Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “His Mother Hates Me”

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

My boyfriend and I have been together two years. We’re both just shy of 18. We have a really great relationship (no sex yet either) and are very, very happy together. My parents are high-school sweethearts, still married, and absolutely adore my boyfriend. My boyfriend’s parents are divorced. He spends every other weekend at his dad’s house and then lives with his mother and his step-father all other times.

His dad and his girlfriend have always loved me and accepted me and are very sweet to me. I have only been around his mother early on in our relationship when we had been going out for about 8 months — we went to their family cabin and spent the weekend. I thought it went pretty well, but then when we got home I guess his mother told him that I was too quiet and she didn’t really like me. e had me over to his house a couple more times for dinner, and while she acted nice, afterwards she would tell him she didn’t like me and really didn’t want him to be with me.

Even though his mom didn’t approve of us, our relationship seemed to flourish and we are very much in love and he tells me that he wants to marry me and we have talked about having kids. But then about 4 months ago, we got into a little argument about something stupid and he let his mom know and then she was relentless about him breaking up with me. For the last four months he has let her think he broke up with me, but we’ve actually been together and we have never been happier, because is not relentlessly talking negative about me and nagging him to break up with me.

Last week, his mom asked him if he was dating someone and he couldn’t lie to her so he told her the truth. She freaked out and has been making his life miserable again and he even told me she is influencing his thoughts about whether we should we be together. I know he loves me more than anything and I don’t know what to say or do to help him.

He told me tonight he’s going to talk to his dad about it, but also told me that whatever his dad says is what’ll happen. feel so bad for him and don’t want him to be miserable at home just to be with me, even though I know he won’t be happy without me. I don’t know why his mom hates me so much or why I’m not good enough. She never even gave me a chance, or to try to get to know me. She doesn’t even know me at all. — Disliked By His Mom

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

124 comments… add one
  • avatar

    kerrycontrary December 5, 2012, 9:12 am

    Hm..This is hard because I need to put myself back in the midset of a teenager. When you are choosing who you want to spend your life with (which should not be solely based on “we’re in love” because it takes a lot more than love–shared values, shared financial goals, chemistry in the sack), you may also want to consider the family you are marrying into. I understand that you may feel shy around people’s parents, which is why his mother may have seen you as “too quiet.” I’m sure I had gave that impression before as well. But, this woman sounds unnecessary judgmental. Some parents have difficulty seeing their child fall in love for the first time. Combine this with the fact that your boyfriend will presumably be moving out (going to college? trade school? working full time?) sometime within the near future, she may be taking out her feelings on you. So, if you and your boyfriend DO stay together I would think long and hard about whether you want to deal with this woman for the rest of your life.

    Secondly, it’s a pretty weak move for your boyfriend to lie about dating you and then make the decision on whether you are going to stay together or not based on what his father says. He’s 18. He needs to make his own decisions. And if a guy pulled that on me I would break up with HIM, not the other way around.

    But I’ll end with a reality check. You are both 18. And while your parents are high-school sweethearts, that’s the exception not the rule. So chances are you aren’t going to stay with each other for forever and end up married with babies. Most people don’t marry their high school boyfriend. They just don’t. And if you break up, you will get over it. You will survive. So if you break up, cherish the memories of your first love and find someone who has courage to stand up for their SO.

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    • avatar

      Desiree December 5, 2012, 9:21 am

      It’s so weird to think about high school. At the time, I too wondered if I would marry my high school boyfriend (though he and I never discussed it). Looking back, now that I’m 25 and about to marry a man who is a great match for me, I think: “How in the world did I ever think that I could marry my high school boyfriend? Ick!” But, you know, when I was 17 that seemed like a perfectly rational thought. *sigh*

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      • katie

        katie December 5, 2012, 9:29 am

        oh god when i was in high school i was convinced i was going to marry my one boyfriend. it was sad… i was seriously sad and lame and pathetic.

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      • avatar

        Eagle Eye December 5, 2012, 9:37 am

        I think that my boyfriend at 17/18 actually PROPOSED to his High School gf!

        Needless to say, by the time he reached college a few months later, he was dating someone else, and quite a few girlfriends after that he met me!

        I think that her parents also hated him, but he realized that they were not actually as compatible as they thought they were in high school.

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      • katie

        katie December 5, 2012, 9:43 am

        i really wonder what it is about that age that makes you just think MARRIAGE OMG RIGHT NOW LETS GET MARRIED.

        its sad that our culture is so obsessed with it…

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      • avatar

        csp December 5, 2012, 9:51 am

        See, I think there is an intensity about that age. I don’t think it is bad but it isn’t controlled. That kind of love is passionate, dramatic, wonderful, and has no limits. It is free of life’s real worries. It should be looked at fondly and the LW will see if this love can handle the burden of bills and responsibility when they cross that road.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary December 5, 2012, 10:08 am

        What CSP said. Falling in love later in life is not like falling in love at 18. I don’t think I’ll ever feel that carefree and passionate again, but that’s ok because I have a deeper and healthier love now.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark December 5, 2012, 1:27 pm

        That’s because its not REAL. You aren’t in love with the person, but as I will say again down below — you are in love with LOVE.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle December 5, 2012, 10:12 am

        I agree with this, csp– I think it’s pretty natural & sweet at that age to talk about forever-and-ever.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary December 5, 2012, 9:30 am

        I know! I so thought my first serious boyfriend was “the one” at 19. Now I say “If I married the first person I fell in love with, I’d be divorced”.

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      • avatar

        Kelly L. December 5, 2012, 12:11 pm

        I’d be on Springer. Because that’s the kind of life my first boyfriend went on to have. Random stints in jail and babymamas ahoy.

        It took me till I was in my thirties to find “The One,” or at least I think I have. And if you’d told me that when I was in high school, I’d have thought that was impossibly old and decrepit. 🙂

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 12:27 pm

        Its funny how 10-12 years away seems so far when you’re 18. Now I’m 30 and 40 feels right around the corner. Ahhh.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass December 5, 2012, 12:37 pm

        I got together with my husband at 19. Although 19 to me may be 25 to some people. At 19 I had already been living on my own for 2 years and knew I could support myself (I strongly believe everybody should know that about themselves) and had dated other people before. While it’s only been 5 years since we got together there is no doubt in my mind (or my mothers, and she is not shy about predicting divorce before the wedding) that we’ll stand the test of time.

        Honestly, it was the perfect time in my life to get together with my husband. I still had the teenage ability to love with every ounce of my body and yet I was adult enough to make smart decisions and to think clearly about the long term.

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      • avatar

        ChemE December 5, 2012, 4:47 pm

        I did marry my high school boyfriend and we’ve been married for almost 8 years at the end of this month. I’m not saying it’s for everyone but it’s working for me.

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      • avatar

        Mandy December 5, 2012, 4:58 pm

        ChemE – I know 5 couples from my high school (an elite prep school, btw) who married their high school sweethearts after staying together through college. All are happy, have well-established, high-paying jobs, and are doing quite well in their relationships as well. I wouldn’t say it’s for everyone, but to paint it all with the same brush that it doesn’t or can’t work isn’t the case, either. There are certainly plenty of folks for whom it doesn’t work, but adolescence in the way we understand it today in America (high school, college, then a job) has only existed for the past century or so. Prior to that, it wasn’t unusual for someone at 16 to be married or about-to-be, so it’s not particularly strange that there might still be some underlying evolutionary pull to that kind of a lifestyle/choice. Granted, I fully support “going to college and getting a job” as necessary steps to precede marriage, but that doesn’t mean one’s high school sweetheart is off limits as an option, nor should it.

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  • avatar

    Desiree December 5, 2012, 9:17 am

    I am sorry that you are having a rough time with this. Your boyfriend is not acting very mature or very supportive of you, which is fairly expected for his age. Having said that, this is exactly why you should NOT be discussing marriage/kids. If parental disapproval is enough to derail a relationship, one or both parties are clearly not mature enough for permanent commitment (which is normal in high school!). It’s unfortunate that your boyfriend’s mom is supposedly against your relationship (though I find it interesting that you have no direct evidence of this, only what you hear from him). Your boyfriend, however, is also not handling the situation ideally. For instance, he was under no obligation to tell you all the unpleasant things she said about you. In any case, do you really want a relationship dependent on his dad saying you should be together? This is a whole lotta drama. I think the “marriage/kids” talk has elevated this relationship in your mind to a point where you aren’t clearly evaluating whether or not this relationship is even healthy for you.

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  • avatar

    daisy December 5, 2012, 9:18 am

    There’s no straight forward answer jumping out at me with this one. On the one hand, if you and your boyfriend want to be together, you should be together. But on the other hand, you’re still very young and almost fully dependent on your parents, which for better or worse gives them a role in the situation.

