Daughter's boyfriend wants to ask permission to propose
Our 26 YO daughter, college grad with a good job, has been with her boyfriend since college except for an amicable temporary split about 3 years ago. We think the boyfriend is awesome and he loves our daughter very much and is very good to her. Now he wants to ask our permission to ask for our daughter's hand. So here's the problem...
My wife is my daughter's step mother although really the only mother she has ever known. My first wife had substance abuse issues and my daughter hasn't seen her since she was 9 or even spoken to her in at least 15 years. My wife has been in our lives for 17 years and considers herself to be both of my daughters' Mom. Due to birth mom's struggles, my daughter has suffered emotionally and I have always felt that she is emotionally a few years behind her chronological age. Since early high school, she has always had to be in a relationship - seemingly afraid to be alone. A couple of these were actually abusive. With the current boyfriend, I really feel that she has found stability and love.
My wife is very much a feminist who never wanted to be dependent on a man for anything and wants her daughters to be equally independent. Unfortunately my wife's opinion is that our daughter needs to be on her own, without a significant other, to figure out who she is and to develop strength. My wife fully plans to deny the boyfriend our blessing based on this. I of course feel that all this will do is to drive them away from us while they continue their relationship. Again, he is a solid citizen, also a college grad with a good job and stable family and my wife does like him. It's just a matter of my wife feeling our daughter needs "tough love" to get her to "grow up". I think that two stable 26 YOs need mommy and daddy to step out of their relationship. Any ideas for me here? Thanks.
You're more than correct, two 26 years old don't need interfering parents in their lives and the best way for your daughter to grow up is to let her experience life away from home. She's 26 years old and at the age to make responsible decisions for herself concerning who she needs to share her life with and how she needs to live it. Your wife's opinion of your daughter needing tough love is somewhat left field simply because your daughter is being mature by being with a responsible and solid guy who has the 'attributes' to nurture her further. In other words, she's with the right man and together, they should prosper together.
You never stop being a parent once you are one, and the best and fairest way to help begin your adult children's journey into their adult lives is to let them go with your full blessing, regardless if you have doubts or not about their choices. They cannot be successful at it if they are forced to continue to look over their shoulder back at their parents looking for approval simply because they didn't get that 'green light' in the first place.
At 16 it is perfectly ok to get involved in our childrens relationships and guide them as to what is right and wrong, at 26 they are adults. I got married at 23 and had my first baby 27. Asking a parents permission is merely a formality and an old age courtesy, you or your wife in no way own your daughter nor can you advocate who she can get married nor when.
Whether your wife displays her displeasure or not they will get married. The difference being they will either hold animosity to both of you or welcome you to be involved in their lives (wedding, grandchildren, family bbq's) depending on your wifes reaction to her boyfriend. Your daughter will also hold a grudge against you as she will feel that you betrayed her by allowing her mum to not approve of her relationship. They have been dating for a long time and whether your her mum (biological or adopted) says no they will do it anyway.
Just wondering - has your daughter ever lived on her own?
You say she has a good job and has a great guy in her life.
What other "tough love " experiences does your wife feel she has to go through?