tamale wrote: My daughter has recently moved in with her boyfriend. I know she wants to be engaged, but he says he just needs a little more time.
I had the feeling his mother wanted to be there when my daughter opened the gift and thus that whole fiasco. She mentioned having those boxes for years and using them from time to time over the years.
I guess I'm just venting here at the thoughtlessness of the whole thing, even though I think it was unintentional.
I think of it as very thoughtful. The mother and the boyfriend are sharing their tradition, their way of celebrating Xmas with your family. As you said, the mother mentioned she had kept these boxes for years and use them from time to time. A lot of thought went into using those boxes with your family.
The fact the gift inside the boxes was not what you, your husband or your daughter expected...well as you said it was unintentional. As you said, the boyfriend has already communicated he needs more time.
I do understand how you might feel, but to say it was "thoughtless" is IMO not accurate. Of all the gifts the boyfriend announced he had one more gift. A lot of thought was put into the gift. It obviously did not occur to him or his mother it would be misinterpreted to such an extent.
This brings to the forefront a question, "Why?" How is there such a huge gap between your families expectations and his families expectations? The gap is caused by a communication problem. He obviously does not understand how badly your family wants the engagement for your daughter and you and your family obviously do not understand the extent to which he is not ready for an engagement.
I suggest you don't worry about the gift, but rather speak with your daughter about better communication with her boyfriend (both directions). Tell her not to leave the engagement open ended. If they are to remain living together then she needs a firm date by which he will propose. Otherwise she is wasting her time, living with a person that is not ready for a long term relationship. This could drag on for years and years as it often does when communication is lacking. It is a new year so tell him he has 6 months, no more. If he cannot commit to be engaged by July 4th of 2017, then they should not be living together.
Of course this is more what your daughter needs to address, not you. It just seems though that your husband, you and your daughter all had the expectation of what was in the box. As for your being frustrated with it being thoughtless, consider how the other family actually were being very thoughtful. They went out of their way for that gift.