(sorry for the weird formatting -- I pasted from Word)
My dd (I’ll call her Dot) is 14 and a freshman at a very small school (80 kids). She’s dating a sophomore boy (I’ll call him B.) who I think is an idiot – all style and no substance. He tells outrageous lies in order to appear dark and mysterious. For example he says that he lived in another country and spoke no English until he was 7, that he had a twin sister who was given up for adoption shortly after birth, that he has a rare disease and has been in and out of the hospital all his life… I confirmed that all of these are lies after talking to an acquaintance who has known the family since before B. was born. He claims that he’s attempted suicide several times, that he’s bipolar and schizophrenic (don’t know if these are true). He says his parents leave a loaded gun around because they hope he’ll kill himself. I haven’t met his parents but I know they’re older, very involved in their church, they buy him basically anything he wants and drive B. and his friends around a lot—he has one half sibling who is much older.
He and Dot go to the teen center for 2 hours every day after school. They watch movies and play video games and ‘snuggle’ on the couch. Then she takes the bus to my office. Dot is friends with B’s ex-girlfriend. The girl has told dd to run as fast as she can away from this boy –that everything he says is a lie, he’s needy and manipulative, etc. He’s been to our house twice and I took them to the movies once. From his interactions with me I got that he’s shy, insecure and awkward. Dot says he’s always like this with people he doesn’t know well, including most of the kids at school.
Dot knows about some of the lies and has admitted to me that she doesn’t know if she can believe anything he says (she’s never told him she doesn’t believe him). But in the next breath she said “His parents sent him to a military school in Arizona in 7th grade –The instructors there beat him all the time”. I replied ‘this sounds like another one of his stories’. (I Googled his name and saw that he made the honor roll at the local middle school throughout 7th grade.) Deep down she knows that everything he says is a lie. She’s always been attracted to boys with his look – tall, thin, goth musician-types with skinny jeans who dress all in black. Other than his looks I can’t imagine what she sees in him. Keep in mind that there is another boy at school who has a big crush on Dot –he is sweet and sane and he and Dot have the same sense of humor and get along wonderfully. But she rejects him as being more like a brother to her.
Dot seems to have no shortage of confidence. She’s very outgoing with her peers and has tons of male friends. Why would she be with this guy? I don’t feel like I can forbid her to see him. I’m hoping that she’ll get tired of his ridiculous stories and see through his Edward Cullen act. I try not to say too much but I don’t hide the fact that I don’t like him. This has been going on for almost two months and, if anything, they’re getting closer. I read her Facebook conversations with him (she doesn’t know that) and he likes to correct her a lot, and seems to subtly put her down at times. For example, last night she was having trouble with her music homework and she asked him for help. He said ‘oh that’s easy…I can help you with that’. When she explained the assignment further and it was apparent that he had no clue what the answer was he said ‘Well, I could just tell you the answer but do you really think I should be doing your homework for you? By the way you spelled crescendo incorrectly’. Dot sheepishly apologized for asking and said she’d figure it out.
Should I just see if this runs its course? What makes me nervous is that, in middle school, she was attracted to a boy who had some of the same traits (needy, brooding, outsider, always looking for sympathy). Dot finally broke up with him last summer when he was pushing her to have sex (they were both 14). She didn’t tell me why they broke up until months later. We have a pretty good relationship and she’s usually open with me. I’m a good listener and she likes to talk so eventually everything comes out…
Why doesn’t her ‘Loser-Radar’ work? Her girlfriends get really quiet when she starts talking about how wonderful B is. I know they don’t like him. He doesn’t treat her that well, he’s needy and likes to play the victim… I don’t get it and I don’t know if I should intervene.
I’m a single mother by choice; Dot didn’t meet her father (an old friend of mine) until last year. I worry that not having a positive male figure in her life has left her attracted to these kinds of boys. But if you were to meet her and have a conversation with her you would see an outspoken, independent girl with feminist leanings. This is not the kind of boy you’d think she’d be with. Maybe this is just a visceral response to raging hormones? She went through puberty quite early –beginning between 8 and 9. People guess, even after talking to her, that she’s 18 or 19.
I think that if I prevent her from seeing him outside of school it will turn into a Romeo and Juliet thing, with her perceived ‘love’ for him only growing. My instinct is to let her figure this out on her own, with the occasional snide comment from me. I’m worried about this particular boy but also worried that she is attracted to him at all, and that she will continue to end up with boys like him. I’m sorry this got so long…Any advice you can give me is appreciated…