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DearSugar Needs Your Help: I'm Worried For My Daughter

DearSugar Needs Your Help: I'm Worried For My Daughter

DearSugar and Distraught Debbie need your help. Her 28-year-old daughter is involved with a man with a shady past. Although she doesn't doubt his love for her, she's concerned for her future. Do you have any advice for this worried mom?

Dear Sugar,

My daughter has been with her boyfriend for about three years — they are both 28 years old. When he was 17, he was charged with statutory rape (he was dating an underage girl) and he now has a sexual offense on his record. Although he loves her —who wouldn't? she's a beautiful person— I think he's been using her. She's a professional and he is still in school. He works odd jobs to make ends meet while he saves money for his education.

We are upper-middle class, and this has been extremely embarrassing for us. He's an OK guy, but he's very rough around the edges. He comes from a broken home, his mom has kids with three different men, and his dad was in prison. I could easily get past his upbringing, but it's the police record that's a concern. How do my husband and I get our daughter to understand that if she marries him, she'll be marrying his criminal record as well? She will also never be able to live in a "good neighborhood" because of his past mistakes. We don't want to be controlling parents, but we do want the best for our daughter, so what can we do or say to make her understand the severity of this situation?


Join The Conversation
Melo-D Melo-D 9 years
I agree with a lot of people... you need to know what the charge is about. He was 17 so the girl was probably 15 and her parents found out, got upset, and pressed charges. He's "rough around the edges" because he had a hard life and people like you are making it harder. Have you ever sat down and talk to him? I know my mother would have sat down and talked to him about his future. The fact that you gave us the details of his upbringing let me know it clearly is something you can't get over. Until you have compassion towards him for things he had NO control over, he might not be the most polite person around you because he can sense how you feel. Did you ever think that one of the things he admires the most about your daughter is what she has accomplished in her life and that's his ambition to get to where he wants to go. I think there are lot of things you need to talk about with him and your daughter together. What does your husband think? He needs to be in on this conversation too. Invite the man over for dinner and talk. I also think you need to learn something about lower middle class and below families and how hard it is for us to get to a better place... especially in this time of recession. Find out more about the man and maybe you'll get a revelation about his future.
LadyAngel89 LadyAngel89 9 years
She's 28, it sounds like you've already said your piece. Nothing change? Too bad... what are you going to do to convince her otherwise alienate her from you or chain her in your bedroom closet and withhold food until she caves and agrees with your synopsis of HER situation (you know the one she's actually living). He could be the scum of the earth, but what can you do? Tell them and hope they figure it out.
dameneko dameneko 9 years
if i were a parent, i would be concerned if my child were dating someone with a criminal record, but as someone from a broken home who didn't come from a good neighborhood, i think your thinly veiled bigotry is uncalled for. take a look at your own attitudes and see if you really aren't more concerned about how this will reflect on YOU. if he's abusing her, i don't care WHAT kind of background he has, you intervene. but if he's not abusing your daughter and you are really just more concerned about your family's image, may you get exactly what you deserve. good luck to your daughter.
linb linb 9 years
@sunshowers: LOL :D
sunshowers83 sunshowers83 9 years
herbiefrog, wtf are you smoking?!?
herbiefrog herbiefrog 9 years
...and you never mentioned ...the fallen star # "from" hawawii hey babe : ) hope that your memory is good bye...
herbiefrog herbiefrog 9 years
to all the strong... youthful... virile... nubile can we stop soon ? ok... can we just do the thing ? oooooffff... so... we'll see you later ?
bransugar79 bransugar79 9 years
I just wanted to say that I understand being concerned for your child. I have a mother who would certainly warn me if there were signs of danger in someone I was dating. My mother actually sat down with me to talk about the man I am about to marry just because we met online. Granted that was 12 years ago and she didn't judge she just asked me questions to make me think. She trusts me enough to know that I am a smart person and can make good decisions on my own given the right information. I don't think there is anythign wrong with being worried for your child's safety, but that is not what this woman's problem is. She doesn't like the guy because he came from a "broken family" I know a lot of people who come from two parent homes that turn out to be complete d bags. And being from a poor neighborhood doesn't make you a less worthwhile person. From the information she mentioned in the actual posting without inferrring anything else she said he does work and she admitted that he did love her daughter ( "who wouldn't" after all) so this is about status not concern, and I don't support anyone's right to be biased even when veiled by concern.
