I still dont get very PDA'y in front of my parents.
She could date anyone she wanted too, but she loves this boy very much
Maybe understanding your DD's reasoning will paint a clearer picture of the situation. I don't think that something is automatically wrong in this. I suspect that physical touch is not his love language.
[This message edited by purplejacket4 at 1:43 PM, January 3rd (Friday)]
This topic is triggering me. My wxh was not demonstrative, while my family is very much so. He would rarely say "I love you". It was a huge point of contention in our relationship.
It has caused me to doubt myself in each relationship since the divorce.
Talk to her- he isn't going to magically get better.
[This message edited by whensitover at 2:28 PM, January 3rd (Friday)]
This is a great time to work with your DD on how to communicate. If his religion is an issue when it comes to how his actions make her feel about herself, it will only get worse if they M. It needs to be dealt with before commitment. If they communicate, she might learn that he's trying to respect her. Or, worst case, that sex in all forms is giving in to fleshly desires. It will let her know what she's looking at living when she accepts a promise ring. He can learn how it makes her feel and what she expects and hopes for if they get M.
Working on honest, intimate communication skills now will prepare them for the future. Whether or not it includes each other.
[This message edited by Holly-Isis at 4:50 PM, January 3rd (Friday)]
Abuse survivor (common reaction, avoid physical connection)
Not publicly affectionate
The reality is, it's his issue to resolve and there isn't much to do about it. I suspect that like most teenage relationships, this one will end. Your daughter will learn what she does/doesn't need and move forward as a young woman. A lot of girls harbor(ed) fantasies of marrying their HS Sweetheart. The reality of those stats are not very good - small percentage do and that those do, rarely survive 10 years of marriage.
Adolescence is about growing and finding yourself - including who you are and what you need in romantic relationships. Heck, that continues well into your 20's... for me looks like my 30's.
[This message edited by hurtbs at 6:36 PM, January 3rd (Friday)]
"In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate." - Asimov
"Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you." - Ovid
He was my HS sweetheart.
He came out after we'd been together 10 years.
My DD was with her high school sweetheart until her junior year of college when he left her, which he later regretted, but she, fortunately, did not. She was hurt at first, but realized what a blessing it was. A lot of change can come in the upcoming years - they are so young.
Status: D 2011
Above all, be the heroine, not the victim. - Nora Ephron
It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
- J. K. Rowling
She just wants to feel close to him in a girlfriend kind of way. My daughter is a pretty shy person also and has never been a pda person herself, but I believe this is working on her self esteem bigtime!
The promise ring and the "saving" of oneself until marriage are fairly normal in those with fundamentalist Christian beliefs, I think. And I suppose it is possible that his parents' rather more extreme religious views have convinced your daughter's boyfriend that any overt display of affection is inappropriate. But one's beliefs don't usually suppress desire. And I think that those who are suppressing their natural urges because of their beliefs often spend quite a lot of time talking about it. :-) In a way, the discussion of the suppression of desire becomes almost a substitute for its fulfillment.
But this doesn't seem to be the case for your daughter's boyfriend. It sounds as though there is almost no desire for physical contact. I think that this should indeed be a cause for concern. Yes, perhaps he is gay, has low libido, or little experience of, or need for, physical contact.
What matters, I think, is that it is not the same for your daughter. And, in my opinion, unless he changes, he will not make her happy long-term. I know, because, to a lesser extent, I have been there....
My first serious boyfriend had little need for physical affection. (His parents were totally undemonstrative.) We got on well in most respects and I had spent a very long time yearning for a boyfriend, so was afraid of being alone again and we stayed together for years. But I was almost always the one who initiated any physical contact and he used to mock me gently for clinging to him and so on. As a result, and because he was my first boyfriend, I thought that I was the one with the problem. That I was overly demanding of hugs, cuddles and so on. I was embarrassed by it and tried to suppress my urge to touch him affectionately. It was only later, after we'd split up, and I had other relationships, that I realized that my need for physical touch is actually perfectly normal and that my ex-boyfriend was the one with the problem. I know that he wasn't gay, but I'm not sure exactly what was wrong. What I do know, however, is that if I'd married him (as he wished me to) I would eventually have been very unhappy because I'd have spent my life trying to suppress what is, for most of us, a very natural need - that of physical affection outside the walls of the bedroom.
You said that your daughter's self esteem is being affected. I think that's because she is in the same position that I was. ie This boy has a great character, is very fond of her and she really, really likes him. But he doesn't need, or even want, to touch her. And because he is her first boyfriend, she doesn't realize that he has a problem. She thinks that SHE is the one with the problem - that her desire for physical contact without sex is excessive; maybe even that she is over-sexed or abnormal in some way herself; that she is not sexually appealing, or for some reason she is incapable of arousing desire in a man. And so on. :-(
I think your concerns over her diminishing self-esteem are very valid. Even though you are fond of this young man and his family, I would advise you to sit down with your daughter and explain gently to her that his almost total lack of physical demonstrativeness is extremely unusual and that it would probably cause problems for him in any long-term relationship. That women have a natural need for physical contact. So her willingness to stay in a relationship with this boy despite his apparent failure to meet that very natural need, as well as her more cerebral needs, shows great strength of character and is testament to the young man's sterling qualities in every other respect.
But I'd suggest that you then ask her whether she has any idea why her boyfriend makes no effort to touch her in even the most socially acceptable of ways. And unless she says that his parents or his religion forbid it, I'd repeat that for a boy to show virtually no physical signs of affection towards someone he cares about and is very obviously attracted to (especially when there are others who clearly would love to replace him :-)) is really exceptionally uncommon and rather worrying for you and your husband. And I'd ask your daughter whether she thinks that she could be happy if she had to suppress her own very natural need for physical affection indefinitely, since from what you and Dad have observed, this might be necessary if she and her boyfriend were to stay together long-term.
[This message edited by Cally60 at 4:24 AM, January 4th (Saturday)]
I'm not saying this boy will have these tendencies.
But I would be concerned ..
Be cautious how you approach the subject with your daughter.
My mother tried to keep us from dating & it only made me more determined to stay with him..
[This message edited by Skye at 7:13 AM, January 17th (Friday)]