The adult dating playground is a funny thing. You’re still playing on the jungle gym, but it’s much more dangerous now that you can’t climb the monkey bars as easily. You’re more prone to get hurt; you don’t recover like you used to, simply put. As we get older, things become a little bit more serious. Even if we have spats with our friends, we don’t handle it the same. Whereas, when we were 12, we’d have a fist-fight and then play kickball in the street the next day.
Even more so, parents don’t get involved like they used to. Actually, they shouldn’t get involved at all even when kids have tiffs at school, unless they get caught up in a serious case of bullying – on either end. Regardless, having my family on social media – specifically Facebook – has caused an interesting twist on my dating life. I feel slightly dirtier if some guy makes some sleezy comment about a family photo that I’ve added. My family sees this, and typically, they like to comment as well.
However, my family never actually gets involved with the man/men I’m seeing via social media. Why should they? It’s none of their business, and people outside of the situation/relationship never fully know what’s going on. Besides, people always have their own lives to deal with. I can hardly keep up with the men my mother is dating, let alone for her to try to follow my dating life. My family cares, but unless a man puts his hands on me or disrespects me in some way, they know that I’m a big girl and can handle my issues – for the most part.
It was brought to my attention more recently that not everyone is as laissez-faire in their children’s dating lives as my family seems to be about me. A person who I used to date is now in a committed relationship. We ended on somewhat turbulent but compromising terms. He is now happy and committed, and I am happy and writing about all of the bad men who I come across in my lifetime. Still tagged in some of his family photos, his mother has made it a point to make snide comments about me being his ex, though it has been several years since we’ve been together. At first, I ignored it and let it go, until it happened again and again with more comments…and some from other family members.
In a situation like this, what do you do? Simply untag yourself? Make a smart ass remark about why they’re still thinking about you when everyone was supposed to move on and be happy? Mind you, this is a very “happy” traditional family, so I’m a bit confused here. I’m the one with a non-traditional family: two fathers, a twice-divorced mother who gets more play than I do, watching my nephew grow up from 12 hours away. You’d think I’d be the one messed up but instead, I write about life for a bit of comedy, psychoanalysis, and fuck’s sake.
A part of me wants to go off and reveal the entire situation’s true colors. Why is it that I’m a subject of focus years later when everything is supposed to be willy nilly and frolicking dandy on their end. Or even if it isn’t, still, why am I your topic of discussion at Sunday dinner? These are questions that don’t necessarily need answers, just a call for an end of action.
Nonetheless, it comes to a situation such as this that also makes you a little hesitant in the dating world. Not only do you have to be cautious about who you’re dating, but also about their family and friends. You don’t seek for people outside of the relationship to bully you during and after the relationship is over. Of course, they can have their feelings and choice words, but when is too much enough especially when it reaches the point of drifting over to social media? Even more importantly, how do we prevent our family members from becoming these type of people to save ourselves from the embarrassment?
It’s back to that theory of the jungle gym and we fall and scrape our knees from the slide. When I was five, my mom didn’t even help me. Your child has to help themselves in order to realize that it’s not the end of the world and they’re not going to die. But does the parent realize that it’s not the end of the world that their precious baby has a scraped knee? If they were too protective then, who’s to say that they’ve changed 20 years later? Sadly, in the event of doing research on our potential dating partners, we must also investigate their families…and make sure that they have NO access to our social media.