Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend’s Crazy Mother Hates Me”

New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), or submit a question for advice.

I have been with my boyfriend for three years. He’s an only son and his mother tends to be controlling. She has always been a little difficult, but we started getting along one day after she was drunk and told me all her true feelings about me. I took it all in, knowing that she’d had it on her chest for the last year and a half.

Fast forward another year. We moved to a different state and decided to all live together to save money. She was upset with me when I moved up because she says I never gave her time to settle into her new home first. Mind you, I finally got a job offer and couldn’t pass it up, which is why I moved up a week after she did. And on top of that, from the very beginning, we had planned to live together. But then, right before we moved, she tried to convince me that I should experiment with living on my own before I moved in with her and my boyfriend. This was after all the plans had been made and we were already apartment hunting.

Anyway, since moving up here it’s been just horrible. Everything I do is wrong. She questions everything: “Why are you doing this like this?” “Why are you cooking that?” “Why do you clean like this?” She drinks herself drunk and then spends hours insulting me. She says I’m not woman enough for her son and that I threw myself on him. She throws tantrums for the smallest things, and she gets nastier when she sees that I get emotional. Once in a restaurant she threw water all over the place, and when I stopped her and got down to clean it, she told me I was an idiot and to leave it alone, telling the waitress that it was a mistake. A woman stood up for me and told her to stop being so nasty.

My boyfriend and I have been having money issues lately because we are covering all the bills; she literally doesn’t pay anything here. She used to cover all the food but says that now it’s our responsibility so that we can learn. She blames me for the money issues, saying I don’t do anything for her son and that he is not happy. She constantly compares our relationship to her life with my boyfriend’s dad (they’re not together); she criticizes how all we do is work and we don’t ever go out. My boyfriend’s schedule is very hectic and it’s hard for us to go out and, when we do, it’s ALWAYS with her. My boyfriend can’t go to school yet because he owes money and can’t go back in until he pays it. Of course, he doesn’t tell her that because he does whatever it takes to avoid one of her explosions. But in her eyes, it’s because I am not pushing him to go.

I can’t catch a break. She tells me that I am disrespectful and unkind, yet all I ever do is bend to her. I listen to her, I do things her way, everything is “yes, ma’am” and “no ma’am,” and I am so kind to her, even after she spends an entire day insulting me. I take care of her when she’s drunk and always try my best to make conversation with her. I don’t know what to do.

I moved here hoping for a new start and trusting that she and I were in a good place. But it’s just gotten to the point where I seriously avoid her. I lock myself in my room and pretend to sleep. My boyfriend comforts me and tells me that nothing she says has any truth and that he needs me to be strong, but I don’t know how much more I can take. She was upset with me because I am going home to spend the holidays with my family and “leaving her son all alone.” I can never do anything right in her eyes, and, when she compliments me on something, it’s a MIRACLE.

I love my boyfriend and I do everything to help him out and I hate to tell him I want to leave, but sometimes I feel like I am getting closer and closer to packing my bags and not coming back. Then I take a step back, and I love him so much I’ll put up with whatever. But I honestly don’t know what else to do. His mother really gets to me and makes me feel like less of a woman. I just feel so stupid when I speak to her. I am DYING to get our own place and she keeps talking about getting another apartment and buying a house together, and I just want to run for the hills screaming. I told my boyfriend that when we move it’s just us and that’s it, and if that doesn’t happen, I’m going back home because I won’t take another year of this. Please help. — Running for the Hills

Oh, honey. Your boyfriend and his mother are co-dependent and probably won’t ever manage to get away from each other as long as their co-dependency is enabled by each other and those closest to them (you). If you don’t want to lose your mind, you have two choices and NEITHER of them include staying put for another year, or even another week. One: when you go home for the holidays, don’t come back. Pack everything you can manage to carry with you and either send for the rest later (i.e. give your boyfriend money to mail your belongings to you), or cut your losses. Two: if you do come back, move out immediately and get a place of your own (with a roommate — not your boyfriend — if you can’t afford to live alone).

Do NOT continue living with either of these people. Your boyfriend has zero backbone and his mother is a raving lunatic. Frankly, I think you’re probably pretty nuts too to have stayed in this situation for as long as you have AND for bending over backwards to accommodate a woman who not only treats you like shit, but doesn’t even contribute to your household expenses. The house you live in is a ticking time bomb about to explode any moment. If you stay there, one of the three of you — and my bet is on YOU — will go completely postal and the love you say you have for your boyfriend simply won’t be enough to fix it.

