Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend’s Mother Won’t Move Out Of His Place”

Mother and daughter

I have been dating my boyfriend for 10 months now. We have a great relationship, but he has problems with communication. He doesn’t really like to deal with issues, and he would rather avoid them by sweeping them under the rug.

But that’s another story. What I’m really writing you about is his mother. His mother and step-father had a house together, but, as soon as my boyfriend bought his own place, they sold their house and moved into his (not very large) two-bedroom condo that he pays a mortgage on. They also moved in a bunch of old furniture, ugly pictures, and even a humongous pool table! It takes up the entire living room. There’s no space to even use it even if we wanted to play pool!

Eventually, his step-father decided to move away and get his own place. But his mother didn’t want to go. His mother has been living at boyfriend’s home for the past three years, rent-free. The only thing she pays is the cable/Internet bill. I moved in about five months ago, and my boyfriend doesn’t make me pay anything because I am in school.

His mother is able-bodied, is working, and is very independent. She has CDs, stocks and tons of money saved up, yet she complains every time her son asks for financial help. She’s not social, doesn’t cook, and hardly ever cleans anything. I do chores and try to help out. It’s just really annoying that she doesn’t even make an effort to be very nice or really get to know me. Her being there even interferes with our love life at times. Super awkward.

So, long story short: am I in the wrong for wanting her out? I have talked to my boyfriend about it, but he wants to avoid having to deal with her, and he just yells, “What do you want me to do? Kick her out?” Ummm, yeah. Duh.

Also, I’m sick of his parents’ junk taking up what little space there is. He and I barely have enough room for our own things, and we can’t decorate the condo how we want to because of all the crap there that’s not even his!

I don’t press the issue because we aren’t married, we have not been together for years and years, and I can’t really afford to help out much myself. But this is pretty ridiculous. He’s 30 and I’m 32. I think it’s time she either got her own place or went back to her husband. Am I in the wrong for feeling this way? — I Want Her Out!

Short answer: Yeah.

Longer answer: Are you serious? You moved in with a guy after dating five months, you don’t contribute financially at all “because you’re in school,” and you’re trying to get your boyfriend to kick out his mother, who lived in his home 2 1/2 years before you moved in, because there’s no space for you to decorate how you want and not enough privacy to have sex in peace? Um… did you not know that your boyfriend’s mother lived in his 2-bedroom condo before you moved in? Were you unaware that there was a pool table taking up the entire living room before you said yes to the address?

You aren’t paying anything to live with your boyfriend. You’ve been together less than a year. You’re 32 years old. If you want to have some authority in the home you live in, pay up or move out. You don’t get to move into someone’s home — someone you’ve known for a handful of months — and start making a bunch of demands, including kicking out his mother, when: a) you don’t pay for a single thing, and b) you didn’t discuss these issues before moving in together. It’s like you didn’t even read my article about 15 things couples should discuss before moving in together! (And now I feel like I need to add a 16th thing: discuss whether current roommates, including live-in moms, will stay put and, if so, for how long).

You’ve told your boyfriend how you feel about his mother living with you guys (or, more accurately, the idea of you living with them), and he’s made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want to deal with kicking out his mom. The truth is, you moved in prematurely. You don’t really know how to communicate, and you seem to have never discussed, before you moved in, the issue of his mother living with him. So now you have a choice: suck it and just enjoy having a free place to live, even if it means sharing the space with your boyfriend’s mother and an oversized pool table, or move out and get your own place, even if it means paying rent again. I would highly, highly suggest the latter. Take some time to get to know each other without the pressure of sharing a roof. Enjoy having some space away from your boyfriend’s mother, where you’ll be free to have sex in peace and decorate to your heart’s content. Enjoy your relationship as equals, without the weird dynamic of a fairly new boyfriend covering your living costs. You’ll also be sending your boyfriend the message that, if he wants a future with you, he needs to make some tough decisions regarding his mother and his living space.

If the free place to stay is simply too good a thing for you to give up, you have to accept that there are three different relationships under one roof — yours and your boyfriend’s, his and his mother’s, and yours and his mother’s — and at least one of those relationships will likely implode in the near future as long as they continue existing in a small space together. (And if one implodes, it won’t be long before another one does, too).

***************

Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

57 comments… add one
  • Lianne

    Lianne July 15, 2014, 10:12 am

    Wendy nailed it. I have no other comments except to say you are a grown ass woman and make your own choices. You chose this situation, so now either deal with it or make a different choice.

