Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “It’s Been Three Years and He Has Never Introduced Me to His Family”

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:

I am 45 years old and my boyfriend is almost 40. I just gave him up because after three years he still cannot introduce me to his family. His family does not want to meet me and has never even seen me because I am divorced and a bit older with two children. He has been coming to see me every weekend for three years as he is an hour away. So he has been great that way.

Unfortunately, I have come to a crossroads where I can’t be with him anymore under these circumstances. He still lives at home with his mother and older brother as well so my going to his house is out of the question as his mother would never allow it. He says he is so scared of losing me forever but yet will not make the effort to bring me into his life. So I continue to spend Christmas and holidays alone without being part of his family get-togethers.

It is tearing me apart inside that I broke up with him but at the same time I know I had no other choice. We are so great together and he has bonded with me and my friends and family so well, but he does not ever want to move away from his family and his job is walking distance from his home. But for me, I just cannot settle anymore. I want to be accepted and I want the same for my children, so if you have any thoughts or advice for me that would be wonderful as I am so hurting in all of this. — Left in the Shadows

88 comments… add one
  • JK

    JK March 19, 2012, 9:08 am

    LW I´m sorry, but the only thing I could think while reading your letter was that more than his mother and brother it sounds like your BF (ex?) is living with a wife and kids.
    In THREE years you´ve never met his family??? Or been to his house?
    It also sounds very strange that a 40 year old man is living with his mother and brother, I get that there could be extenuating cricumstances, but still, something (a lot of things actually) is just too red flaggy for my tastes.
    From how I read it you´re not with this guy anymore, congrats for being strong enough to do that, and please do not gt back together with him!
    If he is “so scared to lose you”, then he would have to make some major changes to keep you, and from the sound of things he´s not prepared to do that.

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    • avatar

      cporoski March 19, 2012, 9:43 am

      Totally agree!!! His mom won’t approve but he can travel to you every weekend without getting “in trouble” This is shadey.

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    • avatar

      LW March 19, 2012, 11:39 am

      Let me please rephrase my dilema. No he doesn’t have a wife and kids. I have been to his mothers house and his home but she stayed in the garage because the mother forbids me to go inside. I have met his brother that lives at home as well. so there is no wife and kids that I know 100%. I guess I should have explained that in my letter. I have seen his mother from a distance as when we were sitting outside in there garage she took one look outside and went back in the house.Sorry about the confusion, but the rest is true, she just won’t accept me in his life.

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      • JK

        JK March 19, 2012, 12:15 pm

        OK, thanks for the clarification. Although I have to say it sounds maybe even worse (not that I´m condoning adultery in any way).
        If you were in the garage then I´m guessing there´s no hoarder situation or anything (like someone mentioned below).
        But there are definitely some unhealthy dynamics here, and you were totally right to get out of there!!! What kind of guy (at 40, no less) makes his GF sit in the garage because his mummy doesn´t want her in the house??? And his brother does the same? I don´t know how that GF puts up with it, and for 7 years.
        Wow.

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        LW March 19, 2012, 6:07 pm

        ya I really don’t get it either but I can only assume it’s because she too lives with her parents and his brother and his girlfriend are even older they are 42. So I guess it’s just a common thing. The excuse tthey have always told me is that because they live in the city it is very expensive and almost impossible to live on there own. And yes when I went to visit and had to sit in the garage it felt very degrading and uncomfortable for me as I felt like I was a dog and had to stay in her cage. The mother is also divorced and has had a boyfriend and even lived with him for awhile but now is back with her sons because the boyfreiend and her couldn’t get along. Make no wonder why. But I think what kills me the most is I was never able to tell them all how I feel and how they made me feel and will never have a chance to do that, and also knowing they are now all so happy that I have let him go really eats me up inside, knowing fare well that him and I are both hurting, but yet they gloat, that hurts alot believe me.

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      LW March 19, 2012, 11:57 am

      I’me sorry I guess I didn’t explain correctly. I know he does not have a wife and kids as I have seen his mother from a distance. And his brother I have met as he too is in the same boat and has been with his girlfriend for 7 years and I have also met and she too is not allowed in there home.

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      • avatar

        Temperance March 19, 2012, 12:04 pm

        WOW. Their mother is seriously cuckoo-bananas. I can’t imagine what kind of crazy lady she must be to keep her sons at home well into adulthood.

        I don’t think the fact that you are a divorced parent has anything to do with why she hates you, she just can’t stand the thought of her son loving another woman. That’s the problem.

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      • avatar

        SweetPea March 19, 2012, 12:07 pm

        exactly.

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      • Betsy

        Betsy March 19, 2012, 12:33 pm

        I can’t help but think of that movie Throw Momma from the Train. I think you hit the nail on the head.

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      • avatar

        LW March 19, 2012, 6:08 pm

        I think you are so right

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      • avatar

        Boyd March 20, 2012, 3:06 pm

        Laura Schlesinger (ya, I know she a pain but she does have a stopped clock moment now and then) had a young lady tell her a similar tale some years ago. She asked her if they were having sex. The girl said yes. Laura asked her how soon after meeting and she replied the second date. She asked the reason for the never going out her man insisted on and he fully admitted he was ashamed to be seen with her around his family because they didn’t approve of Mexicans. Finally, Laura asked her if she thought they would have been together for three years if they had not had sex. She replied, no.

        Laura’s conclusion – “The sex blinded you to the fact that the guy you were dating was a racist pig. So you wasted three years of the only life you will ever get on a relationship that you likely would not have spent three weeks on if you had not been having sex.

        I have no way of knowing your circumstances LW but you certainly seem like a nice lady. Perhaps none of this applies to you but then again, maybe there is a lesson here for you. By the way, speaking as a man, all guys want sex. Only the good ones stay around, and stay around for the right reasons, even if they don’t get it.

