Dear Ms. HeartBeat:
Here’s the situation. I’ve been with my boyfriend for 2 years and I am in love with him. We live together and we talk about marriage frequently and he is a great man.
However, the one problem I’m having with him is concerning his mother. He is 33 years old and is definitely a mama’s boy, although he doesn’t see anything wrong with that. His mother is 62 and is very dependent upon him for almost everything. She doesn’t drive so he has to take her everywhere she needs to go and he has to constantly give her money.
The other thing is that she texts or calls him a lot (2-3 times per day), and she is always needing something. We can be out somewhere together and our time is interrupted because when she texts him, he has to always call her back.
What bothers me the most is that he thinks it’s okay to be there for his mother like this and his logic is that she will die one day so he has to do all that he can while she’s alive which I interpret that she is putting him on a guilt trip!
He also thinks I should be helping him more with her but I am not into pacifying anyone. I don’t mind helping, but his mother is the type that the more you do, the more she wants.
I feel this situation is preventing us from moving on with our relationship because she is so intrusive and needy. She’s very nice to me but a line has to be drawn. I don’t want to leave him so I want someone to give me some advice on how to deal with this.
We have argued about this before but most recently, he has told me that he is willing to discuss this without being offended and that he is open to suggestions of how to deal with his mother and how he could find other people to help him with her. Any advice?
Dear In Need:
(1) Blood is thicker than water. Arguing about this is pointless because he doesn’t know HOW to change and his mama refuses to.
(2) You are pulling on him one way cause YOU want to make him do what you want him to do, and on the other side is his mama, pulling on him because SHE wants to make him do what SHE wants him to do. He is in a no-win situation, because no matter what he does, one of you is going to be pissed off.
(3) A man can only have one #1 woman in his life. You ain’t it and won’t be until his mama dies. That may not be for 30 years!
(4) No matter how much you love him, this man is just as unavailable as someone married or on drugs. He cannot be there for you the way you want/need him to be. So the one that has to make a decision about remaining in this relationship or not dating other men while you still see him too IS YOU!
When a young man feels obligated to be there for his aging mother, yet he wants to pacify his woman as well, he is in conflict. This is bad because if he would ever NOT be there for her at your request, should something happen to his mother he will blame you for the rest of his life. He will feel that if he had only been there, this thing wouldn’t have happened and his mother would not have been hurt or died.
On the other hand, you can see how loyal this man is. This is the kind of guy that if you were sick or dying from something, he would be right there by your side until you took your last breath. He doesn’t abandon those he loves, which is a fabulous quality to have.
And the other thing to consider is how much help you think you can provide. What can you do in this situation to alleviate some of the stress from him? I say that because girlfriend, if you marry this man his mother will become a part of the burden you signed on for. You don’t get to just sit there and not do anything because then she would be your family just like she is his. I cannot see you just sitting on your hands and letting him deal with this mess all by himself.
I think you should at least start looking at some options. Contact some of the social services agencies in the area and see what programs they have for seniors. Meal delivery services, home health aides for cleaning up and meal assistance, driving services (usually a small fee but it might be worth it at least 50% of the time), etc. It might be better for him to put his mom on a schedule and tell her I will be by on Tuesdays and Sundays to take you places and visit, but the rest of the time I have work, my friends, my future wife and my own life to attend to. She should not be expecting an immediate response on every little thing because her son is NOT HER HUSBAND.
So, this is one situation where I can’t really tell you what to do. You have to search your heart, figure out what you can comfortably give and make a decision about whether this is a situation you want to marry into or not. Look into the future and think about how you will need your husband to be around helping you when you start having children, and what it will mean if his mother is still pulling him away like she is now.
Think realistically about how you will feel if nothing about this situation ever changes. Could you handle it?