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Old 06-14-07, 10:39 PM   #1
[99XJ]Brian
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Need some advice...

I've never been one for turning to forums for advice but at this time of night, I have nowhere else to turn. Not that the advice here wouldn't be good enough....I'm just not one for airing out personal issues.

Here's the story. My girlfriend's father lives 5 hours away. Her mother will be moving roughly 3 hours away. With the upcoming Father's Day holiday coming up, she is taking it extremely hard. She is lying in bed crying, unwilling to talk to me about it. She will not be able to see her dad for Father's Day because she doesn't have the vacation time available to take a few days and her father decided to go out fishing with some buddies while his wife is in the Philippines instead of making an effort to see his daughter. With not being able to see her dad on his day and the constant reminder that her mom is leaving too, she is quickly realizing that she will be the only one making an effort to visit and spend time with each other. If she isn't the one making the effort, then she may be able to see her each of her parents once or twice a year on major holidays and that is about it. She is dead set on believing that she will not see them unless she makes the effort. To top it all off, she is an only child with little or no immediate family in the area after her mom moves away. She would like to have her parents here to see her get married and see their grandkids when they come about. What is making her feel so strongly about being "left alone" is that her father and his wife are very well off, and her mother and husband are also very well off. It seems as though they have each married, moved away to start a new life with a new family leaving their only child behind and only casually acknowledging her out of moral standard, not actual love.

Now that I have gotten the story out of the way, my dilemma is this: Since my girlfriend is unwilling to speak up and voice her concerns because she feels she shouldn't have to, I feel that I should do something. I feel that I should talk to one or the other, or even both, in an attempt to entice them to actually give a ****, not just appear to give a ****. I just don't want to hit a nerve and have them thinking I am telling them how to be parents. I do plan on marrying Heather so pissing off her immediate family is the last thing I want to do.

Should I, or should I not speak up. Or better yet, would you, or would you not speak up?

Thanks for any responses, $.02, advice...whatever...I appreciate it all!
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Old 06-14-07, 10:46 PM   #2
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Don't speak up......you will only annoy everybody, girlfriend and parents.

I know the feeling of wanting to help a girlfriend, but not quite knowing what to do...only just recently even. Typically the best thing you can do is just "be there". She'll open up when she's ready and talk about it...but pressuring her to talk about it will only drive her further away.

For the record....I'm not sure why, but that seems to be semi-typical parent behavior. My parents never made much effort to come see me, but always nagged me that *I* didn't come to see them enough. At only 5 and 3 hours away, there is no reason that many weekend trips a year could be made, including all major holidays.
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Old 06-14-07, 11:48 PM   #3
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Don't speak up......you will only annoy everybody, girlfriend and parents.
very wise words KT
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Old 06-15-07, 12:42 AM   #4
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As for her father, she's busy and it IS Father's Day. So him going fishing with a buddy is doing what he wants to do. So be it. The parent's seem to have a problem themselves with handling the divorce, but that's another big can of beans to spill later.

But KT is right... just be there for her. She's feeling neglected so pay a lot more attention to her and her feelings. Remind her that even though her family may not be there YOU are and you are willing to stick it out with her.

The problem we guys have is that we want to FIX everything, because that's what we do. But with women, most don't want a fix, they want you to just be there for them and listen to them. You are her outlet of the pain she is feeling, even if she doesn't talk about it. You just being there is what she needs. So do things to make her happy. ie - flowers, love notes, cuddle with her...

So good luck and I hope things get better for your girl. Once she gets a little more comfy maybe you can get her to talk about it more since it isn't always good to hold things in. It'll only put a damper on her personal life and your relationship if she can't open up to you later on. But give it time and just go with the flow for now.
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Old 06-15-07, 02:58 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Gee3
The problem we guys have is that we want to FIX everything, because that's what we do. But with women, most don't want a fix, they want you to just be there for them and listen to them.
Excellent advice. Let her know that you understand this is tough for her and that you're ready to listen when she feels ready to talk. Then leave it. Make sure there are opportunities to talk if required but don't force it.

As Gee3 says, don't try to fix it.
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Old 06-15-07, 05:15 AM   #6
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I agree with ^^^^ all posts so far.

Family dynamics are lifelong. Trying to just "talk sense" into someone is fruitless. The patterns are there for a reason. The only child factor makes it worse. How old is your girlfriend? If she's younger then maybe this is just part of the process of achieving independence that she needs to go through.

Just be there for her and try to show how damaging it can be to rely too heavily on those who you cannot rely on. Even if you should be able to.

Maybe if and when she starts ignoring them, they'll realize what they're losing. Until then they get to have their cake and eat it too, because their daughter will always be there waiting for their attention.
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Old 06-15-07, 05:21 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Gee3
The problem we guys have is that we want to FIX everything, because that's what we do. But with women, most don't want a fix, they want you to just be there for them and listen to them.
+100
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Old 06-15-07, 05:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gee3
The problem we guys have is that we want to FIX everything, because that's what we do. But with women, most don't want a fix, they want you to just be there for them and listen to them.
This is what my girlfriend keeps telling me. And I keep trying to fix things...

For what it's worth, [99XJ]Brian, I've had front row seats in similar situation, although her parents divorced way back and had both re-married since. The feeling of being somehow left out re-surfaced easily.

I agree with what's being said: don't take up the issue with her parents. It's their mess, you intervening won't help there. And let your girlfriend decide how much of it she wants to share with you and when.

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Old 06-15-07, 06:02 AM   #9
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Exactly what everyone else says.