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    • avatar

      Lily in NYC July 15, 2014, 10:34 am

      I think the boyfriend should use that pool table to teach himself to become really awesome at pool, and then he should become a pool shark and make enough money to move away and escape from these women and start over without becoming a financial doormat. Stepdad had the right idea to get the hell out of there. (I’ll admit I do find it a little weird that mom didn’t go with stepdad).

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 15, 2014, 10:37 am

        I agree its weird mom didn’t move with her husband, but who knows why. If her and her son chose to live together, I don’t think that necessarily means mom is taking advantage of her son. If my mom needed/wanted to live with me, I’d welcome her in a minute. Same for my boyfriend’s mom.
        I guess what I’m saying is mom is not nearly as bad as the LW here.

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      • avatar

        Lily in NYC July 15, 2014, 10:40 am

        Oh, I agree completely! I’m just nosy and would like to know why mom chose to remain there instead of go with her husband. I actually don’t have an issue with the BF letting the mom live there for free.

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      • Portia

        Portia July 15, 2014, 11:08 am

        I want to know too! Is it down the street from her favorite park or frozen yogurt shop? Because those would be good enough reasons for me not to move. I think I once stayed in an apartment for another year because it was a block away from an amazing bagel place. Mmm, those were good bagels…

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      • othy

        othy July 15, 2014, 11:02 am

        I’d agree it’s odd that the mom is living there without here husband, but I also agree that it’s none of the LW’s business that she is. Mostly because that’s how it was when the LW agreed to move in.

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  • avatar

    peachy July 15, 2014, 10:17 am

    I have 6 letter-size boxes of books, some clothes, a desk, a bed, and a crazy cat. When can I move in?
    Seriously, LW, take pity on this poor man who cannot say No to any of the moochers in his life. Go stand on your own two feet and show him how it’s done.

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  • Raccoon eyes

    Raccoon eyes July 15, 2014, 10:18 am

    WWS!!!!!
    Wendy’s eloquence will always win over my own, so I really only have one thing to say: Mama’s Boy. You will always come (at least) second in the pecking order here. Always. Even if Mommy Dear moves out, you will be rid of about 5% of the problem. (He hasnt had a “living room” per se for 3 years bc of an unusable pool table??? Yeah, you arent going to be “winning” any real battles here, LW.)

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest July 15, 2014, 10:19 am

    Seriously?! Who do you think you are that you have a say in this? You moved in to mooch after FIVE months and now think you have the right to complain about a pre-existing situation that this family has? You are no better than the mother here. In fact, you’re worse. Why don’t you go get your own place to decorate? You’re boyfriend has got to be an idiot for dating you after this.

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  • avatar

    BecBoo84 July 15, 2014, 10:23 am

    Ummmm…. girlfriend, you get that his desire to “not deal with issues” and “sweep them under the rug” is probably why he didn’t put up a fight when his fairly new girlfriend wanted to move in with him rent free in his already cramped condo?!?!

    As Wendy said, you have NO room to complain!

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    • avatar

      Lily in NYC July 15, 2014, 10:42 am

      oooh, really good point!

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  • avatar

    Lily in NYC July 15, 2014, 10:28 am

    This is the second letter recently where a woman is financially dependent on a guy after dating only a few months. I am disgusted by this mindset. Stand on your own two feet and support yourself. Being in school is no excuse – there are plenty of people who make it work without demeaning themselves by becoming a pathetic freeloader. LW, I’m sure his mother loves having you there as much as you like having her there. But at least she probably financially supported him during his early years, unlike you.

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    • avatar

      RedroverRedrover July 15, 2014, 10:49 am

      Yeah, imagine if the genders were reversed in this letter. What would we think of a guy who moved in after a few months and was living free off his girlfriend? It wouldn’t be good, and it’s not good if a woman does it either. You’re 32, you need to take some responsibility for your living arrangements.

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  • avatar

    AndreaMarie July 15, 2014, 10:29 am

    LW, it’s our BF’s house, end of story. His name is on the mortgage and the checks that pay for it, you don’t get a say in anything. Though I don’t judge your life choice you a 32 year old woman who is having her living expenses paid so she can go to school fulltime. This is a luxury most woman can not have so it’s a little nervy of you to turn around an complain about decor. It’s troubling that you can not recognize that every complaint you have towards his mother can be directed at you as well. You are his GF of a few months, he doesn’t owe you anything. He certainly doesn’t owe you the displacement of his mother.

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope July 15, 2014, 10:30 am

    Choosing to share a 2 bedroom apartment with her son over living with her husband? Hmmm. Do you think she’d leave if she won the lottery?