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  • Will.i.am

    Will.i.am March 19, 2012, 9:09 am

    My first question. What 40 year old man lives with his Mother still, if she’s not terminally ill? The only two logical answers I can think of is the woman you think is his Mom, is actually his wife, and the Brother you think he has, is actually his son. The other option could be that he’s just embarrassed of you. Either one of these options are not good for you, and you took the right step in moving on. If I had been with someone and I knew his family was only an hour away, I would have major red flags if I didn’t see them within the first 3-6 months.

    Him coming to see you every weekend, but you can’t go and see him is very sketchy. Men lie and women continue to be dooped by focusing on the glimpses of sweetness, instead of focusing on the abundance of things he does wrong. For me, this scenario easily went on two years too long.

    Don’t worry yourself thinking about what you did right or wrong, just continue to remember you trusted your gut, and at this point, no explanation is needed on his part.

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    • avatar

      Muffy March 19, 2012, 9:26 am

      Agree completely. Within the first 6 months or so he should have been introducing you to his family – at least within the first year! You let your kids get to know this man and he can’t let his mother get to know you. Move on!

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    • avatar

      SweetPea March 19, 2012, 11:19 am

      “Men lie and women continue to be dooped by focusing on the glimpses of sweetness, instead of focusing on the abundance of things he does wrong.”

      I liked this a lot. It is all too true. Grasping at straws of their good qualities, rather than admitting to the glaring truth of their REALLY bad qualities. If this woman he lives with IS his Mom (that he never plans to move away from), he is pathetic and lazy. If it is his wife, then he is awful. Either way- not good.

      LW, I know it HURTS. And I am so sorry for that. But, there is no question you did the right thing. I am sending you long distance hugs/ good vibes. Take comfort in your beautiful kids and the fact that you were brave enough to let go of someone so dysfunctional.

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    • avatar

      LW March 19, 2012, 11:58 am

      I’me sorry I guess I didn’t explain correctly. I know he does not have a wife and kids as I have seen his mother from a distance. And his brother I have met as he too is in the same boat and has been with his girlfriend for 7 years and I have also met and she too is not allowed in there home.

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      • avatar

        SweetPea March 19, 2012, 12:06 pm

        In this case, his Mother seems like she has some severe mental issues. It doesn’t sound like a run of the mill bitch- she’s got ISSUES. There needs to be a point where your ex distances himself from her. He can still help her out by driving her to a Doctor’s appointment, checking in, etc. But, when someone is this mentally sick, he should get out of dodge and live his own healthy life.

        You should have become more important to him than his Mother’s crazy opinion. Too late now.

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    • avatar

      GTR March 19, 2012, 10:05 pm

      “My first question. What 40 year old man lives with his Mother still, if she’s not terminally ill?”

      I think you’re overthinking this, Will.i.am. My take is that the family belongs to an ethnicity or culture that places family responsibility above individual happiness, and treats parental respect as a huge deal… even when the parent is behaving like this obnoxious old mama.

      Unfortunately the boyfriend is trapped in this culture, choosing to give up his girlfriend of three years rather than go against the will of the clan’s matriarch. Sucks to be him. But if he’s so enslaved to his culture that he can’t make changes for a woman who’s stuck by him for three years, then he’s probably not worth it. Sorry, LW, but I think you made the only realistic choice.

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      • avatar

        Anthrocuse March 19, 2012, 10:30 pm

        this is a good point! LW seems to be keeping abreast with the comments. Is there any chance of explaining the housing situation with culture?

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      • avatar

        Anthrocuse March 19, 2012, 10:32 pm

        (I say this because my boyfriend is 25 and lives with his/takes care of his parents. They are refugees and his parents do not speak English. Also, in his culture the children stay with their parents until they are married. For cultural/political complicated reasons, I did not introduce myself to his parents AS his girlfriend for two years although they love me now…)

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      • avatar

        LW March 20, 2012, 10:05 pm

        yes he is euorpean, so am I .. We are both of the same culture actually.

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    • avatar

      kare March 19, 2012, 11:31 pm

      “What 40-year-old man still lives with his mother?”

      Ed Gein.

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  • avatar

    Muffy March 19, 2012, 9:10 am

    You did the right thing LW. This man sounds like he is 17 not 40. He can’t be with you because his mommy said no? And furthermore, he lives with her? You and your family deserve better. There are plenty of men who wouldn’t keep you as some sort of shameful secret.

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  • FireStar

    FireStar March 19, 2012, 9:12 am

    It is hard breaking up with someone you still love. Ultimately you did the right thing though. The respect you have for yourself has to trump any other feelings you have for a partner. I’m sorry you have to go through the grief of the breakup but you are setting a good example for your children in showing them that love isn’t enough and it’s okay to walk away from someone you love if they are not treating your properly. Now go call some girlfriends who can come over with ice cream or wine or who can grab you and take you out of your house and drag you into the sunshine a little. Good luck and I promise it will get better.

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  • avatar

    Amanda March 19, 2012, 9:18 am

    LW, I’m so sorry that you’re hurting, but you absolutely made the right decision. You deserve someone who will love and accept you and your children and you were 100% correct not to put up with this man’s behavior. I use the term “man” loosely here because I’m not certain anyone over 40 who still lives with their mom and older brother is truly an adult. You and your children deserve so much more. I hope that you will find a loving partner in the near future.

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  • avatar

    ReginaRey March 19, 2012, 9:28 am

    Best case scenario, this guy is a 40-year-old man who still lives with his mother and has some severe maturity issues going on, as well as some very strange attachment issues. Worst case, the reason you’ve never met his mother and brother is because they’re really a wife and kids.

    In either case, the right solution was to MOA. You did the right thing.

