Author Topic: Helping a young couple draw boundaries  (Read 6355 times)

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wolfie

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #30 on: February 27, 2013, 02:06:02 PM »

Why?  Lina and Sylvia aren't related or married to one another.  Their kids are dating.  That might be a social minefield, but not a business minefield

Because sometimes personal minefields carry over into business relationships, especially when one is "workplace superior" over the other.

I don't think businesses would have a leg to stand on if they refuse to promote someone because their kid is dating a co-workers kid. I think the personal relationships have to exist between the coworkers themselves before a business should think about stepping in.

I don't think anyone would disagree about that.  I also don't think anyone suggested that the business should get involved in this in any way. 

Eden - post 20 - they said they are surprised that the business allows them to be in a supervisory position due to their personal relationship. So I see that post as suggesting the business should get involved in that way.

rashea

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #31 on: February 27, 2013, 02:20:13 PM »
They need to get pre-marital counseling. It sounds like they have a great start, but this could clearly hurt their relationship long term.

Personally, I'd go with writing a list down (it's easier not to let things slide if you write it down). The list should include things like:
communication (how often do you call, who makes the calls)
finances (do you accept or loan money)
holidays (where do you go and when, who handles presents, who cooks)
conflict/difficulty (how much do you tell them)
kids (what rules do you have, this one is huge and a thread in and of itself)
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Eden

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #32 on: February 27, 2013, 02:29:35 PM »

Why?  Lina and Sylvia aren't related or married to one another.  Their kids are dating.  That might be a social minefield, but not a business minefield

Because sometimes personal minefields carry over into business relationships, especially when one is "workplace superior" over the other.

I don't think businesses would have a leg to stand on if they refuse to promote someone because their kid is dating a co-workers kid. I think the personal relationships have to exist between the coworkers themselves before a business should think about stepping in.

First I have to apologize because I forgot the couple are not yet married so Sylvia's personal tie to Lina is not quite binding. However, many workplaces have policies that prevent someone from directly or sometimes even indirectly supervising someone with whom they have a personal tie such as family members or spouses. I'm not sure if in-laws would fall into that, but it seems tricky at best.

With that not being the case for Lina and Sylvia, I'd impose some pretty strict personal/professional boundaries were I in their shoes, both to avoid conflict amongst the two but also to minimize the potential for others to question whether personal motives are affecting the professional situation.

If Lina and Sylvia did not work together, I'd leave my suggestion at refusing to discuss the kids' relationship with Lina and providing gentle support and guidance to my son.

Poppea

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #33 on: February 27, 2013, 02:29:41 PM »
I'm surprised Lina and Sylvia's workplace allows the supervisory relationship given their personal connection. Not trying to head down a legal road but in general I'd say that's a major minefield. I think Lina even saying, "That's up to Anna and Connor" is taking up too much of a position (at least at work but possibly personally too). "I prefer not to get involved" or "I prefer not to discuss this" seem like safer responses.

Why?  Lina and Sylvia aren't related or married to one another.  Their kids are dating.  That might be a social minefield, but not a business minefield

How in the world would a business address this? Our company policy forbids workers from dating each other, their siblings, parents, children, grandchildren, or former in laws from dating each other.  Furthermore employees will be teriminated if they are found to be living in the same neighborhood, attending the same church or if their children are in the same classroom.  Oh, and no employees are allowed to become friends outside of work, no to eat lunch together more than 2 times a week least a friendship develop.


When the kids get married Lina and Sylvia won't even be in-laws.  They will be relatives of each others in-laws.  The idea that people can supervise anyone they have a personal reltionship is absurd.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 02:35:50 PM by Poppea »

White Dragon

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #34 on: February 27, 2013, 03:08:58 PM »
Thanks everyone.

I am going to meet Lina for coffee today and talk things over with her.
I'll certainly share the insights that have been presented.

Re the workplace - the company has no policy that would prevent the two from working together.
If the conflict became severe, then the company would take action.
Lina wants to make sure that it doesn't get to that point, which is why she's asking for advice.

Anna and Connor do not live together. After they marry, they will probably move into Lina's home.
(They will pay rent to Lina and Mr. Lina, with the understanding that the 'rent' will be put into a savings account towards their own home. If they rent elsewhere, they will not be able to afford to save.)

The couple adamantly do not want to live with the Sylvia and Mr. Sylvia. As far as I know, Sylvia is aware of this plan and is okay with it.

I think the idea of the book on Boundaries and an objective pre-marital counsellor is a good one. Dealing with Sylvia's belief that she is entitled to control Anna is a huge obstacle, and a counsellor would take Lina out of the equation.

Someone asked why Connor hasn't spoken up.
He very much wants to do so, but feels that - as a boyfriend - he doesn't have the right to interfere in the relationship between Anna and her parents. He is trying to respect that.

However, once he become's Anna's husband, they as a unit have the right to make decisions and he does have the right to express these decisions - to whomever. He is looking forward to having the 'social authority' to intervene.

