This is an addenda to my post a few months ago, "Backing off when we don't like their choice of romantic partner." We don't always understand why our grown children choose the love interest they bring home for us to meet. Somehow, the new love doesn't measure up to our vision of who would be a good match for them.
It isn't easy to come to terms with a person--a possible son- or daughter-in-law--who seems, well, less educated or less sophisticated or just not as classy or too old or too young as you had hoped. Sometimes, we don't even wait to meet them--we don't like them based on description alone.
That was the case in the Social Q's (Philip Galanes, New York Times) answer to a woman worried about her 23-year-old graduate-student son's relationship with a 28 year old woman he met at school. Not only has the mom not met the woman her son is bringing home for a weekend visit, she has received a request from him that she dish out vegan foods (quinioa, seitan and tempeh) for himself and his guest--he no longer eats meat, fish or fowl and neither does his guest. After Galanes tells the mom how to deal with the challenge of the cooking request ("Reply to your son, "When you get home, we'll go shopping for groceries together."), he addresses her real concern: that her son "is living the louche life with an old cougar when he should be holed up in the library."
"Let me be clear Mama Bear," he advises. "You have nothing to gain, and everything to lose, in going to war with them.... Time will tell whether this gal is a distraction or enhancement to your son's academic career.... In the meantime, try to be happy for him and his falling cholesterol levels."
And there's the hitch for all of us--trying to be happy when we think we see an unwise relationship in the bud. But we can't nip it. It's their life now. The control button is no longer at our fingertips. Unless we see signs of abuse, all we can do is swallow hard, smile and hope nature takes the best course.