    Now, stick to your guns. You already recognize that this relationship wasn’t right, and that you should be able to expect and receive more from a significant other. You’re right. But still, I’d suggest you perhaps go to some counseling. While it’s good you finally got yourself out of this situation, I’m concerned that you spent 3 years with someone with a LOT of very obvious red flags. Some self-discovery and introspection never hurt!

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray March 19, 2012, 2:20 pm

      Eh, you’re averaging only about 6 “likes” an hour, and they are petering out fast. You got to try harder with the next letter.

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  • avatar

    GertietheDino March 19, 2012, 9:57 am

    My question is, you’ve been putting up with this for 3 years, what made you re-think the arrangement now? More importantly, why on earth would you date a 40 year old who still lives with mommy? MOA!

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    • avatar

      LW March 19, 2012, 6:11 pm

      this isn’t the first time I have thought of this believe me. Every year when we hit our 1 year anniversary I struggled with this. I just thought that in time he would so chnage his mind and I guess I just hit my breaking point this time around and couldn’t go through another whole year of this and not being accepted.

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  • avatar

    bethany March 19, 2012, 10:00 am

    MOA and fast.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay March 19, 2012, 10:05 am

    You made the right choice. It doesn’t really matter why he is living with whoever he’s living with (wife, mom, etc.), but it’s all unacceptable. A 40-year-old man who willingly lives with his mom has issues. And honestly, that bit about you being older and having children is ridiculous. He’s 40; he’s going to have a hard time if those are problems for him (though I suspect he’s lying, and a bad liar at that). Go find someone awesome who is single and independent!

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    • avatar

      SweetPea March 19, 2012, 11:43 am

      Exactly. I was thinking the same thing. Although dating a guy who had children seemed challenging to me, when I was single, I had already resigned myself to the fact that a lot of guys I dated would have kids. And I tried to learn to see that as a good thing. Mind you I was only in my late 20s. A guy who is 40 needs to fully realize MANY women in the dating pool have kids. It is pretty delusional to think otherwise.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 19, 2012, 10:28 am

    Your boyfriend does seem to be hiding something. I don’t necessarily think it’s a wife and kids because I don’t know of any wife who would think there was a legitimate reason for her husband to be gone all weekend, every weekend. The men around here who have been caught cheating tend to cheat while traveling for work during the week or while at work so they are “good family men” on the weekends. I also don’t think he could be living with his mom the way he says because if his mom has that much control over his life she wouldn’t allow him to spend his weekend away with an unacceptable woman every weekend. If he didn’t care that mom didn’t approve every single weekend he wouldn’t care if she disapproves every day of his life and he would do what he wants. So what is he hiding? I have no idea but he assumes it would make you leave him if you found out so take his word for it and know you’ve done the right thing by leaving.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B March 19, 2012, 10:35 am

    I agree with everyone else. There is something not right about this man. He is either lying or ashamed. You deserve so much more respect than what you got from him, which is nil. MOA and know you did the right thing for yourself. Who needs him? Not you.

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  • avatar

    Renee March 19, 2012, 10:59 am

    I’m going to assume he is telling the truth.,

    Because I do know men and women of this age who live with their mom.

    But even if they’re hoarders who didn’t shower, he would of confided in that to you if he loved and trusted you.

    Right call to MOA

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  • avatar

    Ravage Maladie March 19, 2012, 11:03 am

    You sound very strong in your letter. Everything you’ve described as being your rightful due in the relationship, unquestionably is. Since you don’t necessarily ask for tips but rather consolation, I will try to aim towards that.

    Good for you that you have your priorities straight. Good for you that you’re not putting up with these facts anymore, no matter how much they might sometimes contradict your emotions. The simple truth is this situation was unsatisfactory for you (and your children!) and you acted on that. Can’t stress it enough: good for you.

    In my opinion it would be fruitful to focus on that, rather than on whether or not he might actually live with his wife, or what he or you did wrong, etc. Sure, he does sound very shady and/or immature. But the thing you can take away from this is that it’s a situation where you were strong enough and had enough self-confidence to go with your intuition, and you probably did yourself a huge favor. That’s never an easy thing to do, and you just did it. So give yourself a pat on the shoulder and don’t let your mind get stuck on him. To be honest, he doesn’t sound like he’s worth you.

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  • CatsMeow

    CatsMeow March 19, 2012, 11:10 am

    Breakups SUCK!!

    I’m sorry you’re hurting, LW. I know it’s painful. Just stay strong and know that you did the right thing. Based on your letter, I believe this breakup is for the best in the long run, and you know it too.

    When I broke up with the boo, I took a few days to wallow, and it helped me get it out of my system. I wallowed VERY intensely. I cried, wrote in my diary, listened to sad music, drank lots of wine, spent an entire day in bed, took bubble baths, ate ice cream, reached out to my friends, etc. Oh, and the DW community helped me a lot too. 🙂

    And after I indulged in that, I started to feel more normal.

    I think you just need time…. and wine, haha. Time, wine, and friends. That’s how you get over the hurt. Each day will get a little bit easier. When you feel down, just remind yourself that it’s for the best.

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  • avatar

    Fabelle March 19, 2012, 11:10 am

    My thoughts actually didn’t immediately go “he must be married”, which is quite plausible…BUT I can also easily imagine a man like this existing. There are plenty of mama’s boys like this who think it’s perfectly normal to stay in the nest forever, & if that’s how he is, then he’d obviously still listen to his mother about who is & is not allowed over.

    With that said, this behavior is pathetic & you’ve made the right decision in letting him go. My only advice would be to stay strong and focus on all the ways this guy is terrible & how he does NOT fit into your life. Don’t waste any time being sad (or you know, TRY not to, since it won’t be easy) and also cut off all contact with him, if you haven’t already.