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. July 15, 2014, 10:38 am

    What were you thinking? Surely, there must have been a moment – a moment – before you moved in when you looked around and said, this place is really small, there’s a pool table in the living room, his mother lives here. Did you think these things would magically go away? I don’t get it. Having a free place to live is really great, I guess, but what you’re not paying in rent you’re paying in aggravation. At 32 years old, you should be able to manage this a different way. Move out, get your own place, then you get to have a say.

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    • avatar

      Marcie July 15, 2014, 10:44 am

      Yes, Kate! I wonder what in the heck she was thinking, too! Did she think anything would change after she moved in?

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  • avatar

    Tmd260 July 15, 2014, 10:46 am

    Your boyfriend sounds like a major mama’s boy & you sound highly immature.

    WWS, you have zero say at this point in anything to do with yor boyfriend’s condo… Especially because you were ok with moving in w/ him & his mom less than 6 months after knowing him & his mom had already been there.

    Do I think this situation is beyond weird? Yeah- I truly believe you should seriously reconsider this relationship before getting any more serious. I mean, what woman would choose to live with her son & have her husband living alone in another place? The whole situation is just odd. Do you really want to put up with this in the long run? Your bf is not going to change his ways- if he is afraid of confronting his mom now & allows all this from her, that’s the way it’s going to be forever.

    Do you think this is worth it? You haven’t really invested that much time into this relationship in retrospect.

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    • avatar

      Marcie July 15, 2014, 11:02 am

      I still think there’s something a little off with the mom. Maybe she and her husband’s relationship was about to end anyway, whatever. But the mom has it good with her son and I don’t think that she’ll leave anytime soon. She doesn’t want to leave, and the son doesn’t want to deal with kicking her out. They’ll live happily ever after together with their pool table.

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      • avatar

        TMD260 July 15, 2014, 11:38 am

        Agreed! Something is def off… But regardless, it is clear the situation is not going to change.

        I’m wondering if the LW assumed she would be able to take control because she moved in? I mean, she had to have known this was the situation before moving in- so why make the decision to join in & then try to make all these demands? Also- why is it becoming more & more common for ppl to move in after a few months/ weeks? I feel like moving in together is a big step… Maybe it’s not anymore?

        LW- the only way you’re going to change this situation is if you move out & get your own space. That is about the only thing you have a say in.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. July 15, 2014, 12:09 pm

        I wonder about that too. Moving in is a huge step and people just jump right in. Maybe I’m old.

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      • avatar

        Steph July 15, 2014, 1:46 pm

        Maybe he does not want to kick his mom out or confront her because he is happy with his arrangement. No where in the letter does it say that he is miserable and wants his mom out. Te only one that seems to have a problem is the LW. We do not know the reasons why the step dad moved away but LW has no right to ask the mother to move out. As others have stated, there was a living arrangement in place before she moved in and if that was a problem she shouldn’t have moved in. If I lived with my mother and my new bf asked to kick her out, I would have a problem with that. Why because I have an arrangement that works for me and a significant other doesn’t like that then the significant other is the one that doesn’t fit.

        People are saying he is a mama’s boy. In some cultures it is perfectly acceptable for parents to live with their children when they get older and the child would never think of kicking their parent out. I certainly would not.

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray July 15, 2014, 10:58 am

    I haven’t read Wendy’s advice yet, but ugh something about this LW makes me angry. When I read this part, “What do you want me to do? Kick her out?” I thought no, he should kick the LW out. I guess it’s that she moved in with her boyfriend after only a few months when the mother was already there (why move into a messy, cramped 2-bedroom condo where his mother lives if you don’t like it?) and then adds comments like “i am in school” and “I do chores and try to help out” – seemingly to justify why it’s ok for her to mooch off her new boyfriend but not his mother. You don’t like it? Don’t move in with a new boyfriend who lives with his mother. Support yourself. Geez.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray July 15, 2014, 11:00 am

      Read Wendy’s advice and the other comments: Ok, guess we all agree. LW, if I were your boyfriend, I’d kick you to the curb.

