Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Finding A Girlfriend

“Why aren’t girls attracted to me?”

“Why can’t I find a girlfriend?”

There isn’t a week, probably a day, that goes by when one or both of the boys don't ask me these questions.

What I hear when they ask is...

What’s wrong with me? 
Why don't people accept me?
I just want love and affection like everybody else. 
I’m a nice guy. 
Why does it look so easy for everyone else?
I'm lonely.
Am I ever going to be happy? 

The truth is finding love isn’t easy for everyone else. It only looks easy from the outside looking in.  Especially, on social media where the boys are constantly looking in one form or another.

Kendal, my 22-year-old son was smart enough to shut down his Facebook recently. I don’t know if it will last, but I’m happy and proud that he made that decision for himself. Every day being overwhelmed by images of the things you feel like you don't have in your life, is a trigger for depression.

Blue also shut down his Facebook, but he's still on Twitter and Instagram.

For Blue, it's not just about the girls. It's about friends. It's transition from high school to community college. It's friends who have disappeared. Support systems lost. Teachers he talked to every day. There were so many teachers who supported him. He talked with them before, during and after school. Teachers always understood him more than most peers. He is beyond his age in maturity and the things in the world that he thinks and wants to talk about. He thrives on being social.

In reality, relationships are so fucking complicated.  Love can be the best thing ever.  It can also be awful when it falls apart. It can make you feel high and then turn around and make you completely crazy, unravel you, make you more nuts than you already are. (I'm totally not talking about myself here.)  If you don’t have the maturity to handle the emotions, love can unglue you.

My dear sons, I know you think you want love, but maybe you don’t. You have enough issues figuring out your transition into adult life. Women will make you lose focus. You will feel good for a while and then you could end up feeling god-awful. Like underneath the table, hiding from the world, awful.  Like going into the mental-hospital-awful. Or possibly sending your mother-to-the-mental-health-hospital-awful.

You really can’t afford to completely fall apart. I don't think I have the strength to watch you fall apart, again. So maybe it’s better you find love when you’re ready to handle it. You don’t want to hear that. No one wants to hear that. It's like saying to a diabetic, "No candy, cookies or cake for you!

Kendal has had a couple of mostly benign relationships. He gets upset when things don’t work out, but he has definitely learned from each experience. He has actually been the one to break it off when he realizes that he isn't getting what he wants out of the relationship anymore. He doesn’t fall apart completely, only slightly.  Of course, that could be attributed to the fact that he hasn’t really been deeply in love. He's has had deep, infatuation with... Oh-my-God! I actually have a girlfriend! I am finally validated in this world! 

At this point, he is confused because he has worked so hard on losing weight (100 pounds plus) and has only had one brief relationship since then. He doesn’t realize that a good body and a nice smile do not “entitle” you to a relationship. The world owes him nothing in the love department. Plenty of people are alone for years and maybe, they’re better off.

He has worked so hard on sculpting his body. He has a killer smile (when he uses it). I'm sure he wonders, why aren’t the girls just flocking to me?

If I must say so myself, Kendal is good looking and he knows it.
Blue is also quite handsome, but he has no idea.
Kendal is aware that most men in our family typically have no problem finding women (i.e. his older brother --quite the ladies man).
He's just as handsome, so why is he alone?
It a valid thought. There is no answer though. That doesn't keep him from looking for the magic formula.
Why can't someone tell him?
More specifically, why can't I tell him?
I'm supposed to have all of the answers to life's questions.

I don't think either of them realizes that there are many complexities to human relationships. I don’t think I have even touched the surface of teaching them these things. Is that even my job? I don't really know.

I don’t know if it’s even possible for me to teach either of them anything anymore. Most of their lessons will be learned through real-life experience. Mommy doesn’t have the magic touch anymore. In fact, I probably have the antithesis of magic —more like the jinx, the trigger, the person-who-makes- everything-worse (according to them). Yet they won't leave me alone.

Why can't I find a girlfriend? Here are some of my stock answers...

  • Stop looking. Love will find you when the time is right. They HATE this one, but it doesn't stop them from asking me over and over again. 
  • There's nothing wrong with you. There is something wrong with the wrong girls you have approached. 
  • You will find the right girl and when you do, you won’t have to turn flips or do tricks. You won't have to pretend to be someone else to get her. 
  • You won’t have to play games. She will love and appreciate the unique human-being that you are.
  • Work on yourself! Fill up your life. Move forward. Make progress. Make friends --just friends. They may introduce you to someone. 
  • Serve others in some capacity. Volunteer! You never know who you'll meet.
  • Get involved in groups of people who share mutual interests. Have you been to Is that still a thing?   
  • Dating advice on You-Tube and social media is complete bullshit. Don’t believe the hype. They don't even hear me when I say this. 
  • What applies to “most people” doesn’t apply to you. You are different --good different. You are authentic. You say what you mean. You are looking for genuine love. You probably hope for sex, but you will be totally upfront about that. And please wear a condom. In fact, wear two! 
  • Always smell good. Always be prepared to meet the love of your life. They think this one is absolutely ridiculous. 
I just hope whoever you eventually find, she will take care of your heart. I know you better take care of hers or you’ll have to answer to me.

I pray that if there is fallout, it won’t be so god-awful that you can't handle it (or I can't handle it).

In the meantime, go to college.  Keep working. Build a career. Figure out who you are. Fill up your life with friends and people who give you mutual respect.

I promise you, the rest of the world is not as shitty as high school.  It’s a tough place, but just keep swimming. You will find your tribe.

Your mother is just like Oprah. All of this I know for sure.
(Actually, that's complete bullshit, but I hope so anyway.)