russet1 russet1 9 years
I absolutely agree with Svenska. My parents were in the same situation that this daughter is in. My mother came from a "priveledged family" with the snobbiest parents, while my father was the youngest of 9 siblings raised by his single mother in the rough part of a big city. Obviously, my father wasn't "good enough" for my mum, and even at their wedding her parents refused to pose in the pictures. Shortly after that, my parents moved away, and I've grown up without ever meeting my grandparents. And good riddance. Both of my parents are wonderful people, and I would much rather have my dad's mum who can teach me how to be the most unselfish person in the world, who can teach me what sacrifice really is, then have the horrible pigs of grandparents that refuse even to speak to my father. Good riddance. Besides, you love who you love. No one can decide it for you. Lady, if you want to be a part of your daughter's life and her children's, then you need to stop looking down your nose at people who haven't been given everything on a silver platter.
svenska svenska 9 years
This post has me seeing red. I cannot feel any sympathy towards this problem after statements like this is embarrassing for our family and he's rough around the edges because he comes from a broken home, his mother has children with more than one man and his father was in prison. From my experience this kind of bigotry and elitism always comes from people throwing around the "upper-middle class" card - always trying to prove how much better they are and how they "belong" with the upper class. It alternately makes me laugh at how desperate people can be to act like they're better and it makes me so sad at the fact that there are still large quantities of our population who think socio-economic status makes you a better or happier person than someone who doesn't make as much money. Life is about being happy and living to the fullest and being a good person - money and status will not buy you any of that. I absolutely cannot stand the idea that you're willing to overlook his upbringing, as if he had any choice in the matter, or your allusion to people being from broken homes are rough round the edges. Please, get over yourself. What if this man had been from an equal or higher socio-economic status as your "professional" daughter and still had the upbringing he had? Would you still be worried for your daughter? That kind of statement also implies that people with your daughter's upbringing aren't rough around the edges - and please, as someone who was born into a family with the kind of money that would put you "upper-middle class" snobs to shame, I know for a fact that there are plenty of people that have the "right" upbringing that are rough around the edges, lazy, etc. But what do I know, because it seems like, according to you, I must be rough around the edges too since my dad lost almost all his trust fund when I was 6 (and had to worked harder than he ever did until his father died and he got some inheritance, and even then he still works hard to this day); my parents got divorced and there just wasn't enough money to send two children to a $25k a year elementary school and employ 2 nannies and have 3 horses and pay for my mother to go back to school, so she sent my brother, baby sister and I to live with her parents in Sweden for 7 years; and my father was/is an alcoholic.
amybdk amybdk 9 years
If you want to push your daughter away, you are on the right track.
linb linb 9 years
I am in this situation, not as the mother, but the daughter. My wonderful boyfriend has a record, he is a felon. So what. He was young and stupid. He is no longer that person. He owns his own business, has goals in life and he is loved by his community, who has no idea about his past. And I am beyond proud to be his girlfriend, and hopefully will one day his wife, mother of his child(ren). Do not judge someone by their past. People make mistakes. Judge him by the person he is today. And if you still disapprove, that is fine. But let your daughter make her own decisions.
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 9 years
Ha! Touche about the caste system, Mascara. I keep coming back to this post because it absolutely enraged me, but your comment is cracking me up. :rotfl: And it is nice to see another Replacements fan 'round these parts.
LittleMascara LittleMascara 9 years
Wow, you sound like a stuck up bigoted snobby woman. I'm more happy that your daughter hasn't followed in your footsteps than continue the track of closed minded thinking that has brought you to us today. Some people can't help the situation they were born into and they need to make the best of it. I'd be cutting this dude a little more slack, as opposed to "looking past" his upbringing. The only thing I can't look past in this post, is the way you portrayed her boyfriend. I can't get past that enough to even try and answer your question. Good luck. I guess we should just adopt a caste system so we can't date up OR down. That way each and every upper middle suburban mother will never have to have a nightmare like this on their hands...
