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).
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.