“My Boyfriend Won’t Kick His Mother Out of Our Place”

I’ve been living with my boyfriend for about two years now in our first apartment together, a small one-bedroom. I recently found out I’m pregnant. His mother and her boyfriend are in a bind and asked if they could they stay with us for 30 days. At first it was fine; we converted our living room into their room for that time due to the fact that we didn’t have furniture. It has been about four months now that they have been living with us and giving however much they want a month in payment. I want to get my home ready for my child and celebrate the holidays. Every time we ask them to leave they make up some excuse and say they need more time. My boyfriend does not want to be rude and kick his mom out. I feel like she is taking advantage of our kindness. I’m trying not to stress because that is bad for my health at this point, but he won’t take charge. Please give me some advice on what I should do. — Needs Space

Explain to your boyfriend that he may not want to be rude to his freeloading mom and her boyfriend, but by allowing them to continue living with you in your small home indefinitely, he is being very rude to YOU. Tell him you want them out of your house by this weekend so that you can decorate and enjoy the holidays and begin getting ready for your baby. If they are not out by the weekend, tell him you will be staying with friends/family in a hotel until they *are* out. That gives you a few days to line up places to stay, which you will likely need. They will give him a guilt trip because it’s the holidays and “they have nowhere to go.” But it isn’t YOUR job to house two capable, grown adults. They are taking advantage of you and everyone knows it.

If your boyfriend allows you to essentially move out before putting the kibosh on this pitiful arrangement, that tells you all you need to know abut his commitment to you, and I would seriously start looking for your own place to rent and to raise your child in. If you are to have any future with him as a romantic partner, he needs to learn how to create some boundaries with his mother. This is a test, and so far he is failing. His failure does not need to be your future.

Recently my partner and I have been arguing over everything. In the past, my partner has said hurtful things, calling me a bitch, dumbass, and most recently “square.” I tend to be an introverted person, and at times I lack compassion for my partner because I hold reservations for how he’s spoken/treated me in the past.

This weekend we got into a funk, and one of the nights he drank a lot of alcohol. I saw his temper getting worse, and I dumped the remaining liquor out as I was frustrated and fed up with his behaviour. We came to a resolution at the end of the night, and I hugged him and consoled him. The next day we argued again, over a conversation in the car that was rather minimal. Things escalated when we arrived home, and while I was standing in the kitchen washing dishes he knocked over kitchen counter items. I was not yelling, I tried to remain calm, and I told him he needed to leave the house and go for a walk or see a friend as I was not able to console him any further. Because I pointed to the door and had some water on my hand, he got some water on him. He then put his hands in the running water and splashed me twice, after which he cupped his hands, filled them with water, and threw the water at my face while I was standing. I stood there and felt a wave of emotions, then grabbed the kitchen towel and wiped my face while walking off to the bedroom.

Looking back now, I felt I was firm throughout our conversation, and I really couldn’t handle his temper so asking him to leave was the best solution as it would allow us both to have our own space. We both know he has a temperament behavioural problem, but was I wrong to not console him if I was upset with the way he was acting? I felt exhausted and stressed from arguing the night before. What would you do or how would you react if this happened to you? — Can’t Handle His Temper

This goes beyond your boyfriend having a “temperament behavior problem.” He’s abusive, he might be an alcoholic, and he treats you like garbage. If this were happening to me and this were a boyfriend with whom I did not share children, I’d count my lucky stars and adios right on out of there. If we were more tethered together, by a legal marriage or children, I’d insist he get help in the form of therapy and counseling for his abusive behavior and his alcohol problem if I thought he had one. I’d assist him in finding said help and I’d tell him he had to live somewhere else for a while until I felt I could trust him again. And I’d tell him if he ever laid a hand on me or attacked me in any physical way ever again or called me a nasty name, we’d be done forever, period.

I would never, ever tolerate the kind of behavior you have thus far tolerated, and I would be heartbroken if someone I cared about did. I hope you know your value and your worth and that you don’t deserve the treatment you’ve received from this person. I hope you can find the strength to tell him you’ve had enough and you’ll never give him another opportunity to knock you down.

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


  1. LW1: as Wendy suggested, request clearly and definitely that they leave before Christmas. Xour BF can and should find an airbnb or hotel for their Christmas and bye. This will be his Christmas present to them (a couple of nights somewhere) and the sign that their free stay at your place is definitely over. They can also go to other family during that holiday time. Your pregnancy is the perfect argument for this overstay to take an immediate end. Your wish to be quiet at your place without freeloaders for the holiday is totally reasonable. Insist on that and repeat like a broken CD till it sinks in. Don’t expect them to agree on it: that they make excuses isn’t a reason to let them abuse even further your hospitality. Don’t yield. Yes, by the way, if you have to put so much energy in something so obvious, you have a BF’s problem. Your couple has the priority. I would use the “then I go out if they don’t” only at the last resort, not as a matter of negociation, because they will choose it with gratitude. Just kick them out already.
    LW2: Deal-breaker. Clearly, without any hesitation. Why do you think that your mission as a girlfriend is to “console” a child-man who is violent towards you? The end, break up today and ask him to leave for ever your place.