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  • avatar

    evanscr05 March 19, 2012, 11:38 am

    I would like to add that if he is, indeed, living with his mother, this does not automatically make him a mama’s boy or an immature boy that needs to grow up. It could be a cultural thing. I work with a couple of Asian women who are both married and grown who live with either their parents or in-laws, and an Indian who also lives with her in-laws. Now, in reality, they all own their homes and their parents lives with them, but it’s a cultural thing where they provide for their parents, particularly the men. They are all, at a minimum, in their mid-30s. It’s just what they do.

    Now, if the man in question is living with his family out of a cultural thing, or even because of health issues, this is not concerning in the least. I would add, though, that it absolutely IS concerning that he has refused to incoorporate you into his life. Regardless of culture, that is in bad taste, particularly after 3 years, and you were right to move on. However, if he is living with his family NOT out of a cultural or health-related thing, it’s concerning, and he possibly could be lying and it really could be a wife and kids. Either way, I think you did the right thing by ending it.

    The only advice I can give you about moving on, emotionally, from this situation, is that it will hurt until it doesn’t. You recognized a bad match for you and ratehr than try to make it work, you did the right thing and ended it. Time does heal wounds like this and one day it won’t hurt so much.

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      kali March 19, 2012, 10:56 pm

      Thank you! This screams cultural to me too. Still, after all this time, you’d hope he’d find his balls and make a life for himself.

      I can’t believe these brothers can’t bring women home. I think they may be seriously whipped.

      MOA if he doesn’t mend his ways immediately. No one deserves to leave in the shadows.

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  • avatar

    PFG-SCR March 19, 2012, 11:41 am

    I see that others have beaten me to the point that his “story” could potentially be a lie, but it really doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that, at best, your relationship was forever going to be paused at this same spot. If there was potential for a change in the future, that’s one thing, but it was clear that there wasn’t. You shouldn’t have to settle for something that is less than you want and doesn’t make you happy when you know there is no possibility of it ever improving. You made the right choice in breaking up – it’s totally understandable that you’re upset even though you made the decision. Take your time and mourn for the end of the relationship but don’t look back.

    Good luck, LW.

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      Vathena March 19, 2012, 12:48 pm

      “…no possibility of it ever improving.”

      I think this hits it right on the head. This guy had no intention of ever making an attempt to improve his, and the LW’s, situation. Even when she left him. It sounds to me like mom comes first for him, and always will. Whatever the problem in a relationship, if there is not a concerted effort to solve it, then one either has to accept the status quo as the permanent situation or move on and find someone that will put them first. LW, I applaud you for recognizing this truth – that your boyfriend would not ever give you what you want and deserve. It’s going to hurt, but will hurt less every day. I hope you find someone who will treat you (and your kids) with respect and be proud to integrate you into his family (or stand up for you to his family, whatever it takes!)

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      • avatar

        cporoski March 19, 2012, 3:43 pm

        Totally true. everyone says the mom is crazy…which is true. But this is a full grown man. He had a choice and he picked his mom. seems pathetic and the LW dodged a bullet.

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      • avatar

        LW March 19, 2012, 4:56 pm

        Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and i too so hope I can move past this and your so right his mother will always always come before me and that really sucks.

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      • avatar

        Britannia March 19, 2012, 6:13 pm

        It really sucks, LW, but believe me – there are many wonderful men out there who will prioritize you properly. I hope one of them happens your way when it’s the right time!

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. March 19, 2012, 11:54 am

    Sure there are valid reasons why someone of his age would be living with his mother. Maybe she’s ill and needs someone to look after her. No shame in that. Maybe he lost his house, an all too common occurance these days. But, you’d think he’d be able to confide in his girlfriend of three years if this was the case. This is why there are so many red flags for me.

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  • avatar

    Temperance March 19, 2012, 12:02 pm

    LW:

    I am so, so sorry that his mother is such a terrible person. I think that you made the right choice, and I”m sorry that you’re hurting. I feel awful that he won’t stand up to his beast of a mother for a woman who he loves.

    There is a man out there who isn’t still breastfeeding at 40, I promise. You sound like an intelligent, successful woman who any reasonable man would be proud to love. You deserve better, and I’m glad that you see this.

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  • avatar

    Anna March 19, 2012, 12:15 pm

    I think you made the right call to break up with him. I didn’t automatically think that the “mother and brother” must be a wife and a kid in actuality, and this is why. My older sister still lives at home with my parents and she is 38 and single, hasn’t had a date since high school. My 34-year old brother also lived there until about a year and a half ago when he finally got his own house and got married…but his house is about 3 houses down from my parents’ on the same street. My parents are very judgmental of anyone their kids date. As kids, our dating advise was basically “You will never date. Period.” My 35-year old sister and I are the only ones who have run as far from the nest as we could get, and we almost never go back because of how our parents are. Because of the family situation, it is pretty much impossible to have company at their house and have an enjoyable time. When my boyfriend and I were dating and I still lived there, we almost always hung out at his parents’ house…it just wasn’t considered weird at that age because we were only 19 and 20. When you are 40, if you aren’t mature enough to move out of mommy and daddy’s house and start an adult life, you aren’t mature enough to be in a relationship either.

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    • avatar

      SweetPea March 19, 2012, 12:28 pm

      Thanks for the input on how everyone’s life situations are very different. Unique perspectives are always good to hear! It must be challenging for you and your siblings. Kudos to you for going the way that makes you happy 🙂

      I know there are circumstances that keep people at home a lot longer than the “norm”. I didn’t exactly fly the coop right away. I didn’t move out until 25 and then did a few months stint back there at 28. I wasn’t exactly sure which direction my life was taking and stayed there because of the big sense of security it provided. So, I cant totally judge this guy.

      However, what I can judge him on is the fact that what was going on was CLEARLY hurting the LW. If my parents were rude or cruel to my boyfriend for no good reason, I’d cut ties pretty damn quick. I love my parents and would continue to do so, but they’d find out very quickly that treating my significant other poorly is unacceptable. I am pretty sure this guy could have worked to change his circumstances within the 3 years he was with the LW.

