If a person were to take inventory of the serious, long-term relationships I’ve managed to stumble into over the years, on the surface none of them would have anything in common. Varying in height from 5’8” to 6’3”, from all different hair/eye/skin colors, I truly do not have preferences when it comes to physical appearance. But upon closer inspection, it appears that I do in fact have “a type.” Well, since I don’t consciously make the effort to seek these people, I prefer to call it “a trend.” Without fail, each and every male I’ve dated long-term share the same 2 commonalities- they always come from large, tight-knit, involved families and they always love their momma. While these are not bad qualities to have in a companion, historically, it’s not worked out great for me.
Coming from a big crazy family dynamic can be a wonderful thing. As a child you always have cousins and siblings to play with, there are always events that involve food, and most importantly, it’s like your own personal wolfpack of other people who understand exactly what it was like to grow up the way you did. There are plenty of people who can better relate to you as an adult because they shared the same growth experiences. But I don’t think people who grow up in these dynamics understand just how intimidating that can be for someone who only sees family beyond their parents once a year. You’re never just dating the one person, you’re dating the whole clan. Which means you have to endure all the awkward uncomfortable stages of a relationship over and over until you’re accepted by them all. And let’s face it, for the most part unless you end up pregnant and adding to the family bloodline, you’ll always be an outsider. Attempting to constantly present the best version of yourself is hard enough when developing a relationship with one person, let alone to an entire baseball team sized group of people. Not to mention how painful it can be during hard times. I’ve found that if you’re having issues in your relationship, typically they vent to those closest to them which now means the whole family is participating, and in the event of a breakup, you’re now breaking up with 2 dozen people and not just one single human.
I’m certain as a female, I’m not the only who was told over and over to “find a man who loves his mom, they make the best husbands.” I’m going to go ahead and say if you look back over the course of history, that statement is not accurate. (Please see Oedipus, Norman Bates and The Waterboy for reference.) I understand the thought behind it though; obviously if a man respects his mother and takes care of her, then he will know how to take care of you. The problem for me has always been that these mothers have loved and coddled their sons to the point they’ve created somewhat of a monster to try and date- they never do wrong because they’ve been told they do no wrong their entire lives. They are raised like little princes and I’m sorry, but sometimes you need someone to tell you you’re not perfect, you are flawed and there are things you need to work on. These men could literally murder someone and their mothers would blame the victim. So in the case of my personal relationships, any character flaws these men had somehow became attributed to my influence, regardless of the fact that they were displaying them before and after me. It can be very frustrating when you know that a mother’s influence could help someone grow, especially when dealing with something serious like addiction issues, but she refuses to see her little boy as anything but perfect. They will never take your side, no matter how dire the situation.
The big question I have is WHY I keep finding myself drawn to these 2 particular behaviors. What is the psychological void I’m trying to fill by subconsciously attracting these types of men? All I can figure out is that I do have a yearning to be part of a big family. I’m an only child and as stated before, the only time any of my extended family interacts might be once a year, if I’m lucky. I always dreamed of those big family gatherings you see on TV. One of my good friends comes from this huge Italian family, most of them hailing from New York and Chicago. I’ve been invited to their parent’s home on several occasions for things like weddings or birthdays and every time I’m there it’s amazing. If you’re in the home, you’re now part of the family. There’s a constant flow of wine and there’s food everywhere, everyone is yelling and throwing stuff and laughing and typically there’s an argument but everyone forgets about it within an hour. I would love to be part of that type of craziness all the time, at least in theory. Then when I get involved with these things, reality sets in, and so-and-so doesn’t like you or looked up something you posted on Facebook 9 years ago and now everyone is whispering. It’s definitely a double-edged sword.
As for why I keep ending up with momma’s boys…well. I am a woman who does not want children. That does not mean I don’t have some nurturing aspects to my personality. In fact, because I feel so non-maternal and uncomfortable with affection in the majority of my life, when I REALLY care about someone, I show my love by wanting to take care of them. I want to nurture them, cater to their every whim, cook and clean for them and have constant physical affection. Thus attracts someone who NEEDS this type of attention, someone who has been receiving this type of attention their whole life. Insert momma’s boy. But now I’m competing for that attention with her and we all know how that is going to work out. Again, double-edged sword.
I’ve been seeing someone with a degree of regularity over the last few weeks. While I am by no means in the market for a boyfriend, this is the first time in a long time that I’m feeling certain things about a person. It’s comfortable like I’ve known them my whole life and they make me smile a lot, so for now I’ll enjoy it. As stated in this column a few weeks back, I am not a healthy person to be involved with right now. My personal life is a mess due to the job loss etc, plus I’m still carrying a lot of pain and anger from my last relationship that I don’t know I’ll ever fully recover from. It’s really not fair to bleed on a person who didn’t cut you. But it’s nice to see there might be a glimmer of hope for the future. And true to form, he’s Sicilian/Italian Catholic who spends more of his free time with family than friends and thinks his mother is a saint. Sigh-he checks all the boxes on my list, for better or for worse. I’ll keep you all posted.