Daughter Living with Boyfriend

Postby taralee » Sat Dec 31, 2016 4:33 pm

Good morning!

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.

On Christmas, we were all together with his family and ours. Her boyfriend announced he had one more gift for our daughter that he wanted her to open in front of everyone. It was a box within a box withn a box, etc. there were about 10 boxes, and all throughout her opening each one, I would imagine everyone in the room was thinking there would be a ring box at the end. I know I was, hubby, and sons all were. I'm sure my daughter was also.

Turns out it was a stuffed dog, symbolizing the puppy he was giving her, and told her she could pick out her choice. (Even at this point, it wasn't clear what he was telling her to pick out. After seeing confusion on her face, he had to clarify it was a puppy.)

My husband was so deflated he wanted to leave, but of course would never hurt our daughter that way.

I know her boyfriend did not mean to do this, and may still be oblivious to the whole thing. His mother knew it was a dog and was very excited about it, offering her services for babysitting when necessary. 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 just felt so bad for my daughter, but she took it well. I guess I'm just venting here at the thoughtlessness of the whole thing, even though I think it was unintentional.

BTW, after acting very thankful and excited about getting a dog, at the end of the day my daughter declined to get one, because they both work and she didn't want a lonely dog.
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sat Dec 31, 2016 5:07 pm

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.
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#2

Postby taralee » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:22 pm

Thank you for taking the time to post that reflective response. All of what you say is true. I actually did tell my daughter that she needs to set a firm date on when their living arrangement needs to be "reevaluated."

And I do agree that the intention of that gift was heartfelt. But, it was also a little thoughtless. And when I say thoughtless, I am not saying that it was done by thoughtless people. I am just saying that particular act showed a lack of forethought. I sincerely think everyone in that room also thought it would be an engagement.

One woman, the boyfriend's widowed grandfather's new girlfriend (that's a mouthful :)), who I met for the first time that day, started a conversation about grandchildren. Then said to me, "Looks like things are moving slowly for you in the that area." I truly never had a prior conversation with her.

Aahhh, the whole incident was thoughtless.
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#3

Postby taralee » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:45 pm

Also, one last point, my daughter didn't want a dog. So who was that special, thoughtful gift for? She also had to deal with declining that gift that was presented as such a special thing.

Perhaps an ugly necklace, a puffy shirt, or some such other gift could be gracefully accepted and then set aside. But a dog?
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#4

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sat Dec 31, 2016 10:21 pm

taralee wrote:Also, one last point, my daughter didn't want a dog. So who was that special, thoughtful gift for? She also had to deal with declining that gift that was presented as such a special thing. Perhaps an ugly necklace, a puffy shirt, or some such other gift could be gracefully accepted and then set aside. But a dog?


Exactly.

So what are you really saying? I don't think you are, but are you saying that your daughter is so ignorant that she has made the choice to move in with a boyfriend that is a moron? Your less than talented daughter wants to be engaged to a person that is so absolutely blind to her wants that he took the time to wrap box inside of box inside of box, the entire timing being an idiot as he thought, "This will be the finale! This will be an awesome gift that she will really enjoy, a dog!"

No...I don't think you are saying the above. At least I hope not. I hope you don't think your daughter is ignorant and this guy a moron. So then, how...how did your daughter and he both get it so so very wrong? What is another explanation that doesn't include him thinking she wanted a dog to be such an outlandish idea and her getting a ring a reasonable idea? How do you square this conflict without having to admit your daughter isn't all the bright, looking to live with a moron?

Communication. Like I said in my original response, there seems to be a huge gap in communication. Somehow your daughter has not communicated effectively how important it is to be engaged. And he also hasn't communicated, or your daughter has not listened to how adamant he is about not being ready for an engagement. The boyfriend, was probably thinking since they now live together that a dog will show an escalation of his commitment. He probably thinks it is a show of faith, that he does want to be with her a long time, because buying a dog together is no small decision. How long do dogs live these days? Now your daughter has rejected that offer of commitment. What has this rejection of his offer just communicated to him about how bad she really wants to be engaged?

I'm not saying he was correct to offer a dog or that your daughter was incorrect to reject the offer. I am suggesting that your interpretation that a dog as a gift being so ridiculous while a ring reasonable is not thinking things through enough. You are thinking at the surface and not searching a little deeper to explain how on earth it is possible a dog and not a ring was offered up. In my eyes you have basically two choices, -1- You accept your daughter isn't smart enough to pick a good boyfriend and that her current pick is a moron or -2- You consider how it could possibly happen due to a severe lack of communication taking place in the relationship. Personally, I hope it is -2- and not -1-.
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#5

Postby taralee » Sat Dec 31, 2016 11:11 pm

Lol, I like your response!

Well, maybe the lack of communication is my problem, because it is not my relationship, and not my business on such an intimate level.

I think this is my cue to butt out and relax.

Happy New Year!
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