The Luv Doc: Absolutely Mental

Parents are crazy in a way that non-parents can’t even begin to imagine


Dear Luv Doc,

For my 29th birthday I decided to get back on Tinder and try to start dating again. For the last year and a half I have been recovering from a tough breakup from a long-term relationship with my college girlfriend. Anyway, I started chatting with this woman (31) on Tinder and we hit it off well, except that she has a 3-year-old daughter and an estranged ex-husband. This was not my ideal situation, but I figured I am getting older and I should keep an open mind about who I am dating. So, we went on a few dates and had sex a few times – at my house – and then she started asking if she could bring her son with her, which I agreed to, but after a few weekends having her and her son at my house full time, I quickly realized this is not the life I want, right now. So, I called her and told her that I really liked her and enjoyed the time we spent together, but I am not ready to become even a part-time parent. I also said she should not waste any more time on me so she could find someone more compatible. She totally lost it and began screaming at me over the phone about how I had basically used her for sex and that she was going to tell everyone she knew what an asshole I am. This is just crazy, right? How was I being an asshole? Because I was honest? If I had known she would behave like this I never would have slept with her in the first place. Is there some sort of support group for people traumatized by Tinder hookups? – Ex Part-Time Stepdad

If I have learned anything in this life, it’s that parents are just. fucking. crazy. Don’t get me wrong, everyone is crazy in their own little way, but parents are crazy in a way that non-parents can’t even begin to imagine. How could a sweet, innocent, childless motherfucker like yourself know that by rejecting this seemingly normal single mom, you are also rejecting her sweet, innocent son as well? That’s some fighting rejection right there. This might come as a surprise to you, but in general, parents are willing to endure an incredible amount of abuse and humiliation as individuals ... right up until you bring their kid into the mix. That’s when they go absolutely mental. You’re fucking with not only the repositories of all their hopes and dreams, but also their literal genetic replicant, and half of those genes were contributed by someone they thought they knew, but aren’t entirely sure about especially in this case where the dad is out of the picture. For all you know he might be pressing plates in Huntsville.

You’ve surely heard stories about mothers suddenly gaining superhero-like strength when trying to save their children from imminent danger, but that same intensity sometimes gets channeled into disproportionately emotional responses to otherwise mundane situations.

How could you know that being willing to die for another human being inevitably makes you a mentally unbalanced person? You’ve surely heard stories about mothers suddenly gaining superhero-like strength when trying to save their children from imminent danger, but that same intensity sometimes gets channeled into disproportionately emotional responses to otherwise mundane situations. In other words, you should always assume that when you’re dealing with a parent, you’re also dealing with a hibernating bear. That’s a metaphor of course sort of like dating a blonde with dark roots: You know there’s another person in there. She might be hiding that person ... or maybe she’s just doing some redecorating? Either way, you’re on a voyage of discovery. Tread lightly. There might be quicksand ... or thin ice.

All of this is to say, “Don’t beat yourself up.” Even though 29 seems unimaginably ancient (and to be fair, you are quite a bit older than any of Leonardo DiCaprio’s girlfriends) you’re still relatively young, and this is the perfect time to learn the very valuable lesson you did. Which, to be very clear, is this: The older you get, the more cautious you should be about shacking up. Well, I am guessing at least until you hit the nursing home, and even then you should probably keep yourself on a steady stream of antibiotics. But that 30-60 age range is a treacherous, raging sea of emotions, even though it may seem calm and peaceful on the surface. And then, of course, you have the parents.

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