I know that you want to help her, to make her happy. You may feel helpless. But this is part of the whole transition of change, of everyone adjusting to their lives not WITHOUT each other, but with new lives ahead of them. When you and your girlfriend get married, she is taking a step AHEAD. A step toward a new world. Her parents are doing the same. And it doesn't mean they don't love her or care about her, it just means they are taking time to live their own lives in accordance to this change.

People don't stay the same, people grow. Whether or not it be as a family unit or individually, it is part of becoming and learning more about themselves. You learn every day of your life no matter how old or experienced you may be.

I would let it ride. She is learning to cope with change right now. Be there as a listening ear. And if need be, ASK her what she needs. What you can do. And listen to what her answer may be.
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Old 06-15-07, 06:15 AM   #10
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Yep, I agree with the concensus. If you try to "advise" here, not only are you trying to swim against the current, you're trying to do it right at the edge of going over the falls! Just give her a hug and be there.
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Old 06-15-07, 06:37 AM   #11
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Another vote for the advice so far. I'll add one thing: until you actually do marry her, you "don't have a dog in the fight" so to speak. Once you're her husband (and their son-in-law), you have more clout and could speak up.

I say could because what you say may backfire and completely alienate them from her now that she's married to you. Or could possibly drive a wedge between you and your wife. Choose your words and battles very carefully.
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Old 06-15-07, 01:02 PM   #12
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Thank you all for your sound advice! I have decided to go with the flow so to speak and not intervene. Although her dad is an easy going guy and easy to talk to, I'd rather not take the chance of screwing up any relationships in the mix. Just being there for her is the best game plan I can have at this point. Thank you all very much!
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Old 06-15-07, 02:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [99XJ]Brian
Now that I have gotten the story out of the way, my dilemma is this: Since my girlfriend is unwilling to speak up and voice her concerns because she feels she shouldn't have to, I feel that I should do something. I feel that I should talk to one or the other, or even both, in an attempt to entice them to actually give a ****, not just appear to give a ****. I just don't want to hit a nerve and have them thinking I am telling them how to be parents. I do plan on marrying Heather so pissing off her immediate family is the last thing I want to do.

Should I, or should I not speak up. Or better yet, would you, or would you not speak up?
There's the heart of the problem! No one is telepathic, at least those that have come forward. I'm only saying this frankly, not to be mean or petty, but she sounds a little naive, idealistic and inexperienced. This foreshadows issues YOU will end up facing in YOUR relationship with her as well. At some point in life, one recognizes that no one, no thing, no "they", nothing "out there" owes us anything in life. The results that we get are for us to pursue and achieve. If you do not ask for what you want from life, you WILL NOT get it.

I'm not sure how old Heather is, but there will be a time in your relationship when she brings up, "If you really loved me, you would've known and done it." Which is blaming you for her non-results. Don't fall for it. The only thing I would recommend speaking up about is her lack of expression in getting her desires and wants out there. This is no longer the '50s, women are allowed to ask for what they want from life...

Life is actually very simple, the first step is to recognize what it is that you want, then do the most likely steps it takes to with highest probably to get it:

1. I want XYZ results, do steps A-B-C
2. I want 123 results, do 4-5-6 steps
3. I want a job, so I send out 100 resumes.
4. I want food, so I pick up the phone and order or I go to fridge

It's all very simple, and Heather is selecting from these two results:

5. I want to see my dad so I pick up the phone and call him. or
6. I don't want to see my dad, so I don't pick up the phone and call him.

It's very simple, it's like chocolate or vanilla or strawberwy ice-cream. Just pick the result you want and the path it takes to get there. There's nothing WRONG with one path or the other, they just lead to different results. You can't say that chocolate is better than vanilla or is better than strawberwy.

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 06-15-07 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 06-15-07, 03:17 PM   #14
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Danno, I totally disagree.





















Oreo is better than chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.
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Old 06-15-07, 03:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
There's the heart of the problem! No one is telepathic, at least those that have come forward. I'm only saying this frankly, not to be mean or petty, but she sounds a little naive
somewhat

Quote:
idealistic
yep

Quote:
and inexperienced.
yep

Quote:
I'm not sure how old Heather is
24

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This is no longer the '50s, women are allowed to ask for what they want from life...
amen

Quote:
It's all very simple, and Heather is selecting from these two results:

5. I want to see my dad so I pick up the phone and call him. or
6. I don't want to see my dad, so I don't pick up the phone and call him.
she calls, but doesn't bring up the issue at hand. same thing with her mother

and hey, no worries...i don't take offense very easily
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Old 06-15-07, 03:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juha
This is what my girlfriend keeps telling me. And I keep trying to fix things...
I heard this over and over but it didn't sink in until I was in my 30s.
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Old 06-15-07, 04:42 PM   #17
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My mother-in-law lives about 4 hours away. We see her between 4 and 6 times a year. We just visited her two weekends ago. Left after work on Friday, arriving at her place just after midnight. Spent all of Saturday and half of Sunday with her, then drove back home in time for the Sunday night ride.

My parents all live about 16-18 hours away. I see them about once a year. There was a 3 year span when I didn't see them at all. It didn't mean they didn't love me, or I didn't love them, it just meant that we couldn't get away to see each other.
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Old 06-15-07, 06:09 PM   #18
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Keep quiet about it man, like everyone said, it's for the best they sort it out themselves.

But feel free to just walk up and give her a nice comforting hug if she looks like she needs it....be the quiet listening warm shoulder for her....she will need it.
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