Presently in real life, my only living offspring is an 18 year old.
In part due to this I have been reviewing my own teen years.
Many of you have also been through this. Today at home I played the movie New Moon and saw that the teen girl-woman’s single Dad is a man my age and the teen daughter is a girl my son’s age. So, that was how it really felt to me.
I also saw some stuff online about identity development and how the first major phases of this occur during childhood – toddlers and then teens. Included in all of that was the issue of romance. My social development went pretty well albeit not necessarily “perfectly” during those years and my son is doing alright himself even though he is a bit different from myself. I did have a few problems, but many people do.
The real reason I am so touchy about the whole matter of social competence and affection that during the years of living in Germany I have had fewer friends and less of a social circle than during the entire rest of my life and some of the time it has really scared the H out of me, mainly because I never had that problem before. I have also not lived in any other country where English is not the normal language of the people until I lived in Germany.
The other thing that has been so weird is the way that the relationships I had when younger now seem. By that I mean things like: some of the best friends with whom I had assumed we would have kept in touch have not, and some guy with whom there was so much mutual love that we married is now someone I have not seen in years who doesn’t even like me now. Yet, when we look closely at most of my social relationships as a young teen, we see that my intimacy was limited with everyone, but that I had a number of friends, had friends of both genders, and that although not everyone liked me, there were always people who liked me. I did have some romance, but it was not always the same boy or boy-man and not all the time. My first “serious boyfriend” as a teen was one who became as emotionally close with me as my best female friends of which there were like 3 or 4, at least in my own mind. I loved them and believed they really loved me.
Now, all I can do to console myself to feel socially validated is remind myself that some people locally have been somewhat friendly, to be patient with the cultural and language barrier, that some friends from the US have kept in touch and that between 680 and 690 people are listed as Facebook friends and the number has held steady for more than 12 months and at least half of them are people I have known in person at some previous time.