      But things like “he does not ever want to move away because he lives within walking distance from work” makes it seem like everything else was more important than the LW. Unacceptable.

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      • avatar

        Anna March 19, 2012, 1:17 pm

        I agree. If your SO is less important to you than living walking distance from work, the relationship isn’t working. When I was 20 and moved out to be closer to my boyfriend and school, I also increased my commute to work from 15 min to 35 min. Oh, and was basically shunned by my family. They’ve never once come to see me during the 8 yrs I’ve been out on my own. It’s hurtful but I chose that life because he makes me happy and my independence makes me happy. The LW’s ex clearly didn’t value her that much, and she deserves better.

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      • avatar

        LW March 19, 2012, 6:15 pm

        wow, I admire you so much for your courage, you took a stand for yourself and you kept on going, you did for yourself what I wish my ex could do for himself, so honestly I give you so much credit for your strenght and its a great inspiration for me.. Thanks for your input..

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      • avatar

        Anna March 20, 2012, 12:30 am

        You’re welcome! You were strong to MOA from him. Who knows? Maybe losing you will be just the wake-up call he needs to change his life. But don’t count on that. Just do what makes you happy! Everyone deserves happiness!

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  • avatar

    jaybro March 19, 2012, 12:23 pm

    The bad news is that just because you’re a lady who KNOWS that this was a bad a situation and you KNOW that there is nothing good that would ever come out of it and you’re even proud of yourself for dumping him, it’s still gonna suck. You still have residual emotional attachment to the guy, and even if you know it’s crazy and you just wish it would go away, nothing you seem to try can convince you to just stop loving him.

    The good news is that it’s not going to suck forever (though it may feel that way right now).

    To help you along the way, I suggest you follow the advice of some of the other commenters. Make sure you stop contacting him. Delete him from FB, take him off your phone, etc. Wallow for a bit! Go out with some girlfriends! Get PISSED. Accept what has passed. Forgive yourself for the time you spent on him. Write those little notes on your bathroom mirror reminding yourself that you are a strong, beautiful lady you deserves an equally strong and beautiful man (men can be beautiful, yeah?). Just keep telling yourself that both of you are better off, even if you don’t believe it fully quite yet. Spend some quality time with your kids! Get your hair and nails DID.

    And after awhile, you’ll be okay. It may take obnoxiously long, but you’ll be okay. And then you can get back on the horse and find a real man who respects and loves you and introduces you to his family awkwardly the second week you’ve known him because he’s so excited he’s finally met the lady for him and can’t wait to share you with his family.

    Keep that chin up, and good luck!

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      SweetPea March 19, 2012, 12:35 pm

      Yay, wonderful advice!

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    AndreaMarie March 19, 2012, 12:28 pm

    Oh my word. It sounded bizarre enough but then I read the additional updates the LW provided in the comments; including that she had to saty in the garage because the Mom would not allow her in the house. Heavens.

    Let’s just say that this mother has some serious mental issues, which is clear. But that has NOTHING to do with the behavior of your boyfriend. He is clearly dealing with issues of his own (which could be attributed to growing up with a mentally abusive mother). He’s 40 years old, a grown man, he can do whatever he wants. First off there seems to be zero reason why he should be living with his mother. She doesn’t seem to be ill enough to need constant care. And even if she does need assistance, his brother is already living there. Why can’t he get his own apartment nearby to both his mother and his job? And the whole issue of “his mother won’t allow him”. Are you kidding me?!! He’s a grown man. Like any grown man, or woman, you say “Hey mom, I’m 40 years old, I’d like to enjoy the companionship of a person of the opposite sex and it’s really none of your business or concern.”

    You did the right thing. You’re a mature gorwn woman with children. You deserve a lot more from a man. And honestly, this sounds like some weirdo Norman Bates stuff.

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      LW March 19, 2012, 5:14 pm

      No his mother is not sick at all, actually quite healthy from what I know and hear. I know that her house is paid off and him and his brother cover the bills and she only buys food, so I guess he just has it too easy and doesnt want to change his sitaution, he tells me he is trying to come to grips with realizing if he doesn’t make a decision he will lose me forever, but yet I have heard this before all too well and nothing ever changes. So I guess I have to accept he will just never love me enough to ever leave and I guess I am just not the one for him. It hurts yeah, but nothing I can do, I did everything right and now I am forced to move on. It really does suck a lot. But thanks so much for all of your kind words.

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        Britannia March 19, 2012, 6:16 pm

        I just want to say that it’s not because he doesn’t love you enough or that you’re not the right person for him… his relationship with his mother is very intense, co-dependent, and manipulative. He’s probably been emotionally abused and stunted by his mother throughout his entire life. It’s not your fault that he hasn’t stood up to his mother for you. There’s no woman on this planet who is going to make him up and leave her. Unless, of course, that woman is a psychotherapist who helps him see what a toxic relationship his mother has created between them.

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    Flake March 19, 2012, 1:16 pm

    This may be a stupid question, but is there a reason why he can’t live with you? Besides the psychotic mother, that is… And after all of this, why would you even want to spend any time with her? If my ”mother-in-law” treated me with such contempt, I would do everything possible to avoid being in the same room as her. Why don’t you try spending holidays with your family? I guess I understand that you would want his mother to like you, but that really should not be the defining factor in your relationship.

    On the other hand, if you have offered him to come and live with you, and he refused, then yes, you have nothing to be sorry about. It just proves that it is never too late to learn from your mistakes.

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      LW March 19, 2012, 5:07 pm

      Yes I have a home here on my own with my daughter and there would be plenty of room for him to stay here, but the truth is he has never ever even wanted to consider it, like I said, he walks to his job, has senority, his family is all in walking distance from him, so if he moved here, all he would have is me and my kids and I guess that is something he could never allow himself to do. I have brought it up once and realized right away he was not interested in it, actually everytime I have ever tried to talk about a future he has always changed the topic, had I not done this he could have gone on like this for as long as he could.

