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Talk to my daughter pre-proposal?

I am traveling to Paris next week with my long time girlfriend and plan to propose to her. I planned to tell the kids first when we return, but a close friend of mine figured out my plans and is convinced that not telling my daughter first will crush her.

My 19 year old daughter and I have been very close over the years (although she's been in the throes of her teenage years for a while now and so there is definitely more distance between us than there used to be). She likes my girlfriend, but has told me in the past that she doesn't like me to be in a relationship and doesn't want me to be I don't think this will be a positive for her. In part, she feels like she'll be marginalized and also she fears that I'll be starting a new family and leaving her behind.

In short, my daughter is one of the most important people in my life, so I'm now worried that I might really hurt her by not telling her before I propose. On the other hand, I'm also concerned that she won't take it well and will then put me in a position of having to tell her I'm going forward with it anyway (so it seems that would make here feel like her fears are validated) and also risking having her blast it out on social media (of which my girlfriend is a friend of hers, so that would ruin any surprise).

Also, if I tell her, it seems I'd need to tell my son (her 14 year old brother), who is friends with, and talks to, my girlfriends daughter often...and so on.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

Re: Talk to my daughter pre-proposal?

If you're looking for approval from your teenage daughter, don't. It's too steep a bill for her to foot. Teenagers are hormonally charged and that's why they can't be counted on for an even emotional keel -- especially when it comes to blending families with all their dynamics and intertwined relationships. So, just make sure you're not looking for approval when you think about telling her about your plans to propose to your girlfriend. However, if you're simply looking to share your good news, before proposing, because you and your children are close and you share things like this with each other, then you should do so with both your children together, at the same time. Test this idea by imagining you're buying your wife a ten year anniversary gift -- would you loop your kids in on the gift process? If so, then sharing the pre-proposal plans, works. Don't expect bells and whistles from them if they have mixed feelings, but do tell them now, if you feel that this is the right thing for your family. In other words, if it will make them feel more accepting of their future step-mother because you looped them in before the proposal, then you can definitely tell them. The risk is that they're uncomfortable or angry and/or that you misjudged their reactions, and they spill the beans to your girlfriend, their own mother and their future step-siblings. So temper your decision with that risk.

Ideally, the decision to re-marry is between you and your girlfriend, and the ideal way to handle this is to propose, celebrate with just the two of you in Paris, so you can enjoy this new union, and then, make sure your children are the first ones you tell when you get home -- in person. You may get a positive or negative reaction from your daughter whether you tell her before the proposal or after it, and if you're simply trying to hedge off her emotions by telling her before you go to Paris, you're thinking short term, not big picture.

I hope that helps.
April Masini is a relationship and etiquette expert, author of 4 books and the #1 relationship advice forum, blue-chip corporate spokesperson and preferred go-to source for the world’s most prominent media and news outlets.