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Seeking input about a guy who is petitioning to be my daughter's boyfriend....

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
Maybe you wonderful women can help me to sort this out in my head.

First of all, I realize that my daughter's boyfriend is HER DECISION, but she hasn't decided yet and she does tend to respect my opinion.

He is Mexican, an illegal immigrant (as are so many of our friends), and hence the 'petitioning to be her boyfriend' thing. It's a very respectful, honorable tradition of the Mexican culture. He is a very very nice young man and I do like him.

Here are my confusions/concerns.

1. He's 23 and she's just about to turn 17. I'm a little concerned about the age difference, but not too much.

2. I'm a little concerned that if they get serious and he's deported, she'll go through a lot of changes and potentially decide to marry for that reason. I would hate to see her get married for that reason. I did it myself, with her father who is French. It was disasterous, in large part due to the language difference which is my last major concern.

3. He speaks almost no English. Her Spanish is getting better, but is still really limited. I know from personal experience how hard it can be to really know someone when there are serious communication issues stemming from language differences. I also know how easy it is to think that a person is someone they are not because with extremely limited ability to communicate, it is very easy to project onto a person.

The things I really love about the guy;

1. He's a friend of the family and we all like spending time with him and him with us. We've only known him a few months but his mom is my best friend. (Another concern I guess; don't want our friendship to be strained if it doesn't workout with him).

2. He's tender and sweet. He is very attentive to her and treats her well. (We've all seen this coming, obviously).

3. I think she has a need to be treated the way that he treats her. Previous boyfriends have been disappointments to her, and it's affected her self-esteem. On the other hand, I recognize the dangers of having your self esteem dictated by how men treat you.

AGH! I'm not sure what 'advice' to give her, other than to just get to know him while I'm teaching him to speak English and her to speak Spanish.

Any thoughts?
post #2 of 41
All of those things would be issues for me, but especially the language barrier. It's easy to be able to say "let's have dinner" "you are beautiful", etc. but what about when the conversation needs to get more serious and neither of them has the words to get their point across?
post #3 of 41
My daughter is only 13 so take my advice for what it's worth, but I would just advise her to guard her heart and share with her your personal experience regarding projecting hopes onto someone with whom communication was difficult. This must be so hard for you, like reliving your own young womanhood. I wish everyone concerned the best.
post #4 of 41
Well, my DH would say "heck no" based on the age difference alone. He still can't believe that my dad "let me" date a 20 year old when I was just 16. And that particular 20 year old was very immature for his age (hence the desire to date someone so much younger).

When I was 22 I spent three months in Costa Rica (my second time living there, I was there for four months my Jr. year of college). I dated a Costa Rican man who did not speak English. I was already very proficient in Spanish, but by no means fluent (and I define fluent as being able to pass for native). Even with me being able to speak Spanish very well our relationship was really mostly physical, because of the language barriers. We got into fights based on mistakes that I made in my Spanish. There were other issues (he had drug problems I believe, and I constantly caught him hitting on other women) and it did not last.

Oh, and I would be concerned about a potential breakup straining your relationship with his mom. One of my coworkers did not let her daughter date another coworker's son for this very reason (they also had a big age difference as well).

I guess that I would just encourage her to continue being his friend and not focus on the romantic aspects.
post #5 of 41
I would make sure that he could speak english, and she spanish, to the degree that they could hold convos before I would "allow" them to date. And I would ask him to work on becoming a cit of this country, cuz I would worry about the deportation thing, and also if they DO stick it out and want to get married.
post #6 of 41
I would say no based on age difference alone. Just the fact that you mention marriage in your OP means there is too much of a chance for getting way too serious. Your daughter should have the time to be a frivolous teen without worrying about older boyfriends, deportation and marriage.




FTR, I married the guy I dated at 16 but when I was in my early 20s I found myself growing spiritually and this doomed the marriage. Marriages in people who meet that young rarely work (< 5%) and as the mom to a DD, the idea makes me shudder.
post #7 of 41
I wouldn't have any problems with it. The age difference isn't an issue for me, as I had a very fullfilling experience at that age with a simlar difference in age. Plus everything you've posted about it indicates he is an honorable guy.

They will deal with the language issue. Obviously it has not been an impediment to you realizing how great he is, and she must like him if she is considering it. Lots of people go back and forth over the border, so just because he got deported ( and many many people never do) doesn't mean he wouldn't come back or they would be want to get married to avoid deportation. It's not like getting deported to France
post #8 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
I wouldn't have any problems with it. The age difference isn't an issue for me, as I had a very fullfilling experience at that age with a simlar difference in age. Plus everything you've posted about it indicates he is an honorable guy.

They will deal with the language issue. Obviously it has not been an impediment to you realizing how great he is, and she must like him if she is considering it. Lots of people go back and forth over the border, so just because he got deported ( and many many people never do) doesn't mean he wouldn't come back or they would be want to get married to avoid deportation. It's not like getting deported to France

I am thinking carefully about all of these responses but just wanted to add that I do speak fluent Spanish so I know this guy a little better than my daughter can know him, but not much more than a guy will let a mom know him if you know what I mean.
post #9 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fek&fuzz View Post
All of those things would be issues for me, but especially the language barrier. It's easy to be able to say "let's have dinner" "you are beautiful", etc. but what about when the conversation needs to get more serious and neither of them has the words to get their point across?
What would you do about it?
post #10 of 41
My dh is fluent in spanish and my dd is not. I'd be ok with her dating someone who was not fluent in english. I know in our family that my dh would be more than willing to act as translator as necessary and also she would have 2 outlets to practice the language so they could communicate better. We tried to do the one language one parent thing with her but since I'm not fluent in spanish and english is his native tongue he just didn't keep it up with her.

