My 26-year-old son is handsome, brilliant, funny and soon to be a doctoral in clinical psychology. He has a great relationship with his ex, who is Cuban. They dog sit for each other, have lots of common friends, and when he's sick she drops off Sprite and chicken soup.
His current girlfriend says he may no longer text, email, talk or otherwise interact with his ex, thus no contact with the friends, dog ... and what if he gets sick?!
The latest: When a Cuban restaurant was suggested for a group dinner in San Francisco, current girlfriend says: No Cuban restaurants.
I am concerned my son is going to lose out on many great adventures in life, including a true friendship. Yes, she is pushy and he is whipped, but how does a mom approach a son with advice that other trains will be coming down the track?
— Worried Mama
I really want to not be the stereotypical snarky, mocking advice columnist. That's so 1998. But my first reaction was, "If your son is so brilliant and about to be a shrink, he should be smart enough to dump this jealous, controlling girlfriend." I mean, right?!
Clearly you know it too. So if you're smart enough to spawn such a genius, you need to be smart enough to STFU. (Google it.) In short, back off, Mama.
Kids generally don't listen to their parents about relationships. And for all we know, her fears may be founded in reality. Maybe she sees a lingering connection between them that is triggering this. Your comment about "what if he gets sick?" is telling. The ex is not the only provider of Sprite and chicken soup. It's a lovely but entirely unnecessary gesture that raises the question, where is the current girlfriend when it comes to fulfilling this need? Why can't he drag his sorry sick ass to the store himself? I promise, if your son were to back off a bit on his ex-dependency, he'll survive his next case of the sniffles. Maybe that will help the current girlfriend chill and you can again enjoy Platanos Maduros as a family.
Your best bet is to talk to one of his friends you're close with to see if the rest of his crew is worried or if you're just being too ... motherly. If your son can hear the truth from a friend, good. Because seriously, I'm worried about what happens if he ever befriends a lady from Turkey. Your Thanksgivings might become vegetarian without you wanting them to.
I'm really bad at asking for or accepting help. It goes way beyond being independent or self-reliant. How can I learn to accept help or advice when I would really benefit from it?
Your question is one many people face, myself included! I know you in real life and asked permission to provide the context that you are a doctor. So you work all day helping people. I think that matters here. It does seem that people who are the worst at asking for help are the best at providing it.
You're a giver, so you know how good it feels to be helpful. Put yourself on the other side of that equation. Let other givers feel good by helping you.
Beyond that, you just have to get over it. Suck it up and get over yourself. Really. That's the only answer. Our lives and experiences are a continual ebb and flow. You know how wonderful it feels to do something nice for someone, and you know how humbled and full of gratitude you feel when you allow someone to do something nice for you. Neither of these experiences trumps the other. Both are integral to the human experience. Gratitude is an intense, beautiful feeling that you deprive yourself of if you don't allow people to do things for you. Your response? Thank you. You say thank you, you mean it, you do something for them someday, and the energy exchange continues. It's pretty awesome.
Recently, a (now-former) Facebook "friend" posted that her 11-year-old had gotten her first period. This woman has 2,000 Facebook "friends." It alarms me that she would post this sensitive information to so many people, some of whom are strangers. When I was 13, I felt weird when my mom told my dad that I had "become a woman." I feel bad for this girl, and a little scared that too much information is appearing about her on the Internet. Am I being oversensitive?
— Privacy Hound
OMG I'm facepalming for this poor girl! I can't even imagine. I was mortified when I "became a woman" and my mom forced me and my BFF Betsy to go out for ice cream to "celebrate." She also wouldn't stop singing "This Girl Is a Woman Now" while Betsy and I slid further and further down in our red parlor booths. Mo-om! GAWD!
You say this is a now-former FB friend, so at least you've done yourself the favor of ridding yourself of her oversharing. You're not asking if you should say anything to the mother, you ask only if you're being oversensitive. Um. No. Dear God, no. You can bet that you're not the only one of the 2,000 "friends" who gave their computers the side-eye when they read that status. We can only hope the daughter forbids the mother from posting further overshares.
Wow, can your Facebook question top this one?! Write firstname.lastname@example.org.