Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Dating 2.0

I’m so mad. I swear, he’s cheated. Doesn’t he know that being hungover is NOT the right time to make decisions? He was all sweet and totally “in love” and then 20 hours later he’s already single again on Facebook?! Oh, and then he’s all like “say when, say when” about talking…finally!! Whatever!

I was told! My neighbour Jane told me, "don't fall in love with the boyfriend; you'll only get hurt!"....gawd, she's so right...

It’s happened. I’ve been taken to the dark side. Today, I fully experienced Dating 2.0. Oh, it’s not me by the way. By virtue of Facebook, I am completely vicariously living through my 17 year old daughter’s boyfriend drama first hand and now I know that I'm not ready for her to be dating or rather, I’m just not ready for minding her relationship in real-time, or Dating 2.0 that is.

At one point, I encouraged her dating and by that I mean old school dating; going out a few times or hanging out casually until you figured out if you liked someone enough to actually be “going out”; not “hooking up” first and then determining if they’re worthy enough.

I fully supported her in being open and receptive to different types of guys; guys who had reputations for being "players" or "bad news" and giving them a chance to reveal who they really are (without getting too close mind you!). Quiet guys; encouraging her to encourage them to open up. Guys who are seemingly the super nice guys; being hopeful that they really are the super nice guys. That of course was all when I would pop into her room and ask her who she was IMing and talking to her openly and freely and loving the fact that she trusted me enough to talk openly to me about her fears and hopes regarding guys and the whole dating scene and being able to walk away.

It took a while for her to find the "right" guy. By being patient and mindful, by believing that she was treasured and a treasure to behold, she waited until she was wooed and she let herself be wooed; I was excited with her and for her, but now I realize that I'm really not ready for this. Here’s why…

This is clearly the age of Facebook. Not only have I been online since 1994, but I am that kind of parent that still has my daughter’s hotmail and Facebook passwords. In our house, it’s part of the deal man; if you want to be online, I get access. A blessing from my perspective (and a pisser from my daughter’s perspective) has been when her friends have sought me out and friended me on Facebook. It’s never been a calculated move, but I am ever grateful that I can see enough of what’s going on in the life of her and her friends to keep a healthy watch on things. But my blessing is turning into a curse since her boyfriend also friended me on Facebook and now, I’m privy to the breakup drama unfolding in my News Feed. Without even asking for it, I’m getting a play by play account.

Even worse yet, I find myself getting totally sucked in, reality TV style. Curse you The Hills!

I’ve found myself checking his Facebook status, reading his updates since he’s been on vacation, looking for evidence, telltale signs, anything that will help me help her understand what’s happened. Anything that will help me help her through this experience.

What I’ve quickly realized though is that there is a time when a parent can be too close or too aware and right now is that time for me for a couple of very good reasons.

It has nothing to do with her's me. I'm not ready. I'm not ready for her disappointments and her tears. My instinct is to suss out his lying or cheating because I want to protect her. I want to respond angrily to his innocuous postings or thoughtful responses to my posted items; I want to post nasty messages to him for hurting her and then I realize that I'm actually (almost) engaging in a teenage relationship and then I further realize that I am also reliving some of my own bad experiences as well.

Yah, well, good for me that I’ve quickly realized that it’s not all about me. And truthfully, they weren’t all bad experiences either, even the really rotten, hurtful ones because they are the experiences that forged who I am ultimately. From high school to adulthood, they are the means by which I was to learn the lessons that I did (or took too long to learn) and which led me to where I am today. Happy (mostly) and in a loving, supportive, engaging marriage…finally.

I have to say that I am exceptionally proud of how well my girl is handling this experience in her life; with such mature aplomb and grace. She really is a better woman at 17 than most grown ups I’ve known and certainly kicks my 17 year old arse to the curb. Now, if Mum could just find that same maturity and remove the boyfriend from her Facebook…well, maybe tomorrow…