How can I support my son? He's met a girl online and wants to meet her. He's been chatting with her for several months and has developed strong feelings for her. It's become an intense relationship. He's just started his first year in college and has been consumed with this girl. They haven't met, but yet they call themselves a couple. He wants to meet her, and I'm having a hard time supporting this decision. In fact, I think it's a terrible idea. There's no way to know if this is safe or what he's getting into. They are going to meet halfway and spend the weekend together. What advice can you offer a concerned mom who doesn't want to push her son away, but is consumed with worry?
Dear Concerned Mom,
You're not going to stop him from meeting her. And he's not going to listen to me either. He's an adult. He's going to meet her. So, accept it. When he does meet her, he's either he's going to fall deeper in love with this woman (assuming she's actually a woman and not a man) or he's going to be totally disappointed and deflated. Once you can accept that he's going to meet her, stress safety. Insist they meet on his own turf. This way she can have a place to stay (at a hotel) and he can go home if it's not feeling comfortable. It's also safer if he's near familiar people — friends and family. Encourage him to do a background check (offer to pay for it) to verify what she says about herself is true. Tell him to assume that it's true, but he should check just to be safe. See if you can meet her too (invite her over for dinner). The fact that he feels comfortable enough to include you in this part of his life says a lot. Once he communicates that you're so welcoming, this girl will freak out because she's a fake or meet you and let you be the judge. If you still can't get through to him, have a relative or someone he trusts talk some sense into him. Make it about safety. Meeting in a strange place isn't smart or safe.