Our son began his senior year in high school and, by October, announced that the girl he had previously described as “just a friend” was now being reclassified as his “girlfriend.” This relationship lasted more than a year during which time she often spent evenings in our home, frequently joining us for dinner. We invited her to come on vacation with us. She and I talked and talked. Over time, she became my girlfriend, too.
Just as I would began to wonder “Is this the ONE?” poof – the relationship was over. Regardless of who had dumped whom, I was sad and I missed my young friend. I realize that I made the big mistake of getting too close, opening my arms and heart. I now realize, as an empty nester, that I burned my fingers on the stove of their relationship.
To help keep you safe from harm, here are my top ten things to NOT do with your son’s girlfriend:
1. Resist the urge to discuss cute but mortifying things your young son did when he was little. Only mortifying will remain after they are no longer a couple.
2. Do not leave her contact info in your cell phone. Really, do you want to take the chance of pocket dialing her?
3. Don’t give her the password to the garage door keypad or alarm code. After the breakup you may want to change it and you’ll feel guilty doing so.
4. Do not, under any circumstance, agree to joint family-family holiday gatherings. It will take years to establish your own family traditions again.
5. Try not to become too attached to her mom. It just won’t work for you two, either.
6. Perhaps, while on vacation, you hit the gym together. Regardless of how tempting the sauna is, resist. There are no towels big enough to cover your embarrassment.
7. Don’t seem too eager to see her when your son brings her over. Practice being friendly but seemingly uninvolved.
8. Be prepared to look wistfully at any special gift she may have bestowed upon you while she was your son’s plus one. No need to put it away, just realize sentimental attachment may linger.
9. Do not let her make a compilation cd or playlist for you unless you want to cry whenever you listen to the songs.
10. Never, never become Facebook friends. You really don’t want to see her in pictures with her new beau and the old photos that stay up will just seem…..a little dated.