Monday

Do I need a boyfriend?


QUESTION: Hey C&G,
I want a man's opinion and I want it now!
I got into a fight with a guy in my office today and I've been thinking about it ever since. Not a fight, fight but an argument.

I was in the hallway near my office talking to two of my girlfriends and a guy named DeShawn. I was telling them that I was spending the week at my parents house, which is something I like to do every few months. DeShawn asked was my house being painted or was something wrong with it. I told him no, and that I just like hanging out at home with my parents, so every few weeks I'll pack a suitcase and just chill out in my old my old room for a few nights. He knows that my parents live in the same city as I do, and he says "You've got to get a boyfriend or a goldfish." and he walked away laughing. I didn't think it was funny so I went after him and asked him what he meant. I wasn't trying to start a fight but I wanted know why he said that.

He told me that I spend too much time with my parents and my sisters and I need a boyfriend or a pet to help occupy my time. He was very mean about it and don't agree with him at all. I love my parents and I like to spend time with them. I take trips with them and I stay with them when we travel on vacation and I don't think being 38 means I should spend less time with my parents and sisters. I have two sisters and three nieces that I spend as much time as I can with as well. I love my family, and no, I don't have a man, but one has nothing to do with the other. I date a few times a month but I haen't dated seriously in three years. I didn't like what DeShawn said so I made it clear to him. So is this what other people are thinking about me? Am I in some kind of denial or DeShawn the asshole I think he is?

CHUCK: DeShawn may, in fact, be an asshole, but that doesn't make him wrong. It sounds to me as though you spend a great deal of time with your parents for someone your age. That doesn't make you wrong, either, but it's something you may want to think about.

I have never been a daughter, so I don't claim to have a great view on the special relationship between a woman and her parents. And I'm sure that your parents enjoy the times you spend with them. But is it really fulfilling for an adult to spend so much time with their parents? A lot of parents don't mind smothering their kids. They see it as their job. And they don't see their doting as something that will make you anything less than a fully functioning adult. But, as they say, all things should be done in moderation.

You seem to be torn between what you are comfortable with, and how these things are perceived. If you feel comfortable, as a 38-year-old woman, going on vacation with your parents, okay. But don't expect others to feel the same way about it. And some of those others, tactless as they are, may verbalize those feelings. How you handle those comments is up to you.

Do I think that you're wearing out your welcome with your family? Possibly. They might not be telling you to spare your feelings. Myself, I believe that ideally everyone should be a rounded individual. Maybe you reacted so strongly to DeShawn's ribbing because you wonder if you are a rounded person. Give it some thought. As for DeShawn, hide his stapler or something.

GARLAND: Thank you for your question. I think this is a very interesting issue because Chuck and I and others we know have brushed across this issue a few times in the past.

Let's see, okay - DeShawn may not necessarily be the asshole you make him out to be. An insensitive jerk - maybe, but not quite an asshole. In my opinion he was probably trying to get a laugh at your expense while giving you a bit of advice that most people are too scared to give you. I've found that most often with people, it is the sly joke that reveals the true feelings. I think this is what he was doing.

First - I can't tell you how old is too old to still be "hanging out" with your parents. But again, 99% of people I know don't use the words "hanging out" and "parents" in the same breath. Also, I've noticed this type of "single daughter" / "parent" relationship trend before and I think it's a little uh, 'interesting' to me. Son's don't typically find comfort and joy in "hanging out" with mom and dad like daughters do. Before I got married I would have never even thought about just going to mom and dads to spend a few days, or if they were going on vacation, there is no way I was going to tag along just for the sake of tagging along. That old saying "two's company - three's a crowd" is still true in my book.

Why I think DeShawn isn't an asshole is this. He probably thinks that you spend so much time with your parents and sisters is because you may be lonely and bored. Since I don't know you, I don't really have to sugarcoat it. He was trying to get a laugh I'm sure, but he figures that if you had a boyfriend, a pet, a hobby, some tight-girlfriends, or a really good set of rollerblades - you could fill up your developing second childhood with other stuff. Okay - Okay - the second childhood thing may have been harsh... my bad. But I say that because I had a very similar discussion with a friend of mine a few weeks ago and I heard that phrase and part of me wonders if it is applicable here.

Let me make myself clear: I'm glad you have a good relationship with your parents, but for any adult, regardless of being 28, 38 or 48 to spend large blocks of time spending the night, or travelling or vacationing regularly or just "hanging out" with their parents - in my book, that isn't the healthiest of things to do. I think for some [not all] people that do this, they are avoiding something or trying to replace something in their lives. At some point, the children have to cleave away from the emotional protection of their mommies and daddies and brothers and sisters and forge their own life and own identity. This is probably what DeShawn wanted, but couldn't say to you. He's a little rude, I'll give you that, but I think saying what he did may have been better than saying, "Get a life!" In the same vein, your parents and sisters AREN'T going to say, "Uh, Susie - we want to go to Miami alone this year so you find something else to do, okay."