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  • honeybeenicki

    honeybeenicki July 15, 2014, 11:02 am

    Why would you even move into this situation? I have to assume you knew about it before moving in. You were only with the guy for 5 months and you’re freeloading off of him because you’re still in school?? While I was in school full time, I was working at least 2 jobs (generally one full time, one part time, sometimes a 2nd part time on top of it) and paying my own damn bills. If you don’t like the situation, you need to leave. I understand your frustration that your boyfriend doesn’t want to deal with confrontation, but for all we know that’s how you ended up living there too! He just didn’t want to say no.
    .
    Basically, you need to suck up and deal or you need to make a change. And that change isn’t going to be battering the man you’ve been with for less than a year into kicking his mother out. When he’s fed up with her being there, it’ll be on him to ask her to leave. Until then, your option is to move into your own place and support yourself.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh July 15, 2014, 11:03 am

    While I think it’s strange she didn’t move with her husband, I’m assuming after only 10 months you’re probably not privy to everything that has gone on in his mother’s relationship. I think the real question you should have asked Wendy is should I move out. And the answer is yes. If you want to decorate your own place and decide who lives there, get your own place.

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  • avatar

    Essie July 15, 2014, 11:13 am

    From the letter, I’m not getting a strong sense that the BF is desperate to get his mother out of his home. Maybe he doesn’t really mind having her there. Sure, maybe it’s a mamma’s boy situation, but it could just be that they’re comfortable with things the way they are. Obviously, if the stepfather moved away years ago, she has no interest in living with him.

    At any rate, it’s his home, his family, and his choice. The living arrangement has existed for years before the LW came into the BF’s life, and I’m not seeing that she has much if any standing to insist on any changes. She’s more or less a guest in the home, since she’s not on the deed or mortgage and doesn’t make any substantial financial contributions.

    LW, really, if you’re not happy with the living situation, your only choice is to get your own place. You must have been living somewhere until you moved in with him, so I assume you can afford to at least rent an apartment. It’ll be better for you relationship, and better for your own self-respect.

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  • avatar

    Wendys Dad July 15, 2014, 11:16 am

    Am I the only one who wants to know why the stepdad didn’t take the pool table with him when he left? It’s really irrelevant to the current discussion, but WTH? Does the pool table belong to the mother? They can’t play pool because it’s too cramped. What does it do? Wait! I know…pool tables make great places to put folded laundry.

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    • Diablo

      Diablo July 15, 2014, 11:25 am

      If a dude leaves without his pool table, clearly he had an urgent need for his own space. My BIL actually built a garage with a loft so he’d have room for his pool table, but it is currently covered with boxes of his wife’s collectibles. Pool tables are like the disappearing green (felt) space of the traditional guy lifestyle. (Okay, let’s say “guys of a certain age.”) We’ve become like nomadic wanderers, asking all the guys we meet if they’ve seen one recently. Tatanka?

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      • Portia

        Portia July 15, 2014, 12:06 pm

        My mom used to have a pool table in her office. I would volunteer to “help out” sometimes, but really I would file things for about half an hour, then sneak over to the pool table. Those were some good memories… Which is to say, I feel your pain.

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      • JK

        JK July 15, 2014, 12:10 pm

        My pool table is the best, it has a lid: one side ping pong table, other side dining table. So 3 in one.

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      • Diablo

        Diablo July 15, 2014, 12:16 pm

        And yet, here we are, married to other people….

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      • JK

        JK July 15, 2014, 12:19 pm

        If only we were thousands of km closer… 😉

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    • avatar

      Vathena July 15, 2014, 2:04 pm

      Folded laundry? Luxury! I store my laundry in wrinkly piles.

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  • avatar

    ktfran July 15, 2014, 11:18 am

    I totally thought this LW was going to be early 20s. Boy, was I wrong. And I’m flabbergasted about the whole situation. LW, if you want a say in how your living space is handled, pay rent. Otherwise, stay out of it.

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  • Diablo

    Diablo July 15, 2014, 11:18 am

    Yes to everything Wendy and the commenters have said. Freeloaders don’t get veto power over people who work and pay. Plenty of us have put ourselves through school on our own steam. How? We worked crappy jobs and lived in crappy apartments , sometimes with crappy roommates, until we could figure out a better plan. Also, ladies, close your eyes and picture your perfect man. Okay, how many said “30 yo living with Mom, even though she is not old or sick or anything”? Most, right? That’s why those guys are so hard to find on OKCupid. When i read this, i flashed on Will Ferrell’s character from Wedding Crashers.

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    • avatar

      RedroverRedrover July 15, 2014, 2:06 pm

      To be fair, the bf isn’t living with his mom. His mom is living with him. He’s able to afford a place big enough for his mom to live with him, which is a plus. The minus would be that he seems to be a pushover or momma’s boy, but if that’s who he is, LW has to take it or leave it.

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope July 15, 2014, 11:29 am

    Oh don’t get me wrong, I agree with Wendy and the comments. I just think mom’s reason for living with her son is not just financial (contrary to what the LW implied).

