Teenage daughter moving in with boyfriend - help!


#1

Our daughter is moving in with her boyfriend. She has been struggling with her faith for about a year now, and he has no faith at all. Both of them work only part time, and both say they want to go to school, but are not very ambitious.

We are mourning not only for the poor choice in morality, but for where this will lead her in the future. We are also trying to figure out how to keep the lines of communication open, but not be supportive of this decision.

We have been very clear with her that she will receive no financial help from us at all. But we have also left the door open for her should she need to move back home (understanding that our rules and morals will not change).

So, do I even go see where she will be living? She asked me this, and I told her I really wasn't sure. I said if I did go see her, it would be as a Mom who is worried about her child and wants to see where she is, but in no way supporting this decision.

I need to hear from others who have been through this. How did you handle the situation? Is there anything you would differently now looking back?

Please pray for her!


#2

So, do I even go see where she will be living?

no.

when i was in this situation, my mother would not come and see me. i complained, "you'll have to learn to accept me."

she said, "I do accept you. i don't accept what you're doing."

her refusal to visit made a very strong message. it took a long time for me to return to my Faith, but her integrity was a powerful message. she wouldn't let my younger sisters and brother visit either.

on the other hand, as you're committed to, mom's door was always open. and she always loved me. (though i tried to paint her as a judgmental monster.) i knew i could come home, but i didn't because mom's moral expectations were just too clear and grounded.

she never stopped praying. and i converted. (been married 21 years, 10 kids.)

these days she acts like everything i do is the best thing in the world. i say, "you prayed for my conversion" she shakes her rosaries at me, "this is all i had. this and Holy Communion."

you keep the faith. offer everything for her conversion. hope in God. He wants your girl to return to goodness and Faith infinitely more than you do!


#3

Your daughter is a big girl who can and will make her own decisions, but she needs to know you still love her.

Do you like her boyfriend? Have you taken time to get to know him?

I moved in with my now-husband before we were married. I got the complete cold shoulder from my family. They refused to visit, but more than that, they were extremely hateful to my husband, even after we were married. They came late to our wedding, and left early. I will never ever get over the emotional scars that their treatment of me, him, and our relationship caused. We are on good terms now, but it’s something that will always cause a shadow over our relationship, and while I have forgiven, I will never forget. She even took my picture off the wall at her house. :frowning:

And, for what it’s worth, I have been married 8 years, have four children, and am fully back in the faith. I KNEW what I was doing, I’m no dummy. I wasn’t practicing at the time, so morally, there was no issue for me. I needed prayers, but I also needed to feel unconditionally loved. And I didn’t.

What’s funny is that my mom will now admit that her treatment of us was wrong, and when my brother moved in with his girlfriend, they were treated MUCH differently. I was glad her outlook had changed -for them- but I was left feeling as if there was a huge double standard. Not only did his picture not leave the wall, she even added one of his girlfriend and her kids. :frowning:

I would say you do need to stand up for your moral beliefs, but love her. Get to know her boyfriend. If you don’t feel comfortable going into their apartment, then that is fine. But make it clear that while you don’t approve, she is and always will be your daughter. Gently try to persuade her to see your way of thinking, but don’t cut her out. Don’t cut her boyfriend out. Don’t sacrifice a relationship with your daughter over your moral high-ground. Just my 2 cents.


#4

This really is a parents agony! my prayers are with you. Never cease to love her, let her know your arms are open to love her and the boy she has chosen.

God be with you.


#5

[quote="monicatholic, post:2, topic:178451"]
no.

when i was in this situation, my mother would not come and see me. i complained, "you'll have to learn to accept me."

she said, "I do accept you. i don't accept what you're doing."

[/quote]

That's powerful. Your in my prayers Didi, not an easy situation, but certainly not your fault. Remember to be loving as well as steadfast and I'm sure it will all work out fine with teh grace of God!


#6

[quote="lada, post:3, topic:178451"]
Your daughter is a big girl who can and will make her own decisions, but she needs to know you still love her.

Do you like her boyfriend? Have you taken time to get to know him?

I moved in with my now-husband before we were married. I got the complete cold shoulder from my family. They refused to visit, but more than that, they were extremely hateful to my husband, even after we were married. They came late to our wedding, and left early. I will never ever get over the emotional scars that their treatment of me, him, and our relationship caused. We are on good terms now, but it's something that will always cause a shadow over our relationship, and while I have forgiven, I will never forget. She even took my picture off the wall at her house. :(

And, for what it's worth, I have been married 8 years, have four children, and am fully back in the faith. I KNEW what I was doing, I'm no dummy. I wasn't practicing at the time, so morally, there was no issue for me. I needed prayers, but I also needed to feel unconditionally loved. And I didn't.