    I guess what does stick out the most is that your boyfriend seems to be continually telling you all the negative things your mother says. I don’t want to second guess his love for you, but why would he constantly tell you hurtful things? I understand he might be very stressed by his mother’s comments and want to confide in you about that, but it stills rubs me the wrong way that he is sharing all of this when it’s obviously making you feel awful. Also, the fact that he lied and told her you broke up is a red flag to me. Again, I can see that maybe he just wanted to get her off his back, but it’s not like 18 year old boys aren’t known to defy their mothers. I think a teenager in love would probably be about the MOST likely person to tell his mother she should butt out of his life.

    I realize this isn’t actually advice, and I apologize to the LW that I don’t have anything more concrete to offer. I’d just suggest taking another look at your relationship and how happy your boyfriend really is. I know that will be difficult and potentially painful, but something about his behavior just isn’t right, and you deserve better treatment not only from his mother but even more so from your boyfriend!

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  • avatar

    sarolabelle December 5, 2012, 9:24 am

    I really do not think there is anything you can do LW. He has to be a man and stand up to his mom and tell her what is in his heart. Perhaps the reason she doesn’t like you is because like some toy of his (a new bike, car, action figure) you have some imperfections and just like he always has, he complains about them to his mom. Mom wants son to be happy. So she gets son a new bike, new car, new action figures. But she can’t easily just get him a new girlfriend.

    This comes with maturity. Eventually in the future a man grows up and doesn’t talk to his mom about his personal life. She may ask “how are you and your girlfriend doing?” And he’ll respond with “great, thanks for asking”….Or when she asks “Are you dating anyone?”, he’ll answer with “yeah, just dating around but no one serious” and leave it at that. He may tell his mom about little events in his life that you were a part of, but he will not have an argument with a woman he is seriously dating and then go talk about it with Mommy. If he does, well then that’s a giant red flag in my book. Eventually men will learn that it’s the girlfriend that trumps his mom.

    But he isn’t older. He is 17. His girlfriend is another possession he has in life, he has not created that separation from his mother yet, he values her opinion over his own, he is unsure how to make his own choices in life. His mom’s opinion, thoughts and actions take priority over his girlfriend.

    He hasn’t learned what it is to be a man yet. What I would do is ride it though. Be patient. Y’all are so young. When he does learn to put you before his mother, you’ll be there ready to forgive him and hopefully it will bring y’all closer.

    His mother will learn to like you. Right now she is trying to get rid of something she sees as only hurting her son because that’s all he tells her about or that she sees. Once he stands up to her and tells her he is in love and that her opinions don’t matter she will come around. Because anyone that her son loves who makes him happy, deserves her respect. Time will tell.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie December 5, 2012, 9:26 am

    There’s nothing you can do or say that will change her mind, so go with the flow and enjoy your bow. If in fact you do go the distance she’ll come around.

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    • avatar

      Marcie December 5, 2012, 9:42 am

      Do you mean beau?

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      • fast eddie

        fast eddie December 5, 2012, 8:36 pm

        Ya, dam spell check didn’t help me and I wanted it to rhyme.

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  • avatar

    csp December 5, 2012, 9:28 am

    LW, This is an issue that almost every woman who has ever loved a man has dealt with. So I am sure that this has nothing to do with you but more about the dreams for her son. She is probably nervous that he is in such a serious relationship at such a young age and is nervous that he might be rushing life changing decisions. Also she is seeing her role as being in charge of his life slowly fading away. And since she is divorced, she has issues with men leaving her. So you get to be the scapegoat.

    Now, I will say that my mother in law and I had a very rocky relationship for YEARS. We slowly became better acquaintences and learned to live with each other. And let me tell you, she was ruthless. However, you just have to be loving and supportive of her son and that will shine through. I have found that overbearing, unreasonable women end up making very loving and accomodating sons.

    Next time you see her, bring a plant as a hostess gift. Ask questions about how she is doing. Make sure you help with the dishes. Make sure you never scold her son in front of her. These little hints go a long way. Good luck.

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    • Amybelle

      Amybelle December 5, 2012, 9:51 am

      “Since she is divorced, she has issues with men leaving her” Really? Wow that’s assuming a bit much, for all you know she was the one who lef, and dad has issues with women leaving him. Or maybe they don’t have issues related to that at all.

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      • avatar

        csp December 5, 2012, 9:53 am

        Or my comment might give the LW pause and consider the motivation behind the hatred. Instead of the LW wondering what she did, she can consider where the woman is coming from.

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      • Amybelle

        Amybelle December 5, 2012, 10:48 am

        I don’t see why that means saying that she has abandonment issues, when you meant its possible that she does. Am I being over sensitive? Yes, because I’m divorced and have been surprised at how many people make judgemental comments, or think that tells them something about me. It tells them I’m divorced, period.

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      • avatar

        csp December 5, 2012, 11:17 am

        I am sorry I offended you.

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      • avatar

        WatersEdge December 5, 2012, 7:04 pm

        FWIW, I totally think this is part due to the mother feeling abandoned, whether that’s because of the events surrounding the divorce, because she IS divorced and when the son leaves the house she may be alone, or because mothers sometimes feel that way when their kids leave.

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    • fast eddie

      fast eddie December 5, 2012, 8:45 pm

      The adage “some people’s kids” rightly should be “some people’s parents”. My mom busted up a friendship headed for being a relationship by going to her Mother. I never forgave mom for that nor a lot of other things. She was abusive bitch.

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  • katie

    katie December 5, 2012, 9:28 am

    so, first off, slow your roll with the marriage stuff. geez, your 18 years old! do you have plans for college? if you do eventually want to get married and have a family, how are you going to support them? seriously- get your life in order before you get married and have babies. it will make everything so much easier..

    i commiserate with you for being hated by your SO’s mom. it sucks. i have been with my boyfriend for over 3 years, and last year at his brother’s wedding (of which jake and I played a HUGE part in) jake’s mom *finally* told him that she thinks she is warming up to me. so i went 2 years into the relationship, including us moving across the country together, with her disliking me and wanting us to break up, and for jake to move back home with her. the big, BIG difference was that jake was adamant about our relationship and about his choices in life- it was his choice to move in with me after college when we both got jobs in the same place, it was his choice to go into the field of work he did, it was his choice how he spent his money, ect… your boyfriend is not at this stage yet, and its a huge red flag if you are seriously considering marrying this guy. considering you are 18 and havent even experienced the real world yet, its totally understandable and really quite normal, but when you get to the point where you seriously want to marry someone, that decision is made by the individuals entering into the marriage, and it isnt swayed by others, including his mom. also, it is quite troubling and pretty lame that he is going to do whatever his dad says- and what does that mean, anyway? is he gonna be like, daddddddddyyyyyyy mom wont let me have a giiiirrrrllllfriend make her stop!!! or is he going to have an adult man to man conversation about how to draw boundaries with his mother and how to become and independent individual who makes his own choices?

    overall, i wouldnt worry too much about this. like kerry said, odds are you are not going to marry this guy. enjoy what you have now and if it ends, move on to the next stage in life. figure out your life and what you are going to do with it and set those plans in motion. i PROMISE there is more out there then what you believe there is at 18.

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    • katie

      katie December 5, 2012, 9:36 am

      oh, also, i would like to echo the idea that this woman doesnt like you not because of you, per se, she wouldnt like any girl that her son was dating… i also had this happen to me in high school, my boyfriends mom would constant ask him “why cant you just be friends with all the girls?”. its not you, LW, its the role you are playing that she doesnt like.

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  • avatar

    ktfran December 5, 2012, 9:30 am

    This letter is hard because if it were two adults, i.e, out of school and supporting themselves, I would have very different advice. But, LW, you’re 18 so I’ll cut you some slack.

    I’m not sure ultimately you will want to end up with someone who lets his parents influence him so much. Or control him. It sounds like his mother his trying to control him. Maybe it’s a phase he’s in because he is so young and he needs to grow out of that phase. But I would honestly be worried that your bad days with this guy are based on how his mom treats him.

    I remember when I was in high school and in college and I dated. My parents didn’t like several of my boyfriends but did they tell me that? No. They knew I needed to figure it out on my own and I always did.

    I also need to add that I don’t think this woman disliking you has anything to do with you really. I would bet money that she wouldn’t approve or like anyone her son was seriously dating and loved. The fact is, 18 is young and I can imagine that it’s hard to see your child get so wrapped into a romance but all the while knowing they have so much growing up to do.

    If things don’t work out, I know you will be heartbroken. Wallow in it for a while then chalk this up to a learning experience and grow from it. But do know you will find someone else again. Someone who sticks up for you.

    I really do feel for you LW. I remember what it was like to have your heart broken. I can feel my stomach constricting now. Which is why I can’t really tell you what to do. These are experiences I truly think you just have to go through to understand where others are coming from.

