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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.

honeyrose Sat 14-Aug-21 13:42:53

Oh dear, Claire. Part of me can see where you’re coming from, but please don’t try and spoil your DD and GD’s happiness. It’s very wrong to do so. I don’t necessarily see you as racist, as I think that any man who is not local may be a threat to your happiness. I do think you need help, as you sound very embittered and sad. I can well understand that you’ll miss your DD and GD terribly, but you can’t, and shouldn’t stop them. Your bitter feelings will be detected by them and also your DD’s fiancé and you could well alienate yourself completely. You wouldn’t want that, would you? It’s very hard to let our adult children go, but they don’t hold our apron strings forever. We bring them up to eventually fly the nest, hard as it can be for us to accept. I think you need more in your life to keep you engaged and enriched. I don’t want to sound flippant, but have you got a supportive partner/husband/friends and absorbing hobbies to give you a purpose to life. How about some charity work? As I said, I don’t want to sound dismissive, but you are obsessing over this and it might not even happen, though it sounds as if it will. Please accept the situation and enjoy your DD’s company, and that of your GD, whilst they’re living locally. And please be pleasant to the fiancé - he’s done nothing wrong and loves your DD. Please do not let your DD know your feelings - it could destroy your relationship. I sincerely wish you all the best, Claire. My only DD almost emigrated to Australia a few years ago to be with the man she loved. Deep down, I would have been very upset, but I realised that would’ve been selfish of me, and I would have given her my blessing to go, had she asked for it. There’s some good advice on here from fellow Gransnetters. Heed it. Very best wishes. ?

welbeck Sat 14-Aug-21 13:53:19

OP, was this an entirely factual posting, or an exercise in creative writing.
or is it a reversal perhaps, maybe written by a daughter with an impossible other ?
it just sounds so over the top. and no real responses to posters.

welbeck Sat 14-Aug-21 13:54:00

other mother

nanna8 Sat 14-Aug-21 14:07:43

It is hard for you because you are used to having her around and now you are thinking she will disappear with your only grandchild. There is not a lot you can do, though except maybe think, if they do go to Florida, it is not that far and you could visit. It could have been Australia! You will love her just the same and these days it is a lot easier with zoom etc. I’m trying to put a positive spin on it for you. Stuff the comments about being selfish, they are not in your shoes, are they? People can be very judgemental. It might never happen,too and I wouldn’t say anything because it won’t help your relationship if you do !

BlueSky Sat 14-Aug-21 23:40:12

Of course you hope and wish they split up and your DD marries a local guy, this may or may not happen. If she goes ahead and moves to the USA you’ll have to learn to accept the fact, you’ll have a great time when you visit them over there, and Skype regularly in between. A lot of us are in that situation and had to make the most of it. We have all cried and missed them like crazy but it’s their life.

lemsip Sun 15-Aug-21 00:25:14

welbeck the op responded twice already on the 11th aug. if you care to go back and look.

alchemilla Tue 31-Aug-21 18:08:29

I can't imagine anyone in this day and age marries to keep their mother happy. It should just make you happy if she's found someone who treats her and her daughter well.

And local lads and lasses can and do move abroad for long periods of work or (shock horror) the Shetlands which can be as hard to get to as Tallahassee with no guarantee of kind weather.

Or they get tired of the negativity and choose not to see you even if "local".

Make your future SIL welcome and wish them all God Speed.

Madgran77 Tue 31-Aug-21 18:20:30

*Hello Claire. Poor you. I don't think you're racist at heart I think you're a loving mum and granny just lashing out in a state of panic while your emotions are all over the place. (Been there, done that.)
I'm no expert but I think what you're doing is called "catastrophising" i.e. imagining the worst case scenario about everything.
I agree with what others have said - get some counselling if you can, take lots of deep breaths and try to concentrate on this chap's good qualities. It sounds like it's going to be a while before you know for sure what's going to happen.*

This is good advice Claire Please try to take it. flowers

Puzzled Tue 07-Sep-21 00:45:03

Yes, it will distress you to have your daughter and grandchild move so far away, BUT, it is HER life, not yours.
You should not live your life through hers.
When we grew up, we moved away from home for study or work.
No doubt our parents missed us, but we stayed in contact and visited from time to time; right up to the time when they died.

Txquiltz Tue 07-Sep-21 02:17:28

I will not comment on the big question here, but calling you “ma’m” reflects his military training and is hardly intended to offend you. In the US that term is considered a sign of good breeding as well.

Razzy Tue 07-Sep-21 07:46:56

I left home at 16 and moved away. At 18 I moved to the USA to live and work. I had an amazing time and still love the country. Never saw a gun when I was there, there are some lovely places to live. Although you may see your daughter and grandaughter a little less, you can Zoom call, and you can go visit. Florida is lovely. Your grandaughter will have amazing adventure! You are likely to alienate both your daughter and grandaughter with your negativity. Be happy for them! They obviously want to go or wouldn’t be considering it. Your attitude is selfish but no doubt comes from caring about them. Maybe try and get some counselling to help you come to terms with the potentially impending “loss”

GoldenLady Fri 10-Sep-21 14:18:07

I am one of those Americans you seem to be so horrified by. However, let me answer you anyway, as a fellow grandmother (and great-grandmother!)