I understand what you are saying regarding him letting you know him, but you are best friends with his mom so sounds like there is good communication between families. How does his mom feel about them dating? If they are a fairly conservative Mexican family the kids may not have alone time anyway.
post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
I wouldn't have any problems with it. The age difference isn't an issue for me, as I had a very fullfilling experience at that age with a simlar difference in age. Plus everything you've posted about it indicates he is an honorable guy.

They will deal with the language issue. Obviously it has not been an impediment to you realizing how great he is, and she must like him if she is considering it. Lots of people go back and forth over the border, so just because he got deported ( and many many people never do) doesn't mean he wouldn't come back or they would be want to get married to avoid deportation. It's not like getting deported to France
I agree with all of that . . . although the older guy I dated when I was 17 was 35! It was not a bad experience for me at all; it was the experience I needed to have at the time.

I also don't think it would be terrible if they did decide to marry young. If it worked out for them, great, and if it didn't . . . well, that's what divorce is for.

I would give them my blessing, if I were you.
post #12 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
My dh is fluent in spanish and my dd is not. I'd be ok with her dating someone who was not fluent in english.

.
But the OP said he barely speaks ANY english, it isn't just about being fluent or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delacroix View Post
What would you do about it?
With regards to the conversation getting more serious.... He is a 23 year old man, If she does decide to date him, I would teach her some phrases (based upon your personal beliefs). One that I found handy with my boyfriend from CR was:
"Si no tienes un condon, no vamos a hacer el amor."

Or, if you are not as liberal as I am:
"Yo no voy a hacer el amor sin matrimonio."

Please forgive any spelling or grammatical errors, the last time I lived in a Spanish speaking country was 1997. But seriously, I am trying to be realistic here.
post #13 of 41
DH and I have been together since I was 17 and he was 23. We will be celebrating 7 years of marriage this summer.


I also would let her, it sounds like he is a wonderful young man. The odds of this working out are slim, but I look at it as a life experience and he sounds like he does care about your family, not many 23 year olds would. The language barrier is an issue, but one that you are slowly working on.
post #14 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by turtlewomyn View Post
But the OP said he barely speaks ANY english, it isn't just about being fluent or not.


I'm guessing you didn't understand my point since you clipped my post and left out the part where I said that my dh could act as interpretor as needed. IE just like the OP can.

That was my point. I know he barely speaks english. It isn't an issue to me.
post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
I'm guessing you didn't understand my point since you clipped my post and left out the part where I said that my dh could act as interpretor as needed. IE just like the OP can.

That was my point. I know he barely speaks english. It isn't an issue to me.
That might be a huge issue for the couple, though. I can't imagine wanting my dad translating a conversation that I was having with my boyfriend.
post #16 of 41
Based on the age difference alone I'd say HECK NO. If they love each other, they can wait til she's a legal adult. Hopefully by then his English will have improved and who knows, maybe he can straighten out his legal status.
post #17 of 41
Thread Starter 
In Texas, 17 IS a legal adult.
post #18 of 41
Honestly, the fact that he is petitioning to date her would weigh heavily in his favor for me. I'm not overly thrilled about age differences, but I recognize that they are not necessarily toxic. I would probably talk to my daughter very frankly about sex in the relationship and make it clear that you think it is probably something that should be put off until they can communicate more clearly, but that can give them both impetus to study harder.

The deportation issue isn't one I would let stop them. I would tell her flat out that you will not consent to an underage marriage if he does get deported. That means that if in two years they are still together and want to marry it is up to them.

I have spent a lot of my life around Mexican culture and as long as this boy (at 23 he is probably still pretty much a boy) is not way at the machismo end of things I would be totally fine with my daughter dating him. My experience with Mexican boys has been really positive. I have a deep appreciation of how respectful the children are brought up to be.
post #19 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by lalaland42 View Post
FTR, I married the guy I dated at 16 but when I was in my early 20s I found myself growing spiritually and this doomed the marriage. Marriages in people who meet that young rarely work (< 5%) and as the mom to a DD, the idea makes me shudder.
i am married to the guy i dated as a teen. we married when i was in my 20's

we have been together almsot 9 and a half years, married for 2 and a half.
we have 4 kids.

to the OP
i dont have teens so im not sure what this is worth. if it was me and my DD i would want them to get a functioning level of language, permit social activites with others and see how things go and once they have a good grasp of the language and he seeks to become a citizen then maybe in a few years or so things will naturaly bloosom or fade.

i dont have a problem with age gaps, as long as someone isnot gettign taken advantage of

Kiz
post #20 of 41
Thread Starter 
Mamas, thank you so much for your input. It's really helping me to process all of this.
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