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  • avatar

    oldie December 5, 2012, 9:32 am

    You may never know why she doesn’t like you. It probably isn’t anything you did, just her own demons. She may not want her son to have any close girlfriend at his age, not just you. Perhaps she wants him to go to college and thinks you will prevent that. Perhaps she thinks he needs a good job before he is as serious as he is. Your quiet may be viewed as the opposite type as her and she may see her son choosing you as a rebuke to her. She and your bfs father may dislike each other enough that father liking you is ample cause for her to dislike you. He encourages the relationship, so she’s going to smash it. There is nothing you can do about this. Your bf has to figure it out with his parents. I doubt his mother is capable of changing your bf’s feelings for you.

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    • avatar

      Desiree December 5, 2012, 9:40 am

      I also wonder if the divorce dynamic plays into the mom not liking the girlfriend. I know tons of great single moms raising independent kids, but I have also known a few single moms who became unhealthily dependent on their sons in particular. In those cases, it almost seemed like they were jealous of their sons’ girlfriends.

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      • katie

        katie December 5, 2012, 9:46 am

        there is some weird thing about the mother/son relationship, just like there is something weird about the father/daughter relationship…

        but yea, overall, this has nothing to do with the LW. it has to do with the fact that the son is dating, period.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 12:32 pm

        I love my boyfriend’s mother, truly love her. She’s become a friend to me, outside of my relationship and I’m very grateful for that. However, there is not a doubt in my mind that she feels pangs of jealousy by me being so close with her son. For example, he was opening birthday gifts from me and his mom at the same time, and she was clearly jealous the he seemed more excited to receive my gift over hers (not that he liked it better necessarily, just his reaction to opening the gift).
        She babies him very much, so much in fact that since I’m not a coddler in any sense but more of a ‘toughen up’ person, she will dote on him when he is sick the way I would an infant. Its silly and juvenile, and I’m sure it would piss some women off, but its fine with me. He gets someone who loves him so much and shows it (too much showing for my taste, but to each his own). I know I can be a bit colder, so I’m glad he can get that from her.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass December 5, 2012, 12:52 pm

        I wondered about my MIL feeling jealous about my husband moving on and so I asked her. We obviously have a close relationship for me to ask such a personal question but I wondered since she frequently says things like “this is just so different from how he grew up.” My MIL told me that it was a big change in her life to have her only son not need her in the same ways that he did before we got together but she wasn’t upset about it. She said that it is the way that life is supposed to go and that she is happy for him and we are the ones she never worries about. She also said that she’s really glad he chose a different life from the one he had growing up- so what I thought were digs at me and my fancy-pants decorating was really her verbalizing her dreams for him coming true.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 12:57 pm

        That’s really nice for you to hear I’m sure.

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      • avatar

        Lindsay December 5, 2012, 1:12 pm

        My mom got sort of bitter after her divorce, and though she doesn’t come out and say that she dislikes my boyfriends, she never seems fond of them or the fact that I’m dating them. One kept going out of town (weddings, to visit friends, to see his parents for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day), and my mom misheard something I said and was convinced that I had implied that I thought he was lying about where he was going. Granted, this lady has remarried so may not be as bitter, but I could see a divorced parent being a lot more critical of their child’s significant other.

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      • theattack

        theattack December 5, 2012, 1:19 pm

        Yeah, I had that happen to me once. My ex-boyfriend from 18 was raised by a very strict single mom who constantly hovered over him. She hated me before she ever met me, and she turned her nose up when we did meet. He told his mom about our accidental pregnancy, and she accused me of lying about it so that he would give me money for an abortion. I’m so ridiculously glad that I don’t have to deal with her.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 1:21 pm

        Faking an abortion to get the cash, that’s a new one! Jeez.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow December 5, 2012, 1:03 pm

      I agree that the reason the mother isn’t fond of LW has nothing to do with anything the LW did or didn’t do. If I could venture a guess, I would say she is probably concerned with the seriousness of this relationship. I’m not a mom, but I think if I was, I’d have some qualms about my 17-year-old talking about marriage and babies.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 1:09 pm

        Ditto! Also, I have to think maybe the LW left out reasons why the mom doesn’t like her. 17 y/os tend to not agree with adults’ thoughts.

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  • avatar

    Lucy December 5, 2012, 9:37 am

    It sucks that your bf’s mother is a harridan; it sucks that your bf is (unsurprisingly) too immature both to stand up to his mom and to shield you from having to hear about her campaign against you; mostly, though, it sucks that other people can behave horribly and most of the time, there’s nothing you can do about it. And that’s really the situation here – there’s nothing you can do to fix this. You can tell yourself “if we got married, I’d have to deal with this woman forever, ” or “most relationships that start at age 16 don’t make it,” or “we would probably break up once one or both of us went to college,” and those things are true, but they won’t really help you feel better about this now. You just have to wait and see how it plays out, take the high road and respond with dignity.

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster December 5, 2012, 9:41 am

    I see your problem, but I don’t really see a question. Are you asking what you should do? Because other than the two obvious options (breakup w him or don’t and see where the chips fall), there’s not much you CAN do. At the end of the day, it’s up to your boyfriend to handle his family dynamics.

    As for an analysis of the situation, I think it’s interesting that you juxtapose your parents’ relationship (perfect high school sweethearts!) with his (divorced. Bitter single mother). I’d just like to point out to you that there a more than those two relationships models out there. You seem to be painting things with black and white brushes. And while it’s awesome that your parents have a great relationship, there are nuances and dynamics in EVERY marriage that are not obvious to even those closest to them (ie their kids).

    I know it’s nice to think of love as Forever and kittens and rainbows, but relationships are far more complex than that. Sometimes your boyfriend’s mother hates you (my first “real” boyfriend’s mother did! She was Ursula the Sea Witch in poofy animal sweaters). Sometimes you go to different colleges and realize the distance is too much, or that you like different things. Sometimes you love someone so much that you can’t imagine life without them, but your relationship just isn’t working. Sometimes people get divorced. And most of this stuff? You don’t really have control over it.

    The only things you can control are your thoughts and actions. So my advice is this: think about what’s important to you. You are 18 and must have some desires for your future other than marrying this boy. Focus on those things. Focus on being a good student, daughter, person, citizen of the world, whatever. Let your boyfriend deal with his family. And in the meantime be your same, pleasant self. If it feels like your boyfriend isn’t treating you with the respect you deserve (and lying about your relationship is not respect, btw), then move on and keep focusing on all the other awesome things that make you you. If you stay with him, keep focusing on all the other awesome things that make you you. Because at the end of the day, you’re the only one who gets to live your life.

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    • avatar

      ktfran December 5, 2012, 9:48 am

      Your last paragraph is perfect taramonster. Really good advice.

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    • avatar

      Eagle Eye December 5, 2012, 9:59 am

      Yes! I have maybe one friend who is still with her hs bf, and I have to say that they’re both extremely driven individuals, who have both relentlessly pursued their career goals (which sometimes meant doing long distance for various stretches of time). They’re both very much people outside of their relationship as well, which I think makes a big difference.

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    • katie

      katie December 5, 2012, 10:02 am

      good point about her mentioning her parents relationship- everyone does that! “oh it happened to them, it can happen to me too!”. its annoying. i mean, yea, sure, anything and everything is possible. there is some slight chance of everything all the time… but that doesnt mean you should base life decisions off of that, and create hopes and dreams in your head based on it..

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    • LM

      LM December 5, 2012, 11:32 am

      I totally agree with taramonster. The only thing I can add is “If you love something, set it free and if it comes back, it’s yours.” Your boyfriend doesn’t sound as mature as you’d like him to be – “whatever his dad says is what’ll happen” – but that’s expected for the age.

      You two are only 18 and there is so much life ahead of you that you need to live – finish high school and graduating, going to college and graduating, starting your career. There are a few people that I know that married their high school sweethearts and I’m not saying it’s not possible, but, slow down! Stop moving so fast! You don’t know he won’t be happy without you. You two might be better friends than being in a relationship. You’re only young once and embrace it, even if that means not being with him the way you want to be.

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    • Regina Chapman

      Regina Chapman December 5, 2012, 12:08 pm

      Oh, this is beautiful advice. And really well tailored to the LW, I think.

      In fact, I’m not going to bother with a reply now, because you said it all:).

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle December 5, 2012, 9:47 am

    I really feel you on this, LW. The mother of the first guy I dated really, vocally hated me– I was only 14 (& a virgin!) but she thought I was “slutty” for some reason & not good enough for her son. (It’s actually pretty horrible, the way she spoke about me & treated me, now that I think about it…)

    Anyway, the second dude I ever dated (when I was 15-16) was a more serious relationship & HIS mother didn’t like me, either– for very much the same reasons you’re listing here. I was always pretty quiet, & can be a bit awkward around new people, so the mother thought I was snobby/weird/not friendly. (I would’ve warmed up eventually, had I not felt even MORE awkward once I knew the woman hated me. Ugh.)

