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Ask Rene: My Daughter’s Boyfriend Is A BEAST!


Hi Rene


My problem is with my daughter’s boyfriend. The relationship started six years ago and stopped after five months, Yay! But it re-started after he was thrown out of his single mum’s house following a violent argument. He then came to live with us (much to my regret) for 12 months until I had enough and asked him to leave. He is very rude and impolite to me, never says thank you for anything and hardly ever acknowledges my existence. He often criticizes my daughter and demeans her in front of us. She seems oblivious to this, won’t hear any negative comments about him and becomes very defensive when we do say anything. He’s 23 hasn’t completed high school, is on disability benefits for depression and has never had a job. He spends his benefit money on his car, cigarettes and computers. My daughter is 23 and finishing her degree. How can I help her lose this loser!

Sign me:

At Wits’ End



Dear W.E.

You’re not going to like my answer I’m afraid. Yours is a familiar story and, as hard as this may be for you to hear, there’s not a whole lot you can do. Your daughter is not 12; she’s 23. That means she’s an adult, capable of making her own decisions. Having said that, I do think you hold a few cards. Here’s what I would do if I were you.

LAY DOWN HOUSE RULES: Though the ne’er-do-well is no longer living with you, it sounds like he spends some time there. You need to make sure the rules of YOUR house are clear to him and your daughter.  The one I would start with is limiting the amount of time he spends lying on your sofa and treating you like crap. Once you figure out how much that is, tell your daughter. Personally, I’d limit it to the time it takes to lay out the plot of a sitcom. Whatever you decide, be firm and stand your ground with your daughter. This is YOUR house; you have a right to decide who does what inside.

TALK TO YOUR DAUGHTER: Maybe it’s time to chat with her about the kind of future she sees for herself. There’s no question in your mind that she can do better but it sounds like she might not be so sure. Life, with its twists and turns, peaks and valleys, is hard enough without having to carry the financial burden solo or deal with a boyfriend/husband with violent tendencies (this is a BIG red flag!). I know she doesn’t want to hear negative things about him but maybe if you approach if from a broader, life lessons perspective, she won’t get defensive and might listen.

BACK OFF! Your daughter sounds pretty smart given the level of schooling she’s got under her belt. But book smarts and life savvy are two different things and there are some lessons we simply have to learn for ourselves, like making sure the person we want to spend the rest of our life with shares our vision. So once you say your piece, you’ve got to back off. You are not the one pursuing the relationship with the boyfriend, she is.  Maybe she sees something in him that eludes you, maybe he makes her feel like she hung the moon, maybe there’s a sweet vulnerability that he shows only her. Whatever it is, she likes it and will more than likely stay with this guy until she doesn’t like it anymore. The one caveat in this however, is if he becomes violent with her. Then all bets are off and you do what you have to do to save your child.

This is the tough for us as parents. We spend years making and modeling good decision-making skills for our kids and we pray it continues into adulthood. But this is HER life and you have to trust that you taught her well. And if this relationship ends in a fiery conflagration and she comes to you about it, resist the urge to say, “I told you so.”

Good luck mommy!

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  1. Diana

    September 12, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I agree on the BIG RED FLAG comment.. It disgusting that he would treat his girlfriends parents, his own mother, and his girlfriend with such disrespect.. there is something to be said about a ‘man’ who gets violent with his own mother.. the way a man treats his mother, is the way he treats the woman he loves.. BIG RED FLAG.
    The fact that he is soo depressed, he can’t even work means to me that a) hes full of it, and b) he has ISSUES. But unfortunately, these are things she has to figure out for herself. It’s sad when someone is blinded by “love” and can’t see that there is no decent future in their relationship. In my opinion, not finishing up school, and not having a job at age 23 aren’t something to take with a grain of salt. He isn’t a child. He’s a mooch. And I’m willing to bet he’s sticking it out with her because he knows she is going somewhere in life, and she is going to take him along for the ride (not that you don’t have a very wonderful, lovable daughter, but if he cared about their future together, he’d join in on the making and creating of it, just an opinion).
    I understand why she gets defensive. I have had horrible boyfriends in the past, and I defended their actions until the very end (even when I had a child with my ex and he refused to work or take care of our son so I could work.. I defended him, I was blind).. and it won’t be until the very end that she sees how he truly is. My only suggestion on how to help her lose the loser is to maybe start educating her more on abusive relationships. Abuse comes in all forms. Verbal, Financial, Emotional.. not just Physical.
    This guy seems like hes full of entitlement, I would stop letting him spend time at your house until he learns how to speak to people in an appropriate manor. It is totally unacceptable to be so disrespectful to everyone around him. If they aren’t going to break up, someone should at least set him straight. I don’t have a ton of advice besides abuse awareness. (and maybe do a little detective work.. my experience with guys who think they are above it all, they are Cheaters).

  2. Smarty P. Jones

    September 12, 2011 at 9:39 am

    That’s good advice, GEM. If there is one thing I know it’s that eventually, everything my mom has told me concerning relationships always came to pass.

    All you can do as the mom of an adult child is issue a warning or advice and hope it sinks in. If it doesn’t, she’s an adult and her mistakes are her own. She will have to pay for them.

    Eventually, she will come around and realize this is not how she is supposed to be treated and drop this bum. Until then all you can do is take Rene’s advice and trust yourself that you’ve equipped your daughter to handle anything.

    A lot of times it’s hard to let go of the first man (other than your father) you love. But all you go through serves as a learning experience – a litmus test, even, of what you can, can’t, will and won’t take in a relationship. Some of life lessons are best learned the hard way.

  3. Cody Williams

    September 12, 2011 at 10:59 am

    She has several options. One is to do what my parents did with my sister when she was 18 and in love with a thug. They sent her to California to live and far enough away from the boyfriend from hell that she would get over him. She did. Later in life the reconnected and he turned out to be a pretty decent fellow who worked for years in the post office and married and raised a family. It was only back in high school when he wanted to be thug for life that scared my parents.

    And option two is put something in the guy’s food.

  4. m.e. johnson

    September 12, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Mom took his crap for 12 months? She taught her daughter something alright; how to be a doormat. He may lord it over others but I would have set his ass straight on day one (or two). And if daughter didn’t like it, they both could “ease on down the road”. That might wake her up when she finds out who is (or more importantly, who ISN’T) going to provide food and a place to stay.

  5. Amanda

    September 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    The first thing that jumped out at me from this article is that this guy is on disability for depression. I am assuming he must live in the U.S? I say this because I live in Ontario, Canada and there is NO WAY you would qualify for disability due to having depression here. I suffer from depression and anxiety issues myself, so I do not mean to belittle these problems, but you have to be really depressed to be unable to work in any capacity at all…and honestly I would think if you were THAT depressed, you wouldn’t be in the right frame of mind to have a relationship….

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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