Hi there! Recently our household went through adjustments as one of our young adult children had a relationship change from dating to “being just friends”.
Having now lived through the adjustment — with those on the spectrum– I thought I might explain the adjustment with a social paradigm picture.
A place at the table is a picture of family. I have three children so there is a potential extra place setting for each of my adult children at my table. It is not for visiting friends or even a best friend in any kind of permanent sense… but for that potential spouse and the potential of a new trunk of the family tree through them. There is also a chair always available for hospitality as well — but that is another (social) story.
Anyone is welcome at these extra seats. I of course want a loving individual that will be always at my adult child’s side, sharing our particular brand of faith, humour and love of people. However, as I communicated to my eldest daughter — that if she introduced an intended boyfriend “with three heads” to share our place at the table — we would indeed accept him and eventually purchase more hat racks to help the new potential family member to feel welcomed. I also told her that we would mentor them and love them as a couple realizing at the same time that not one of us — in fact — perfect.
So what happens — when I boyfriend or girlfriend — changes status from being “the special one” to being someone else entirely. Well that special seat at the table is no longer theirs. They now have the status of a sometime visitor, an acquaintance from the same faith group and/or maybe someone who is merely a part of the larger group of friends. The adjustment is difficult because if your child is at home… the entire family is making adjustments instead of allowances and depending on how the actual break up happens you have one or the other part of the previous couple feeling “hurt”.
With time however, depending on whether there is actually forgiveness and restoration — at least to the point of being “friendly” — the pair can somewhat repair a relationship to enjoy that new now more limited relationship.
I was once out with a table load of homosexual males in Toronto. [Love you FVK in case you read this.] They said to me that after any one of their break ups — they merely all get together as a group and all remain friends. I thought to myself, ‘Well that makes sense… there are no hormones, no children and thus no court disputes to wager. Not being women– there are no expectations to manage social behaviour — the least being the ‘place at the table’– unless adopted children are involved. So that all makes sense.’ But for the rest of us — we have more adjustments and actual changes which have to be made so that there are not places taken at the table when the “right” one finally comes. Women are the ones who tend to manage the subtext of all the social behaviour anyway — so the men who are reading this can relax. They probably didn’t even realize it was actually “a thing” anyway.
Best wishes to you all! I hope this helps my own adult children and “new” friends as they continue to date.
Talk at you later — Share if you care ! Always — V’Ron