    The dad liked me as a person. BUT! he did continually express to my boyfriend at the time “you guys are way too serious for your ages” etc. etc. & things like that. So I wasn’t really feeling the love.

    There are a ton of factors that worked into our eventual breakup, but I do believe part of the reason was the lack of acceptance the guy’s family felt towards me. I’m sure it’s obvious to you at this point– your boyfriend seems unable to handle much more of his mother’s browbeating. If you were older, I’d tell you that he NEEDS to stand up for you, because relationships are about championing for one another, even in the face of unreasonable loved-ones. But being just shy of eighteen? That means he’s still somewhat accustomed to bending to the woman who gave birth to him over a girl he’s dating. So I understand why that’s kinda what he’s doing (even if I think he’s being a wimp. Lying that he broke up with you? Cooome oooon…)

    YOU, on the other hand, have a few options. You can try talking to her yourself & sucking up a little? Have you & your boyfriend ever talked about attempting to repair the “misunderstanding” between you two? I mean, if you say she’s nice to your face, then this should work– it might even make her feel foolish enough to cool on the hatred (even if she *secretly* still wants her son to break up with you).

    Or, you could walk away. I know that seems like a waste & a shame, because–after all– it’s not the GUY who’s really done anything wrong, right? But honestly, this woman sounds a little cray & it seems like she has too much of an influence over your boyfriend. She’s probably just an overly loving, protective mother–wanting her son all to herself, not wanting him to get hurt in the dating world, or grow up too fast, or whatever– but I find it totally unforgivable that she’s taking her aggression out on you. A teenage girl. You are somebody’s daughter, too. And you don’t deserve this.

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    Marcie December 5, 2012, 9:52 am

    I feel like I was almost in the same situation as you when I was 16/17. My boyfriend’s mom didn’t like me and I really never knew why. Most likely because we spent too much time together and were WAY too serious for our age. My parents weren’t too thrilled about him either but never really said anything to me about it until after we broke up. His mom was never really too much of a problem while we were dating. I know your parents are high school sweethearts, but obviously that just doesn’t work out for everyone. Not everyone ends up with their first love. I know that might be what you are hoping since you pointed out your parents are still together, but it’s very unlikely. I know it’s not what you want to hear, but you came to an adult relationship site and that’s pretty much what most here might say. My hs boyfriend broke up with me after he turned into a jerk a few weeks before my senior year (he was a year younger). I felt like I was going to die. But I didn’t. A few years later, he ended up getting his girlfriend pregnant. They got married and had 3 other kids, and he cheated on her and divorced her. So, I cannot imagine where my life would have ended up if we had actually gotten married!

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      Desiree December 5, 2012, 10:01 am

      My high school boyfriend knocked up a girl from our town that he wasn’t dating and then married her, because in a small Southern town that’s what you do. It was definitely a moment where I thought, “So glad we didn’t work out!”

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      • avatar

        Marcie December 5, 2012, 3:39 pm

        I feel you! I am married to a wonderful man and we have no kids so far by choice. I thank God quite often that hs bf dumped me, because I’m not sure I ever would have broken up with him.

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    Caris December 5, 2012, 10:43 am

    I don’t know if this will help you, but here is my story.

    I started ‘dating’ my bf soon after we both turned 18 (our birthdays are a few days apart). Our relationship started online (yea yea i know) and we met in person about a year later. And yes we considered our internet rs serious. So during that time he didn’t tell his parents about it (understandable), not just because of the online factor, but because of religious reasons (I don’t believe in god and they do) and previous history (his parents had asked him to stop dating the girl he was with before he met me). So he was scared that if he told them, they would ask him to stop dating me. They did tell him to stop the rs. Which he ignored of course.

    So his mom doesn’t like me, even though she doesn’t know me at all. And she disliked me before she even met me. Why? Because she thinks I am stealing her kid away. Plus I’m not part of their church and I don’t even believe in god. The fact that my bf is an only child and only had 10% chance of surviving birth is probably also a reason of why she doesn’t want him to have a gf.

    So anyways, the difference with my bf and yours is that my bf manned up (it took him a little bit, and we did have many conversations about how he is not a lil kid anymore and that he has to make his own choices and not do something just because his mom and/or his religion tell him to) and told his mom to understand that he loves me and to learn to live with it. (No i don’t know exactly what was said, but I know he set her straight).

    If he had said to me something like “well I’m going to talk to my dad and do what he says” I would have told him to fuck off

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    Bossy Italian Wife December 5, 2012, 10:54 am

    OH gosh, this is one of those situations where, as others have said, there is no one right answer. My first inclination was to say, “hey you are young, you guys might not want to get too serious…” But I just can’t. Because I was 18 when I met my husband (9 years ago!). So that would be hypocritical of me, wouldn’t it? While I do believe that a lot changes during this time in your life, I also agree that you can find love and know it at that period of your life as well.

    So what to do about this mommy situation? Well, my husband’s parents were skeptical when we first met, and they eventually came around. It took a few years. It’s hard for mothers…and dare I say it…especially for mothers in divorced families to let go of their baby boys. She’s battling you for control in a way. That would drive me nuts. NUTS.

    LW, you seem pretty mature and you seem to know that this is out of your hands. So my advice would be to see what he chooses. If he chooses you then you need to have a serious talk with him about how when two people decide to be together, it means asserting that decision to the people who are important to him. Eventually he won’t be living in his mother’s house and this will be easy, but generally he can talk with his mom and tell her to back off. If he chooses you, he needs to be proud of that decision.

    If he doesn’t choose you, then you need MOA because you don’t want to ultimately be with a momma’s boy. They are obnoxious in the longterm and you don’t want some meddling mother in law, as well as an eventual hubby who can’t stand up to his mom.

    Good luck!

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  • avatar

    EricaSwagger December 5, 2012, 10:54 am

    This is such a sad subject for me.

    LW, I had a relationship like this when I was about your age. We talked about marriage and kids, he even proposed to me, and through 3 years his parents were awful. It eventually proved to me that we weren’t right for each other. No matter how amazing our relationship was on its own, I still had to consider that realistically, these people would be in my life forever as well. I couldn’t ask my boyfriend to disown his parents simply because they didn’t like me. They loved him and he loved them, it would have been incredibly selfish and unfair of me to make him choose one or the other.

    You can say “if he loved me, he’d stand up to his parents” or “all we need is our love, who cares what they think” or “if we’re meant to be, it won’t break us.” But it will.

    This is NOT something that will ever be “all better”.

    You can play nice, you can put on your brave face, you can even avoid her. But I’m telling you from experience, the feeling you get when you see her or talk about her or think about her… That never goes away. When there is a constant negative force like that in your life, your human instinct is to get away from it. But with her, you can’t; she’s in your boyfriend’s life forever. As long as your life and his life are tied, she’ll be there hurting you.

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    • avatar

      Desiree December 5, 2012, 11:10 am

      I think it *is* possible though for the mother-girlfriend relationship to start out rocky and then get better. It’s sad that that didn’t happen in your case, but it remains a possibility here. After all, in this case the mother has never been unkind to the LW directly (and I almost wonder if the boyfriend is exaggerating what he is telling the LW, intentionally or otherwise). And as the boyfriend grows older and matures, he will hopefully foster more independence from his mother that would help with all this.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle December 5, 2012, 11:33 am

        “I think it *is* possible though for the mother-girlfriend relationship to start out rocky and then get better.”

        I think so, too. And I realize I didn’t actually include a positive example from my own life in my main comment, so I’m gonna stick it here:

        To make a long, complicated story short—my current boyfriend started dating me after suddenly breaking up with a long-term girlfriend that his family assumed he’d marry (even though every time the subject was brought up, my boyfriend would basically shut the conversation down). But they liked the other girl a lot, & his mother was shocked when he dumped her & started dating me. I wasn’t comfortable going to family parties for the first few months, but when Christmastime rolled around, his mother goes to him “Look, we’ve always liked Fabelle” –I’d known the family previously, forgot to mention– “and we want to have a nice Christmas. Bring her over!”

        And that was that. It’s like his mom decided to wipe her brain clean, because there’s seriously no lingering dislike for me at all. So things can definitely turn around.

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        Rangerchick December 5, 2012, 12:45 pm

        I’m lucky that I never really had (or have) any problems with my MIL. While we were dating his mom had a picture of him going to a dance with some girl. I didn’t really care but after we got married I assumed she would remove it. Months later it was still there. I finally asked my husband to ask her to take it down – it was so weird they had a wedding picture of us in their house and then this picture too. She took it down – though I’m not sure she even realized it was still there.