And speaking of love, where’s his love for you? How could he ask you to live with such an abusive woman if he truly loved you? How could he continue asking you to “be strong” when his mother is screaming at you night and day? Why isn’t he defending you? Why is he letting his crazy ass mother freeload off you? And, why, WHY are you putting up with all this?

If you have a family who loves you and friends back home and people who will be a support system, I really hope you will consider just staying home. What you have described in your letter is madness. It’s not healthy. It’s no way to live. It’s certainly no way to have a relationship. Not when you’re young; not ever. You’re not married to this guy (thank God). You don’t have kids. Just… run for the hills like you’re tempted to do. Run, run, run! Run and don’t look back. Tell your boyfriend where you’re going so he knows where to find you if he’s ever strong enough to leave his mother, but don’t you go back. Stay away from her. And stay away from your boyfriend as long as he’s tight in her grasp. Make 2014 the year of finding your independence again. You will be so much happier and healthier for it.

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

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

89 comments… add one
  • kerrycontrary December 18, 2013, 9:11 am

    WWS. I would just cut your losses cause it sounds like you’re living in hell. I mean I feel terrible for how stressed out you must be everyday living with this woman. Life can (and usually is) a lot more peaceful and easier, and maybe you’ve forgotten that. Your home should be a refuge, not a source of anxiety and terror.

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  • bethany December 18, 2013, 9:20 am

    Sounds like you’re having a lot of fun, LW.

    Why the fuck are you still living there? Seriously? Do you not think you deserve to be content in your own home? MOVE OUT. MOVE OUT. MOVE OUT.

    Read Wendy’s 1st paragraph. Now read it again. And then read it another time, and keep doing so until you realize that you need to get out of that house right now.

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  • Holly December 18, 2013, 9:22 am

    Am I right in reading that her staying with her family/staying home would mean being in a different state from where her job is? If so, then it looks like her only real option is to come back – but to immediately find a roommate/get a separate apartment and stay separate. Definitely move out, regardless. These conditions are not good for your long term mental health.

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    • Sara December 18, 2013, 9:49 am

      That’s how I read it, too. LW, congrats on having a job that means you can support yourself. And when you return back to your job after the holidays (if, in fact, you must, as Holly and I assume), do NOT live in the same place as your bf’s mother. Not even for a day. Stay in a cheap hotel for a bit while you figure out a different living situation. Like Wendy and others are saying: your living situation is not healthy. You deserve a healthy living situation and a bf who supports you being i a healthy living situation.

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      • starpattern December 18, 2013, 10:07 am

        I agree with both of you. If the LW does NOT truly need to return to her job, though, I’d urge her to leave it, too. She probably still has a few days to give notice, and if her family can help her get back on her feet at home, it may well be worth it.

      • zombeyonce December 18, 2013, 2:48 pm

        Why does LW need to leave her job? I don’t see the reasoning behind this since she’ll need a job support herself and to move out and she said it was so good she “couldn’t pass it up”. Sounds like the job is the one thing she’s really got going for her.

    • Firestar December 18, 2013, 11:33 am

      What job is worth your sanity though? Dream job + nightmare living situation doesn’t equal any dream I want to have. The logistics of her living situation are hell – but the bigger issue is her boyfriend. What kind of man would allow that to happen? Why isn’t he looking after his fall down drunk mother? Why isn’t he insisting on sharing the bills and why isn’t he putting his mother in her place when she is abusive and insulting to his girlfriend? So the LW is praised for being strong while everyone else runs rampant over her? The time for a dream job will come later. The time for sanity is now. I think she should go where her people are and find a job close to home. When she has recovered from the trauma of living with those people, she can find her dream job again…hopefully no where the wretched mother-in-law and the spineless boyfriend. If she stays, this is a situation that can only get worse.

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  • SasLinna December 18, 2013, 9:25 am

    This is definitely an abusive situation. Your bf and his mother have almost managed to convince you that this is normal, but it isn’t. I understand how the thought of losing your bf is stopping you from leaving. But you have to see, as Wendy argued, that he’s complicit in your suffering. He could long have decided that the two of you are moving out. He’s enabling his mother.

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  • bagge72 December 18, 2013, 9:33 am

    You are too young for all of this, you shouldn’t have moved there in the first place, get out while you can.

