Greetings Carolyn: My daughter is seriously considering going into the military. She’s a tough girl and I have confidence she would do well.
Problem is, her boyfriend of two years tells her that he is in full support of her but then spends mountains of time trying to convince her to do anything but the military. He has even recently had his parents talk to my daughter about the drawbacks. (Neither spent time in the military.)
As a result, my daughter has become very insecure and afraid of losing her boyfriend if she were to enter. I just want to pull him aside and strangle him, and his parents, for interfering. I’m so angry I’m at a loss how to handle this without losing my cool. Help!
I guess you’ll learn how strong she really is.
As hard as it is to watch, her boyfriend has every right to lobby against her doing this. Assuming he hasn’t crossed the line into manipulation, his opinion has only the power your daughter agrees to give it.
Any major decisions any of us make have to withstand that kind of pressure.
The most effective, non-homicidal way for you to get involved isn’t to apply counteracting pressure. It’s to say explicitly to your daughter what you were trying to say through staying out of it: “This is your decision. We trust you to make it, and we trust that if you want our opinion, you’ll ask.”
If she opens the door for you to weigh in on the boyfriend: “He of course doesn’t want you to leave -- we’d miss you too, that goes without saying. Ultimately, though, you have to do what’s right for you. If you don’t feel strongly about the military, then that’s good to figure out now. If the military is something you do believe in strongly, then the people who love you and want to stay in your life will have to accept you and your service as a package deal.”
In your words, of course.
And make them your last words on this unless she asks. Her boyfriend is someone she chose but you guys were handed to her. How and when you exercise any influence you have over a grown child has to be respectful of this important distinction, lest you overstep.
Paying groomsman’s way
Dear Carolyn: My husband is the best man in an upcoming wedding. One of the groomsmen cannot afford to come. The groom then asked the other groomsmen to cover this groomsman’s costs (his wife will also attend). Because the cost looks to be about $1,500 for both of us to attend (not including bachelor party), I feel it’s incredibly out of line for the groom to make this request of his groomsmen.
I’m afraid that if my husband speaks against the idea, drama will ensue. Is there a way to kindly let the groom know he should be on the hook for HIS groomsman?
You don’t get to tell the groom how to spend his money any more than he dictates how you spend yours.
“I’m sorry, that’s more than I’m comfortable paying.” That’s all your husband need say.
If you and he planned on buying a gift, then he can offer to throw that gift money into the hat instead.