My son was always one of those kids who blurted out too much information. He liked to tell everyone my “pee-pee was made out of hair” and had no problem asking anyone if they had “smelly bleed” like their mother did.
Smelly bleed is also known as menstruating just in case you didn’t know. Also, I didn’t use the bathroom alone for the first five years of his life so I have many other stories like this I could share, but I’ll spare you.
What I’m saying is he was an open book for a really long time. My son is not shy; he will always hit you with a strong comeback if you make fun of him (with a completely straight face), and has no problem describing the epic bowel movement he had regardless of his audience. It’s hard to embarrass the kid, and there’s nothing off limits.
Well, that was the case until he fell in love over a year ago.
When I look at him, I still see my little boy in a man’s body. He knows who he is and really likes the sound of his own voice. We are also very close and he has always come to me when he’s struggling or sad.
Sure, there have been several times it took him a while to come around but in the end, he’s always let me in on what’s going on in his life.
These days, though, his love isn’t included in that.
He doesn’t just clam up, either; he gets mad when I ask him questions about his girlfriend. He even tried to keep us apart for some time, until she couldn’t handle it anymore and wanted to be a part of his family life.
When she did start coming around more, my son seemed nervous and uptight. He wouldn’t tell me why and I started to take it really personally.
His girlfriend was more than happy to sit and chat with me about their relationship and tell me things they would do and even that bothered him.
I also noticed anytime I’d reach out for a hug or kiss, he practically backed away from me.
We’ve always been very open about so many things and we had many sex talks before he met her. Yet now (when I feel it’s the most important) he absolutely refuses to talk to me about it and will literally tell me to be quiet because he’s all set.
It didn’t stop me, of course, but it did frustrate me.
It wasn’t until I was talking to a friend of mine who has a 20-year-old son who was also in a relationship when I realized this is pretty common. She had gone through the same thing with her son and began to realize he was having trouble mixing the two relationships.
I mentioned this to his father, who couldn’t stop laughing (I find zero humor in this). I did recognize this as my ex-husband’s uncomfortable laugh, and he told me a story: “When we started dating, you were the first girl I ever brought home. After we got serious, I remember my mom kissed me on the neck once while I was eating breakfast. I told her she wasn’t allowed to do that anymore.”
He explained to me (just as my friend did) it was hard for him to separate in his mind the close relationship he had with his mom, and the new love in his life.
So, I can attest how hard it is if your teenage son is suddenly cutting you off because he has someone else in his life. I know it’s not easy, but I’ve decided not to take it personally. He will always need me. Maybe in some ways I’ve been replaced — he now asks her opinion on what he should wear, she does a great job at taking care of him if he doesn’t feel well, and honestly he listens to her a lot better than he listens to me.
I still have a place in his life, and I will always look out for me. And our talks about how I want him to treat women, his partners, and sex will won’t stop any time soon. Just because he seems happy, adjusted, and in a healthy relationship, doesn’t mean my work is done. He is still my teenage son and there is lots of work to be done, and I’ll be damned if I am going to stop talking just because he wants me to.
But I do understand.
And you better believe I look at his girlfriend as an ally and as someone I can count on to help me get through to him at certain times.
I will never view her as someone who took my son away from me. This isn’t easy to do, but the truth is, this is what feels normal and natural to him and he’s dealing with it the best he can.
Besides, I don’t have to know everything he’s thinking and feeling about his relationship at every second. I told him I just want a few highlights and for him to remember he can come to me with anything.
After we got that sorted out, I agreed not to ask so many questions and he promised to keep me in the loop a tad.
So far, it’s working.