March 02, 2011
My 22-year-old son is about to graduate from college and has announced he is marrying his college girlfriend this summer. I think he is too young and is going to regret his decision. I also think his girlfriend pressured him into it. Is there anything I can do or say to get him at the very least to slow it all down? I usually leave the meddling to my wife, but I think this warrants me stepping in.
“Dying to Meddle Dad in Stowe
Dear Dying to Meddle Dad in Stowe,
If there was ever a moment to meddle, this is it. Getting married is a big decision, and you have a right to speak your opinion now before they marry. After they marry, you will be forever forced to hold your peace.
Tell him your concerns. Tell him about what you personally would have missed had you married so young: life lessons, women, last-minute traveling with friends, more women. Explain that things change. You walk into the church engaged and you walk out married, and that changes things for the worse. Tell him the pattern is always the same: A flexible and understanding girlfriend automatically becomes a controlling shrew once the marriage vows are made. It changes the whole dynamic of going out to a bar or a party. Ask him why he wants to marry her now rather than wait. Tell him about the huge differences between college life and life in the real world.
If the conversation is getting you nowhere, try to bribe him. Tell him you will buy them a house or help them buy a house if they wait a year. Try to scare him; make a list of all the costs involved in being married and ask him how he is going to pay, does he have a job, does he have a plan, a wife is a family, and families need money, and it’s all very stressful, etc. Shower him with reality; it should buy you a year’s delay if you do it right.
My 25-year-old son is dating an older woman. She is 42 and has a child. He wants us to all go to dinner together. I have no interest in meeting this cradle-robbing cougar who only wants to suck the life out of my little boy. I don”t understand older women and younger men. I never wanted, nor did I ever date, a younger boy-toy type. I am worried she will snare my boy.
“A Cougar Got My Baby in San Miguel
Dear A Cougar Got My Baby in San Miguel,
I understand your little boy will always be your little boy, but you also have to recognize that 25 is no longer a “little boy.”
Hopefully this cougar lady just wants to have some fun. Hopefully your son is only looking for a distraction himself. Maybe he is intrigued by the idea of an older woman and thinks he can learn a few bedroom tricks and will leave her after his sexual tutoring is complete.
You need to take them out to dinner so you can suss out the situation. You need to know her motivations for dating your son and decide if she is a threat. If after dinner you think she is not merely having fun and wants to get serious and entrap your son into marrying her and supporting her own baby, you need to immediately strut an assembly line of cute 20-year-old girls, preferably in thong bathing suits, in front of him. Your son is not blind, and when he sees the difference between dating a 42-year-old and a 20-year-old, it will be easy to gently nudge him out of this relationship. It would be very difficult to find a man”any man”who will pick a 42-year-old body over a 20-year-old body unless the 20-year-old is morbidly obese or severely disfigured.