My family (3 children, 6 grown grandchildren, one great-grandchild) all live on the same continent as I do, but that's all I can say about our physical closeness. We are scattered all over the country. One son and his (grown) son live sort of near me, that's it. And young people seem to be in a frequent state of flux, moving from one location to another much more frequently than previous generations did.

But we still remain a very close family. We are constantly in touch via texting, phone calls, Facetime or Skype, email, pictures (I have literally hundreds of pictures of my adorable great-granddaughter), and frequent visits whenever possible. Throughout the pandemic, we had weekly Zoom meetings. A few weeks ago, we all shared a rented house at the beach for a week; everybody came, including bringing significant others, and even a few children of the significant others. All were welcome.

In this day and age, moving from England to America is not that different from moving to the next town or county. It's become a very small world. You can still stay in touch, speak every day if you choose to, have discussions, share jokes, ask for advice, etc. All the things you would do in person, except physically hugging each other. And you can do that when you actually visit each other.

So lighten up, Granny. If she moves to America, you can still be in touch. Any problems in this situation will be caused by you, if you continue with your current attitude.

And good grief, it hasn't even happened yet, it may not happen, and you're already in a tizzy about it!

P.S. In spite of what the news media are focused on, we are not all shooting each other in the streets. The gun laws are much too permissive, but all in all, life is usually pretty safe.
Think of the glass as being half full.

welbeck Fri 10-Sep-21 15:41:40

good post, GoldenLady.
by the way, how many people were in that holiday house !
sounds fun.
hands across the sea.

Bluebellwould Fri 10-Sep-21 15:46:56

This is a month old post. I should think the OP is past this by now.

Audi10 Fri 10-Sep-21 16:12:10

Oh my word! Where do I start! This shouldn’t be about you and your needs, when we had our children we brought them up to be independent and encouraged them to do what they wanted to do she is an adult, your post is quite worrying how you are seeing things, you say he treats your daughter like a queen and granddaughter like a princess, that’s great surely, he has respect, you are actually hoping that she will split with him because he’s an American! Your grandchild is there’s and not yours, his accent and his mannerisms make you want to hit him, goodness knows how you would feel then if he was awful to her, you are getting so wound up by it all, I think you need to calm down, we all love our adult children but I really feel you should look at this from your daughters point of view

GoldenLady Fri 10-Sep-21 19:59:26

We had 14 in the house, but not necessarily all at the same time. Some of them had to work for part of the week, so they were coming and going. It's a huge house with about 7 bedrooms, very beautiful and only 3 houses in from the beach! We've used it many times in previous years.

In addition, my son owns a condo at another beach town about 1/2 hour away, so he, his son, and his son's girlfriend stayed there, but came to our big house every day. We took turns providing dinner, so no one had to do it more than once. The largest number we had at one time, counting those 3, was 17.

We had a cornhole tournament (that's a beanbag throwing game, don't know if you play it in England) and played that for several nights, with an amused audience of the neighbors. To my surprise, I was able to throw the beanbag perfectly fine, in spite of my arthritic shoulder. I even won one time!

If it's possible to attach photos here, I'll show you our official portrait of all of us on the boardwalk, in our matching t-shirts.

GoldenLady Fri 10-Sep-21 20:12:09

All of us, except one. Apologies if it's a duplicate, I thought I had sent it but it seems to have disappeared.

Hellogirl1 Fri 10-Sep-21 20:36:52

Lovely photo of a lovely family, Golden Lady.

welbeck Fri 10-Sep-21 20:45:54

thanks for that photo Golden' is that you in the middle, next to the baby, with hands on knees ?
y'll look to be a fine crew.
i don't think we play bean-bag throwing game here.
guess they are little things you hold in your hand.
bean bags used to be the name of enormous amorphous moldable lumps on the floor that people would lie/sit on.
can't imagine throwing those.

agnurse Fri 10-Sep-21 21:11:07

They are indeed small handheld bean bags. (I've played similar games before.) Not the kind you sit on at all.

annodomini Fri 10-Sep-21 21:56:24

Didn't anyone else play beanbag throwing games in primary school? They were an important feature in our PE classes! Easier than balls for small hands to catch.

GoldenLady Fri 10-Sep-21 23:36:01

Here's a link that explains the game for those unfamiliar with it. It is lots of fun, for all ages.

Thanks for the compliments, and yes, I'm the "old" one next to the baby. Holding the baby is my daughter, who is the baby's grandmother. And if anybody is still interested, the baby's mother (my granddaughter) is the blonde in the back row. Her husband is the tall guy standing in the middle.

OK, enough about that, I guess.

Zoejory Fri 10-Sep-21 23:39:17

OP, I'd be crying till the cows came home

Caleo Sat 11-Sep-21 00:38:40

Claire, you are not unreasonable you are one of the worriers of the world.
You sound well balanced, have faced up to your worries, and you will cope when the time comes.

I bet if you trustfully confided in the American what you are worried about he'd understand and sympathise, and reassure you.

Norah Fri 17-Sep-21 15:38:37

You were just upset, without giving any thought to the good for D, correct? I hope you are back to a normal way to view the world. Good luck.