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  • csp December 18, 2013, 9:35 am

    LW, I have one question. Is this really how you want the rest of your life to be? I mean, you are merely surviving when you could be thriving. Aim Higher.

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  • sophronisba December 18, 2013, 9:42 am

    I completely agree that getting out is required, but let’s not forget there is probably a lease of some kind. Who is on the lease and who is not, LW? If Cruella is not on the lease, the landlord might be helpful in assisting you to get her out as an unlisted tenant. If you are all on the lease, you could talk to the landlord about what it would take to break your portion of the lease, since you have a good job and are not likely to run away to another state in the next week. If you find that you must stick it out until the lease expires, you will have to work very hard to try and create boundaries and space for yourself by refusing to engage Cruella, saying “I won’t hear any more of this” and walking/getting away when she starts in. While you may not be able to avoid paying rent and utilities, there’s no reason you should stock the fridge for other people to eat – keep foodstuffs at work and eat most of your meals there, etc. Since your boyfriend is not making any push to take care of your needs, you’ll have to continue to watch out for your own interests. At least you’ll be a good example to him of how a person with self-respect behaves when you get the heck out of this disastrous situation. Best of luck!

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    • SasLinna December 18, 2013, 9:57 am

      I think she should break the lease if necessary (assuming she’s on it). There’s almost nothing that’s worse than staying in this situation. Unfortunately, getting out of an abusive home often comes with a financial cost, but it’s worth it.

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      • AmyP December 18, 2013, 11:24 am


  • katie December 18, 2013, 9:47 am

    LW, the moment that i knew my relationship was solid was the moment that he said “i would never let my mom treat you like that” (referencing some weird shit his mom did to his SIL). seriously. it was like a warm blanket. my partner’s mom is pretty crazy too, definitely nowhere near this kind of crazy -and can we all agree that when a stranger tells someone they are being nasty that should be a wake up call?- but my boyfriend is apparently strong or independent or kind or loving or SOMETHING enough to not deal with it himself, and to especially not deal with it when it comes to me being the target.

    so, something is wrong here. something is very, very wrong. and honestly, its your boyfriend. he is the problem here, not the mother. i mean the mother is *a* problem, yes, but your boyfriend is *your* problem here. he needs to deal with his mother. he needs to tell her to stop. he needs to put up the boundaries. he needs to create an environment where his mother and girlfriend get along. its all on him. he is failing you right now, pretty epiclly if you ask me. i think you should take some real time to think long and hard about that fact.

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    • katie December 18, 2013, 10:03 am

      oh, and ill add- wendy is 100% spot on about the fact that someday, one of you, and it will probably be you, will go postal about this. this situation is not in any way sustainable. think about a lifetime. think about the amount of years you could theoretically spend with your boyfriend -hell, even with a divorce for unrelated things, it could be what 5, 10 years? whats an average marriage/long term partnership?- a person cannot live that long in this environment. something will give, it will have to. and, more importantly, your love will not be enough to save it when it does. its not even *logical* to stay in this situation.

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    • lets_be_honest December 18, 2013, 10:46 am

      Curious for your take on this…I agree the boyfriend should be standing up for her, but shouldn’t LW shoulder some of the blame too? Shouldn’t she, as an adult, be responsible for putting herself in this situation and be able to stick up for herself and find a way out of this mess?

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      • SasLinna December 18, 2013, 10:51 am

        So, I’m not katie, but: The thing with abusers is that they paralyze their victims and destroy their self-esteem to a point where it becomes very hard to fight back. Imagine being told every day that you’re doing everything wrong and not being defended by your partner. That takes a huge toll on self- esteem. I don’t think anyone’s to blame for succumbing to the effects, but obviously I do believe she should stand up for herself now and get out.

      • lets_be_honest December 18, 2013, 10:58 am

        Ok, but there seemed to be plenty of warning signs before even moving in. The mother literally told her not to move in. So I have to blame her at least for doing that. Sounds like she wasn’t abused and destroyed before choosing to move in with someone that told her not to and was clearly an alcoholic. But, I think the boyfriend sucks too and obviously should stick up her.

      • katie December 18, 2013, 11:02 am

        there had to have been MANY warning signs of this being bad. im going to guess there were more then many, actually. and that is a great question- LW, why did you just disregard all the shit that you knew the mom would put you through? your boyfriend cannot be *that* amazing- no one is.

