To All the Parents,
Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, I know that I have a lot of parents who read the blog. I have been told that following the blog for you has been a way to gain insight into the minds of your children. To better understand what we as singles are experiencing-to try to gain access into an untapped side of our lives that we may not share with you.
Relationships with parents can be complicated, and they only get more complicated when you add dating to the mix. The pressure, the emotional stress, the feelings that we are disappointing the people who care the most, that we are navigating a dating world that is entirely different than the one you experienced, and then once we enter a relationship: the fear of approval, the sudden challenge of balancing a new relationship with old ones, the complications of learning what is and isn’t appropriate to share with your parents about a significant other and vice versa, are challenges although as old as time, are new for us.
I polled my followers about whether they talk to their parents about their dating lives and the results were pretty even:
Although most people expressed that they needed an option for “kind of”–meaning they share some things-but not all.
But when I asked if they thought their parents understood their dating experience, the results were much more skewed towards no.
And the reasons varied:
But the real crux of why we’re not necessarily sharing with you, or what we wish we could tell you cuts much deeper.
I asked my followers if there was one thing they could tell their parents about their dating lives that they’re too scared/ awkward/ embarrassed etc. to share with them.
Dating, our futures, the unknown; it scares us to death. And if you let on even just a little bit that you too are scared for us, that you are also worried, we sense it. We can detect it immediately. And that pressure-that fear of disappointing you, not only makes this whole process 1000x scarier, but it also makes us want to keep our distance.
I promise you, we might seem strong, and happy, and chill with our single-hood–and that’s not to say we’re not, but that doesn’t mean we’re not lonely, it doesn’t mean we’re not trying, it doesn’t mean we’re not putting an immense amount of pressure on ourselves or that we’re not taking this seriously. When we as singles get to the point that we decide we want to look for a serious, committed relationship, I promise you, we invest more emotional energy, time and headspace into it than is probably even healthy. And having an added soundtrack from you, just adds noise that scares us. Because the only thing scarier than knowing we are failing ourselves, is knowing we are failing you.
So if I could leave you with one tip, it would be this. Let us open up when we are ready. Don’t press us with questions. It’s ok to worry–but worry to your own friends-your own therapists. Don’t dump it on us. Listen when we’re upset. Don’t diminish our struggles, but also don’t blow them out of proportion. If we’re expressing that something is frustrating–agree with us–all we want sometimes is affirmation. But don’t add issues to a fire that never even existed. Don’t add more pressure than we are putting on ourselves.
We know you care. That’s what makes this all so hard. So just listen. Let us come to you when we’re ready. But whatever you do, don’t tell us how worried you are. We worry enough for ourselves.