Dear Dr. G.,
Now I am really confused. My 17 year old son and his girlfriend of three months recently broke up.My son is pretty distressed about this. He does not seem depressed or we would already have taken him to a therapist. He continues to enjoy playing guitar, soccer, and being with his friends. He even seems to already like another girl.
Here is what caught me by surprise. My son told my husband that he got really upset about the break-up because he had his first sexual experience with this young woman. Now, I thought getting worked up about failed relationships that become sexual was/is what teenage girls do NOT boys.
Is there something wrong with my son?
Have you ever heard of this type of situation?
A Freaked-Out Mama
Dear Freaked-Out Mama,
There is absolutely no reason to be freaked out. Teenage boys are not simply a bunch of sex-crazed lunatics devoid of emotion. This, unfortunately, continues to be a stereotype.
Like the teenage girls, they are new to the whole concept of sexuality and they too often have their tender emotions in the game. We often forget to teach our teenage sons and daughters about the delicate and complicated interaction of the body, the mind, and the heart. They are a team.
Perhaps, your son is simply a sensitive young man dealing with the complicated connection between emotional and physical intimacy. Or perhaps, he feels insecure about his sexual performance. Since he already talks openly with your husband-I suggest that your husband talk to him about this possibility in the most gentle and reassuring manner.
In response to your questions: No, I do not think that there is anything wrong with your son and YES I have seen many teenage boys and girls become confused and distressed after a sexual/emotional relationship ends.
Your son is learning about life along his journey and please continue to provide him with nurturance and emotional support.