My Teenager's First Boyfriend: Never Did I Like Him
We may have been able to pick our children’s friends when they were little, but that all changes during adolescence—hello boyfriends! There is nothing more frustrating than watching your teenager meet the love of their life (not my words), and instinctively know that this is going to end up in heartbreak.
It all began so innocently.
“Hey mom, this is my friend John. Is it okay if we hang out in my room?”
“Sure,” I say, wondering if I’m meeting a friend friend, or a potential boyfriend. It’s just another one of those teenage mine fields. Well this friend started to come over quite a bit and before I knew it, I realized that my daughter had a boyfriend! I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.
Suddenly, I began to worry about things I never had to—namely what they were doing or GOING to be doing. We had talked about sex, and she swore that she wasn’t ready for the responsibility that came with it, but we all know how that goes. At some point, it was going to come into the picture and I wasn’t sure how to navigate this milestone.
I also wasn’t sure how I felt about him personally. He was a nice enough kid, but his parents put a lot of pressure on him to succeed and I know that it was tough on him. He not only seemed miserable, but he also seemed very angry. My daughter was smitten, and since it was her first love, I knew that I had to back off and give her some space to start exploring these relationships.
For the most part, they were like an old married couple—rarely going to parties or kickbacks, preferring to watch TV together instead or just hang out on the couch, phones in hand. He was quite polite to me, and on a few occasions even confided in me about the problems that he was having at home with his parents. Still, there was something about him that didn’t feel right. Who knows, maybe I looked for the negative in him because I didn’t think anyone was good enough for my daughter. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way.)
Weeks turned into months and before I knew it, they had been together for a whole year! This guy was now a part of her day-to-day life, and suddenly I began to worry that things were getting too serious between them. How far have they gone? I would ask myself obsessively. If she is doing anything, is she being careful? What’s going to happen when he leaves her behind to go to college next year? My mom brain was in overdrive and I was slowly driving myself crazy. And there were other things as well. They had started fighting a lot, and I could see that it was taking a toll on her. I would try to talk to her, but she would slam the door in my face and tell me to leave her alone, it was none of my business. They were trying to have an adult relationship with teenage life skills, and I could see that they were both way in over their heads.
It didn’t help that she had a bad history with her father who neither offered any form of stability nor made her feel loveable. Yep, classic, I thought to myself. She’s trying to rescue this messed up kid who acts like he is on the edge of self-imploding. “What do I do?” became my new mantra. I wanted her to experience life, but I didn’t want to just stand there and wave at her as she drove off a cliff.
These are those dreaded parental moments when you discover that your kids are no longer nicely wrapped up in a manageable and predictable package. Once they become teenagers, you realize that control is just an illusion. You can try to make yourself feel like you still have the power to lord over them, but the reality is, if you attempt to forbid them to see someone, not only will they go behind your back and do it anyway, they will probably also start seeing you as the enemy and that is not good for either one of you.
When our teenagers are in love for the first time, the best thing to do is stay close by and just let them figure things out on their own. Of course, if you suspect that there is abuse or other serious issues, then jump in and get involved. In my daughter’s case, I had heard rumors that they had a couple of really heated arguments at some parties, but when I confronted her, once again my face promptly met the door. She later told me that she wasn’t hiding anything– she was just angry and hurt that I would ever think that she would be with someone that wouldn’t respect her.
In the end, her first love turned into her first heartbreak. And as bad as I felt for my daughter for all she had to go through, secretly, I heaved a huge sigh of relief… Truth be told, I never did like him.
Got a love-crazed teen on your hands? How do you deal with it?
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