I feel like I need to defend my love for my mother before the introduction of the next sentence: my mother has entered the modern dating world. I wanted to start by saying “I love my mom but —“ or “it’s so nice having her home but —“ and end it with something like “she drives me crazy” or “she’s a newborn babe”. The truth is, she is not prepared for the modern dating world. SHE BARELY KNOWS HOW TO USE HER PHONE.
She’s so prepared to react defensively and aggressively to any spurn, that she takes EVERYTHING personally and that’s just not a healthy reaction for her to instinctively hone. She got ghosted. A guy she started talking to essentially ditched her and she’d already given up her cookies (just found that out in the most crude presentation one could imagine) and while I don’t want to judge her or tell her what to do, SHE SHOULD NOT BE DATING.
Her head spins around CONSTANTLY. She can barely focus on one conversation long enough before she starts jumping to a new topic and while I have endless patience for her, my patience for stupid mistakes with regards to love and dating is pretty much nil.
She is forgetful (SO forgetful), rigid (she subscribes to absolutes), her goals are skewed (in her defense, she lost 13 years of progressing in a career/life/security), and she’s exceptionally quick to jump from one emotion to the next, akin to squirrels jumping trees. If I wasn’t leaving town so soon, I fear my patience for her would be much lower than it is right now. I am an adult. I am not a babysitter.
And while venting in this moment is super helpful, I realized how much her behavior tonight at the mall, focusing on her problems about her self-worth in a relationship with a man, has triggered me. COMPLETELY triggered me. If life taught her anything, it should have been: stop putting your dating problems into your children’s laps. A boundary has been crossed and I don’t know how to react to it. Am I supposed to be supportive of her selfish antics? Am I supposed to reprimand her like a parent? Am I supposed to —?
I mean, I’m at a loss. I invited her to the mall to help me shop for a shirt for this really important interview, I’m leaving soon for grad school, I’m inviting her into my evening of excitement and nerves, and there she is taking phone calls from friends in the car, texting, talking about a man she slept with WAY TOO SOON and getting knee-jerkingly defensive the moment I ask (with no judgement involved!) her anything. Do I want to hear that they were — AND I QUOTE– “f***ing”? Do I want to imagine her that way? Is it fair to want these boundaries? Is it fair to be triggered? Is it fair to be supportive? Should I disguise my honesty in sugar?
What is the proper way to proceed? Is there a guidebook somewhere?
I’m just so tired. I have to be on a plane approximately 24 hours and this trip is a big flipping deal for me and instead, I was awash in relationship advice. I mean… is that fair to me? Am I being selfish? What is a relationship if not reciprocation?
I don’t talk about my relationship problems with her that often. I don’t really have any beyond the fact that he lives in a different state than I do. Which seems like a doozie, but in actuality is a blessing because I’ve been overwhelmingly productive and driven by the distance: faithful, committed, and all the while crushing goals. I’m not mad, but beyond wishing for a different circumstance, change is beyond my control. I accept that. I do my best not to dwell or share my misery with my company.
I’m not sure what to tell her. The truth?