Mom worried about college daughter and serious boyfriend

<p>I would appreciate any sincere advice. My daughter is a high achieving college junior at an Ivy league school and is planning on applying to Vet Schools after graduation. She has a very serious boyfriend at school and has been dating him since freshman year. I say serious because she spends most of her time with him and I am not even sure how many other friends she has at college anymore. They both spent the summer together working at the college. I think he is a nice boy, but he has come from a very fractured family and I think he has some issues and at time their relationship seems to be about her accommodating what he wants. I just heard from my daughter that he wants her to visit him over Christmas break . We are in New York and he is from California. I have two problems with this. First, my daughter has not been home for a vacation block since last Christmas and I am very disappointed to think she wouldn't be here for this break (she is planning on spending Christmas here) and that she would be spending time with a boyfriend she, in my opinion, she already spends too much time with. Secondly, she does not have money for airfare and I just had to spend over $5,000 for cataract surgery for our dog and am flat broke! She said that her boyfriend said that he would pay for her ticket but I find that insulting, even if he can afford it. Am I wrong to say I do not want her to go?</p>

<p>No, you aren't. If the boyfriend wants her to meet his family, that can wait for a long weekend or something, but you haven't see your daughter in months. Gosh, my mom would kill me if I asked to spend my break with my boyfriend after going off to college.</p>

<p>She can see him at school and he really shouldn't pay. This actually...sounds a lot like me, my mom, and my boyfriend..........</p>

<p>While you are certainly not wrong to have these feelings, I think as hard as it is, you need to start to accept that your daughter is growing up and away.</p>

<p>You say she is going to spend Christmas with you but then visit him in California as well. Frankly, I would not expect my daughter to spend the entire long Christmas break with me, particularly if she had a boyfriend she would be missing. Most of hte kids we have known who had significant others from college split their breaks between home and visiting their SOs. Its not insulting for him to pay her airfare, its a gift to her and shows that its important to him.</p>

<p>Does he accommodate her as well? Most successful relationships are give and take with both parties compromising.</p>

<p>You say that your daughter is high achieving and intends to go to vet school. It sounds like htis relationship hasn't interfered with her focus on school, and may have even provided important emotional support for her as she works hard toward her goals.</p>

<p>How much of Christmas break does she plan to spend with you, and how much with him?</p>

<p>This is real, you first time poster?</p>

<p>She's at an Ivy League school. </p>

<p>You spent your last $5000 on your dog's cataract surgery and you are flat broke!? Funny I was just asking our vet about that...he laughed, and said yup some people have money to burn. </p>

<p>As an aside, as a flat broke parent, who was planning to pay for Vet School? :)</p>

<p>And you find it insulting that the boyfriend would offer to pay for her airfare? And this is because why? </p>

<p>And she worked all summer but doesn't have money for airfare? </p>

<p>And she can't possibly see you during the holidays and go to California? </p>

<p>Of course you can voice your opinion. I am sure you can even force your daughter to come home for the holidays if you want, especially if you are paying for tuition at that Ivy League (though I imagine if you are flat broke, she's getting decent financial aid).</p>

<p>Righto, I believe this all must be true.</p>

<p>
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though I imagine if you are flat broke, she's getting decent financial aid

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</p>

<p>Probably not if the reason for the brokeness is spending $5,000 on cataract surgery for a dog.</p>

