Hi. I'm a 50-year old working mom. My 23 year old son lives with his father, and we all get along ok, except that I am sad and worried about my son. He has no friends, has not looked for a job since he had to leave college, has never had a girlfriend -- or boyfriend, and seems to live a very small life in his very small room at home. He reads a lot, and likes math and science, and can give any number of answers to tech questions or math problems, but he cannot speak about himself or his feelings, his situation in life at present, or what plans he has, what dreams if any, what desires he has for a life beyond his bedroom. He did go to college for 3 years, got into debt, and came home. He is very secretive about his grades and the debt he owes, in fact his father and I have never seen a transcript, have never seen any accountability for his ever being at the college. He loathed mention of our visiting him there, so we held back and let him be an adult and did not pry, thinking he was happily building his life. Problem is, our laisee-faire is not working. He is very uptight and isolated, and increasingly alienated. He seems not to drink or take drugs, and we have never seen him or smelled him smoking marijuana. He has never been in trouble with the law. He is quite a brilliant thinker and is very good at math and the higher sciences. He is very tidy and gets annoyed if things are not clean. We sent him to a psychotherapist who seems to think there is nothing wrong with him. This makes me doubt the therapist. My son's father will not pry, will not kick him out, will not make him show his grades or his debts. As a mother, I have tried to keep hands off, tried to stay out of it, tried not to be, look, or act worried. But so much time has gone by, and everything we have done and have NOT done has effected zero change on our son's behavior, and we are powerless to give our son what we think could be a better life. I realize, maybe he IS happy living in a tiny room and never seeing anyone.
Does anyone have any suggestions for me, the mom of somebody who doesn't seem to have a life? Should I continue to keep hands off? Should I require him to see a psychiatrist? Should I back off, give him support and reassurance, and just leave him alone to decide for himself? It is very difficult not to keep asking him what he wants to do with his life, or telling him what I think he might try, etc. I tried to set up job interviews for him, but a spiritual advisor said "No way, hands off!" So, I suppose I can only watch him read The Lord of the Rings for the ten thousandth time and play endless online chess with virtual partners (kept at a distance thanks to the internet). His father is content to let him live there forever without working or doing anything outside the house, which I may have to accept, but I can't believe it's normal. I thought perhaps this is all indicative of Avoidant Personality Disorder, which I was tipped off about by a psychology student friend. I am not an invasive person; I have always left him alone. But my son, age 23, a good looking, brilliant man with no friends and no outside life is very painful for me to see.
I thank people for any words or experiences they may offer.