The last time I sat across a kitchen table from a heartbroken teenage boy, I was just a girl myself, and I was the one doing the heart-breaking. Thirty years on, I find myself in the same situation – only this time the distraught boy in question is in love with my 18-year-old daughter Katie, who has decided she doesn’t want to be with him any more.And if Katie's parents are wise in the ways of the world, they know perfectly well that there is a good chance that they'll be consoling her when she's 28, and quite possibly when she's 38 and 48, crying over the fact that she was too stupid and short-sighted to cash in her chips when she had the chance.
Over the last year, I’ve grown to love this boy – who sits before me now with his head in his hands, looking for advice as to how to win her back – as a son. My husband feels the same way. Alex, also 18, is kind, hard-working, respectful and good-looking. He adores our daughter and wants to keep her happy and safe.
What more could you want for your girl? But for Katie, what he offers isn’t enough. Safe is for later. For now she wants excitement and freedom. However much we adore him, for her he isn’t ‘The One’.
I do find it both amusing and sad that nearly every girl I know who wanted to chase excitement and freedom in their early 20s rather than settle down with the boyfriend they had at the time ended up either a) alone and barren, b) a single mother of a single child, or c) married to a man who is of distinctly lower quality than their ex-boyfriend.
I can admittedly think of one exception; a pretty woman who kept herself in shape, married even better than she would have before, and has more than one child. But only one.