Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“His Mother Won’t Move Out of Our Home!”

woman at door

I have lived with my boyfriend for two and a half years now. We live in a small 1-bedroom/1-bath house with our two dogs…. and, as of May, HIS MOTHER! Originally, I was told that this wasn’t a permanent situation — that she just needed a place to stay for a couple months, but we are now approaching the sixth month and she hasn’t even started looking for her own place.

Such a small house as ours lacks privacy and she also has two dogs. We converted the living room into her bedroom, so the front door opens right into her room. She has a lot of stuff as well; we can’t even park in our garage it’s so full. Not only is there very little room, but also she is a bit of a nuisance. Recently, she has taken it upon herself to redecorate the house: every wall now has a picture of one of her family members. She doesn’t pay rent as she and my boyfriend worked out a deal where she would pay garbage and phone, but a month ago our dumpster was taken and today the phone was turned off! She pays for nothing — not even food for her dogs!

She is only 45 years old and works a job that pays reasonably well, but she is always claiming to be broke and it really angers me. Both my boyfriend and I work full time and go to school and yet we are able to pay all our bills normally. But it is difficult to have another mouth to feed and two extra dogs. His mom will also leave for days at a time, and then, when she comes back, she acts rather strange. According to the Internet, a lot of her weird behavior is linked to drug use, but I have never seen her use drugs. I have talked to my boyfriend about all of this and he agrees that he doesn’t want his mom living with us forever, but he feels that he has to take care of her especially if she is getting herself involved in things she shouldn’t. I just can’t take it anymore and it’s driving me crazy. I don’t know if maybe I should be the one to move. — Should I Move Out Already?

Yes, absolutely, you should move out already. Your boyfriend’s mother has zero incentive to leave and it doesn’t sound like your boyfriend is anywhere near ready to work through his mother issues and kick her out. So, you move out, and encourage your boyfriend to get some therapy to deal with the mom stuff before the two of you move forward in your relationship together.

As for the Internet telling you the woman’s on drugs, um, how does the Internet know? Maybe she is on drugs. Maybe she’s mentally ill. Maybe she’s just manipulative and lazy and has no qualms about taking advantage of her son and his girlfriend for months on end. Whatever is going on, you don’t need to be in the middle of it. That’s the beauty of only living with someone and not being married or having kids or owning property together — it’s relatively easy enough to remove yourself from the physical situation so that you can create the emotional distance and boundaries to figure out what’s best for you moving forward. And maybe that’s NOT being with a guy who can’t create boundaries with his overly-dependent mother. I’d ask to take your two dogs with you though. They’re probably as sick as the boyfriend’s mother and her two dogs as you are!

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7 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Northern Star November 8, 2016, 2:31 pm

    Wow, LW. That situation is crazy! You’re far more patient than I would ever be. Absolutely move out. Do it now. Good luck!

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  • avatar

    b November 8, 2016, 3:26 pm

    These “boyfriend’s mom” stories make my skin crawl. So familiar. In my situation, my therapist repeatedly told me that this was about the relationship between two adults. That my then-bf had to choose to have an equal adult relationship with his mother. He was not. So I had to choose whether it was acceptable. WWS.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse November 8, 2016, 3:37 pm

    I would absolutely start looking for your own place.
    Tell your boyfriend you are starting to look. Maybe he’ll miraculously get a clue.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros November 8, 2016, 4:41 pm

    Yeah, you should move out. Your boyfriend has to figure out the situation for himself and decide whether he can continue living as an adult, with a partner, or whether he’s going to commit his life to supporting his mom. You two can either move back in together later or you can move on.

    Not that it matters, but one of my thoughts was gambling, when you mentioned her apparently being broke and leaving for days at a time. But like Wendy said, there’s no point in us speculating. Unfortunately for your boyfriend, enabling a person who is involved in something like that isn’t the way to help them, but he’s going to have to figure that out on his own.

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  • avatar

    Stillrunning November 8, 2016, 9:41 pm

    Seven months later and she’s still living with you. She isn’t going to change. Why should she? You pay her bills, feed her and her dogs, she’s just fine.

    You aren’t though, so unless your boyfriend kicks her out like today, it’s time to move on. Let him work through his issues on his own time. Get your own place and never, ever let her put a toe in your door.

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  • avatar

    Stillrunning November 8, 2016, 11:45 pm

    LW, you gotta go.
    Rightly so, you don’t want to take care of a grown ass woman.. She won’t leave on her own and her son is not going to make her, so unless you throw her and her stuff out on the lawn, it’s up to you to save yourself and MOA.

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  • avatar

    Ron November 9, 2016, 11:37 am

    Your bf and his mother are a package deal. You’ve expressed your opinion on your living situation and he’s made it abundantly clear where his primary loyalty lies. You are being used. It is time to both move out and move on from this relationship. You simply do not have a partner. This should be a huge deal breaker for you. Ranting to an internet advice column isn’t going to solve your problem. You need to take action, be alone for a while, and no that a better relationship awaits in your not to distant future. If you hang in with your current situation, in 6 months or a year you’ll be asking yourself why you wasted all that extra time. You may even have a child with this guy. You are the enabler in this situation and you need to leave.

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