Indigo4320 Indigo4320 9 years
I understand where you are coming from completely. Forget his upbringing...while it's awful, it doesn't mean he's anything like his family. BUT the sex offense on his record would draw the line for me. Maybe he was "in puppy love" with the underage and vice versa and her parents found out and decided to take a legal stance. You see that happen a lot. It could be she was only a year or so younger. So it might not mean he's a bad guy altogether but he knew the consequences for hooking up with a minor and now he's paying the price. You can't tell your daughter what to do, I mean she's nearing 30 and will be wanting to really start her life soon. She may think this guy is it for her and if that's the case you telling her not to be with him will probably send her running in his direction even harder. I know you're worried about her future and if I were you, I'd be just as worried. There is really nothing you can do. Just don't push your daughter away if she does marry this guy. You'll just have to swallow your embarassment and be there for her. Good luck!
sunshowers83 sunshowers83 9 years
Brandynicole, THANK YOU. *applauds* My parents did everything in their power to give me a chance at a good education precisely because they never wanted me to have to rely on a man for comfort and survival. They wanted me to have choices. Knowledge and money = power in our society, and women are finally starting to wield some of that. You're so right about how society views it as okay for a girl to grad from high school and then sit around waiting for a prince to come save her, but the second that a guy falls into a lower tax bracket than the girl, society cries foul. It's hypocrisy, and it completely undermines a woman's freedom to choose to rely on HERSELF instead of on a man. So what if OP's daughter wears the pants... maybe she *likes* to wear the pants! And who are we to make her feel ashamed for achieving a status that women have fought and struggled for, over centuries of patriarchal oppression? I really don't blame her! I'm a law student, and if there was a take-home cautionary message in my Family Law class, it's that women who buy into the whole fairytale-housewife-my-husband-makes-six-figures-so-I've-got-it-made thing NEVER SEE IT COMING. Next thing they know, they're tossed out on their asses with sole custody of their four children, with no resume to speak of because they've been out of the workforce for the last 15 years, and their signature mocking them on that airtight prenup they signed way back when. Really scary stuff, girls - women who got used to wearing twin sets and pearls at the country club, now living out of a basement suite and putting in shift work as telemarketers. If you ask me, I'd rather be wearing a power suit, putting my feet up in my corner office. In that light, it's really not such a bad idea to have a stay-at-home dad, is it?
If she's happy, then it's your job to butt out. You say he had a statutory rape charge when he was 17? Depending on what state, the female could've been 16. There are so many things to consider with that type of offense, especially him being 17. So, it's embarrassing for you and your family that your daughter is an independent woman who doesn't need to rely on a man to take care of her? Must be rough... Would you be embarrassed if your daughter was the one taking odd jobs to get through school, while her boyfriend was working a good job paying for everything? That's sexist! I don't understand how the feminist generation could preach all that time that girls should be independent and take care of themselves. As soon as they do that, and marry a man willing to stay home and take care of the children (because someone has to do it), all of a sudden it's an embarrassment?! So, lets get this straight. Only a woman should have the privilege of staying home with the kids and "mooching" off their spouse? Let your daughter be happy, and stop putting that tension into the air. No ones needs to feel uncomfortable around their mother. And, if your daughter gets tired of it, she's likely to stop communicating with you, because you're not the one making her happy!
Poster-of-a-Girl Poster-of-a-Girl 9 years
I agree with a lot of people that the OP comes off snobby and judgmental, and my first reaction was major annoyance as soon as i read how "embarrassing" it is for HER. I also agree that the stat rape conviction is bull. However, I would not got as far as to claim that this guy sounds like a real upstanding character who has overcome his bad upbringing. Just like we are not willing to read into the post that he is a terrible guy, I wouldn't swing the pendulum all the way the other way and say he seems like a great dude. I don't know what the definition of "odd jobs" is but it seems to me he does not have a STEADY job, and if you read carefully, he is not IN college, he is "saving up" for college, which I'm sorry, means very little at this point. The dude is 28. He graduated high school about 10 years ago. What has he been doing for the past ten years? Being snobby is being snobby, but let's be realistic too. This guy has shown that for a long time he had very little ambition. If that has genuinely changed then he DEFINITELY deserves props and a chance. If he hasn't, the mother has right for concern. Even though it's not going to get her anywhere, because the daughter is , after all, old enough to make her own decisions. And of course, all this doesn't take into concern what a fabulous personality he has. And although I've dated a guy for a really long time because he had a great personality but who wasn't financially stable, i can understand why a MOTHER would be concerned about the "superficial" stuff in regards to her daughter. You do want her to be happy. But you also want her to be financially comfortable, especially if that is the lifestyle you have been used to.
