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Hey y’all, keep sending your questions. But this week, I’m revisiting a Facebook chat I had with a reader over the holidays. I’ve condensed our original convo so it fits my column’s letter format, added a bit more to the final response.
I have a nephew who is single and who tried one dating site. He found women on there who just weren’t honest. I encouraged him to stay on it. He is my nephew, a very good guy, who works, has no children, 35 and is a Christian. I want him to be happy, but he is shy — give me some advice. His biggest challenge is, I think as an aunt, self-esteem. He meets women, but they are so aggressive. He always talks to me and my husband about wanting someone he could love and who could love him, without being so controlling. We are a close family, and it seems like good guys get overlooked, and the bad ones get chosen to destroy women’s lives.
— Concerned Auntie
Hi Concerned Auntie!
I think that dating is incredibly hard because it requires opening yourself up to a stranger, and trust and vulnerability happen in stages. It can be overwhelming and intimidating for someone to be confronted by a close-knit family. While this likely gives your nephew a sense of security and strength, if he truly wants to connect with someone one-on-one, he must do it himself one-on-one. Once he has developed and secured that bond, then he can present us to his family. Otherwise, you have a too many cooks in the kitchen effect, with too many different opinions and people to please, and people who think they know what’s best for him or what he really wants or needs, when really, he’s the only person that can answer those questions for himself. He’s 35. If your family has loved and cared for him, he will ultimately choose and find the right person or discover quickly who isn’t authentic. It’s all a process. Your nephew will find a worthy partner in time. Until then, let him steer his life, and support him when he asks for it.
We don’t make his decisions… he talks with us. He shares only what he wants to share. As a family we want to see him happy. He has met women, due to him being a nice, handsome guy, with no children. His concern is: Why when woman see the good guys, they want hood rats? We talk as a family when we have time. People in this life wish they had a supportive family. Then they wouldn’t have made some of the bad decisions that are still impacting them today: “Only if someone would have told me.”
— Concerned Auntie
Hi Concerned Auntie!
It can be tough to watch some we care about deeply wade their way through relationship woes. And you’re right: A supportive family can make all the difference. It’s definitely a bonus that he has you all to lean on, and you and your husband are providing a strong example of a what a healthy marriage can look like.
There’s a gap between what we say we want, what we actually want and what and who we pursue. And some mistakes, we’re going to make anyway, despite all the good feedback those around us give. I know I’ve learned things the hard way, and I know I’ve watched friends and relatives go against my advice and experience predictable results — but that’s just life.
I don’t think it’s helpful to make generalizations like women want hood rats over good guys, because it’s just as easy for women to say the same thing about men (And we do…). And it just doesn’t feel very generous of spirit to refer to anyone as a hood rat. Besides, if that’s who that other person wants, then, clearly, they are not the right person for your nephew, because that isn’t who your nephew is, and he isn’t likely to be compatible with that person at all. Sometimes the bad matches do you the favor of crossing themselves off the list! Advise your nephew to stop worrying about those women and spend more time engaging with women who return his interest. And from the way you describe him, he has a lot of positive qualities to offer a potential partner.
This might not ring true — your nephew can decide — but are the women he complains about actually aggressive and controlling, or are they struggling against his shyness? When a person doesn’t know where they stand with the person they’re dating, they can get pushy for a sign. Is he communicating well? If this doesn’t fit and they are actually just aggressive, controlling individuals, he should definitely cease dating them immediately.
Good luck to him! •