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2 Bumps

What is my role here at this point, if any, in this? DD, 18 in college, meeting up with a girl she met on a dating site. Feel like I am so done...read on please++

My DD has had at least 5 serious relationships since freshman year in high school. As good parents do, we stayed involved and had age appropriate limits. Had the bfs over for dinner, drove them to the mall, movies, dropped off, picked up, invited them to bbqs and swimming, etc. We didn't love them all, but accepted that this was the way it is. Each breakup was stressful and involved mourning and some self loathing on her part. She went to counseling for a while...but has said it really didn't help. Her last bf was the most serious, and they slept together. We liked him very much and were sad when they broke up 2 wks. ago. She said it was mutual, and that he did want to be friends, then changed his mind.

Concerns me that she has never been single since the 9th grade...can't seem to be comfortable with that. She said to me after the recent breakup "sigh...I guess now I will have to deal with things by myself..."

She came out to him and to me in October, saying she was quite certain she was bi. I didn't really react, except to say " OK, whatever. It doesn't have any bearing on anything. We just want you to be successful." And she knows that we don't want to hear about her, or anyone's sex life...it's a private thing.

I think it was within a few days of the breakup, she was home for spring break and tells me she met a girl in an online dating site. I expressed my concern about safety, and asked why the site, isn't there any way to meet people on campus. So I agreed to drive her to the mall to meet this person, and when I picked her up, she brought the girl over to the car to meet me. I was very nice to her, even though I have no real grasp of the extent of this meeting...my DD is constantly online messaging various people. I'm sure some are new friends from campus, but obviously they are some that she meets online. She's hardly ever NOT texting or messaging.

So, I almost feel like I am not in any position to ask questions, or pry or be concerned about how this thing unfolds..as long as she is safe. So I haven't asked and she hasn't said. I used to care more about the relationships she was in, but I think I am exhausted by all the past ones and the effort we put in to them as parents. I don't relish the thought of having new romantic interests over for dinner or to hang out.

I get the feeling she wants us to jump up and down with glee about this new phase/or dating thing, but my thoughts are that she's an adult, and what she does with herself is her business. We just want to make sure she is safe, keeps her job, pays her bills, and keeps her grades up so she can continue to get the financial aid she's been getting. She is going to live at home and commute next year to save a bunch of money.

Sorry this is so long, but I am so tired and needed to put this down and see if anyone else has felt this way...?

Answer Question
 
Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 6:18 PM on Mar. 24, 2013 in Adult Children (18+)

Answers (10)
  • I'm not there yet... but having been the daughter of an over-involved dad, I commend you for your restraint.
    gdiamante

    Answer by gdiamante at 6:20 PM on Mar. 24, 2013

  • Me TOO!
    And my DD is only 14
    feralxat

    Answer by feralxat at 6:27 PM on Mar. 24, 2013

  • My kids are younger but I'm exhausted at reading this. You guys have really been there in as supportive a way as possible. This female thing, well, who knows. I don't think it's terribly healthy that she's in one relationship after another. It's really a skill to learn to be alone in life and that is something she needs to work on. Just focusing on herself, studies, her future. You cannot rely on others for happiness. If she's lonely, she needs a hobby. Maybe sit down with her and tell her what you told us: She's an adult, you want her safe and beyond that, her dating life is her own. I'd explain that you'd invested effort into the other five relationships and now she is on her own but knows if she needs help or support you are waiting in the wings. The chronic texting is normal at that age? I don't know but you cannot be there for every relationship. She has to cope on her own.
    jeanclaudia

    Answer by jeanclaudia at 6:42 PM on Mar. 24, 2013

  • You have to find a place to fit in that you are comfortable with. It's hard to sit back & watch the show so to speak, but once they hit a certain age, that's about all we can do. We don't get to stop parenting once they hit that magic age of 18. Our roles change at some point, but we still have to provide that soft place to land when they need us. Sounds like she is trying to figure some things out in her life. Hopefully she can maintain the grades & other responsibilities while she works it all out. Hang in there mama. And look at it this way, at least she can't get pregnant if she's dating a girl!  lol :p

    mrsmom110

    Answer by mrsmom110 at 6:45 PM on Mar. 24, 2013

  • My only concern would be that she's a serial dater. It sounds like she's never single for more than a few weeks, if that? I would try to find a supportive way to encourage her to be single for a while, to get to know herself by herself, develop hobbies and interests (outside of dating and school), etc.

    As far as the relationships, just be honest: You've made the effort with her other relationships, and while you want to be supportive, you'd rather not be involved until and unless the relationship is serious, or if she needs a shoulder if the relationship ends.
    wendythewriter

    Answer by wendythewriter at 6:49 PM on Mar. 24, 2013

  • Just love her. She'll make her own mistakes, come to terms with her sexuality, etc. Just be there for her when she needs you!
    PartyGalAnne

    Answer by PartyGalAnne at 7:04 PM on Mar. 24, 2013

  • I also agree with PartyGal, just love her and be there when she needs you and when she doesn't......
    older

    Answer by older at 7:16 PM on Mar. 24, 2013

  • This sounds like a snapshot of what it's like to be "in the thick of" trying to honor your child's sovereignty as a person, navigating the transition to relating to your grown child, and dealing with your own emotions in response.

    One note: I would express my concerns/opinions as my own, not as "right" or "true," but as something I feel (rightly or wrongly) in response to her situation. (This would include any concerns about her "needing" to be single.) One way to respond to your misgivings or worries is to share them with her as personal feedback. But owning your thoughts & feelings with "I think" or "I'm afraid" or "I'm convinced," lets you stay in respectful communication mode & keeps you from treading over into trying to control outcomes. That's hard when you're concerned.

    Like a pp mentioned, I really commend you on your restraint.

    What you're experiencing sounds so real. Not easy, but beautiful, worthwhile & rich.
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 7:20 PM on Mar. 24, 2013

  • You've gotten some awesome advice already. The only thing I might add, having a stepdaughter who is only a few years olderthan your daughter, is to ask her how she's feeling instead of guessing or assuming. What makes you think she wants you to jump up and down because of this new relationship? Ask her if there's anything she feels you sould be doin that you aren't, or encourage her to let you know, adult to adult, what she needs from you. Be open to what she says. If she needs space, great. If she needs advice, you'll do your best because you love her and you'll always be her parents.
    Ballad

    Answer by Ballad at 8:06 PM on Mar. 24, 2013

  • You just have to be there when she needs you. Help her through her tough times, celebrate her joys. Give her advice when she asks for it. Be open, honest and loving. It's hard to watch our kids fall but they won't learn if we step in all the time.
    tyfry7496

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 10:00 PM on Mar. 24, 2013

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