I Don’t Like the Girl My Son’s Dating and There’s Nothing I Can Do About it

My son fell in love the summer before his 9th grade year. It was his first girlfriend and she spent lots of time at our house for those few months.

Not only did he fall hard, so did the rest of the family. She and I shared many heartfelt conversations and she wasn’t too good to play with my younger children. I knew deep down this probably wouldn’t be “his forever,” but it was nice to see that his first real romantic relationship was happy and healthy. They seemed to have mutual respect for each other and were both on the same page about most things.

It’s hard not to get involved, especially when our teens’ hearts are involved. (Twenty20@chibelek)

Watching my son navigate a break-up was painful

When school started that fall, she broke up with him and I watched him navigate that horrible pain by himself. I wanted to take it away more than anything but I knew there was absolutely nothing I could do or say to take the hurt away. I could try to ease the pain, yes, but he had to heal on his own.

Side note: I hate it when people tell teens they’ll get over a heartbreak fast and there are other things to focus on. It dismisses their pain and makes them feel ashamed for having these feelings. Then, before you know it, they clam up around adults and start taking advice from their friends who are also in the dark about these things as well. We need to listen to our teens when they are hurting and not make them feel like it’s not that big of a deal.

It took my son a long time to risk his heart again

It’s taken my son a long time to feel like anyone was worth risking that kind of pain again. He’s going to be a senior this year and a few months ago, he started talking to a girl he really seems to like.

I thought he could do better. No, this isn’t a case of a mother thinking nobody will ever be good enough for her son. There is a lot more to it.

I want my son to be happy, but this relationship doesn’t make him happy. Instead, their talks seem to be loaded with drama. He constantly thinks that they are going to see each other in person or FaceTime and then she cancels.

To me, it looks like he’s holding on to her and hoping she will change and want to be with him in the same way he wants to be with her. And, as his mom, it’s maddening to see.

He goes from being happy when she acknowledges him, to being upset when she ignores him or doesn’t come through, which is once a week these days.

I’m frustrated with her of course— I want to tell her to just leave him alone if she doesn’t know what she wants. I’d prefer it if she could just be honest with him and tell him her feelings do not match his.

It’s clear to me that his new relationship is not healthy

It’s clear to me as his mother that this yo-yo has been going on since May and that it’s not going to change. But as irritated as am I with her, I’m more frustrated with my son for putting up with it.

I’ve told him he’s worth so much more. And I have told him that there’s no way someone will come into his life who treats him better if he doesn’t make room for them.
I’m wondering how much more of these hurt feelings he can handle before he realizes having a lover or friend in your life isn’t supposed to feel like this.

I hope it’s soon, but it might be a while. I’ve had my share of this kind of nonsense in my life. I think most of us have. We all know that the conclusion you are done being treated badly has to come from yourself.

Sure, I could message her and give her a piece of my mind but I’m pretty sure it will only throw more flammable material into the fire. I certainly can’t make him stop talking to her. Believe me, like most other mothers, I’ve spent a long time stewing about this because it’s infuriating.

It probably won’t be the last time this happens. All I can do is support him and be there to show him what healthy relationships look like in the best way I can. I’m not perfect, but I can certainly show him that you show up for those you care about and you don’t treat them like an afterthought, or drop them as soon as something better comes along.

It’s hard not to fight battles for my teens— especially when their hearts are involved and you see it so clearly affecting them in such a negative way.

I just have to wait until he’s ready

I have to wait until he has had enough and wants to do something about it. I know the right thing to do here is to speak up and let him know I see what’s happening, and then to draw the line and let him do the rest.

I really hope he soon realizes what a special person he is and deserves someone who shows him that.

In the meantime, I’ll be over here trying really hard to just listen when and if he decides to talk to me about it. And then I’ll let him handle it in his own way.

The author of this post wishes to remain anonymous.

You Will Enjoy:

To The Woman Who Will Keep My Son’s Heart Someday – This mom wrote a deeply personal essay about the woman who she hopes will someday love her son.

About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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