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        lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 3:07 pm

        Mine oddly took a photo of us the first time we went to her house. It was framed and hanging in the foyer the second time.

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      • theattack

        theattack December 5, 2012, 5:06 pm

        My grandmother passed away a couple of years ago, and my mom put together a collage of pictures of her to hang in my grandfather’s house (who lives right down the road, and everyone’s over there a lot). One of the photos in the collage has me with a guy who I cheated on my fiance with back when we were dating in high school. He and I have those issues resolved, but a photo reminder of it is NOT COOL at all, and I can’t exactly ask her to take down the collage. I’m hoping he hasn’t noticed it, but whenever we go to my grandfather’s house, I always shoo him along quickly hoping he doesn’t stop and look at it.

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      MMcG December 5, 2012, 2:22 pm

      I definitely think it is possible to turn the relationship around… I know I have with my MIL (and it will probably take a few more twists and turns in the future).

      Typical story, only son – ridiculously close, no boundries, etc. – and it took a while for him to understand that if he wanted a relationship with me, that there were certain steps that had to be taken because I wasn’t going to be remote controlled by his mom/family. And he took them! Not all at once, and there are still hiccups, but it is definitely possible to reset the relationship – especially if the issues are not entirely about you – but about the MIL’s feelings of resentment, being replaced, etc. etc.. It’s also a little easy for me because while my MIL still reverts to treating him like a child and manipulating his actions, she acknowledges on an intellectual level that he needs to turn towards me and build a new family… emotions just take longer to catch up.

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    Lindsay December 5, 2012, 11:14 am

    Like everyone else, I don’t really know what to say. If you were older, I’d be chastising your boyfriend for letting his mom influence him, but when you’re a teenager and still living at home, I’m sure that it can actually be pretty hard to deal with. I still think it’s pretty obnoxious of him to let his mom run his life like that and to openly tell you that he’s going to let his parents make the final decision. Have either of you tried talking to her? You talk about hiding your relationship and her pestering you guys, but did your boyfriend ever sit his mom down to talk about his feelings about you? Or have you talked to her about why she doesn’t like you?

    Aside from that, I don’t really see how this is going to work out. If your boyfriend is not willing to date you without his mom leaving him alone, and you guys can’t change her mine, then it looks pretty grim. I can tell you, though, that being with someone who doesn’t have crazy parents and who is mature enough to make his own decisions would be a lot more enjoyable for you, if it comes to that.

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  • LM

    LM December 5, 2012, 11:41 am

    On a similar note to those above – yes, it is possible to change someone’s opinion of you. My step son has a girlfriend that I wasn’t too keen on the first few times we met, maybe the first 6 or 7. It took a bit to warm up to her because she is awkward and doesn’t have a lot of self esteem and admittedly I probably didn’t make it easy on her because the entire situation was awkward. Regardless of that, I did warm up to her and I do think she’s a nice girl. They’ve been together for a couple of years (they’re still in their teens, btw) and I don’t honestly think it will last because she pushes him a bit too fast sometimes.

    First loves are first loves for a reason, and if it doesn’t work out, remember the good times instead of the bad. He’s also being a weenie because he can’t man up to either of his parents and hopefully that will change in time.

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  • Diablo

    Diablo December 5, 2012, 11:43 am

    Rule for Every Relationship: Your partner is number 1. All others are number 2 or lower.

    At 18, you are very young, but still legally adults, and certainly on the cusp of adulthood. One big step forward into adulthood is asserting your right to choose your own life. I agree with everyone who says it is your bf’s role to handle his family dynamics, but more than that, he has to back you over his family. Every time. So it’s not only about him “handling” things in SOME way, but that he has your back.

    My MIL disliked me intensely at first. I was derailing her idea of her daughters’ career path/destiny, etc. (We were fairly young, but not 18 – i was 23.) Plus we were shacking up out of wedlock, which was important to her generation, even though it meant nothing to us morally. My gf (now wife of 20 plus years) backed me unconditionally. Eventually, MIL had to get used to me or lose her daughter. Naturally, she would not let that happen. Also, over time, she learned that I was not blocking her daughter from achieving her goals, and that i was a quality person (ha! fooled her!). After 4 years, i did marry her, which also helped.

    Your bf needs to back you. It’s fine to ask Dad for advice, but if he is not making his own decision then he is not ready for an adult relationship. Think carefully about this, as many of us have advised you to do. Love is necessary, but alone is not enough. Go to school, make a plan that can work, continue to grow and become adults. Possibly together, maybe not. Luck has very little to do with it. If you want it to be, you MAKE it happen.

    Good luck.

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      lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 12:23 pm

      I think there’s a lot of good in your Rule, but I think it is best applied to the “average” couple (adult dates, marries, then has kids). I have trouble with it otherwise, or at least for myself.
      I did not go the “normal” route and had no relationship, a child and am now in a relationship with someone who isn’t a father. I’ve struggled with the idea of putting him first, and I do not put him first. In my mind, she came first and will always be my priority.
      Another thing this makes me think of is stepparents. Coming from divorced parents myself, who have both remarried, I have struggled with the idea of my parents putting their new spouses before me (mostly when I was a minor).
      I’d love some discussion on this…

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        Desiree December 5, 2012, 12:42 pm

        You makes some really good points, and it is complex. My fiance and I have discussed that once we have kids, we still want to prioritize our marriage ever-so-slightly above the kids. That isn’t to say we don’t want to do everything in our power to be awesome parents (it’s super important to us), but we both feel that keeping our marriage strong will be important for our family. I can see how that becomes way more complex in other situations, though. I would be really weirded out if my parents divorced/remarried and then put their new spouse first, even though it would sort of make sense. Now I kinda wonder if my views on these issues are hypocritical. Hmm.

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        lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 12:45 pm

        I totally agree that its very important to keep your marriage strong by doing that, which obviously keeps your family strong. It sets a good example for your kids too.

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        lemongrass December 5, 2012, 1:05 pm

        I wonder how my priorities will change when this baby comes along (2 more months!) My husband and I put each other first and have our little motto “family comes first!” but I wonder if that will change- will the baby come first? Obviously it’s needs will- but will I love it more than my husband? I have a feeling I will love the baby is a different way that can’t be compared but I kinda think that’s a cop out so I don’t have to answer the question. I asked my husband what he would do if the baby needed to go to the NICU immediately after birth- would he go with the baby or stay with me? He said he couldn’t help the baby, but he could help me so he would stay with me. Ugh, way too many serious thoughts lately!

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        lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 1:19 pm

        I read an amazing article once on how important it is for you to put your marriage first, even before your kids. Wish I’d bookmarked it for you.
        With some things, I think you will put your kid first and he will too, no matter what, like if you could only save one from a burning house for example, you’d likely save your kid.
        I think for kids, its so important to see a healthy parent marriage and equally important for the kid to know he/she can’t play you two off of each other. When a kid knows their parents are a team unit, I think that’s great.
        Not to sound like a know-it-all, but I think you def. will feel a very different love for you child than you do for your husband. Maybe not a more/less difference, but certainly different. Best wishes! Weird how I’m getting excited for you and don’t know you.

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        lemongrass December 5, 2012, 2:20 pm

        Haha thanks! I do think it’s really important for kids to see their parents as a team and I feel pretty damn lucky that my husband and I make a good one. We also don’t ever get heated in our arguments and tend to verbally compromise so I’m happy that they will see that from us. There are a few things that I know I need to stop doing before the kid comes along (jokingly threaten him, talk like a truck driver on the road) and some things will have to be more private. I talk to my husband about my body issues and worries about gaining weight and have told him that if I bring that up in front of our kid to pull me aside and tell me to cut it out. The kid doesn’t need to see me question myself.

        One thing I’m excited about is loving my husband through my child. He’s really playful and good at explaining things so I can’t wait to watch him teach our kid and play and watch our kid enjoy the same things that I do about him.

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        lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 2:23 pm

        Wow, sounds like you are a step ahead of the game. All the things you listed I found important in parenting. 🙂

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      • Diablo

        Diablo December 5, 2012, 2:43 pm

        I agree – my example did not involve children or step-anything. I think it differs if you are a couple first and then have a child, versus having the child first and then developing a relationship. My example was more about stressing that parents, siblings, friends etc are all lower priority than your immediate circle – your partner and any kids you are responsible for.

        However, in any of the examples, if you don’t put your partner at least on an equal level with anyone else’s status, you shouldn’t expect the same in return.

        I once dated a woman with a young child, and she made it clear from day one that the child took precedence over me in all cases. Now I don’t blame her for her point of view, but it didn’t even give me a chance to develop my own feelings for the kid, whom I came to love. Instead, it was you accept this or you are gone. If the relationship had lasted long term, I think this would have been an issue. I respected her duty and love for her kid, but I don’t know if I could hitch my whole life to a situation where I would always be explicitly lower priority. Everyone wants to be somebody’s number one. This wasn’t, by the way, anything to do with why it ended, and losing the kid (on whom I had no claim except love) hurt a lot too.

