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

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Old 05-09-2008, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
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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?
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:51 PM
 
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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?
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:52 PM
 
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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.
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:55 PM
 
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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.
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:03 PM
 
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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.

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Old 05-09-2008, 01:06 PM
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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.
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:11 PM
 
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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
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
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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.
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
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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?
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:20 PM
 
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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.
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:29 PM
 
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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.

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Old 05-09-2008, 01:29 PM
 
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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.

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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.
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:34 PM
 
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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.

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Old 05-09-2008, 01:36 PM
 
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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.
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:57 PM
 
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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.
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:58 PM
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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.
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
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In Texas, 17 IS a legal adult.
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Old 05-09-2008, 02:03 PM
 
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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.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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Old 05-09-2008, 02:03 PM
 
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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

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Old 05-09-2008, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Mamas, thank you so much for your input. It's really helping me to process all of this.
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Old 05-09-2008, 02:12 PM
 
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I lived (briefly) and studied in Mexico, traveled pretty extensively in Central America, worked with ESL students (mostly from Mexico) for several years and have had many friends from Latin America. I have found latino men to be very respectful of women overall (except if you are trapped on the metro in Mexico City at rush hour). Since you know his mother as well, that is a very big bonus...you have a pretty good idea how he was raised. Since you speak Spanish too, then you are able to communicate with him and get to see a more complete picture. If, as Arduinna says, he is from a traditional-type Mexican family, then being chaperoned most of the time shouldn't be a huge deal and at least until you all feel comfortable. As for not speaking the same language, when two people really want to communicate, they find a way. The deportation issue is another thing entirely that could add potential intensity to a relationship, and unfortunately, it is a very real threat and is always a cause for concern. Maybe discuss this issue very thoroughly with your daughter and with him as well. I guess just listen to your daughter and as long as she is happy and is being treated respectfully, then support the decision she makes in this matter.

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Old 05-09-2008, 02:19 PM
 
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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.
Well living and growing up in a multicultural family it's generally not that big of a deal. But it's up to the kids to decide. Plus Mexican families are generally quite close and there isn't the same level of parent kooties attitudes as there are by Americans.
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Old 05-09-2008, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Well living and growing up in a multicultural family it's generally not that big of a deal. But it's up to the kids to decide. Plus Mexican families are generally quite close and there isn't the same level of parent kooties attitudes as there are by Americans.
Yeah but keep in mind, my daughter is American. Multicultural, yes, but we are very much American women, all of my daughters and I.

My eldest daughter, the one in question, is American and of course half French, but her father has never been a real part of her life.

My youngest two are biracial. Their father, my husband, is an excellent father and very laid back, leaving most of the major decisions to me, although he doesn't hesitate to make his feelings known. We just tend to agree about most things and it seems that everything of real import, we pretty much see the same. He has the same mixed feelings as I do about this situation.

Adding to the mix, I have custody of my sister's son, Mohammad, who is half Pakistani. Mohammad is autistic, which makes exposing him to his cultural heritage a bit of a challenge.

So, yeah, our household is very mixed culturally, but the women are AMERICAN WOMEN. Very independent.
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Old 05-09-2008, 02:24 PM
 
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You might want to also post this on the multicultural forum too BTW.
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Old 05-09-2008, 02:31 PM
 
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The age doesn't bother me... Who am I to talk? I met DP when I was 17, did I mention that we have 11 year difference? Did I mention that we've known each other for 9 years and been together for 8 years now, and it's getting better every day? Seriously, I can't get enough of him, he is my best friend, my love, my life. My sister is married to a guy who is 9 years older than she is, and they fit each other like peanut butter and jelly. Maybe it's a European thing, I don't know... but 17 and 23 seems quite reasonable to me. I would have an issue with 17 and 37, but this is not the case here.

That's for that point...

What I really like about the guy you are describing is that he "petitioned" to date your daughter. I know it's old-fashioned, but it does show a lot of respect for the family, and I like that.

Another thing that I would not underestimate is that he treats your daughter well. That's what will matter at the end, how much love and respect they have for each other.

I am not too sure about language barrier. How big is it? Can they carry on a discussion on their own? I spoke broken English when DP and I started dating. Believe me when I tell you, when the interest in the person is there, you will find the means to communicate. Then again, we were friends for a year before we started dating.

The biggest issue I would have with all of this is the fact that he is an illegal immigrant. Maybe because I know how hard it can be to come here, maybe because half of my family is respectful enough of the law to wait for years to come and live with us. I would worry about what other laws does he think it's ok to break.

I would sit down and talk about the worries that I have, and go with the feeling... Does it feel right for him to be dating your daughter? Does she like him? What does she think about him being possibly deported? What does she think about the language barrier?

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Old 05-09-2008, 03:20 PM
 
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You said it's her decision, and that she respects your opinion. So, I would just share with her everything you just posted here- the things you like about this guy, the things that you're concerned about, and let her make up her mind from there.
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Old 05-09-2008, 07:05 PM
 
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In Texas, 17 IS a legal adult.
17yo can get married without parent's permission? buy cigarettes? vote? etc? Or did you mean 17 is the age of consent?

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Old 05-09-2008, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
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17yo can get married without parent's permission? buy cigarettes? vote? etc? Or did you mean 17 is the age of consent?
In Texas a 17 year old can quit school and leave home without any legal repercussions. A 17 year old then, is considered a 'legal' adult although they do not have those other privileges.
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Old 05-09-2008, 07:44 PM
 
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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?
I can relate.
I started dating my DH when I was 13, he was 19. We have been together for 11 years and married 5. When I met him his english wasn't the best but we could communicate, he was also illegal. We got married when I was 19, got pregnant a few weeks later and filed for him to become a resident 2 years after that. He just became a resident in Januray of this year.

Anyways, I don't think that that is an age issue at all, she is 17, that is better than 13 like I was. I think that she definitely is at an advantage for learning spanish, and thats awesome! He will also of course learn english from her. Is he working? What makes you bring up the deportation issue. How long has he been in the US? If your marrying just to get papers than yeah that is not right but if your in love and get married then file for papers right after because you don't want to see your love be deported than there's nothing wrong with that. I think a lot of people think people get married for their papers only because they filed right after they got married, and that's ridiculous to assume that. I would have to say that we have been through so much together in the process of getting his papers, and at times it got soooo tough! We had to spend a month in Mexico not knowing if he'll be backlogged for 1 year, we had to move several times due to immigration raids at work etc. But we have become so close after all that and I learned a lot. Plus who gets to just go and spend 1 month in Mexico

Just keep the communication lines open with her, that is great. I did not have that with my Mom at all. It is her choice like you said and he sounds like a very nice, respectable young man. I wouldn't worry, things work out the way they are supposed to.

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Old 05-09-2008, 11:04 PM
 
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The age difference is alarming to say the least.

Why does a 23 yr old man want to date an underaged teenager? :
K&JsMaMa is offline  
 
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