Friday, May 08, 2009

Her Son Doesn't Want Her to Date

Hi Terry,

I met a man on an online dating service. He emailed me to tell me that he is interested in speaking to me. He immediately gave me his number. I called him and we talked. He called me on Monday. We had a date set up for Thursday, and my son who is grown man sabotaged the whole date by calling him on the phone telling him not to call on this number.

The guy called me back and told me that he cannot make it Thursday and will call me next week. My son does not want me to date because he doesn't trust my judgement. My previous boyfriend was dysfunctional. I read your column and have learned a lot from your advice. What can I do about the above situation with my son?

Not Thrilled

Hello, Not Thrilled-

You're an adult, so you should be able to make your own decisions. However, you mention that your former boyfriend was "dysfunctional," and since this could mean any number of things, I don't know whether your son is controlling, or if he's truly justified in wanting to protect you.

You say your son doesn't trust your judgement. Have you tried asking him what it'll take to change that? If he's right about the ex-boyfriend (notice I said if), do you see now how you might have accepted unacceptable situations and behaviors? Are you willing not to accept such treatment again in the future?

Most of us have experienced dating a person who didn't treat us well, but it's critical to not to make a habit of falling for such people. In other words, heed the signs and get the hell out of there.

Let me ask you a question: Why do you want to date in the first place? What is your goal? Are you looking for that "friendship that has caught fire," as Ann Landers (I think it was she, although it may have been her sister, Dear Abby) used to say?

Or are you looking for a man to make you feel worthwhile?

If it's the friendship-on-fire, good for you. Date people who treat you with love, kindness, and respect. If it's the man to make you feel worthwhile, please know that nobody is ever going to make you feel worthwhile but you. Self-worth comes from you. Interestingly, when women feel good about themselves, they attract good men.

Now, it's entirely possible that your son is out of line. If he has a history of controlling behavior, it's time for you to set boundaries. He shouldn't be screening your calls.

If you choose to see this new man, please remember to meet him in a public place. Take your own transportation. Get to know him (keep your eyes and ears open) before you let him into your car, home, and life.

I hope this helps.