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  • theattack

    theattack March 19, 2012, 2:15 pm

    I haven’t read any of the other comments yet, but I think you should change your focus from “Why isn’t his family accepting me?” to “Why isn’t he changing his life so that I can be in it?” You won’t be able to influence if his family accepts you or chooses to meet you, but you CAN talk to him about how he can make moves to include you in his life. He could move out of his parents’ house and into a place where you can feel comfortable visiting him. He could tell his parents that he wants to spend the holidays with you, so they can either include you, or he won’t be spending the holidays with them. He can’t change his family, and you’ll have to accept that. But you’ll also have to let him know that he either has to make those changes to be with you long-term, or you’re gone forever. He has to know that you can’t have a long-term relationship with someone who refuses to include you in his life.

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    Nectarine March 19, 2012, 4:29 pm

    Okay, so this guy’s mother hates you because you’re 5 years older and divorced with 2 kids? So what’s her beef with his brother’s girlfriend? Is she 5 years older and divorced with kids too? From what you’ve shared, it sounds far more likely (as many other people have already suggested) that this woman has emotional problems of some sort. Or maybe she’s just a manipulative bitch. Either way, that’s not the guy’s fault. What is his fault, however, is that he’s 40 years old, still living at home (I’m sorry, I recognize that there are a few situations where this is ok, but more often than not it’s a red flag), and putting the feelings and needs of his mother (who’s never even met you, I might add) above the feelings and needs of the woman he supposedly loves. I doesn’t sound like he’s even tried to better the situation for you. Bottom line, you made the right call. I know the relationship had its strong points (many strong points, even) and that this was therefore a painful decision, but you (and your kids) deserve so much better. Eventually (sooner than later I’ll bet) you’ll look back on this relationship and wonder, “what the hell was I thinking?!”

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      Nectarine March 19, 2012, 4:36 pm

      Agh, that should read “IT doesn’t…”

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    LW March 19, 2012, 7:36 pm

    He did however bring me 5 months ago to a family wedding. But once his mother and siter knew I was going they decided to miss the nieces wedding just so they did not have to see me. I know, hard to believe but it’s so very real. I thought the aunts and uncles would have been at least pleasant with me at this wedding or even his twin brother and his wife, but again, they treated me like the stranger I have always been, there was no warm welcome by anyone whatsoever, the only thing I got were looks up and down, I know it was of good intention to bring me to the wedding on his part, but he can’t just stop there and he has, he seems to think that by taking me to this one wedding one time proves he loves me. Well, although some of that may be true, then why has there been nothing ever since.

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      Renee March 19, 2012, 8:41 pm

      Speechless…

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      Nectarine March 19, 2012, 8:42 pm

      Well, he may have gotten crap from his relatives for having the *audacity* to bring his girlfriend of 3 years to a family function (for which I’m assuming he had a “plus 1” to use as he pleased). He probably also got crap from his mother and sister for bringing you, thereby forcing them to stay home, because apparently they’ll burst into flames if y’all are ever under the same roof. And the whole episode must have made you feel pretty lousy, which may very well have made him feel bad, and he can’t be bothered with that stress. My point is, he never made any attempts after that wedding because the first attempt likely ended up being an inconvenience to him and why should he be inconvenienced?

      I can relate to certain aspects of this situation, and I totally believe you when you say there was genuinely good stuff there. But seriously, this guy sounds like a selfish loser, and his family sounds absolutely horrible. You’ve dodged a bullet here; you should be proud of yourself.

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        GTR March 20, 2012, 3:50 am

        Although LW remains mysteriously unwilling to address it (especially when she’s so chatty about everything else), I’m still getting the impression that the boyfriend and his family are not the corn-fed white Americans that you’re all assuming them to be.

        If you imagine them as, say, traditional Indians or Pakistanis, suddenly their behaviour seems a lot more believable. That is, they’re from a distinct and conservative culture that tends to be insular when transposed into the West. The fact that both the mother and sister chose to miss the wedding rather than see LW, AND that the rest of the family didn’t think that this was extreme or indeed insane, suggests that there’s a mass cultural block between them and their acceptance of an outsider into their midst.

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        Nectarine March 20, 2012, 8:31 am

        I agree that this is a possibility, but given all the information provided thus far, it could still go either way. When she addressed his unwillingness to grow a pair and get his own place in her follow-ups, it sounded (to me anyway) as though it stemmed more from laziness and immaturity than ethnic tradition. It would be helpful to know, but in either case, if this is how she’s being treated, and this is how he reacts (or doesn’t react), it’s good that she got out. If they hate her for cultural reasons, I suppose that their right, but that doesn’t mean she should have to put up with it indefinitely. And if their treatment of her does come from a desire to preserve their heritage, that doesn’t mean the guy gets to leave her to fend for herself. I’ve never been in this situation (if it is, in fact, a cultural issue), so I couldn’t say what the proper balance is between respecting your family’s values and supporting the woman you love, but surely this isn’t it.

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        LW March 22, 2012, 8:32 pm

        -*+Hello again, the answer to your question is no this is not a cultural problem as we are both of the same culture. He has however since our breakup written an email to my sister, not to me. He told her the reason why he allowed me to let him go this time was because he has always felt he was missing something inside of him. He has always wanted kids, so I’me suspecting that is the big thing he is missing, also having someone whom his family will approve of.So once again, the coward that he is he didn’t tell me this. Had I known he was still struggling with this he should have took his out every year before this when i gave him the opportunity to leave, but instead he has told my sister that because we were so connected, got along so well and had so much fun together he found it hard to leave, but yet he was stringing me along, he says he wasn’t but thats sure as hell what it feels like to me . I feel like I have been used and very much lead on.