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        lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 3:00 pm

        Curious why that stopped you from developing your own feelings for the kid.

        I definitely think I’m extremely lucky to have found someone who loves both of us and I accepting of the position he is in on the totem pole of our “family.” Actually, I don’t even like the way I put that, but you get my drift I assume. Its a tough position to date someone with a kid. I would never do it myself and honestly, would advise my own brother against it. Weird, right?

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      • Diablo

        Diablo December 5, 2012, 2:43 pm

        I agree – my example did not involve children or step-anything. I think it differs if you are a couple first and then have a child, versus having the child first and then developing a relationship. My example was more about stressing that parents, siblings, friends etc are all lower priority than your immediate circle – your partner and any kids you are responsible for.

        However, in any of the examples, if you don’t put your partner at least on an equal level with anyone else’s status, you shouldn’t expect the same in return.

        I once dated a woman with a young child, and she made it clear from day one that the child took precedence over me in all cases. Now I don’t blame her for her point of view, but it didn’t even give me a chance to develop my own feelings for the kid, whom I came to love. Instead, it was you accept this or you are gone. If the relationship had lasted long term, I think this would have been an issue. I respected her duty and love for her kid, but I don’t know if I could hitch my whole life to a situation where I would always be explicitly lower priority. Everyone wants to be somebody’s number one. This wasn’t, by the way, anything to do with why it ended, and losing the kid (on whom I had no claim except love) hurt a lot too.

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      • Diablo

        Diablo December 5, 2012, 2:44 pm

        don’t know why this posted twice. Sorry.

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      • Diablo

        Diablo December 5, 2012, 3:36 pm

        @LBH above – it didn’t, clearly, as I state that i came to love the kid. My point was that I was not allowed to develop my own feelings and act accordingly. Instead, a “status quo” was imposed on me before I ever did anything by way of asking to be prioritized over the kid. An artificial standard that I think devalued my actions, as I was then only doing what was demanded instead of being a better person of my own free will. perhaps from her point of view that didn’t matter, but it did to me. Short version: don’t tell me how to feel.

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        lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 3:42 pm

        @diablo, thanks for clarifying.

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        GatorGirl December 5, 2012, 2:35 pm

        I talk like a truck driver too. Definitely going to have to stop before kid-os.

        I’m ridiculously excited to watch my fiance with our children. I can not wait to see him. He doesn’t have a ton of experience with kids, and I’ve really haven’t seen him interact with many so I think it will be a super special experience.

        Goodness my baby train is at full speed these days.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson December 5, 2012, 2:42 pm

        Lemongrass this is easy – you just wait until the kid is old enough to have a personality of its own and then you just put the one you like best first. Boom.

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        Rangerchick December 5, 2012, 12:57 pm

        LBH – i did things backwards as well. I had a child – started school, got married, had another child and graduated. Once kids are involved it isn’t really put spouse first, it is almost put the kids first while maintaining a good relationship with your SO especially when they are a step-parent. You don’t really want your kids to feel like you put the SO first since essentially the kid(s) were first. I think it is especially important (no matter if normal or step-parent situation) to have a relationship outside of the kids. go on date nights, plan weekends away when the kids can stay with grandma or something. So I think it is completely normal you put your child first.

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        lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 3:04 pm

        Thanks. Its funny because when we started dating, we had been friends a long time, and my kid knew him well, so I got to avoid the issue of when to introduce him. But, because of limited time, etc., most of our “dates” were just hanging out at my house together. We didn’t actually go on a real, alone date for a very long time. When we did, we both were so glad we had things to talk about the whole time that had nothing to do with the kid. I agree its important to maintain a relationship outside of the kids. I mean, they will eventually leave when they grow up and you don’t want to be left with someone you barely know.
        sweet side story-We went hiking, the 3 of us, and my SO told my kid that he and I took the same hike when I was pregnant. My kid thought that was so cool.

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        Marcie December 5, 2012, 3:52 pm

        Desiree,
        I think it’s soooo important to put your marriage above your kids! It’s a great example for them and shows them that the world doesn’t revolve around them. Of course you will protect them above all else. And I don’t think that your views are hypocritical. Divorce does make things incredibly complicated.

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        GatorGirl December 5, 2012, 2:14 pm

        I think when it comes to “out side” forces (friends, people’s parents, hobbies); once you’re past the casual dating stage, weather you marry or are in a long term committed relationship your partner needs to come above all else. Once there are children I think the family unit needs to come first. I do think you need to prioritize the romantic relationship you have with your partner but not at the expense of the family as a whole. If that makes sense.

        LBH, in your unique situation I would say your daughter and your BF should be neck in neck importance wise. With your daughter having a slight edge. If you marry (or have a LTR forever kind of conversation/commitment) down the road, I think you should try to think of the three of you as a family unit but for now I would keep her as your #1. (hope all of that makes sense and doesn’t offend)

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        lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 2:16 pm

        I was hoping you would chime in GG. Thank you!

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        GatorGirl December 5, 2012, 2:29 pm

        Haha, I figured. Luckily I saw this, the original letter kind of annoys me. It’s really realy hard to go from the dynamic of just mom and child to mom and child and BF to family unit. (My mom also had two more kids to make the mix even more interesting!) It’s definitely a balancing act to prioritize everyone.

        My mom made a point to keep up traditions we had when it was just the two of us when we moved into my stepdad’s and encouraged him to join in some of the activities (like pizza and movie night). Other things she kept just us and we made up other traditions with the new family unit. It helped me transition to know that my life wasn’t being completely changed.

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        lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 2:46 pm

        Your mom sounds awesome, even though I’m sure I’ve said that before. I always felt like my parents kinda shoved their spouses down our throats, and always pointed out all the nice, wonderful things they do. It drove me crazy. My mom and I never had much one on one time because of having so many kids, so I missed out on that a lot. The few times are cherished memories. Luckily being older now, we’ve become friends who can share a bottle of wine and talk. Since many of my siblings have moved away, I get more time with her now.
        I love the idea of two sets of traditions, I’ve tried that myself. While I don’t doubt my kid loves my bf, I know our mommy and me time is huge for her.

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        GatorGirl December 5, 2012, 3:01 pm

        Aw thanks!! My mom is pretty awesome haha. We definitely had some rough years but I’m so thankful for the strong woman she is.

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      • Diablo

        Diablo December 5, 2012, 2:49 pm

        GG that is what I tried to say above, but you said it better.

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      • katie

        katie December 5, 2012, 2:39 pm

        i think it comes down to the social (and legal if you go that route) implications of marriage. socially, when you pair yourself with someone else, you have created a new family, and that is why the partner comes first. legally, it is expressed through many things, like you are now their closest next of kin if something should happen, you make end of life decisions, you are automatically getting their money if they should die, ect. thats the separation, to me, when you make the step to seriously commit to someone.

        when you have a child, i think the same happens, but in a different way… like, you have to give the child food, shelter, ect, make sure they get to school, and so in that way, you are also responsible for them, but to care for them, not just as one half of a pair like you are with a marriage.

        the difference i see, then, is that the two will never have the same problems. you will never be arrested for spousal abuse because you didnt feed them, for instance. but that could happen with a child if you didnt feed a child. also, you would never be in the position to have to put your child “first” in the social sense of “i cannot attend/continue a relationship/whatever because it is detrimental/disrespectful to my relationship with my child”. so i think that it can totally be that they are both number one. they are just number one in different categories, i think.

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        lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 2:47 pm

        Interesting points. I guess prioritizing does come down to depending on what the issue is.

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        lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 2:48 pm

        I’ll add, one of the most beneficial things to me from DW was when I wrote in a forum about my SO disciplining my kid and how I wasn’t very comfortable with it, but expected him to act like a father in all other ways. Everyone gave me a huge eye opener on that.

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      • katie

        katie December 5, 2012, 2:51 pm

        definitely. and, too, i think that if you go by the “family first” kind of thought process- they are both your family, legally and socially. so there would have to be different ways to prioritize at different times because it is two different people who make up your immediate family.

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        lemongrass December 5, 2012, 3:37 pm

        I’m sure there are a few people out there that wish you could get arrested for spousal abuse for not feeding your spouse!

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      • katie

        katie December 5, 2012, 4:01 pm

        ok, this is a perfect explanation: you know in the sound of music when maria admits that she’s fallen in love with whats-his-face and she tells the reverend mother? and its bad because shes a nun? and then rev. mother is like, “just because you love this man does not mean you love god less”.

        thats what it is. just because you love your partner and put them first in a relationship does not take away anything from the fact that you love your child and put their needs first in your life. its different, its apples and oranges… you can have it all in this case, i think. you can have them both at #1.