      • SasLinna December 18, 2013, 11:04 am

        You’re right, she should never have moved in with his mom in the first place. I just think that once she was there, she may have had a hard time fighting back, especially with her bf not sticking up for her at all. I’m also picturing her young and naive at the time they moved in, but I may be wrong.

      • lets_be_honest December 18, 2013, 11:08 am

        You could be right. I guess if you are naive or something like that, you might not defend yourself against your boyfriend’s mother, especially if he seems to allow it.

      • katie December 18, 2013, 11:10 am

        well, i think that she thought the issues were resolved.. the whole, “She has always been a little difficult, but we started getting along one day after she was drunk and told me all her true feelings about me. I took it all in, knowing that she’d had it on her chest for the last year and a half” part..

      • AmyP December 18, 2013, 11:27 am

        It’s so terrible that the LW treated that interaction as a sign that their relationship was improving.

        As people say here, aim higher.

      • lets_be_honest December 18, 2013, 11:33 am

        Yea, a drunk person convinced her the issues were resolved? And then when sober, she specifically told her not to move in? How can you think the issues were resolved and its a good idea to move in when someone is telling you not to move in?

      • katie December 18, 2013, 10:53 am

        well, on a basic, look out for yourself level, yes of course. and you make a great point in your comment about wondering how this situation could have ever gone wrong.. lol. but, different situations call for different things, right? so like, a child who is being abused or whatever, you look to the parents. why didnt the child just leave the situation? well, no, thats on the parents, you know? so here, in this dynamic, i think its up the boyfriend. this situation could work, if the boyfriend would just change what he is doing, so he shoulders the responsibility. also, i think everyone should deal with their own family, which puts the responsibility on the boyfriend again.

        also, what is kind of scary is that the LW isnt actually asking about how to find a way out for herself.. shes trying to figure out a way to get her boyfriend and herself a new place, but thats not going to even fix the problems. how many letters do we get about MIL’s coming over uninvited, ect? this LW doesnt even fully understand the problem. she is effectively trying to run away with her fingers in her ears.

      • CatsMeow December 18, 2013, 11:08 am

        Yeah, I feel like she should have stood up for herself a bit more, but I also understand that putting up with that shit on a daily basis can make you just…give up…and take it, and do whatever you think you need to do to avoid setting her off. Knowing the mom was a mean drunk beforehand was a red flag, but I know *I* never could have imagined it would be SO BAD, especially if the boyfriend had never indicated it. I have a feeling he thinks it’s normal, poor guy.

      • katie December 18, 2013, 2:22 pm

        ok i have a better answer for this that i came up with while i was making scones.

        her responsibility is to say “boyfriend, your mother is a lunatic and i will not let anyone treat me the way she is treating me. FIX IT”. its then the boyfriends responsibility to fix it, and if it gets too bad, the lw says “you havent fixed it. fix it or im gone”. and then he does or doesnt, and she leaves or doesnt, ect.

        i guess what i think is that its her responsibility to dictate how people treat her, all the time. but its specifically the boyfriend/partner’s job to create the necessary boundaries about that stuff within their own family.

        so yes, she does shoulder responsibility for not speaking up. or she has and the boyfriend sucks and wont do anything.

      • lets_be_honest December 18, 2013, 2:26 pm

        Makes a lot of sense.

  • ktfran December 18, 2013, 9:56 am

    If this is what love looks like, I’m happy I’m single.


    That is all.

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    • Addie Pray December 18, 2013, 10:33 am

      how’s the kid?

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      • ktfran December 18, 2013, 11:08 am

        I’ll find out this weekend. I see him Saturday, maybe Friday. I’m super nervous. Wish me luck!!!!

      • katie December 18, 2013, 11:10 am

        ohh yay!

      • ktfran December 18, 2013, 11:22 am

        Ha. We’ll see. I need to talk to him about “us.” I hope it goes well. But I’m not sure.

  • Marcie December 18, 2013, 10:15 am

    If you plan on marrying this guy, this could be FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. Or, until you go postal on her. We can’t be sure from the letter, but the mom is talking about getting another place together, and what is your boyfriend saying about this? What is he doing to get the both of you out of there? Saving some money is not worth what you’re going through. Get out if you can (even if you can’t). Move home if you can. I don’t think I could stay in a relationship like this, no matter how much I loved him. Love is just not enough.

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  • Addie Pray December 18, 2013, 10:19 am

    I am shocked by all the bad advice here. You are all wrong, even Wendy. LW, if you want to fix this problem, there’s one thing to do: get pregnant!