What's funny is that my mom will now admit that her treatment of us was wrong, and when my brother moved in with his girlfriend, they were treated MUCH differently. I was glad her outlook had changed -for them- but I was left feeling as if there was a huge double standard. Not only did his picture not leave the wall, she even added one of his girlfriend and her kids. :(

I would say you do need to stand up for your moral beliefs, but love her. Get to know her boyfriend. If you don't feel comfortable going into their apartment, then that is fine. But make it clear that while you don't approve, she is and always will be your daughter. Gently try to persuade her to see your way of thinking, but don't cut her out. Don't cut her boyfriend out. Don't sacrifice a relationship with your daughter over your moral high-ground. Just my 2 cents.

[/quote]

I think your post shows a lack of maturity. I disagree that just because you had left the faith there was "morally, no issue for me." Quite the contrary, leaving the faith is another grave moral issue on top of living in sin. It seems you are only concerned with yourself and how you felt. What did your parents go through because of your sinful actions? You have forgiven? I would be more worried about getting their forgiveness.

I led a prior sinful life and I was ashamed and remorseful for my actions and thankfully have left it in the confessional. I am not hung up on how people acted in response to my own sinfullness. That was something I brought upon myself. I hope you will pray on this and try to see it in a different light instead of playing the victim.


#7

[quote="monicatholic, post:2, topic:178451"]
no.

when i was in this situation, my mother would not come and see me. i complained, "you'll have to learn to accept me."

she said, "I do accept you. i don't accept what you're doing."

her refusal to visit made a very strong message. it took a long time for me to return to my Faith, but her integrity was a powerful message. she wouldn't let my younger sisters and brother visit either.

on the other hand, as you're committed to, mom's door was always open. and she always loved me. (though i tried to paint her as a judgmental monster.) i knew i could come home, but i didn't because mom's moral expectations were just too clear and grounded.

she never stopped praying. and i converted. (been married 21 years, 10 kids.)

these days she acts like everything i do is the best thing in the world. i say, "you prayed for my conversion" she shakes her rosaries at me, "this is all i had. this and Holy Communion."

you keep the faith. offer everything for her conversion. hope in God. He wants your girl to return to goodness and Faith infinitely more than you do!

[/quote]

Amen to this...this is a wonderful post, monica. DIDI--Praying for you, your daughter and her bf. :gopray:


#8

Thank you all. We are still praying about whether or not to see where she will be living.

We are not cutting her off at all. We have told her that if for any reason she needs to come back home that she is welcome, but that also our rules will remain the same and she would have to agree to live by those rules again. I have told her that I love her, and that there’s nothing she will ever do that will make me stop loving her, but that I vehemently disagree with this decision for her and that it doesn’t make sense for her in any area of her life – spiritually, financially, educationally, etc.

Iada – I understand your hurt, but I also understand your parents’ reaction. Remember that they were hurt deeply. As your own children grow, and they make decisions and mistakes and sin against God, you will understand this to a greater extent. It is literally like your heart is being pierced by a sword, and you feel like all your time and energy in trying to pass on the faith, and good morals, has just been tossed away and you’ve been kicked in the face. Whether or not this is any intention of the child, this is how parents feel.

We do know her boyfriend, he has had many meals with us and even traveled a few hours away with us to visit family. This has nothing whatsoever to do with him, it has to do with the decision they are making together. He is a nice young man, but has no faith, so then whereby do you steer your ship? If it is easy to make this one immoral decision, what might the next one be?

monicatholic – your testimony is powerful. Thank you so much for sharing. Gives me more to think about.

They will be welcome is our home for meals, and if they stay, sleeping arrangements are separate as always.

I just keep thinking of Jesus. He entered the home of many sinners. Not because he agreed with what they were doing, but because they needed His presence among them.

(sigh)

Please continue to pray that we will make the right decision for our family and for our daughter.


#9

I'm only 30, so I'm near her age group. I've never been tempted to live without someone (maybe that's why my relationships always fail-I can't break up with myself! :shrug: )

A GREAT way to remind her without sounding too judgemental (you don't want to push her away) is to casually say that most people who co-habitate have an absurdly higher divorce rate. Even agnostics/atheists/non-religious people should want to avoid that!

Also, some people I know of in the same situations blame the male. Don't do that until you know the whole thing. Alot of times women have been pressuring me to advance things (sexually or otherwise) and I've been the one with my foot on the brakes. She is, of course, your daughter, so that's one thing, but if they get married, you don't want to harbor an unjustified anger towards him.


#10

just keep thinking of Jesus. He entered the home of many sinners. Not because he agreed with what they were doing, but because they needed His presence among them.

