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Shippy's avatar

A sensative issue, I could do with some wisdom please?

Asked by Shippy (9857 points ) December 26th, 2012

As a parent is is wonderful to see my son so happy since meeting this special woman. He has had a tough time of things, a lot brought on by himself admittedly, but also his home life. He has settled down, changed, it is so nice to see.

He lost his dad a few weeks ago. The issue is, this woman seems erratic in what she wants. She will tell me she is leaving him, in private. Then say later she is just stressed about things. My insides are like a washing machine. He’s in mourning, I want to protect him. Should I just butt out? I want so much to protect him. I am leaving the country soon, I don’t know if it will be OK. I told him there’s a ticket for him if he needs it. I can’t relay her indecisiveness of course. But my blood pressure is shooting up down and all around.

Any words of wisdom?

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15 Answers

rooeytoo's avatar

I think kids, regardless of their age, don’t believe that parents ever understand or approve of their choice of boyfriend/girlfriend. Probably whatever you might say will fall on a deaf ear at best and at worst, cause a rift to develop between you. No matter how difficult it may be, the best thing is to hold your piece and to allow him to make and hopefully learn from his own mistakes and experiences.

Shippy's avatar

@rooeytoo Thank you :)

JenniferP's avatar

There really isn’t much you can do but be there for him if he needs it.

zenvelo's avatar

He is older now, and despite your wishing to keep him safe, he has to deal with his life on his terms. You can offer to be there for him if he needs to talk, but that is about it. Hold him close so he knows he is loved, but let him be.

I know that is hard for you; it is tough to see a child hurt.

filmfann's avatar

My sister-in-law has talked to me on the phone several times, when she was weeping about how bad her relationship with my brother is, and how it just hasn’t worked out. She said they were about to break-up. It never happened.
I think some people just prepare themselves for hard times by doing such groundwork.
Let it go, and see what happens. I am sure your son knows that you will always be there for him.

BosM's avatar

As a parent I understand, we always want to protect our children. Your son is dealing with major life stressors – losing a parent – and is facing another major life stressor – primary relationship problems, so it’s understandable you’re concerned. From what you have described it appears stress is playing a role in his GF’s emotional well being too. It does not sound as if they’ve been in the relationship long enough to rely on each other in times of stress. What support resources do these two have in terms of family, friends, etc., that they can rely on when you go out of the country?

Losing a parent is a difficult experience, so I don’t want to appear to be lacking empathy but we all need to learn how to deal with these stressors. If he is grieving, that’s normal. “On Death and Dying” by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross is a great book for understanding death, life, and transition through the stages of grief.

It’s important for your son to understand he will get through these challenges and they can make him stronger. He knows you’lre there for him, keep the lines of communication open and continue to support his maturing and ecourage his resiliency. I hope this helps, good luck. BosM

Coloma's avatar

Yes, I agree with not interfering, but…..the next time the girlfriend unloads her stress on you and makes noise about leaving your son I would tell her, very quietly, but very firmly, that you do not wish to talk about her feelings regarding your son. I would tell her ” I am not comfortable hearing you talk about your relationship with my son and would appreciate that you don’t involve me in your relationship business.
WTF?
WHAT kind of person talks about dumping their partner to the partners mother?
Crazy!

CWOTUS's avatar

As you already know, you can’t control your son’s life or his reactions to things. So it’s even less likely that you can control the actions or feelings of his significant other.

She probably saw you as someone with the tact and wisdom she needed to have in order to confide in you, so take a win on that. I wouldn’t want to discourage her from coming to me, if I were you, but I would advise her to discuss her feelings with the young man.

The best that you can do is appear to be calm, no matter how you’re feeling inside (sometimes you can even believe it yourself, with enough practice), and keep them both close to you emotionally so that it’s safe for them to approach you and talk about things that at times are difficult to discuss with each other.

Finally, keep reminding your son, whether he needs the reminder or not, that you love him and that you’ll always welcome him into your life.

geeky_mama's avatar

You’ve done all you can do – which is tell your son you love him, there is always a ticket ready and waiting if he wants to join you in the new place you’re moving to..just having that in his back pocket (and knowing that you’re there for him) is a tremendous gift. Not all adult children have such supportive parents.
I also agree with @Coloma – why on earth would she discuss this topic with you? So inappropriate. Next time she wants to share something like that I think I’d tell her: “Please understand my natural bias towards my son. As much as I care for/like you…I’d rather not be aware of any details about the inner workings of your relationship.”
She needs to find a more appropriate person to talk to about her feelings—a friend, a therapist or a counselor of some kind.

marinelife's avatar

Stay out of it. Your son is an adult. Your feelings of protectiveness are natural, but there is no way for you to helpfully insert yourself in his romantic relationship. Wait until it plays out and then be there for him if he needs it.

bossob's avatar

Once your baby, always your baby. Life is about falling and getting back up. We as parents can’t protect them from falling, but we can always be there to kiss the boo-boo.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Sorry, no loyalty surmounts loyalty to your family, and she is not part of your family at this point. I’d tell him what she said and let him take it from there. Why would she do that to you? What an awful position, sorry Shippy.

wundayatta's avatar

Maybe she is saying these things to you as a back door way to talk to your son. Perhaps she can’t get up the courage to say them directly to him.

I would just encourage her to talk to your son instead of you. This stuff really isn’t that appropriate for her to say to you.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

Needless to say she sounds like a tard, but that’s not really my place to say it – but I do have a horrid knack of saying what I think off the bat.
Everyone has pretty much said the same thing – leave him to it. Us fellas tend to learn things the hard way anyway.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Shippy I think you’ve got some good words to read here. I agree with the sentiment that you should leave things alone, but you should also be prepared to help your son through the rough road ahead, if the girlfriend leaves.

We can’t live our children’s lives for them. We can’t protect them from all harm especially after they’re mature.

We can love them through it all. That doesn’t have to end.

I wish you and your son the best.

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