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    Sue Jones December 5, 2012, 12:20 pm

    My parents hated all my boyfriends, including my husband, for usually no good reason. They just had a very narrow set idea of the type I should marry. Your bf’s mother should really have no say in it unless you are a drug addict, non- achiever, etc. I coped by moving far away to go to college where their prying eyes and influence was minimal. If I had stayed near home they would have made my dating life hell like they did my sister’s. (My sister ended up marrying, and divorcing, the man of my parent’s dreams. I am still happily married) At some point your bf is going to have to take a stand, once he is old enough and independent enough. But right now it is hard. I have no problems with you doing a clandestine arrangement until you are both independent enough where his mother has no more sway. If you do end up together in the longterm, she will get used to it, especially once there are kids (but please don’t rush into that).

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      temperance December 5, 2012, 8:11 pm

      My parents were the same way – to the point of my mother celebrating when my serious college boyfriend broke up with me because I was “trying to be something I’m not”. (My parents wanted me to marry someone blue collar and live near them, because that sort of person would fit in with them. I only dated guys who were in college or graduated college.)

      I don’t have a great relationship with them, to put it mildly, although I’m really happy to be living the exact opposite life they wanted with the dude of my own choosing.

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    lemongrass December 5, 2012, 12:28 pm

    This guy is using his parents as a cop out. 18 and letting his parents decide whether he should be with someone? He can’t want to be with you very much. I know that hurts. I’m sure he cares about you and doesn’t want you to be hurt but he is ending things, slowly. You should tell him that if he doesn’t want to be with you so bad that he would stop listening to his parents, move out, tell them to back off, etc. then he doesn’t want to be with you bad enough to actually be with you. MOA.

    I’m sure it stings a little deeper since your parents are high school sweethearts and you envisioned the same thing for yourself but the truth is very rarely do high school couples stay together. That is a good thing. Once you’ve mourned the loss of your relationship, enjoy your freedom! Being 18 and single is a wonderful gift that you will never be given back so appreciate it for what it is.

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      Lindsay December 5, 2012, 12:57 pm

      Yeah, considering he’s put up with it thus far, it seems to me like it might just be an excuse at this point. In theory, his mother’s disapproval should become less of a problem as time goes on because he’ll be moving further into adulthood and hopefully moving out on his own. But I suppose there are no guarantees on that these days.

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      Rangerchick December 5, 2012, 1:01 pm

      I think we should cut him a little slack…I mean it is hard to break away from your parents sometimes and he is still really young. If he is still in HS then it is even harder and if he is still in HS he shouldn’t (can’t??) move out yet. And guys especially are really immature until their much older, IMHO.

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  • AKchic_

    AKchic_ December 5, 2012, 12:54 pm

    LW, I feel for you. I have a disapproving (soon-to-be) MIL.

    The thing is, this isn’t about you, per se. This is about her. It’s the Aphrodite/Psyche complex. With you (Psyche, the younger female of the triangle) usurping her position as the “most important person” in her son’s life, she is feeling more like an old crone rather than a wanted, desired, sexually attractive person (which is what Aphrodite is the epitome of). She is jealous, getting bitter, and will do anything to maintain that sense of youth, both for herself and her son. By denying her son’s status as a grown-up, he is still her “baby boy”, and as long as he is a “baby boy”, she is still young, therefore desired, desirable, and sexy. She is not a crone/old hag/add your own label here.

    She will always find fault with you until she comes to terms with her own aging. Aging doesn’t mean OLD (truly, it doesn’t). Since you’re too quiet now (for example); should you try to be more gregarious in front of her, she will then say that you are too intimidating/loud/rude. You will not win.
    This is not a battle for you to fight. You must continue to be your loving self. This is a battle for your boyfriend. Her son.
    If he is so easily swayed by Momma, then he is not a man yet. Do you want to be with a manchild? You two are still teenagers. It’s okay to not discuss marriage yet. Worry about college. Establish yourselves as real adults first (careers, homes, etc). Since you’re so young, worry about those things first. I’m very serious about this. My first two marriages were disasters, and I blame the second one’s failure partially on youth. My 2nd husband was so young that he romanticized everything. Yes, I was young too, but I was more experienced and much more practical (comes with the territory).

    Now, you either have a guy who is very swayed by his mother, or you have a guy who is trying to break up with you gently and trying not to look like the bad guy (so maybe he hasn’t burned his bridge and come back later on?). What will you do if his dad says he should break up with you too? Will you accept the break-up decision by his parents or will you ask him to defy his parents? A Romeo&Juliet-esque rebellion (minus the double suicide)? Or, will you move on and date someone else? I would move on to someone who isn’t so apparently swayed by parental decision. If his Dad tells him to follow his heart/mind – then you only need to be supportive of your boyfriend. Do nothing more than tell him that it is his decision, that part of being an adult is standing up for what you believe in and making your own decisions. Then do nothing else. Continue to be nice to his mother as you see/talk to her (whenever that is), and be yourself and continue your relationship unless he breaks it off. If anything changes, then re-evaluate the relationship.

    Good luck.

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    Flake December 5, 2012, 12:55 pm

    I can’t help but ask, how do you know that his mom dislikes you? Was he the one to tell you that? If yes, then it was a really dumb move on his part. Also, if the answer is yes, then I think he is just looking for a reason to break up with you, and it’s a lot easier to do so now that you think his mother hates you.

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  • Brown-eyed NoVA Girl

    Brown-eyed NoVA Girl December 5, 2012, 12:59 pm

    LW- I apologize for the snark here but…. life is not a Taylor Swift song. I mean, all this drama doesn’t mean you have a life long commitment with your bf or that you should overcome his mom’s feelings towards you. Now I’m going to sound like an old lady, but you have a lot of life ahead of you and you should go out and enjoy it. Problems like these feel like forever when you’re 18, but before you know it, you’ll be 28 and be a completely different person.

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      MMcG December 5, 2012, 2:32 pm

      If life was a taylor swift song we could all afford to buy luxury homes next door to our crushes 🙂

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      • Brown-eyed NoVA Girl

        Brown-eyed NoVA Girl December 5, 2012, 4:38 pm

        oh man, I could really use a luxury home… anywhere.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark December 5, 2012, 1:23 pm

    Clearly she doesn’t want her son (or even You!) to make the same mistakes that she herself made. She probably also was MADLY in love, married too young… Then saddled with kids and a broken home… Dozens of DW readers shall now chime in about how THEY got married right out of high school and are STILL oh-so-much in love… (Something I’d perhaps put more stock in if the people chiming in with their happy stories weren’t, eh, you know, all of twenty four!) Look, your parents are the EXCEPTION rather than the rule. The grim reality is that most high school sweetheart weddings end in not-so-romantic post-high school divorces… You are far too young to be so involved with anyone in my opinion.

    Go LIVE a little.

    Go discover who you truly are.

    Then think about settling down.

    Look, at 18, you aren’t in love with ANYBODY. Instead, You are in love with LOVE.

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      lemongrass December 5, 2012, 2:28 pm

      Being one of those 24 year olds’ chiming in with my story, although not high school sweethearts – I agree with you. Most high school relationships don’t last. THAT IS A GOOD THING. Most people are just trying on different persona’s in high school trying to figure out who they are and part of those persona’s are relationships with very different people.

      LW, take what you like from this relationship and put it in your list of things that are important to you and take what you don’t and put it in your list of things you don’t want. Learn from this and it will help you grow.

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      csp December 5, 2012, 4:01 pm

      I am going to argue that you love without prejudice when in HS. That you can love someone for who they are at the time and who you are at the time. It might burn hot and fast but it is real. The problem is that when you are that young, you don’t take into consideration the long term realities. I loved a bad boy once. He opened my mind and had me deal with prejudices that I didn’t know I had. I loved him and learned so much. It just couldn’t survive long term goals and hurdles like religion, socio-economics, prioritized purchases. So I think saying it isn’t real cheapens these wonderful life moments.

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      AKchic December 5, 2012, 5:48 pm

      You won’t hear me saying my marriage at 18 (or 20) lasted. And I’m glad. If my 1st marriage hadn’t ended in divorce, one of us would be in jail for murder.

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  • avatar

    Ginger Laine December 5, 2012, 1:29 pm

    I wrote this earlier, but I deleted it, and now I’m writing it again.

    I read through the comments & I have to ask… what have you done for his mother TO like you? As I read through, I see a lot of “oh, woe is me, she hates me” but not one mention of what you’ve done to change that.