HE did. and when HE said, sin no more. they repented. they sold everything. gave back double what they’d extorted. they gave up adultery and all.

and HE said if you go into a house and they do not accept your testimony, leave that place, your blessing will go with you. shake the dust off your sandals.

love is hard. love is very hard.

(if you ever had an inkling to read some of my previous posts, you’ll see Didi that this isn’t merely theoretical for me. i have adult children. my 24 yo son, especially, has caused me to exercise the most agonizing, lovingest love i could ever imagine being called to do.)


#11

First of all, how old is she?

Second, do not go. Tell her you can’t do anything that could be interpreted as approving the sin she is committing. That is how you can drive home the point that you do not approve of this. If she has a temper tantrum, make it clear that SHE is wrong, not you. At some point we Catholics have to recover our backbone and put our foot down and not let ourselves be silenced out of fear that we will have a door closed to a relationship.

Third, here is a link to a USCCB document that touches on shacking up; although it deals with pastoral preparaton for marriage for those shacking up, part of the document deals with the negative aspects to shacking up (which includes what Rascalking is referring to):

usccb.org/laity/marriage/cohabiting.shtml


#12

Didi - I think you have handled this situation the right way. You have left the door open for her to return to your home, but under your conditions. You have covered all the bases with that. I know this cannot be easy for you. To answer your question, no, I would not go to see where she is living and playing house...I think it only serves to legitimize what she is doing. Continue seeing her though, just not there. Tell her you are not doing this out of spite, but because you will cannot visit your daughter where she has made a home with a man who is not her husband. Because you always had a very specific vision of visiting her someday at a home that was made for her out of love and respect, where she is valued for the treasure that she is.

She is probably going through a very confusing time and has lost sight of God...she is the company of some of the greatest Catholics and saints. Sometimes it takes some years in the wilderness to really understand that you do need God. Think of St. Monica praying all those years for her son Augustine...such a sinner turned out to basically save the Church from the brink of heresy. God knew just the time to use him!

Is your husband involved? Sometimes girls act like this because they are desperate for some kind of affirming affection. A heartfelt letter from her dad telling how that this is not what he planned for his daughter and that he wants his daughter to be respected might really hit her. Maybe she really has no idea what her value is at this point. Even if you did all the right things growing up...a girl’s ego can be so fragile. Also, I think there is some immaturity on her part...she probably wants to be grown up and independent and she thinks this is how. Wait until the bills start piling in or she sees her other friends graduating college and having success...she may rethink her choices. Lucky for her she has a soft place to fall and forgiving parents.


#13

I hardly feel like a victim. I feel like I’ve led a life that has gone wrong at some junctures. I’m human, and prone to sin. Just like we all are.

However, knowing that we are all sinners, and knowing that I myself have sinned, and sinned good, I know that taking a hard line is not always the way to get a sinner to repent and sin no more. My parents stance on my relationship certainly did nothing to make me want to amend it. On the contrary, their cutting me completely out of their life severed a tie to the morality I was taught as a child. There was no gentle prodding, just…either do it this way or you’re no longer our daughter until you decide to.

I know for a fact that my children will break my heart in their lives. I KNOW it. I just hope and pray that despite that, I will be able to be the mature party, to treat them with love and kindness despite their actions.


#14

My daughter moved in with her boyfriend, and lived with him for 6 years, until they offically broke up two years ago. We made it perfectly clear, and she prefectly understood that we did not approve. The yuccky part of being a parent is standing by and watching your children make their own mistakes and know, that trying as hard as you will, you can’t stop them. We didn’t help them financially, but we did go over there once or twice; as a Mom, I wanted to know where she was living in case of an emergency. When they broke up, she moved back in with us, is still here, and we like it that way!


#15

[quote="MercyMia, post:12, topic:178451"]
Didi - I think you have handled this situation the right way. You have left the door open for her to return to your home, but under your conditions. You have covered all the bases with that. I know this cannot be easy for you. To answer your question, no, I would not go to see where she is living and playing house...I think it only serves to legitimize what she is doing. Continue seeing her though, just not there. Tell her you are not doing this out of spite, but because you will cannot visit your daughter where she has made a home with a man who is not her husband. Because you always had a very specific vision of visiting her someday at a home that was made for her out of love and respect, where she is valued for the treasure that she is.

She is probably going through a very confusing time and has lost sight of God...she is the company of some of the greatest Catholics and saints. Sometimes it takes some years in the wilderness to really understand that you do need God. Think of St. Monica praying all those years for her son Augustine...such a sinner turned out to basically save the Church from the brink of heresy. God knew just the time to use him!