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray July 15, 2014, 11:34 am

      … and it might be that she also needs the help? Needs or wants the company? Either way, this LW is out of line.

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  • avatar

    Christy July 15, 2014, 11:56 am

    LW, the fact that your boyfriend doesn’t deal with issues (1) directly relates to this letter and (2) is a really big deal. I wouldn’t act like it’s another story for another day, because obviously it’s THIS story for today.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark July 15, 2014, 12:04 pm

    LW is CLASSIC 1980s baby! Classic!! 😉

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    • Kate B.

      Kate B. July 15, 2014, 12:10 pm

      My first thought too.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray July 15, 2014, 1:56 pm

      How much do you want to bet all your down thumbs are by 1980s babies? They *hate* it when you call them that. 80s BABIES 80s BABIES 80s BABIES!

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      • avatar

        MissyC July 15, 2014, 5:12 pm

        80s baby and a thumbs up. Which doesn’t refute your statement but just wanted to throw that out there. 🙂 Because I also thought the same thing. Actually I think my first two thoughts were, “Wait, so you moved in … with him and his mom … after just 5 months?” and then, “Who the heck do you think you are?!”

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 15, 2014, 9:10 pm

        haha, obviously not all 80s babies are terrible. some are pretty awesome. 🙂

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    • avatar

      RedroverRedrover July 15, 2014, 2:07 pm

      Hahahahah. So what are all you guys? 70s babies? 90s babies? Please don’t say 90s babies, that makes me feel super old. 🙂

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. July 15, 2014, 3:06 pm

        According to my driver’s license, I am a 60s baby. But it was late 60s, so I don’t remember most of it. (I understand this is a common problem.) I remember some of the 70s. There are, however, some rather unfortunate pictures to help me with what I’m missing.

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    • Portia

      Portia July 15, 2014, 3:12 pm

      Whenever people start harping on 80’s babies, I only hear Something Corporate…

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    • honeybeenicki

      honeybeenicki July 15, 2014, 4:27 pm

      I feel like I should be offended by this (as an 80s baby) but… I’m not. I know a lot of people my age are ungrateful, self-absorbed brats who feel like life owes them something. But I also know people who are in their 30s and 40s and beyond that act the same way. Either way, this girl has some serious entitlement issues that probably stem from being told she’s special and always getting a trophy for “participation.” Uck.

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  • beelzebarb

    beelzebarb July 15, 2014, 6:48 pm

    I’m pretty sure I read all of the comments, and while I agree with pretty much everything y’all said, one thing kinda shocks me…

    Is NOBODY gonna give Wendy props for “say yes to the address”?! Am I the only one who thought “well played!” when they read that?

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy July 15, 2014, 7:27 pm

      THANK YOU

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    • avatar

      tbrucemom July 16, 2014, 8:13 am

      Thanks! I was just getting ready to write a comment about that – love it!

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  • avatar

    Amanda July 15, 2014, 8:04 pm

    LW, you are correct when you say that this situation is ridiculous. But, it’s a situation that you helped to create. If you want to continue to live rent-free with your boyfriend, then you can’t complain about his pre-existing roommate. That is truly ridiculous.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones July 15, 2014, 11:04 pm

    Some women like to find a passive guy, move in with him rent free and start pissing in all the corners like an untrained dog, kicking out roommates, mothers, etc. Next thing you know she’ll be pregnant…

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones July 15, 2014, 11:20 pm

    I’m a 60’s baby!

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray July 15, 2014, 11:27 pm

      and proud of it! that’s my sue.

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  • avatar

    Eve July 17, 2014, 12:36 pm

    I personally think the boyfriend, technically, should ask the mum to eventually move out, but only because he should stand up for himself and for his own private space in general, not by ANY means because the girlfriend is asking him to. GF, I understand your frustration and disappointment, but giving that you moved in his flat knowing what the situation was (and therefore agreeing to put up with it by default) and especially because you aren’t paying ANY rent whatsoever, you honestly shouldn’t have a say in this – at least this is the decent thing to (not) do. Putting myself in your shoes, I’d feel extremely uncomfortable making such demands in a flat where I am not paying even a cent to live in. It’s a whole different situation if you and your bf had rented a flat together and paying 50/50 and his mum had moved in then with all her stuff taking all of your space, I hope you understand this.
    If there are no special circumstances and specific reasons the mum is living and taking up the entire space of her 30-year-old son, I think there does come a point when a line has to be drawn and the boyfriend honestly doesn’t seem to be able to deal with his own issues.

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