I may be going out on a limb here, but I'll say push away from mom and dad a bit try some new stuff that isn't so tried and true. And, go buy a goldfish and drop it on DeShawn's desk and tell him, "Now all YOU need is a girlfriend."

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Poor girl. I don't know what to think. I hang out with my mother but it's once in a blue moon. I love my family...but I need distance as well.

I don't think she needs a boyfriend, just a group of friends to hang out with and give her social support.

Jennyfromtheblock said...

Good advice guys!

She may NOT need a boyfriend specifically, but she needs to spread herself around. She needs to try some new things, new faces and new places. Her family is her comfort zone so she falls on them when she needs someplace to be.

I love my mother a lot, but I can't imagine hanging out with her like that. Golden Silence is right, she needs to find a group of good friends to surround herself with. A boyfriend wouldn't be bad though, she could probably use some serious alone time with a good brother.

-Jen

Rose said...

This woman needs to get a life.

I know that phrase is kind of played out but that is what she needs to do.

Your parents are not people you should be c--k blocking while they're on vacation. She needs to find it in herself to be able to function alone. Not necessarily BY HERSELF, but alone in the sense that she can't use her parents and sisters to constantly prop herself up. Family is fine, but she needs to find a group of friends or some other ways to spend her time.

Being 38 and crashing at mom and dads house several days a month is just not good for anybody.

Shai said...

I cannot say what is right. I don't have enough info to analyze. I would have to know why does she like to go to her old room, if she has friends, is she happy (a real key question) and a few other things.

In all the post, no one asked does she like her life and was she happy? Sometimes advice is good but ask first what the person really is feeling and wants/needs.

Chuck and Garland (What Are Men Thinking?) said...

Hi Shai-
Thanks for the comment!

That's the tricky part of doing this blog. Chuck and I aren't professionals so we have to make sure we think hard before replying to questions. And you're right, there is important information missing from this question - sometimes we've lucked up and were able to get a few extra tid-bits from people, sometimes we can't.

But I agree, those are good points you make!

-Garland

Anonymous said...

The OP may well need to get a life, and she may well spend too much time with the folks, although I don't think we have enough info to go on there. What is clear though is that DeShawn was being rude and mean. Maybe he's been trying to get this girl's hiney from the get-go and this is another way for him to "hit" on her. He didnt' come out very well in this at all. Nobody, I mean NOBODY should have to put up with a rude coworker trying to run your life. That's what this girl is really defensive about -- sounds like DeShawn has hit on her before and she's had enough.

BTW, maybe she likes to spend time with her folks because they're fun to be with. Ever think of that?

Shai said...

Anonymous, you got a point. LOL. I never thought that D could be mad because she does not want him and enjoys her own life(possibly) by her own rules. LOL. Good point.

Kelis said...

Anon may be right about Deshawn having some feelings about this person.

But the part about her parents being fun to be with doesn't sound healthy. A persons parents should not be their friends. A grown person should enjoy their parents, but they should not use their parents to replace the friends they need to make.

Aren't children supposed to separate from their parents at some point?

Anonymous said...

I dont think there is anything wrong with her spending time with your fam. Even if its a lot. Now if that time is used to avoid an unsatisfactory life, thats one thing...but I think that if you are close enough to have that type of relationship with them that says a lot for who they are and how well you were raised. I spend the weekends over my moms house sometimes--and by sometimes I mean sometimes every weekend. I find it healing and restorative to be with my family that way. (even tho they get on my nerves sometimes...but i digress) I have a newborn and I will pack him up and do the same thing. FAMILY!! They are a BEAUTIFUL thing! Thank God for them. And I have a man, and I still go spend weekends with my fam, he understands and appreciates those weekends where he can watch the game, uninterrupted. lol

Anonymous said...

I too think this guy wants you. In fact he might think you are not available to him and that is why he is expressing his frustration with a rude comment to get your attention! Most guys are like little boys in this type of situation. They tease and act like jerks when they are attracted to someone. I'm surprised he hasn't thrown spit wads at you! Anyway, as for spending time with your parents the way you do. I think it is great and there is nothing wrong with it! It appears you have a close relationship with them and not everyone is fortunate to know what this is like. Just make sure you allow opportunity for other things in your life.

International Woman said...

The answers you two well-meaning guys gave are completely American-centric. In many other countries around the world, this would be completely normal behaviour. In fact, in many countries, a man or woman still single in their thirties would be living with their parents full time -- working and earning money of course, but still living at "home". More than that, in some countries the sons live at home even after marriage and their brides come to live with the in-laws.

I do realize that this is America and we do not roll like that here, still, I do think that her behaviour is a good thing, family closeness (more than what we got going on here) is a good thing.

In fact, coming from some of the countries I have been to, she would be considered not "close enough" with her parents. Afterall, she's only going to see them a few times a month.

Anyway, just another perspective.

Other countries and cultures find the disconnect between family members here in USA to be very cold and very weird.

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