Minmom3

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #35 on: February 27, 2013, 03:56:40 PM »
I second the motion for pre-marital counseling.  I think that's a good idea for any couple getting together, really, regardless of age.  Everybody has SOME assumptions that go awry, and counseling can help avoid those pitfalls.  I think it's even more important in this young couple's situation, where they ARE young, there are already boundary issues, and all things need to brought out in the open and discussed.

And on a slightly different topic, if they get married, the two women will be co-mothers-in-law, and while there may be no legal relationship between the two women, TRUST ME when I tell you it's a fertile ground for disagreements and conflict.  My MIL and Mother absolutely despised each other...   I would do a lot to NOT work with any parent of a man my daughters marry.  A lot.  I don't care how wonderful the man is, and how 'normal' both sets of parents are, I think it's a big potential source of conflict, and should be avoided if at all possible.
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TootsNYC

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #36 on: February 27, 2013, 05:04:10 PM »

And on a slightly different topic, if they get married, the two women will be co-mothers-in-law, and while there may be no legal relationship between the two women, TRUST ME when I tell you it's a fertile ground for disagreements and conflict.  My MIL and Mother absolutely despised each other...   I would do a lot to NOT work with any parent of a man my daughters marry.  A lot.  I don't care how wonderful the man is, and how 'normal' both sets of parents are, I think it's a big potential source of conflict, and should be avoided if at all possible.

The Navajo, if I remember right, forbade any interaction between son-in-law and mother-in-law.

jedikaiti

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #37 on: February 27, 2013, 05:17:59 PM »
Someone asked why Connor hasn't spoken up.
He very much wants to do so, but feels that - as a boyfriend - he doesn't have the right to interfere in the relationship between Anna and her parents. He is trying to respect that.

Is he merely a boyfriend or a husband-to-be? If they're making wedding plans and setting up post-wedding living arrangements, he is a husband-to-be, and absolutely should be talking with Anna about appropriate boundaries and how to establish and enforce them. The communication of these boundaries should be through Anna, but he is not an outsider in this situation, and with controlling parents like this, her relationship with them has the potential to majorly impact her relationship with him. It's likely that they will expect to continue controlling her, and to start controlling him as well. They both need to be prepared for this, and to present a united front.

A third-party pre-marital counselor is a GREAT idea, and your friend should say nothing to Anna's mom (bean dip, deflect, what have you) no matter how much Anna may come to her for advice & suggestions.

And under no circumstances should the young couple allow her parents to obtain a key to their home.
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Kaypeep

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #38 on: February 27, 2013, 05:20:03 PM »
In light of the update that the newlyweds will be living with Lina, I think it's even more imperative that she set a ground rule to not discuss the wedding or any other personal things about Anna and Connor at work.  If Anna's parents are as controlling as it sounds, I totally foresee Sylvia having a whole new set of issues as Anna and Connor set boundaries.  She will view the living situation as her loss and Lina's gain, and probably overcompensate to try and retain control of Anna because she'll percieve that Lina now has the control because the newlyweds live in her house.  More than ever she needs to play Switzerland.  Just talking about having dinner with them on weeknights might set her off into some kind of competition. 

And Triple Kitty POD to the couple getting some pre-marital counseling, with an emphasis on boundary setting!  This could be beneficial for how they deal with Lina as well.

nuit93

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #39 on: February 27, 2013, 06:49:39 PM »
Quote
Someone asked why Connor hasn't spoken up.
He very much wants to do so, but feels that - as a boyfriend - he doesn't have the right to interfere in the relationship between Anna and her parents. He is trying to respect that.

However, once he become's Anna's husband, they as a unit have the right to make decisions and he does have the right to express these decisions - to whomever. He is looking forward to having the 'social authority' to intervene.

As the husband-to-be, he DOES have a say--and he should be getting his feet wet in speaking up about things.

blarg314

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #40 on: February 27, 2013, 09:30:14 PM »


Quote
Someone asked why Connor hasn't spoken up.
He very much wants to do so, but feels that - as a boyfriend - he doesn't have the right to interfere in the relationship between Anna and her parents. He is trying to respect that.

However, once he become's Anna's husband, they as a unit have the right to make decisions and he does have the right to express these decisions - to whomever. He is looking forward to having the 'social authority' to intervene.


Oh dear. Those poor children. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

I feel really sorry for Anna, in particular. She's sandwiched between very controlling parents on one side, and a fiance on the other who is quietly waiting for the marriage certificate to lay down the law, and declare how he wants things to be. 

I can see this going one of two ways. First version, they get married, and Connor tries to declare How Things Will Be as a married couple. It doesn't work, Anna still give into her parents, Connor tries to fight back and you've got a volatile, very messy, situation. Second version, Anna, used to giving into authority, is now being bossed around by her husband, rather than her parents, and still has no say in how things go.

If I were talking to Connor I'd smack him upside the head, and point out first  that he's acting like Anna's parents, except he's assuming that a marriage certificate gives him the right to control her, instead of parentage. His first task is to honestly talk to Anna and explain his issues, and ask (and listen) to what Anna wants to do, and work from there.

