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    Boyfriend Comes with Baggage
    Anon_227989 posted:
    I need some advice. I am almost done with college and seeing a great guy. Things are awesome when we are at school, and started out well this summer. The problem is that it is just his mom and him at home and they have a very unhealthy relationship. She is very overbearing and very controlling. She is very reluctant to let him come to my parents' home with me, has gotten better about letting him come visit me during the summer but that has been a struggle, and he can't talk to me during the day at home because they are supposed to be hanging out, and can't talk to me at night because he might wake her up. Things are great when we are at school and she is not around, but whenever he is at home or she comes here I feel like he is tip-toeing around her. I need to talk to him about how this is affecting our relationship, especially if we stay together after college and things are long-term for a few years (I am imagining he will be living at home because she doesn't like the idea of him moving away). I am sick of being hung up on because his mom is inconvenienced. I know his mom should be commended for raising him as a single parent, but it is so hard to handle their unhealthy relationship. How can I confront him about the way this affects our relationship in a way that won't offend him and make him defensive?
    BalconyBelle responded:
    First, do you see any potential problems with this statement?

    ..If we stay together AFTER college and things are long-term for a few YEARS (I am imagining he will be living at home because SHE doesn't like the idea of him moving away)...

    Do you really want to be stuck with an overbearing & controlling woman who will continue to dominate every aspect of YOUR relationship that she possibly can for years?!?! Even after he graduates college & presumably gets a job & can support himself?

    If so....please think again.


    I'm in very much the same position with my fiance--we've been together for nearly 6 years...and his mom has NEVER changed. In fact, she's gotten worse. The only reason I've stuck around this long is because BOTH my fiance and I agree that he needs to move out once he's done with school and has a job. (He'll be moving out in August, by the way).

    The amount of stress an overbearing & controlling mom has on a relationship cannot be overestimated--and the effects are compounded even more when one of the parties is unable to get distance because they still live at home.

    As parents, I feel one of the main responsibilties is to raise a child to become an independent adult...this woman is determined to keep him an eternal child--and YOU'RE prepared to allow it.

    For his own sake, he needs to move out as soon as he's able. He will never get a chance to grow up if he's contantly having to kowtow to mommy. He will always be her little boy, and not a man in his own right. She will never respect him as an adult if he's content to be treated as a kid. Even though the transition will probably strain their relationship, moving out & establishing your independence as an adult is a period of adjustment that EVERY parent and child in a healthy relationship have to go through.

    For the sake of your relationship, he needs to move out, because she will never stop infering to the extent that she is as long as he's under her roof. She will never let up, she will never quit, and the best thing you can possibly do is limit the amount of control that she has over her ADULT son's actions--the most important and vital step will be having him move out.

    Talk with him, and see what his plans are for after graduation...he might already be thinking of getting his own place.

    If he is, that's most of the battle already. He has to WANT his independence, you can't push him into it...and if he doesn't want to get a little space from mommy, please think very carefully over whether or not you're willing to live your life playing second fiddle to his mom--with YOU cast in the role as the other woman.

    Try not to think of it as a confrontation. This is just a discussion over what your plans are...both individually and as a couple. Talk with each other, and listen to what both of you have to say. For the sake of establishing his own identity as an adult & achieving indepenence, moving out will help, and for the betterment of your relationship, having his own place where his mom doesn't dictate your relationship can help, too. It's all about setting healthy boundaries that you both can live with, and it's not impossible.

    Best of luck to both of you!
    queston responded:
    My wife and I both had pretty normal relationships with our parents. After college (in Michigan), we got married and moved to Seattle--thousands of miles from our parents and anyone else that either of us knew.

    That (moving far away) was the best decision we ever made. We are now in our late 40's raising 4 teenagers and dealing with aging parents. We wouldn't have minded at all if life's path had taken us back close to our families at some point (it never has), but we'd never change that decision to move away initially. It was critical to establishing our own adult lives and adult relationships with our parents.

    If you are really serious about the possibility of making a life with this man, then I would strongly consider looking for opportunities in another state, preferably one fairly far away. He needs a chance to break free of his mother's apron strings, and she needs that as well, in order to have a functional adult relationship with her son.
    Rhondamay responded:
    I was in your shoes many years ago but I had the one thing going for me that was needed. My guy did not allow his manipulative and dominating mother to come between us. When we married we moved far enough away that she was not a frequent presence in our lives. She never stopped trying to cause trouble but she always met a united front with my husband and I.

    In her last years we took her into our home to look after her and although suffering from severe dementia she still would try to cause trouble between us. We finally put her in an assisted living facility. My husband always showed her respect but made it clear to both her and I that his relationship with me came first. We have been married now for 33 years.

    If my husband hadn't stood up to her we would have never made it to our first anniversary.

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