    I’ve found that generally speaking, moms don’t just go out of their way to welcome the new woman in their son’s life. Some moms are naturally pleasant. Some have to be won over. I don’t think that’s indicative of the person she is or that it makes her some evil harpy just waiting to swoop down & snatch you up. Maybe she just doesn’t have a reason to like you. There are a lot of people I just don’t like. It’s not that I have some imbalance or deep-seated emotional issue. I just don’t like them because I have no reason to. I’m never cold-shouldered about it, but then again, I’m naturally friendly. Some people just don’t see a reason to put lots of effort into dealing with people, and there’s nothing wrong with them, it just makes them different than the social norm.

    When you visited the cabin, did you try to endear yourself to her, or were you aloof? When it was time for dinner, did you help her with preparations or clean-up afterwards? Did you try to engage her in conversation at all? When she asked questions about you, did you answer them positively and enthusiastically, or did you give brief answers that could have been interpreted differently than you meant them?

    I guess the advice that I have for you is… TRY. If you want to get along with her, don’t just resolve that she doesn’t like you. Give her a reason to like you. Does your boyfriend tell her about the good things you do for him? Do you have plans for your future (YOUR future)? Are you doing something to better yourself? Do you have anything in common with her? Ask her to go do that with you, or go as a group with your BF! Is there small token or trinket you might be able to bring her that says you were thinking of her, even though she probably wouldn’t do the same for you? Kill her with kindness. Even if she never warms up to you, you’ve done your part. You can’t make her stop being an asshole, but you can make her feel like one for doing it. And maybe if she feels that way, or she sees you making an effort to change things, she’ll approach you and your relationship with her son differently. But you can’t just cross your fingers and hope that happens. Get up & make it happen.

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark December 5, 2012, 1:46 pm

      I have a casual friend (from work) who answers questions in the dullest and shortest way possible. To the point where it can (and often does) come across as very rude. Then she laments how nobody likes her! I’ve tried to give constructive criticism, but she won’t listen. Instead it’s just a constant rail against the world about how nobody likes her.

      Sad, but true. I don’t invite to things any more. I had her at a party and it was a disaster. So now its just a lunch. Or a coffee and a movie…

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      MMcG December 5, 2012, 2:29 pm

      I agree that it would be good to try – but regardless of the boyfriends boundary issues or who he is ultimately going to let influence his decisions – he really needs to stop badmouthing his gf to his mom.

      It’s one thing to ask for relationship advice, or to give a status update, but I get the sense that the boyfriend might be contributing to the problem (and will continue to do so into future relationships) because he sees his mom as friend and confidante instead of parent… and thus complaining to his mom about his relationship – and likely not mentioning the good times – is becoming a circle that is reinforcing his mom’s bad opinions.

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    lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 3:10 pm

    Seeing as how the bf’s mom is likely supporting him entirely, I don’t really think he’s in a position to make too many rules for his life yet. Its weird that some people are saying he must stand up to his mother. He’s practically a child. Maybe its time the lw try being nicer to the mom.

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    • Diablo

      Diablo December 5, 2012, 3:32 pm

      18 is a perfect age to stand up to your mom. So is 15. I’m not against the LW trying harder, but what’s wrong with standing up to your parents? You’ll make mistakes, but for the first time, they’ll be your own. What better way to learn your way through life?

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        lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 3:37 pm

        I guess it depends on what you are standing up for and how you do it.

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        Sue Jones December 5, 2012, 4:12 pm

        Kids these days just aren’t as rebellious like we were! Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll!!!!!

        Just kidding, only sort of! I am a Baby Boomer so it was our duty as a generation to rebel against our parents. It was my DUTY to date outside of my cultural background, to break gender role barriers and to pursue a male vocation (at the time)! To date whoever I wanted!!! To tell my parents to F-off when they tried to interfere! To be smarter and get better grades than my (ex) boyfriend!

        If he caves to his mom that is because he is too chicken-shit to stand up for love! And if that is the case, DTMFA. (He can always go and live with his dad, right?)

        (And write me in 9 years when my kid is 18 and we will see how it all is going…)

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        csp December 5, 2012, 4:36 pm

        You really can’t stand up to your parents if they are holding the pursestrings.

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        Sue Jones December 5, 2012, 5:12 pm

        There are ways.

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      Sue Jones December 5, 2012, 4:01 pm

      I like the clandestine arrangement, myself! Forbidden love!!!! Soooooo romantic! 😉

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        lets_be_honest December 5, 2012, 4:03 pm

        awesome!

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    j2 December 5, 2012, 3:23 pm

    What I want to know is exactly what the hell happened when the guy talked to his dad!!!

    The only thing I could come up with was that the dad put the f***ing financial fear of god into the 17-yr old bf.

    You know, stuff like, “You can’t even THINK of marriage if you can’t support her! What if you have a kid? Rent? Clothes? Food?”

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    clover December 5, 2012, 5:18 pm

    Here’s the thing, and I realize I’m way down at the bottom of the page and probably won’t be read at all, but I’m going to say it anyway: if you tell a teenager, “You’re pretty young to be talking about marriage,” they’ll almost invariably say something like, “We may be young but we’re in LOOOOVE!” Well, that’s great, but that’s not a very convincing argument that you’re mature enough to consider marriage. Pretty much the opposite actually. Feeling “in love” does not automatically = “we should get married.” There’s more to marriage than being “in love.” Teenage love is mostly about feeling. Adult love, mature love, is not just a feeling but an action. If you’re 17 (and the LW is 17, not 18), you might not see this distinction, and you figure you’ll feel “in love” forever. When that feeling starts to wane due to the pressures of adult life, it’s hard to know what to do, because you built your whole relationship on that feeling. Teenagers say “But we’ll ALWAYS feel this way!” in response to this, and they are wrong; feelings don’t last. Commitments are what last. At 17, are you willing to make a commitment that’s stronger than mere feeling? That’s the real question.

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  • MELH

    MELH December 5, 2012, 6:38 pm

    I don’t have any advice, per se, but I basically lived through this situation. My high school boyfriend’s parents were divorced, both remarried. Dad and stepmom were nice to me, Mom hated me. She basically didn’t want her son, who she was very dependent on an protective of, to date me. She did and said some crazy things. One night, I helped clean up at dinner and she said something like oh, you don’t do this at home because you’re a spoiled brat. And one night she invited a girl he had dated briefly over and balked when he said he also wanted me to come to that dinner! Eventually, we did sleep together, and he weirdly kept the wrapper from the condom from the first time in his bible, and his mom found it and forced him to break up with me. He broke up with me at a park. I stayed at the park and asked a friend to get me, and his mom drove over to my parents and told me that I was going to kill myself.
    I guess my best advice is to think about what you really want. Think about how this will affect you.

    After we broke up, I spoke to the girl he dated after me, who told me that while away at college, he would tell her he was too busy to talk to her on the phone, but would spend an hour on the phone with his mom every night. Do you really want to feel the stress over her pressuring your boyfriend all the time?

    Also, you may want to just see what the future brings. We went our separate ways for college, and became such different people that now, there is no way we would ever consider dating.

    Whatever you do, don’t let her make you think less of yourself.

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  • avatar

    wendykh December 12, 2012, 10:01 pm

    As a mom of a teenage son, I’m going to bring up a point a lot of posters have come close to but aren’t hitting on.

    I know how young love is, and I know how crazy it gets. But you see my teenage daughter I can talk to about birth control and about going to school and keeping her own future as her priority. I have NO idea what values the young women my son dates have been brought up with. Sure, they can tell me. I also told several parents of my HS boyfriends that I was into saving my virginity for marriage (while I had been blowing their son all afternoon or had done it three times with him before they got home) and assorted other nonsense. All I can do is tell my son to wear a condom. And I know perfectly well how much men love those, especially teenage men with their feelings of invincibility.

    Basically, the thought of my son knocking some girl up scares the shit out of me. Utterly terrifies me. Because then he’s tied to this girl for life. And I can’t tell you how many dumb teenage girls I have known (and been one myself) who thought having a baby was a faaaaaaabulous idea. It’s amazing what idiocy those ovaries can produce in a young fertile woman. Especially when she is super deeply in love with a guy. So nope, I don’t like seeing my son get all serious with girls at all. Has nothing to do with jealousy. I want him to move on and get married… after he finishes his education and is established in his career. I have no problem with him bing sexually active provided he’s using protection and preferably with like minded young women who are NOT all about a relationship. But you see we live in a culture where in order to justify wanting a sex life young women have to pretend they’re in love, even to themselves. I’m not saying they’re not in love, but when the only way you can fool around without being a “slut” is by being in loooooove that’s going to lead to a lot of nonsense.

    And frankly? Teen girls have a lot of drama. I don’t want my son on the phone having deep emo teen drama angst relationship crap. He has a physics class to study for. So yeah at this age I view every young lady as a threat and am suspicious unless I know her and her family well, but even then the whole serious relationship thing…. meh I’m not for it at all, for my daughters neither.

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