One of the casualties of my son Ben's eating disorder was his relationship with girls, indeed his relationship with anyone for that matter. Ben's long struggle with anorexia resulted in complete social isolation for a number of years. The good news is that, following his recovery from anorexia, he has rebuilt his social life very impressively both at home and at university. The trouble is that these friendship circles (and clubs) are almost exclusively male (sci-fi, fantasy nerdy societies like tabletop war games and dungeon and dragons style role playing). As a result Ben has little to no contact with girls. And, because he doesn't drink, he doesn't go out socially to places where he might meet girls e.g. pubs and clubs.
For the second unsuccessful time Ben has joined Match.com in a bid to find a girlfriend. Last year he tried Tinder and met a girl who he fell in love with but who dumped him - on St Valentines Day of all days. Grrrrr. As the song goes: "My momma don't like you and she likes everyone."
The poor guy really wants - and deserves - to have a girlfriend. What's not to like or love about him? I know I'm his mum and I'm bound to be biased, but he's very good looking and he's a really nice, interesting and caring guy. Ben rarely drinks or gets drunk, he's a super ace cook, he loves walking and hiking, loves eating out (yes!) and has a superb taste in music.
He's very intelligent, loves history and has a great sense of humour and an equally great sense of justice when it comes to world news and politics. On top of this the guy has immense strength and courage having said a huge emphatic NO to the eating disorder and pushed his way to recovery. His now long-gone eating disorder has left him extremely empathetic and sensitive - in a nice way, in a way that makes him really care about other people and their feelings. He is also very romantic and would make an extremely loyal, loving and caring partner for anyone.
And yet he isn't meeting any girls and it breaks my heart for him.
I really envy communities where it's acceptable for the parents to find suitable partners for their adult children and put them in touch. Instead we have to rely on chance meetings, social circles, work or student environments and dating websites.
How can I help my son get a girl? A nice girl who will value him and love him?
He has everything going for him and - for any girl out there who is fed up to the back teeth of guys who get drunk, talk about themselves all the time or treat them badly or without respect - my son Ben could be just what they are looking for! The answer to a girl's dream.
His perfect girl would be anywhere between 18 and 25 years old (he is 23 but looks younger) and live in West or South Yorkshire. She doesn't have to be stunning or slim. Maybe she's a bit nerdy or geeky, a bit alternative or unconventional in her outlook on life. She doesn't like to get drunk and prefers a quiet night in playing boardgames, watching Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings on the telly, listening to indie music or going out for a meal. She's romantic and fun to be with - bubbly and cute, not self-obsessed. She's maybe a little vulnerable and needs to find a guy who will love and cherish her and be loyal.
She's a foodie and perhaps loves cooking too. Fussy eaters are a no-no because Ben adores cooking a huge variety of dishes. She cares about others, especially those worse off then her - the kind of girl who might volunteer for a charity, work with kids or go to church (but not a religious fanatic). And she doesn't mind getting cold, wet and muddy on country hikes or bike rides - or digging around muddy archeological sites or visiting historical houses or castles. She's also creative - perhaps she likes knitting or making her own clothes, or painting.
Ben needs a girl who wouldn't be put off by the fact that he suffered from an eating disorder during his latter teenage years. She wouldn't think him weird because of this, rather someone that's been immensely courageous to to get through this and recover permanently.
Most important of all a girl who would love and care for my son and not dump him like that horrible girl did a year ago.
This is my dream list of who I think would make Ben's ideal girlfriend. He really does deserve to find someone nice who he can have a long and caring relationship with!