I feel alone all the time. Don’t get me wrong — I have a caring family, a mom and a dad. However, I feel they suffocate me. Either I have to abide by their rules or hit the road. I work, come home, chill on Netflix, or work out.
I don’t go out with friends much, and I have never been to bars or clubs, although I’d like to go. I have expressed this wish and all my family members tell me there’s nothing out there and that I am not missing anything. Well, maybe I want to explore for myself and decide that.
I secretly downloaded Tinder and hid it from my family. Not only was I shamed for it, but I was called desperate. I got five matches a day and met this one guy. The date wasn’t great, and all I got was ‘I told you so’ from my family members when I did tell them about it.
Then, they spoke to me about settling down and marriage and how I shouldn’t push myself. I don’t want to get married, but I want to go on a few dates. What’s wrong with that? Whenever I mention dating, they think I am looking for someone to settle down with, and I am not. The only reason I used the app was that I didn’t go out and meet people.
I am turning 23 this month, and I was planning on going with my cousins to a dance club or bar, and my mom said no. Then, additional family members mentioned going to restaurants they wanted, or going to a go-kart rink.
I’m sorry, but it’s my birthday and that is not what I would like to do. I want to go out, have some fun and come home around 11:30pm. Is that a crime? My mother wants me to be the ‘good girl’ she was when she was my age. But life is short, and I want to live it. I studied and have gotten this far, so I think I deserve to.
Mary replies: When I got to where you mention your age, I was very surprised, because I had assumed that this email was from a much younger person. You do indeed sound alone and fairly miserable. At 23 you should be having the best time of your life. Your studies are finished, you are working and you do not yet have any responsibilities. But your life, as you describe it, is very boring and you have absolutely nothing that you can look forward to.
There is a natural order in our lives. We are born and, as children, are cared for by our parents and remain under their care until we are 18, or whatever age is applicable in the country in which you live.
Then, we become adults and take care of ourselves, make our own decisions, and begin to loosen the ties with our parents and family of origin. We learn how to take care of ourselves, make our own decisions and form new emotional attachments. We then, sometimes, become parents ourselves and the whole cycle begins again.
The problem, as I see it, with you is that you have stayed in the child mode and have not made any of the natural loosening of the ties with your family of origin. This is very necessary for you to do in order to become an adult. So, instead of agreeing with your mother when she says that you shouldn’t be going to the nightclubs or out with friends, you should be telling her that, with respect, your choice is to go and that you feel it will benefit you.
You should be starting to dip your foot into the dating pool, having relationships, and generally having a good time. You will surely make some mistakes as you go along but you will, hopefully, learn from those mistakes. If you don’t want to get married then that is fine also, and I’m sure lots of guys will react positively when they know that you are not looking for marriage.
I would also question your need to share everything you are doing with your family. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by telling them that you are trying out dating sites and having dates. Naturally, not all the dates are going to work out — the first ones seldom do — but it is time enough to tell them when you have met someone that you feel attracted to.
You say if you don’t keep the rules then you will have to hit the road. Perhaps that wouldn’t be such a bad thing if you can afford it. In any event, please begin to loosen the ties, get out there and have some fun. You will ultimately be very glad that you did.