CAROLINE WEST-MEADS: His new girlfriend is a heavy cocaine user
Q My son, a lovely, caring young man of 21, has a girlfriend who we are not keen on.
They’ve been together a few months. She’s very needy but also overconfident and boastful. She is always bragging about how successful her parents are, how well her brother is doing at his elite school and so on.
We believe she has had a lot of issues in her past but we don’t know what those are.
However, recently we discovered that this girl takes a great deal of cocaine. I understand from a friend of theirs that she has even carried the drug abroad when she and my son have been on holiday together.
Q My son, a lovely, caring young man of 21, has a girlfriend who we are not keen on. They’ve been together a few months. She’s very needy but also overconfident and boastful
They are intending to travel to Southeast Asia next year, which fills me with dread. My son is no longer speaking to his friends because they can’t stand this girl.
My husband and I went to their flat to see if we could find evidence of drugs – it was filthy.
I’m at a loss because he thinks he’s in love. I’ve asked him to come over to see us, but don’t know how to tackle the problem because I know he’ll be on the defensive.
A This is very upsetting and scary for you. I am sure that you are also worried in case your son is taking cocaine.
I hope (because she sounds like a nightmare) that this will not be a long-term relationship.
As your son is very caring, he is perhaps drawn to her vulnerability. This neediness alongside her apparent arrogance may sound like an unusual combination, but often people who seem full of themselves and their achievements are masking a deep underlying insecurity.
They fear no one will like them, so they overexaggerate their accomplishments thinking it will make them more popular (whereas often it has the opposite effect).
So you are right to tread very gently and to talk to him nonjudgmentally. It is important not to be critical of her because, as you suggest, he is likely to get defensive. Say simply that you are concerned because you know she takes cocaine.
People use drugs to fill an emotional void, so explain that you know she must be very unhappy and that you are concerned about the effect that her drug use will have on them both.
Ask him if he finds her cocaine-taking upsetting or difficult and say that you would like to help. Suggest that he contacts talktofrank.com or adfam.org.uk for advice on supporting her in tackling her addiction. (They would also be very useful sources for you, your husband and your son’s friends in knowing how to talk to him.)
Explain your fears about him travelling abroad and ask if he knows about the dangers he might face. As you know, the penalties if caught carrying drugs to some countries in Southeast Asia are extremely severe.
I’M WORRIED ABOUT FRIENDS MEETING MY NEW MAN
Q After a bitter divorce four years ago from a man who constantly belittled me, I have fallen head over heels in love. My new partner of seven months is everything my husband wasn’t – kind, thoughtful, funny and fantastic in bed.
My adult children like him a great deal. However, there is one problem, and I hate myself for even thinking this way: we’re from very different backgrounds.
I’ve always been a career-orientated professional, as was my husband. My friends are similar to me and have affluent lifestyles.
However, my lovely new man left school at 16, has always worked in manual jobs and has never wanted a career.
It doesn’t matter to me, but now some of my friends want to meet him and I’m worried that they won’t get on with each other or have anything in common.
Q After a bitter divorce four years ago from a man who constantly belittled me, I have fallen head over heels in love. However, there is one problem, and I hate myself for even thinking this way: we’re from very different backgrounds
A Try not to hate yourself as that just eats up your energy. It is natural to be worried about how a new partner will get on with your friends because they have probably been important to you for a long time and now so is he.
Of course it might be difficult initially because people are often more comfortable with the familiar. However, I think too much emphasis is put on careers and achievement as a way of defining someone.
As you have discovered through your husband, being a successful professional doesn’t always equal nice or kind.
What your friends and your new man have in common is wanting the best for you. Unless your friends are shallow individuals (in which case why are they still your friends?)
I’m sure that all will be fine. He’s already been accepted by your children, which is the most important test.
- If you have a problem, write to Caroline West-Meads at YOU, 9 Derry Street, London W8 5HY, or email [email protected]. You can follow Caroline on Twitter @Ask_Caroline_
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