Shocked at seeing son’s lover’s nudes
Dear Carolyn: My college-age son carelessly left pornographic pictures in plain view in our home. Disturbed, I explained generally my objections to porn but did not specifically mention what I had seen.
Sometime later, he brought his girlfriend home to meet me. I was shocked to realize the pictures I had seen were of her.
I did my best to cover my surprise and be welcoming, but apparently I am not much of an actress, because both my son and his girlfriend concluded I was cold to them.
My son’s relationship with the young woman has continued over the years, and my relationship with my son has deteriorated, largely because he thinks I have been unfriendly to his girlfriend.
How can I repair my relationship with my son and his girlfriend? – Silly me
People are better at getting over things when they know what they need to get over.
So while it won’t be either of your Top 10 Transcendent Mother-Son Bonding Moments, explaining to your son that you weren’t being cold all those years ago, just embarrassed, might provide him with one of those moments when years’ worth of odd misfires between you suddenly make total sense.
That’s the argument for telling him.
The argument against: If there’s any chance your son is maintaining an old grievance, disposing him against forgiveness on the girlfriend issue, then you’ll need to address that before you start playing naked-picture bingo. It’s just too easy to envision your confessing about the photos, finally, only to have your son perceive it as another attack and offer it to his girlfriend as fresh grounds for offense.
Oh – and if you’re still judging her? Banish that. All. Somehow.
Such context notwithstanding, it’s in everyone’s interests for you to think broadly, approach gently and apologize generously. Trust your gut, too, to gauge his receptiveness to the truth.