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        Nectarine March 23, 2012, 2:35 pm

        Well, now that we’ve established that there’s no culture difference or chronic illness to take into consideration, what have we got? A 40-year-old mama’s boy who’s still living home and is too much of a pussy to stand up for you and ask his family to quit treating you like crap. That’s what we’ve got. I realize what you’re grieving is the loss of the good stuff, but trust me, whatever the good stuff was, it wasn’t enough. You should be glad to be rid of this guy. I can’t help but wonder how shitty your past relationships must have been to make you think that this one was okay.

        The most important thing here is that you stick to your decision. This guy is a piece of shit who evidently comes from a long line of pieces of shit. There, I said it. He’s an embarrassment to the entire male gender. Now go join eHarmony or Match or something and find someone who treats you (and your kids) the way you deserve to be treated.

        (Also, this may be obvious, but I just want to point out for propriety that when I posted earlier “I suppose that their right,” it should have read “I suppose THAT’S their right.” I just want to make it clear that I don’t think they’re right to hate you [or that I don’t know the difference between “there,” “their,” and “they’re”].)

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    Jubietta March 19, 2012, 8:38 pm

    It sounds like sour grapes, but I feel like you dodged a bullet here LW. As bad/mad/sad as this whole situation sounds…boyfriend obviously has a very unique, very lopsided, very co-dependent idea of what it means to live with someone. I could not imagine living with someone who thought that way. I hope you pass through the pain and anger, accept the good and the bad, and when you’re ready to look forward…turn this experience into a comic strip and read it someday real soon to a loving, thoughtful, respectful new partner…and laugh, laugh, laugh! Time and distance are good for clarity, clarity highlights absurdity, absurdity and good pen drawings make for good comics!

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    crypticguise March 20, 2012, 1:35 pm

    Frankly, this article makes me want to vomit. Why would any grown woman with children who is “sane” wish to involve herself with a 45 year old Mommy’s boy who still lives at home.

    Something is rotten in this story, and I suspect we will never know. Barf time, folks!

    Honey, get on with your life.

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    linda March 20, 2012, 1:39 pm

    Good Grief…you are too old to be such a dope.

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    tim maguire March 20, 2012, 1:41 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about your hurt and struggle, but it sounds like you didn’t break up with him, he broke up with you. He just forgot to tell you.

    For whatever reason, his family made him choose between you and them and he chose them.

    Good for you for not throwing good years after bad. You’ll have to move on eventually. Better to do it now and get it over with.

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    TeeJaw March 20, 2012, 3:37 pm

    He’s never introduced you to his family because he has no intention of ever making you a part of his family.

    The sort of relationship he had with you for the last three years is the kind many men desire and will try to keep as long as they can. Most women do not prefer this deal and figure it out a little sooner than you did. Right now he’s probably looking for another woman willing to fill the role that you filled so faithfully for him.

    That he was only seeing you on weekends and that he is an hour away (i.e., 50 or more miles) is the dead give away. Without asking, I assume these weekend visits mainly revolved around sex. I can’t think of any other explanation for the sort of relationship you describe.

    Next time don’t ignore the signs for so long, and in the long run you’ll be a lot happier.

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      roxy1234 March 22, 2012, 9:19 pm

      You know something Tee Jaw , I don’t know you at all but your response here has overwhelmed me. I think you are so right about all of it. You know he now tells my sister on an email, not me but her that he has always felt inside something is missing. He still wants to have a kid of his own as well, so says he has wrestled with that but allowed me to let him go this time because he sees now we can’t keep breaking up year after year over this same thing anymore. He was devestated last year and the year before when I gave him and out, so why now all of a sudden is he fine with my decision, and claims as much as it would kill him to see me move on he needs to face reality that I will. And also told her that if he sees he is going to snap and cannot be without me he will so come running back on his hands and knees and nothing will get in his way. So honestly I am speechless, as once again he coward out on telling me this himself. Also our break up was on the phone but tomorrow i am going to see him because I told him I need closure face to face because I know how much he hates confrontation. But I deserve for him to tell me the truth, I need it in order to move on, does this sound crazy.

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    Brian G. March 20, 2012, 4:08 pm

    What wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest is if he is a Republican, because those people live in the Stone Age where a woman like her is considered scum of the earth. Republicans hate women, children, minorities, and gays, because all they care about is Big Oil and Big Business. Of course, being the hypocrites they are, they don’t mind using women for their own carnal wants. This women needs to see a man’s voter registration card before she dates them and if it says Republican on it, don’t bother. Those men are plain disgusting.

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    Kat March 20, 2012, 5:58 pm

    LW, you’ve made your decision. Now, you need to look forward. You have a daughter you say? Would you let her suffer in a relationship such as you yourself have suffered,or would you set an example for her to stand up for herself? I’m thinking that you would rather be strong for your daughter, than give her the lesson that being in a bad relationship is better than being in no relationship. Being alone DOES NOT equal being LONELY. You are only 42, for crying out loud. I didn’t meet my husband until I was 40, and we have been together 7 years now, in spite of his family. I met him when I wasn’t even looking, because I was too busy with family, friends, work, volunteering, and making myself into the kind of person that he would notice/be attracted to.
    It’s time for you to say to yourself “Self, I deserve to be happy. I need to forget that loser and get on with my life. Stop caring about whether they are happy I’m gone, because people like that are *never* really happy, and besides, I just don’t care what they think. I have a wonderful life ahead of me.” Lather, rinse, repeat.

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    A guy March 20, 2012, 6:14 pm

    1) His mom is nuts

    2) If he lets her dictate his life in this way, he’s a loser and not worth your time

    3) What kind of loser lives with his mom/brother at age 40?

