a local lad but she has fallen in love with an American instead. You don't give the impression that DD or DGD are at all distressed, it's just you. I don't think this upset is based on him being American either, it's likely that any man who might take your DGD to live overseas would make you angry. They have such an opportunity to have a stable family life in a wonderful country, why would you want to deny them that for selfish reasons? Slow down, they will be here for some time yet. If they do decide to go, smile and be glad for them. Above all, don't make the mistake of telling your DD or DGD how you feel about this man.

M0nica Thu 12-Aug-21 20:04:28

I am sorry, but everything you say is all about you. You claim to be worried about your daughter and granddaughter, but somehow it always ends up being about you.

It is bizarre that a mother should expect a woman of nearly 40 to consider, whether her mother will be upset or not, whenever she goes on a date. or develops a relationship. Not just bizarre, but unhealthy and rather creepy.

As others have said, you need to seek therapy. Your reliance on the presence of your daughter and granddaughter, is worrying. Nothing is likely to happen for three years, and so much can happen in three years, yet you are already hysterical at the thought that your daughter may move a distance from home.

Every parent is sad when a much loved a child leaves home and travels far, but most of us grit our teeth, pick ourselves up by the nape of the neck and get on our feet and set out on a long and fulfilling life doing other things, we talk to our children on the phone by email and every other opportunity the new media gives us, we zoom, it is not the same as having them by, but after a while we get used to it.

Grow up, calm down and get some help.

GrandmaRosie Thu 12-Aug-21 20:14:31

My daughter lives in Australia (with her British husband). They’ve been there ten years now and still may come back to the UK at some point. Anyway, until lockdown I was visiting regularly and adding it up the three weeks you’re there - together every day - might give more time together than you’d have if they were nearer. FaceTime is brilliant and I speak to my grandson every week. Yes, it’s hard, but they have to make their choices. Happy to advise being in that situation for a few years! And maybe Australia will open their borders at some point. Anyone else have family there?

MissAdventure Thu 12-Aug-21 20:21:56

I think you have let a few worrisome niggles take on a life of their own here.
You can't see the wood for the trees.
I can understand some concern, but you must keep them in proportion, or they will consume you, and most likely your relationship with your daughter.
I'm sure that she has considered the impact on you, her daughter and herself, but she has decided this man is special enough that everything will be ok.
There is no reason why it shouldn't, so beware of appointing yourself into that role.