Encourage New Experiences

Dear Joel,
I am concerned about my 23-year-old son. He has been dating his girlfriend for over two years. She breaks up with him repeatedly. It sometimes feels that it happens every other month. I have told him that this girl is not right for him. I have to constantly explain to family and friends why she is at some holiday dinners and not at others. If there is a family wedding, her absences are always noticed. I don’t want him hurt and am tired of how she treats him. He seems to always go back for more punishment. It makes me feel less of him and I don’t like feeling that way. Do you think it’s a good idea to speak with him?

Answer: I think that speaking to him is fine. After all, you are a concerned parent. That being said, I want to caution you about your communication style. If your plan is to say that his girlfriend is not right for him, she’s trouble, no good, etc., in all likelihood, you will make the story worse for everyone. He already knows that you disapprove of her. I can assure you of that. He already hears your voice in his head. What I would do is make suggestions of moving towards new experiences. Have him join a gym, do volunteer work, get a second job. In everything that I mentioned he will be meeting new faces, trying new things and most likely feel better about himself. His self esteem will clearly improve. His girlfriend may find new respect for him as well. Your son is 23 and must make his own choices. If they are the wrong choices, I don’t know of anyone who has always done the right thing. I wish you and your family well.

Questions for Joel? Email to Joel@preferredcares.com.

Posted in Dear Joel