herbiefrog herbiefrog 9 years
tricky subject already splitting into two... physical and loving wow... # no way those two are getting back togethre if you understood the loving part you could think anyway you want... [leave] bye...
meenalaregina meenalaregina 9 years
Dear Madame: I am not a mother but as a daughter I appreciate that you are worried for your daughter's future. It is an unfortunate fact, that even though an accused has paid his/her debt to society, that the stigma of prison remains. It does not help that people are not willing to examine, much less appreciate, the changes that the accused has made since his/her imprisonment, and let him/her start anew. Prison is figuratively the mark of Cain. You mentionned that your daughter would be marrying the criminal record. If the boyfriend was a juvenile at the time of offense, wouldn't the record be sealed by youth protection? If this is not the case, I know that in Canada it is possible to seek a pardon. Therefore, your worries on this issue are quite possibly unfounded. All you need to do is call your local district attorney's office and find out. You also cite his shady character. Yet, you have not cited a single fact that suggests that he is a shady character. Has he borrowed money from your daughter? Has he tried to isolate her from her friends? Is he a recidivist? You appear to denigrate the fact that he is a student. Prior to becoming a professional wasn't your daughter also student? Why does it matter that he has to pay and work several jobs. Since when is earning an honest wage a bad thing? Since when is pursuing higher learning off the sweat of one's brow something to be ashamed of? If anything, this man, who had a rough beginning, should be commended on how he is turning his life around. There is no shame in being poor. There is no shame in hard work. There is only shame in blind judgment, especially when life has blessed you with all of the tools to see (this is supposed to be the purvey of the "upper-class"). You seem to have forgotten that sometimes it is adversity that makes someone great. Mr. President Abraham Lincoln, grew-up in abject poverty. He had very little schooling and his father remarried. He did not have a "classic clean" life, that you seem to prize. Nevertheless, he overcame HIS circumstances and changed the course of your country. You also cite a subsidiary argument that your daughter will never live a nice neighbourhood. I doubt that a real estate agent can access juvenile records, and then decide to whom he wishes to sell the house (please do not forget about civil rights). Further, nice is not only property values, it is also acceptance and kindness. Would you want your daughter to live amongst people who continually persecute someone who has paid his debt to society? Madame, if your daughter is everything that make her out to be, please review your fears and ask yourself whether the real issue is the criminal record or class. I think that the latter has a bigger role than you are willing to admit, and she will likely call you on it - and rightfully so. Best of luck, Meenalaregina
samischo samischo 9 years
You can't control who your daughter dates/loves. Take that stick out of your ass and learn to like him.
bellydancinmary bellydancinmary 9 years
I came from a background of a single, immigrant mom who cleaned houses for a living while she went to school. I work part-time waitressing, selling bridal dresses, whatever I can find that will fit around my school schedule. My dad was never really around, and I never really lived in "good neighborhoods". When I was 16, I dated a guy that was 18, that would be considered statutory rape in Arizona. Would I then be considered "those people"? Would I threaten your suburban, soccer-toting mom status? Would I be an embarassment to the family then?
i agree with tresjolie. i believe that you have to let your daughter learn from her mistakes. it is going to be hard of course to watch it, i can only imagine. HOWEVER, if my parents were to tell me who and who they dont think i should marry, it would push me to go against the grain more. that is just me though. people have different temperments.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Sorry "I would surmise" NOT "I would not".
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
If statutory rape is the only thing on his record as a result of having consensual sex with a girl he was dating. This is a charge of technicality not ill intent. Judging by that experience and that experience alone I would not surmise that he is not a closet rapist or a criminal in general. As for the fact that he is going to school and working odd jobs. While your daughter is the bread winner. The question to ask is where his monetary resources are going. To pay for school and other necessities? Or is he throwing it away on frivolous things and taking your daughters bank account for granted. Although his resources are limited does he do things to show your daughter his appreciation for her support? The fact that he is going to school and apparently full time I gather shows that he is serious about lifting himself to a higher standard of living and awareness which should give you piece of mind. All you can do is be a good guide for your daughter but if she is truly in love with this man and him in her also do what you can to help create an atmosphere of growth in the right direction. If you begin to project too much paranoia and worry over their relationship it could hurt your relationship with daughter and cause friction between them as well.
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