Is your husband involved? Sometimes girls act like this because they are desperate for some kind of affirming affection. A heartfelt letter from her dad telling how that this is not what he planned for his daughter and that he wants his daughter to be respected might really hit her. Maybe she really has no idea what her value is at this point. Even if you did all the right things growing up...a girl’s ego can be so fragile. Also, I think there is some immaturity on her part...she probably wants to be grown up and independent and she thinks this is how. Wait until the bills start piling in or she sees her other friends graduating college and having success...she may rethink her choices. Lucky for her she has a soft place to fall and forgiving parents.

[/quote]

Very well said, especially the suggestion on getting a letter from dad. :thumbsup:

I would not go visit her either. Get her address and plug it into Google Maps. You'll know where she lives in case of an emergency, but by actually going to visit you would be condoning her choice. She doesn't realize how blessed she is. I lived w/my dh b/f we were married and my mother didn't speak to me -at all- for 5 yrs. I was an adult by then, but still.... I wish we hadn't lived together but our circumstances were very different. It wasn't right, but thanks be to God, I have be reconcilled to Him.
You are doing the right thing. Keep the faith. :console:


#16

Well, I guess if you are not going to visit her, you need to ask yourself how long it will last and under what, if any, circumstances it might change. Will you refuse to visit until she comes of age? Until she marries in the CC, or out of it? Until she goes back to Catholisism? In 20 years? When she has kids of her own you would like to see?

If your daughter is 15 or 16, I think that is rather different than if she is 19 or 20. At some point she will be an adult and responsible for her own decisions. If you would refuse to visit an 30 year old daughter, say with a child, who is living in an unmarried state and is not Catholic, you should carry on.

Otherwise, I think you should define more clearly what the limits of your stand will be, or it could become very divisive one day.


#17

Been there, done that, as the saying goes. While I'm new to the Catholic faith, I still have morals and did even when I wasn't going to church.
My daughter who's 19 has moved in with 3 different guys in a matter of 1 1/2 yrs now. She just moved out yet again on Thanksgiving. While I somewhat like this guy she's with now, I don't see it lasting, and I know she'll be back.
Right now I'm using "tough love" to an extent. She knows I don't like her moving in with these guys, but I still talk to her, love her, try to help her as much as I can without going against my morals. I let her know that I won't be giving her money for help with rent though at this place but if she needs me to, I'll sit down with her and help her budget her money.
She's not Catholic, she's agnostic, so her morals and mine are completely different. She did express interest in praying the Rosary lately though, so I gave her one and a little book to help her learn how.
What I do mostly is PRAY for her everyday. She knows I do also, and since then, I've managed to get her to go to mass with me once. I'm trusting her to God.
I know it's hard to watch them go through this type of stuff, but they are adults, and we can't control them. God gave us all free will, remember that.


#18

[quote="Rachel, post:17, topic:178451"]
Been there, done that, as the saying goes. While I'm new to the Catholic faith, I still have morals and did even when I wasn't going to church.
My daughter who's 19 has moved in with 3 different guys in a matter of 1 1/2 yrs now. She just moved out yet again on Thanksgiving. While I somewhat like this guy she's with now, I don't see it lasting, and I know she'll be back.
Right now I'm using "tough love" to an extent. She knows I don't like her moving in with these guys, but I still talk to her, love her, try to help her as much as I can without going against my morals. I let her know that I won't be giving her money for help with rent though at this place but if she needs me to, I'll sit down with her and help her budget her money.
She's not Catholic, she's agnostic, so her morals and mine are completely different. She did express interest in praying the Rosary lately though, so I gave her one and a little book to help her learn how.
What I do mostly is PRAY for her everyday. She knows I do also, and since then, I've managed to get her to go to mass with me once. I'm trusting her to God.
I know it's hard to watch them go through this type of stuff, but they are adults, and we can't control them. God gave us all free will, remember that.

[/quote]

She sounds like she is really convicted and that is a great thing! You have an opportunity here to really bring her home not only physically, but spiritually; don't be afraid to do so even though you are a new Catholic. She doesn't expect you to know everything and the very fact that you are new to the faith is probably a HUGE benefit. She can learn right along with you. There is so much hope here. The fact that she actually expressed interest in the Rosary is God's hand at work! :D The fact that you've gotten her to attend Mass w/you is also a significant step. Since you've already given her the Rosary & prayer book, next time she's with you, ask her to pray it* with *you. Even if she says "no", ask her if she'll just sit with you while you pray it. The Holy Spirit is moving. All God needs is an open heart and your daugther sounds like she's got one. ;)


#19

I will be praying for a good out come for your daughter.

We are going through a similar experience in our family so thanks to everybody for your advice, I am listening closely.


#20

Thank you! Your reply gives me hope! :slight_smile:
I would love it if my whole family went to Mass with me.


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