<p>Yes, my dog did need surgery due to sudden onset blindness from cataracts developed as a result of diabetes. The dog went suddenly blind, withdrew and was suffering. The cost of the surgery was indeed $5,000 which I had to charge right as we come up on the Holidays so I do not have extra money now for airfare which is about $1,000 from east to west coast round trip. I help all I can with undergraduate but graduate schools need to be paid for with loans. My oldest daughter graduated from med school and she had to take out all loans for that and it was like a mortgage and a half! The money my daughter made this summer went towards a car that she needs for an internship next semester.
I don't feel comfortable with my daughter's boyfriend's parents paying her airfare which is what I am told could happen. It seems too much of a gift, if it was a thousand dollar necklace I would think it too much and inappropriate for her to receive it.
I also think the poster who said she may be growing up and away is what I am upset about is true to an extent. Between her working at school for the summer she is an RA and spends a chunk of time at school during breaks working for that. My point is that she really hasn't been home much since her last winter break and this year she was going to be here three weeks before she started planning on going to California for a week. In summary, I don't want her to go but I am starting to believe that she might have the right to go but I still don't have the money for this nor does she so maybe it is a moot point. She does want to have her boyfriends parents buy her ticket whereas I think that would be wrong.</p>

<p>I don't understand why YOU feel obligated to come up with the money. If you don't have it, you don't have it, and I'm sure you've told her "No" before this. If his parents have spontaneously offered to pay for her visit, I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with that; I don't equate it with accepting a diamond necklace.</p>

<p>From what I've observed of my daughter and her friends, it's the rare college student who comes home for winter break and stays home the entire time. Mine has been going for little trips during break since Thanksgiving of freshman year. While I understand the impulse to hang on to our kids as much as possible, I think we have to be careful not to cling too tightly. They grow away from us, sadly. The older they get, the less we see of them, and this is healthy (albeit hard).</p>

<p>I think it's important for you to sort out why you're so upset. Is it because it's HIM she wants to visit? Would you be as upset if she were visiting a girlfriend?</p>

<p>Agree with starbright- sounds a little suspect. Sorry .
If the boyfriend is going to invite her it is very nice that he offer to pay. It is sad that you have not seen her much in the last year. Maybe you can take a long weekend to go visit them at school. Be flexible.</p>

<p>I see what you are saying about holding on too tight. I know that the harder you try to hold on to someone who is tying to leave, the greater the resistance. Is it that she wants to visit her boyfriend what bothers me? Yes, to an extent. There have been instances where he seems to be quite selfish that have bothered me. And yes folks, I don't get to pick her boyfriend, I know. I suppose my biggest fear is that she doesn't follow through on applying to the Vet School that she intends to now and instead ops to follow him back to California after graduation. She has said that she would not do this so I suppose it is unfair of me to consider it a possibility.
So I asked for advice and I got it and I have changed my mind. I will not stand in her way of going to California but she is going to have to come up with a way to pay the fare that does not include her boyfriends parents. Sorry, but I don't think that is appropriate still. I will offer her money rather than gifts for Christmas and maybe she can ask her aunts/uncles for the same. Her internship next semester is for 12 weeks at a wildlife rehabilitation center and I have to cover cost of living plus rent while she is there! I just love how these internships are free labor and the students have to pay their way to boot!
Well, thanks again for the advice. It really did help. At least I will still have my dog to spend time with!</p>

<p>I had the exact same situation with my son, who now lives on the opposite coast. We miss him and hope that one day he lives closer, but he is an adult and doing what makes him happy.</p>

<p>The girlfriend's parents did pay for his air fares sometimes, because he flew to their house more than the girlfriend flew to ours. It would be okay, I would think, to consider splitting the fare at this point.</p>

<p>p.s. My dog also has diabetes and is almost blind; I hope he does not suffer the way you describe, because I absolutely cannot afford surgery for him. If he were younger, I guess it would be even more of a dilemma. He also has Cushing's. I test his blood sugar with a meter, after pricking his tail.</p>

<p>If you are in Newyork and she is in Ivy league, how hard is it for you to go visit?</p>

<p>If she is a junior and she has been with this guy since freshman year, it sounds serious. It requires some level of leeway from you at this point and based on what all she has been doing in terms of working at school through summers etc., she sounds pretty independent already. Once that happens, it is quite hard to dictate what they can and can't do.</p>

<p>I guess the boyfriend's family isn't too fractured to come up with the airfare! </p>

<p>Let her go to California. Who wouldn't want to spend part of December in California with a boyfriend?</p>

