Another thing is I am really bad at trying to not get emotionally attached because we hang out alllll the time. I go school with this person and we have lunch shift, Pre-AP Biology, Forensics, and Extracurricular Forensics together, so we kind of have to hang out. They also seem to flirt with me some, so I am really in the hole of confusion. Please help! — Do I Have a Chance?
Well, first, I want to say how much hope your letter gives me for not only your generation, but the future of our society. While people my age and older are fighting about whether anyone who isn’t cisgender even exists, your generation is like, “Um, yeah, duh, of course they do. Why is this even a debate? Anyway, let’s talk about what matters: Do you think they like me and do I have a chance?”
The answer is: maybe. But as you say, they’re in a “tight relationship” and you have no interest in trying to split that up (nor should you!), so you don’t have much choice but to see what happens. When and if they break up, you’ll have to assess how and whether your feelings for them have changed and if you have any sense what their feelings for you are. That would be a good time, if you want to pursue something, to ask them whether they’d ever be interested in transitioning to a more romantic relationship with you. In the meantime, respect that they’re in a relationship and try to accept that, although there may be potential for something to happen between you one day, there’s also potential that it won’t, or that they’ll be more interested in someone else if they even break up with their current partner.
In other words: If the thought of never being romantically involved with this person and watching them be involved with other people instead is too hard to bear, consider downgrading your relationship to more of an acquaintanceship, spending less time near them, and finding other friends and classmates to sit with and talk to and study with instead in class, at lunch, and after school. In life, there will likely be multiple people you develop feelings for who either don’t return those feelings, aren’t emotionally or physically available, or can’t give you what you want. Think of this experience as practice in coping with that position. Creating boundaries while also keeping your heart open to other possibilities will be the best course of action in helping you enrich your life with meaningful friendships and relationships.
Unless your daughter is a teenager — in which case, it could be illegal for her boyfriend to even be with her — it’s not your business or your place to decide whom your daughter dates and how much time she devotes to her relationship. I understand feeling concerned, but nothing you’ve said sounds like she’s in danger or being abused or anything that would warrant you butting in. She’s young and in love and it’s normal for there to be a shift in focus and energy in that role. Beyond that, you don’t get to live your daughter’s life or decide what or whether anything will interrupt her career. You don’t get to decide what her career will be, or even if she has a career.
I’m a mom, too — my kids are 3 and 7 — and I am married to their father, and even in a two-parent home, we make so many sacrifices for our children. I can only imagine the sacrifices and compromises one makes as a single parent, and how invested you get in their future (any good parent feels invested!), but there’s a difference between wanting your sacrifices and investments to pay off in the form of a happy and fulfilling life for your child and deciding what exactly will result in that happiness and fulfillment and wanting to never see your child veer from that path.
In other words: back off, mama. Let your daughter live her life and find her way. Trust that in the years you’ve devoted to raising her, you’ve given her the tools to make wise decisions, even if it may take a little time for her to arrive at the right decision and even if she may suffer some setbacks or bumps in the road on the way. You don’t get to decide her path in life or her direction or the speed in which she travels. And if you continue trying to control her life, you risk pushing her away, so let up and let go, and focus on loving her unconditionally.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.