Absent love

Joey Garcia

Four months ago, a man swept me off my feet: flowers, love poems and compliments all day long. I fell for him, but his work and family problems are keeping us apart. He responds to my texts with one word. I’ve seen him three times in six weeks after spending every night together. Is this normal?

It might be for him, if he enjoys the exhilaration of the chase more than the slow growth of genuine love. But infatuation is like starting dinner with five decadent desserts, and then trying to eat an entrée, salad and appetizers. Beginning with so much sugar lulls your common sense to sleep. That’s why you’re not sure if you’re being played. Hey, a person who loves you would confide in you about his personal challenges. Your man disappeared. Follow his lead and lean back. Trust that you did nothing to inspire his disconnect. And nothing you do will bring him back for good. Yes, he may reach out again. But he will pull away when you least expect it. That’s because he’s afraid of real intimacy and doesn’t want you to meet the mess behind the man who’s been love-bombing you. What if he’s right?

I’m almost 14 years old, my parents are divorced and I hate going to my dad’s house. He is always at work or at his girlfriend’s house so when I’m at his house, I’m almost always alone. When he’s home, he’s mean and makes me feel like I can’t do anything right. It’s not true—I get good grades, and I try to be a good person. I’ve told my mom but she won’t do anything because she says he has custody rights, too. Why does he insist that I come over when he’s not there anyway, and seems to hate me?

I’m sorry that you feel so alone, and that the adults in your life have not addressed your concerns. Your father may be inept at parenting a teen, so he pours himself into the areas of his life where he feels successful. Don’t take it personally. It’s his failing, not yours. You are a good person even if your dad isn’t awake enough to see it, and even if your mom is afraid to stand up for you. One of the challenges of being a teen is suddenly seeing adults as they are. You can see the failings of people you once admired, and with one word, or a shift in body language or a particular facial expression, you hold up a big mirror so these adults can see themselves. Most would rather not look. They liked being adored and prefer that pedestal to the experience of becoming your equal. Some adults will fight against your progress toward equality and others will push it on you too soon. Knowing this truth should make you breathe a bit easier. One last thing: If your mom ever decides to challenge the custody agreement, the judge will be interested in hearing your opinion. But that does not mean you will be able to choose not to spend time with your father.

Meditation of the week
“If every day is an awakening, you will never grow old. You will just keep growing,” wrote author Gail Sheehy. Have you tasted the Fountain of Youth?

Our content is free, but not free to produce

If you value our local news, arts and entertainment coverage, become an SN&R supporter with a one-time or recurring donation. Help us keep our reporters at work, bringing you the stories that need to be told.


Stay Updated

For the latest local news, arts and entertainment, sign up for our newsletter.
We'll tell you the story behind the story.