Monday, July 21, 2008
Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places
Corey. Corey. Corey. My 15 year old son longs for love of the teenage girl type and just can’t find it. All last school year, he kept talking about his ‘girlfriend’. He would call her every night, but would only stay on the phone for a few minutes – not at all what I remembered from my teenage years. I also thought it strange that she never called him, and that they never made plans to go anywhere or do something together. I never intercepted any steamy notes written between the two of them, and never saw a picture of her in his room or wallet. Although the girl is real, I’m beginning to think the ‘girlfriend’ was not.
Corey, because of his very tumultuous childhood, does not seem to be on the same emotional or maturity level of his peers. He is usually drawn to younger children, perhaps needing to catch up and learn the ways of childhood interaction now that his home life is more stable. But at the same time, I believe he desperately longs to be more like his same-age peers, and his ticket to that club is, at least in his mind, a girlfriend. I think that the ‘girlfriend’ was someone who was nice to him, and in Corey’s lonely world, that became a bigger thing.
Now that summer has arrived, the ‘girlfriend’ has departed, and Corey is not handling that fact well. Although he and I have had several conversations on the subject, he seems reluctant to let go of his imagined connection and move on to either the real thing or another imagined connection. This, the first ‘girlfriend’, I believe represents more than just teenage like and lust, and should Corey be forced to admit that his ticket to the club was a fake, in his mind he stands to lose a lot more than just female companionship.
How can I help Corey through this difficult growth period? What can I say to convince him that there will be more girls in the future, and that sometimes belonging to the peer’s club may not be all he imagines it to be?