And second, that a marriage certificate does not actually change relationship dynamics, and he can assert his right to make decisions as a unit until he's blue in the face, and he'll still have ultra controlling in-laws and a wife who has zero idea that she's even allowed to stand up to them.

If I were talking honestly to Anna, I'd tell her to move at least a three hour plane ride from both Connor and her parents, and learn to live independently and know who she is and what she wants and how to make her own decisions, and only then think about marrying someone. Connor may be a very nice guy, but Anna is moving from a situation where her long term boyfriend had to go through her parents to ask for a date to the movies, to a husband who is waiting patiently for his chance to lay down the law to her and her parents about how things should be. Nowhere in anyone's mind is Anna a capable and independent adult who can make her own decisions and have a legitimate opinion.

If I were talking to them both, I'd tell them six months to a year of good, weekly marriage/couples counselling, and coming to a workable situation with the parent/Anna/Connor dynamic before even starting to plan a wedding. And use at least three forms of birth control simultaneously until they get to that point.


Black Delphinium

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #41 on: February 27, 2013, 10:02:45 PM »
I think its a stretch to go from "looking forward to having the social authority to intervene" to "Connar is controlling" without more information.

I took White Dragon's comment to mean that he wants to be able to stand up to his in-laws in support of Anna, not that he wants to be the new absolute authority in her life.
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Piratelvr1121

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #42 on: February 27, 2013, 10:11:47 PM »
I think its a stretch to go from "looking forward to having the social authority to intervene" to "Connar is controlling" without more information.

I took White Dragon's comment to mean that he wants to be able to stand up to his in-laws in support of Anna, not that he wants to be the new absolute authority in her life.

That's how I took it as well.

That said, I do think it would be a wonderful idea to do premarital counseling.  Speaking as one who grew up with controlling parents that liked to yell and scream, and therefore learned it was "safer" to avoid conflict by walking on eggshells, I ended up spending about the first 4 years of marriage pretty much letting DH have his way whenever we argued cause I was terrified of making him mad.  Not that I had reason to be terrified of making him angry mind you but that's just what I was used to. 

I've since grown a backbone and gotten a good deal wiser but I do wish we'd had some premarital counseling so we could learn how to solve arguments effectively rather than one of us just backing down at the first sign of a possible disagreement and then getting angry later when that person (me) would get resentful for not getting what they wanted or needed.

What I'm saying is that even if Conner isn't the controlling type, if Anna's used to giving in it could lead to an unhealthy dynamic so it's better to just get things sorted out now.
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EllenS

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #43 on: February 27, 2013, 10:23:59 PM »


That said, I do think it would be a wonderful idea to do premarital counseling.  Speaking as one who grew up with controlling parents that liked to yell and scream, and therefore learned it was "safer" to avoid conflict by walking on eggshells, I ended up spending about the first 4 years of marriage pretty much letting DH have his way whenever we argued cause I was terrified of making him mad.  Not that I had reason to be terrified of making him angry mind you but that's just what I was used to. 

I've since grown a backbone and gotten a good deal wiser but I do wish we'd had some premarital counseling so we could learn how to solve arguments effectively rather than one of us just backing down at the first sign of a possible disagreement and then getting angry later when that person (me) would get resentful for not getting what they wanted or needed.

What I'm saying is that even if Conner isn't the controlling type, if Anna's used to giving in it could lead to an unhealthy dynamic so it's better to just get things sorted out now.

This, this, this.  From where I sit, it looks like Anna, however sweet and well-intentioned, has been rendered passive by her controlling parents and is looking for someone to "rescue" her.  Lina and Connor, being nice people, want to help and really do care about her.

However, "helping" her by standing up to her parents FOR HER, is just going to stick them in the void where Anna's own voice should be.  She still has someone else telling her what is good for her.

I second, third and fourth the recommendations for counselling and that Lina should absolutely refuse to discuss anything personal with Sylvia. 

Itza

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #44 on: March 01, 2013, 06:51:52 AM »
I'm surprised Lina and Sylvia's workplace allows the supervisory relationship given their personal connection. Not trying to head down a legal road but in general I'd say that's a major minefield. I think Lina even saying, "That's up to Anna and Connor" is taking up too much of a position (at least at work but possibly personally too). "I prefer not to get involved" or "I prefer not to discuss this" seem like safer responses.

Why?  Lina and Sylvia aren't related or married to one another.  Their kids are dating.  That might be a social minefield, but not a business minefield

I STRONGLY disagree.  What happens if Sylvia takes offense at something innocuous Lina said?  Their children live together, romantically, and are getting married fairly soon.  Sylvia is extremely controlling.  Lina has a different parenting style.  All these things are tailor made to cause work place dissension and conflict.  If I were Lina, I'd be giving serious thought to going to the higher ups and requesting that they be separated somehow, it's too close to familial ties that many workplaces forbid to be in direct lines of supervision, for excellent reasons.  It is all too easy for the family and parenting style disagreements to spill over into the workplace, ESPECIALLY because Sylvia appears to have control and boundary issues.

IMO, YMMV!

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