Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

‘I Don’t Mind it When My Dad Dates, but My Mom, Ooh Yick’

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on January 24, 2011

  Jared, fourteen, goes back and forth between his divorced parents every three or four days. He has done this since he was nine, after his parents were fighting loudly in front of him “day and night.” “The good news” he says, “is that now they are civil with one another.” “Do they have significant others in their lives?” I ask, wondering how that would be for him. “Well, my dad has dated three women for substantial periods of time and I am OK with that, but my mom, if she were ever to date, I could not handle it. I don’t mind it when my dad dates, but my mom, ooh yick.” “What do you think the difference is?” I ask, thinking about the oedipal situation where a boy’s love for his mom is intense and rivalrous. “I don’t know” Jared says, “all I know is how I feel.” I am thinking about how sweet Jared is that he can share his intense love for his mother with me. I am also aware how unconscious he is about his love for his mom in that he knows how he feels, but he cannot articulate that his love for his mom is qualitatively different than the love for his dad; it is a different relationship. I wonder if I should point that out, but as the time goes by, the subject changes to his social challenges at school. I am sure we will revisit this fascinating oedipal pull; it is so compelling.

2 Responses to “‘I Don’t Mind it When My Dad Dates, but My Mom, Ooh Yick’”

  1. Shelly said

    How about that because Jared is male, he can relate and understand his father’s dating mentality but cannot relate to nor understand his mother’s?

    • Yes, Jared’s identification with his dad makes it easier for him to understand his dad’s relationship. In addition, I think there is a different kind of love for his mother than for his father which makes another man in his mother’s life feel like a threat to their relationship. Mother/son relationships are often complicated by this intense attachment, yet as far as I know, there has not been a lot written on that subject. Having said that, the movie Cyrus, comes to mind as I think it demonstrated very well this intensity between an adolescent son and his single mother.

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