Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mom Can't Stop Grown Son From Meeting Online Girlfriend

Dear Harlan,

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?

Concerned Mom

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.


  1. Totally agree with the above advice. My friend took similar steps a few years with regard to her daughter.

    she prosposed that her 'internet boyfriend' visits them at home for dinner. He was going to travel across the world to meet her daughter. He never turned up after this proposal was made

  2. I thought the advice was a little insensitive. Sure, it might have been great for the guy involved, but what about the girl? How safe is it for her to go to the guy's town where she doesn't know anyone? I guess her safety isn't a concern?

    While I think that the background investigation was a good idea, I think it should have ended at that. If you can't tell whether she is safe after the background investigation, then he shouldn't be going out to meet her period. But asking her to go to the extra expense of meeting the guy in his home town because of concerns about his safety is a bit 'weenieish.' I would end a relationship with a guy that was so concerned about his own safety that he made the visit take place on his home turf, with no concern about how I felt about my own safety. There are her feelings and her safety to consider as well, everyone.

    In the past, the guys used to take the girls out. Then, it was that everyone had to take everyone out equally. Now? The woman has to fly out to the guy's hometown, to protect his safety. Sheesh.