My boyfriend of six years (on and off) and I are in our late-30s and hard-working professionals. We live one hour apart and see each other on weekends only. Since his mom retired and moved in with him, she’s strained our relationship.
She doesn't drive and won’t get her license, so my boyfriend must drive her everywhere, especially on weekends (our date night), to run her errands.
At Christmas, she insisted he cancel a planned trip with me to pay her fare to visit her relatives overseas. She also suggested he not waste money on gourmet food and wine so he didn't plan for our annual New Year's Eve celebration together.
Friends say he’s become a Mama's Boy and that she’s selfish and controlling, and if we marry, she might abuse me. I’m unhappy. Should I let him go? Or try to prevent them from spending time with each other?
The problem’s your boyfriend more than Mama. A reasonable amount of respectful involvement is natural when living with a parent; it shouldn’t mean neglecting to celebrate New Year’s Eve because of maternal pressure.
A commitment of some time to help her is reasonable, but since you only have weekends together, it’s up to him to arrange time alone with you.
Since he’s not doing so – and not recognizing the hurt to you and your relationship – he’s not ready to consider an independent union with you.
Do NOT try coming between them … you’ll look the Bad Guy, which Mama will surely note. Explain your concerns about losing connection with each other. If nothing changes, end it. Then, look for a man who’ll make time for you.
Since the birth of our only child together, I feel my husband doesn’t respect me anymore. Previously, I had a great income. But when I went on maternity leave, he quit his job and started his own business. Our child hardly sleeps and I’m exhausted and have little energy for my husband.
His family are always visiting, always “interjecting;” his mother baby-sits her daughters’ children despite living five hours away, and does anything to solve even their minor issues.
However, I was brought up in my family, to take care of yourself, fix your own problems. My family sees each other two to four times a year, but talk on the phone frequently.
My husband feels I always overreact, am negative and act crazy. He’s been feeling unwell. My doctor said he has a head cold and to take time off. But we were still concerned and booked to see his doctor.
His sister offered to accompany him. I was insulted and hurt that she didn’t ask if I was going with him. My husband always defends his family and says I overreact. But this crosses the line. Am I wrong to be upset about this?
The important fact is that you’re exhausted. You could use some help - whether from his family or whomever. With both you and Hubby facing changed finances along with no sleep, there’s bound to be tension at times. The last thing you need is to go looking for it.
His sister’s offer was kind, NOT intrusive or insulting. She may have thought it’s difficult for you to get out, or not wise to take a baby along where there are sick people gathered in a waiting room.
The need is for getting Hubby well, not haranguing him about Sis’ offer, or your different upbringings.
Get some sleep.
My domineering mother gets offended and angry if I don't take her advice. I’m 45 and she’s played my Dad against me since I was a kid. I want to move away like my sister did. There are daily fights and mind-games.
When I get angry, she says it’s because I fought with my boyfriend. This is stupidity as we’re a very compatible couple. But then, I flip out and my boyfriend’s on the receiving end. It’s damaging to our relationship. My mother hates when I’m happy.
- Mom’s Target
Create the distance you want: Don’t answer her every call, limit conversation to “I’m-fine-how-are-you,” don’t respond to negative comments and when things get tense, hang up.
The boundaries are up to you. So is positive thinking that, at 45, your mother’s desire for control is her problem. It becomes yours when you tell her too much or listen too long.
Tip of the day:
A Mama’s Boy has to want to cut the “umbilical” cord himself, rather than have you do it.