    4) Move along now. This sounds like the family from Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

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    beb March 20, 2012, 7:43 pm

    Wow, why are you even asking what to do? My guess is he’s married. And to think that you know this is not true because you saw his mother from afar is delusion. A guy can have wife and mother at the same time. The whole idea that his mom hid in the garage when you showed up is ludicrous.

    Even if he isn’t married, which could be the case because of course I’m no mind reader, the whole situation smells of lies. Not to be too harsh but it seems like you are looking for validation to keep the relationship going. Drop him and move on. Time is wasting.

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    That's Funny March 20, 2012, 9:23 pm

    I have Left in the Shadows beat by 5 horse lengths.

    I have met a girl in 1998. To this day, she has not seen anybody in my family. We have been married 13 years. Pure bliss and happiness… no mother in law issues.

    Families are the most overrated things other than Hallmark cards.

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      roxy1234 March 22, 2012, 9:22 pm

      well then she is a lucky lady, because my ex would have never left his family for me, I never actually gave him an ultimatum but him not fighting to keep me gave me my answer, I guess he never loved me.

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    Dave F March 21, 2012, 12:37 pm

    Didn’t Alfred Hitchcock make a movie about this guy?

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    Don Gwinn March 21, 2012, 4:18 pm

    LW, there is simply no advice to be given here. You have done the ONLY rational thing you could possibly do. You are NOT responsible for him and cannot take that responsibility. He has chosen, for his own reasons, to accept that his place is living with his mother and brother rather than making room for you in his life. The ONLY rational response to that is to move on, so you did.

    Yes, it hurts, but you are doing the right thing. The time you spent on him may seem to have been wasted, but if there was happiness there, it wasn’t a complete waste–and it’s a sunk cost at this point anyway. Even if you do decide that it was a waste, you cannot get it back or redeem it by going on in this unhappy, demeaning relationship. If you haven’t yet (and you probably have) consider what your child was learning by watching you put up with that treatment for three years. Then consider what your child learned by watching you break it off–seeing that you suffered, that you were in pain, but that you were willing to endure that in order to keep your integrity and do the right thing for yourself. What a great lesson, right?

    If you’re ever tempted to go back, start by considering what new lesson you will teach that child by doing it.

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    DMR March 22, 2012, 8:39 am

    Whatever this guy is up to, one thing is for sure. He’s a liar, big time. Exactly what he is lying about is up for grabs.

    First up, plenty of people are saying “the mom is crazy.” Well, let’s back up a second. You’ve never met the mother. She apparently “stayed in the garage” during the only visit, but come on. Does that sound like something anybody would do in their own home? The mother is a control freak and hiding in your garage from a visitor the opposite of control-freakery. Conclusion: there’s a lie going on in there somewhere.

    Second. The mother and sister DIDN’T GO TO A NIECE’S WEDDING because some woman who they barely know, or care about, was going? Something about that wedding doesn’t add up, but anyway. We’ll never know for sure. Did anyone mention them at the wedding, comment on the fact that they didn’t show?

    Third. You’ve met the brother. Now, I have to tell you that I have lied for my brother about all kinds of things. I won’t say any more than that but don’t assume that anything the ‘brother’ said is legit.

    Finally, any guy that has a relationship with a single mom, and forms a bond with her children, when he’s got no intention of committing, is… well , I was going to say a douchebag, but that’s not strong enough. Insert the strongest word you can think of. that’s what he is. For not just leading you on, but your kids. He doesn’t deserve to be dumped, he deserves to be outed, then dumped.

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      roxy1234 March 22, 2012, 9:32 pm

      WOW THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HELPING CONFIRM WHAT I WAS THINKING MYSELF..

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    DMR March 22, 2012, 9:09 am

    Just to clarify – I’m not necessarily climbing on the “he has a family” bandwagon. There are plenty of things he might be lying about or hiding. And without access to the other people in his life, you can’t triangulate with different perspectives to figure out what sort of person he really is.

    Anyway the bottom line for me is that he hurt your kids by leading them on when he never intended to commit as a parent. That’s the worst thing he did.

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    j May 21, 2012, 5:00 pm

    You made the right choice. I hate to say it, there are so many red flags here. If something this simple can’t be overcome by him – it is not you – in what? 3 years! you are totally in the right frame of mind. My sister dealt with the same issue. She eventually dumped him and was distraught about it. He was miserable and eventually saw the errors of his ways. She decided to try again, putting herself out there, and he introduced her as his girlfriend to his friends and family. They eventually moved in together and have been together for about 3 years. They are in a place for them where they are talking of getting engage/married. My sister and her bf were in their 20’s when this happened, not they are about 28. Something had to have happened to that family. I know a guy that is in is late 40’s, lives at home with mom. Nothing special by any means. Used a woman with two kids for sex then dumped her. Gross.

    Takes me to my point of women being punished for being mothers. When I think about it guys are actually pretty gross anyways. We make more money, we are better looking, they are losers, most do drugs/drink.

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    Nomvula October 16, 2012, 4:37 pm

    I was with a guy for 5 years. In the 5 year I never a friend, family member or colleague of his. He lived 15 minutes away but we saw each other only once every two to three months. We spoke on the phone maybe once every other week or less. He went away for 5 months, didn’t tell me anything and when he came back he acted like nothing was wrong. Many times he would not answer my calls, texts and e-mails. When he did return my calls, he’d at work or outside. If he was inside he’d speak very softly. I have never been to his house and always had excuses why I couldn’t visit him. At times he wore a ring but swore it was just a dressing ring.

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    ime July 9, 2014, 10:52 pm

    mine is that before we’ve been going out as gf and bf, I got a relationship with a married man. But I got out of that relationship before it will make my life worst. His mother and siblings won’t approve of me being his gf so in 2 years he won’t introduce me to his family. And worst he wants us to get marry in a secret wedding. It’s killing me but I did dumped him just 2 days ago. What advises ca u give me?

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