As midlife parents, we try and help our kids as much as possible. That's true even when they're adults and in the dating world. But what if your support actually turns into overzealousness? Can you actually turn off people romantically interested in your kid?
I was thinking about this today as I heard that Olympian Ryan Lochte's mom Ike said that her son was not only too busy for a girlfriend, but went "out on one-night stands" as well. She went on to say that "He's not able to give fully to a relationship because he's always on the go."
I get that Ryan is in one of the most important times in his sports career, and he really can't focus on anything but swimming, but to spell out the one-night stand thing might be a little much. At the very least, it will give pause to any girl seriously thinking about dating him in the future. Women who are interested in one-night stands, however, will probably step right up.
I feel for Ryan's mom, because she's having to answer a lot of media questions right now because her son is doing so well at the Olympics. It's tough to get thrown into the spotlight when all you want to do is support your kid. Still, I can't help thinking that there's a lesson in her slip of the tongue for all parents.
What to Share and Not Share
You might know an awful lot about your adult child's love life, but that doesn't mean you need to share it with people. Even spilling the beans to a friend of yours could hurt their chances to make a love match somewhere down the road. Maybe a friend wanted to set up their daughter with your son, for example. Would she still do this after hearing that he was a playboy?
What can you share then? Here's a list:
- If they are in a serious relationship, single, or looking.
- If they had a serious relationship in the past.
- If they aren't looking right now, choosing to be single or busy with a career.
In other words, just the facts. Don't get into why your son dumped his ex, or how come you feel your daughter just can't find the right guy.
Some things not to share:
- Details of their sex life.
- Reasons for breakups.
- Reasons why your kid didn't hit it off with someone.
- Their negative relationship habits (cheating, not devoting enough time to someone, stringing someone along).
- Reasons why you believe your kid isn't with someone.
Even when you try and explain why your kid is single, you'll probably end up saying a little too much about what you think, which may or may not be accurate.
For example, you might think that your daughter just "can't find a man," for example, when in fact she has a healthy sex life that she doesn't tell you about. Or maybe your son abruptly broke up with his girlfriend and despite that you suspect it's because he doesn't want to get married, the reason is really because she cheated on him and he just doesn't want to tell you.
Even if you know the details of what happens in your kid's dating life, it's still nobody's business but theirs. What's worse, you could ruin things for them with someone genuine by inadvertently listening their more negative attributes to a potential love match.
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