  2. LW2: Definitely leave this man. A note in the future, if you think the argument is getting out of hand or you need space then YOU should leave. Telling him to leave (while also splashing him with water, be honest this was purpose full) just exasperated the problem. This is not an excuse for his AWFUL behavior just a note for yourself for a future relationship.

  3. LW1 – I think it is time for you to have big picture conversations with your boyfriend. I would also look at Financial Peace University. For you and your boyfriend’s mom.

    If you haven’t already, it is time to go, should we get married and what are the boundaries with your MIL? What is the expectation to support them? Honestly, this would terrify me. You don’t list their ages but you should be the richest of your life right before/around retirement age. IF you have a broke mom living with you right now, that will never get better and there might be an expectation of support forever. If you are trying to prepare for a baby, you need to find out what you are signing up for now.

  4. LW1, because of the amount of time his mother and her bf have been there, and paying some money toward rent, you may be required to go through the legal eviction process depending on your state laws/regulations. Please look into this so you don’t find yourselves on the wrong end of a legal violation. You have enough stress trying to get rid of these freeloaders, and something tells me they’ll know exactly how to work the system

  5. Avatar photo Prognosti-gator says:

    They’ve been staying with you for months AND paying to do so. In many areas that means they are no longer considered guests, but tenants. Not only does this make it potentially harder for you to get rid of them, but probably violates your lease. Most landlords would evict you all for this.

    1. Sea Witch says:

      Getting evicted might be a blessing.
      “Sorry Mom, we all have to be out at the end of the month. Since we need a room for the baby, you and Boyfriend will need to find your own place.”

    2. LW1: seize the opportunity and explain the situation to your landlord. Tell them that you don’t manage to make these “guests” leave. The landlord might evict these freeloaders within the day. Risky but probably the most efficient.

      1. This would probably work to get the freeloading mom and guest out – the LW can have the landlord tell her boyfriend to get his mom out of the place and he can do it without being the bad guy and confronting his mom by blaming it all on the landlord.

        However, it won’t fix the underlying problem, which is that the LW’s boyfriend needs to set up some serious boundaries with his mother. That problem isn’t going to go away on its own and the only person who can deal with it is the LW’s boyfriend.

      2. Part-time Lurker says:

        This isn’t the landlord’s problem. It’s their problem and asking the landlord to step in will probably backfire big time. From the landlords perspective – THEY violated their lease, THEY sublet a portion of the apartment and depending on the zoning laws (1 bedroom often = 2/3 people max occupancy) THEY violated zoning laws. Now they want the s/he to fix it? Nah.
        The lease holders have created a legal mess not just a personal one and they need to clean it up. In all honesty, if I was the landlord I’d probably be forced to serve them eviction papers for violating the lease just to get the sub-letters out. IMNAL

      3. P-t L:
        All true, but having the landlord evict all of them is far from the worst outcome for LW.

  6. LW2: go back and read what you’ve written. You wonder if it’s wrong of you to not console him after he’s thrown stuff off the counter and hurled dishwater at you??
    It is not your job to manage his emotional outbursts. It is up to him to learn to control himself. Leave this abusive a-hole before he escalates to punching you.
    “Temperament behaviour problem” = “grown-ass adult man throwing tantrums like a toddler”.

  7. LW1 you know this is bigger than you wanting to decorate your apartment for the holidays. Your boyfriend has let his mother and her boyfriend live with your in your ONE bedroom apartment for FOUR MONTHS. That’s absurd. He obviously doesn’t have issues with the arrangement, or at least not enough issues to overcome the desire to not rock the boat, and I bet this manifests in all sorts of ways when he deals with his mom.
    Even if she moves out, their relationship is so lacking in boundaries that it will be a constant presence in your life. Good time to think of this was before you got pregnant, but better late than never.. time to move out. If losing you doesn’t wake him up, then you at least will be out of that situation and can work on boundary-filled co-parenting instead.

  8. What you could do is take action yourself : as soon as they are out of your flat for their day errands or work, you store all their belongings in their luggage, you lock your bedroom, you buy two nights at a cheap hotel, you bring their luggage there and when they come back, you explain them that their stay is over, this is your place and you want to get it back, you asked them multiple time to leave, their stuff is at X place, and you request your key back or you call the landlord. If they complain and say that you are harsch, just reply that you expect only thanks for your hospitality, which they overexploited.

  9. Brise,
    I doubt she can legally do that. She says they pay a little to use the space. That makes them residents with the right to a formal eviction, which around here, at least, takes multiple months to happen.

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