My son is in high school and has recently opened up to us that he is gay. He decided it was time when he met someone he really cares about. They’ve been together about four months now.
My husband and I are so happy for him, as are his siblings. We’ve met the boyfriend several times, and in person he’s respectful, talkative, but a bit shy as well. However, my son tells me some things that I don’t love about this boy. He’s jealous, can get angry easily and likes to make all of their plans.
I just listen and take it all in. I ask my son if he wants my opinion or advice or just my ear. Usually, it’s the latter. I’m just watching the relationship play out. It’s my son’s first, and they’re both young.
Recently, the boyfriend came over for a big family get together with some other family friends. He was warm and friendly when he first walked in but then became possessive of my son, joining in on every conversation my son was having. He didn’t wait to be introduced or even give my son space to breathe. My mother-in-law was appalled when he barged in on their tete-a-tete.
What bothered me the most was the way he had his arm tightly around my son’s shoulders while they sat on the couch. My son looked so uncomfortable and wouldn’t look me in the eye.
What do I say or do now?
You are so fortunate to have such an open relationship with your son. Talk to him. Ask him if his boyfriend enjoyed the party, meeting his family and friends. Ask him if he enjoyed having his boyfriend at that party. Ask him if he felt comfortable. No matter the answers, dig deeper in a caring, concerned way.
The boyfriend might have felt so uncomfortable himself that he was clinging to your son for support. Your son may have felt the clinginess and not known what to do. Or the boyfriend might be revealing his jealous, controlling nature now that he feels comfortable in front of you.
There are a myriad of explanations that hopefully, together with your son, you will uncover. And then move forward, for better or for worse. Teenagers are filled with angst under the most favourable conditions. The discomfort in these circumstances isn’t surprising.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who wanted to travel and her husband didn’t (Dec. 21):
Reader – “I am a woman, likely the same age as this woman. COVID-19 changed things for many people. As an upwardly mobile professional, the thought of all that (travel) is completely unappealing to me as well. It has nothing to do with getting old. It’s about crowds, airports, lineups, etc.
“This woman needs to find friends who like doing that sort of thing. There are many people who enjoy cruises and mountain climbing or hiking. This man simply does not. Find like-minded people to do this with. Cruising is not for everybody nor is going to the mountains in winter.
“I find many people decided what they actually liked and didn’t like, and others started to enjoy just being at home. That should not ruin a relationship that has survived 40 years.”
Lisi – My original advice was to help this woman not ruin her relationship by learning what has made her husband uninterested in leaving their house, and working with him so they can both be happy; she, doing some travel without him; and he, remaining in their home.
FEEDBACK Regarding the pesky Pomeranian who visits (Dec. 21):
Reader – “We have a different suggestion. Be upfront about the behaviour of the dog. Let the friend of the girlfriend know that there will be a new rule come the new year: No Dogs Allowed.
“Although it may be the cutest creature on the block, it is not under control. It is the pet owner who is at fault and responsible.”
Reader #2 – “Why get innocent people involved (landlord or neighbours) who may be approached by owner of the dog or girlfriend of the guy? Blaming them for complaining when they haven't done anything is wrong. Those people may turn against you.”
Lisi – Using the building’s policy as scapegoat was an easy way for the girlfriend to save face with her friend, the dog owner. The girlfriend was in agreement with her boyfriend and his roommates that the dog needed to go.