<p>Why couldn't she come home for 2 weeks and go see her boyfriend for a week. It is not too much to ask for one's immediate family to spend the holiday together. Is she part of BF's family member yet? No. </p>

<p>D1 is out of college, self supporting. It just wouldn't cross her mind to be with her BF (of 2 years) family on Thanksgiving or Christmas, and neither would he. D1 is going to be with us for 1.5 week over her 2 weeks vacation over xmas, she is meeting up with him and her friends for New Year.</p>

<p>My parents always believed in "balance" when it comes to a relationship, may it be wealth, intellect or family. By going to a BF's house for Christmas and having the BF family to pay for it, it is implying the BF familiy is more important, fun, interesting than one's own family. Even if D1 could twist her BF to be with us for Christmas, I would wonder what's wrong with his family that he didn't want to be with them. Just my view.</p>

<p>I can understand the OP's feelings and worries. A little bit dismayed however over how many people would find it unacceptable, unloving, disrespectful (take your pick) for a grown child to want to be with SO on a holiday. I hope I don't set this kind of trap for my kids. Even at 45 with two children and a home of our own my husband still felt guilty if we did not travel (a long distance!) to my MIL's house at Christmas.</p>

<p>In my opinion, you are being unreasonable about this. Your daughter is a young adult and should not need your permission to visit her boyfriend or his family. Yes, it is important that she spends the holiday with her own family but if I understand correctly, she has three weeks off for the winter break and is spending two weeks with you and proposes to spend one week with her boyfriend at his family's house. </p>

<p>We are all different but I will share my own experience with two daughters just for another perspective. </p>

<p>My girls are now 23 and 25. The younger one is out of school and the older one is in grad school. However, ever since they began college, they have only come home approximately two times per year for a week at a time on average. They have never spent a summer at home since starting college. They never spent their entire winter break at home or many times not even their spring break. We saw them many more than two times per year as we traveled to see their events and to visit them too. </p>

<p>As far as the cost of the plane fare.....in my family, we only paid for our kids' travel to visit us, their grandparents or their siblings but never pay for their own vacations. They pay for those. So, if I were you, I would not pay for the ticket. I see nothing wrong with the offer her boyfriend made to pay for her visit, however. </p>

<p>On that topic above.....I can share a similar story even though my D is a little older than yours as she is now 23. She is no longer in college and so doesn't get vacation breaks like in college. Typically, she has been home the week of XMas in the past (and obviously used to get college breaks), though we do not celebrate XMas (I realize that is different than your family I assume, though you say your D is going to spend the holidays with you, just not her entire long winter break). A few weeks ago, on her birthday, she told me that her boyfriend of two years gave her one of her birthday presents which is an invitation, all travel paid, to spend XMas with his family in Ohio (D and her BF live in NYC; I live in VT). I think it is a lovely offer and it is very nice for his family to include her in their special holiday gathering. My D first asked if I'd mind since she usually comes home that week. I don't mind as the holiday itself is not one we celebrate and she is going to come a different time. The main thing is that she is going to visit here. I'm also going to see her for a week at Thanksgiving. </p>

<p>In my view, your D is coming home to visit and will be with you for the holiday. Many college kids do not spend their summers or the entirety of their long winter breaks with their parents, including my own kids. The main thing is that we see the kids periodically, sometimes at home and sometimes where they live. Sounds like your D will be doing that. She is old enough and it is appropriate enough to visit at her boyfriend's hometown. The gift of his paying for that is reasonable in my opinion given how long they have been dating.</p>

<p>PS, my daughter has never allowed the fact that she has a boyfriend get in the way of her own career goals and it sounds like your D is not doing that either and so keep that in mind.</p>

<p>Did I miss the part she is spending xmas with her family and rest of it with her BF?</p>

<p>It came in her second post.</p>

<p>"My point is that she really hasn't been home much since her last winter break and this year she was going to be here three weeks before she started planning on going to California for a week."</p>