    Wait, no.

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    • Bittergaymark December 18, 2013, 10:26 am

      Beat me to it, Addie. See below… 😉

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      • Addie Pray December 18, 2013, 10:33 am

        It’s ok, you’re on west coast time so relatively you beat me to it.

  • lemongrass December 18, 2013, 10:22 am

    “I love him so much I’ll put up with whatever.”

    No. If someone loves you they will not put you in an abusive situation. You should love yourself enough to not put yourself in an abusive situation. Don’t ever say those words again, please.

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    • Lindsay December 18, 2013, 10:42 am

      Yeah, people think saying that makes them noble and romantic, but it’s honestly a really messed-up thing to say. Sure, you can have the sentiment that someone is worth so much to you, but if they are actually worth THAT MUCH, then they wouldn’t put you in the place to “put up with whatever.”

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      • lemongrass December 18, 2013, 11:22 am

        I’m not sure why some people feel they need to be devoted beyond reason for their relationship to be legit. Giving all of yourself, no questions asked does not make a good or healthy relationship! Balance, respect, communication, understanding make good relationships but 110% devotion does not.

  • landygirl December 18, 2013, 10:23 am

    Man, I can’t wait for the update for this letter.

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  • Bittergaymark December 18, 2013, 10:23 am

    Wow. What a dreamboat you’ve landed! Quick! Have a couple of kids…

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    • Addie Pray December 18, 2013, 10:40 am

      9:40 am, AP 6 likes v. BGM 2 likes

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      • Addie Pray December 18, 2013, 11:41 am

        10:40 am, AP 14 v. BGM 11. You’re increasing at a faster rate, damnit. Not that I care, I’m not competitive.

      • Addie Pray December 18, 2013, 12:53 pm

        11:53, AP 23 v. BGM 17. What the hell man.

  • Stonegypsy December 18, 2013, 10:28 am

    That’s all. I have nothing to add. Please get out of that nightmare of a situation.

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  • buttoned December 18, 2013, 10:29 am

    LW, I have no experience with living with SOs, but even to me this sounds MISERABLE. Having to deal with a roommate who would be so cruel would be so stressful and demoralizing, but having that roommate be your boyfriend’s mom is like the icing on a really bad tasting fruit cake. Like someone tried to put frosting on the fruit cake to hide the horrors of it being a fruit cake.

    And, not to give your boyfriend and excuse, but coming from someone who has somewhat intrusive (but way more nicer and outwardly nice to non-family members) it can be tough to stand up to someone in your family like that, especially after dealing with it for years. I wonder how she treats him if she treats you like that? BUT when push comes to shove, he’s responsible for standing up to her for you. Even I, scaredy cat towards my family, would be appalled at this behavior from my family and I would resort to getting real ratchet if that meant standing up for an innocent person who’s being accosted by someone in my family. You gotta love em, but sometimes you gotta love em with a three state buffer and visits to their homes by yourself..

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    • CatsMeow December 18, 2013, 11:10 am

      The mom is totally the fruitcake in this scenario, right? 😉

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      • buttoned December 18, 2013, 11:59 am

        Of course!

      • AllegroFox December 18, 2013, 12:03 pm

        I feel that this is unfair to fruitcake, which can be delicious. 🙂

  • Lindsay December 18, 2013, 10:39 am

    I sympathize with you, but moving in with someone who doesn’t like you is a bad idea. You should move out, with or without your boyfriend. If he doesn’t come with you, then just imagine how much better your life will be without that lady as family.

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  • kare December 18, 2013, 10:41 am

    I don’t understand the appeal of “hey move here to live with me…and my mom”. Even when I’ve dated people who had awesome parents, I would never want to live with them. I think the boyfriend is more fucked up than the mom. Sure, she sounds like a mean, bitchy drunk. But at least she’s honest about her feelings. It sounds like this guy doesn’t stand up for the LW, and his idea of comforting her is to tell her suck it up. What kind of asshole let’s someone he loves be a victim of verbal abuse? She needs to dump this guy and run far away before he goes Norman Bates batshit insane.

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    • lets_be_honest December 18, 2013, 10:43 am

      Right? My bf and I agreed that if our parents NEEDED to live with us, we would welcome them, but I would never in a million years live with them just because. I’d rather live in a shed in the backyard. I don’t get it.

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      • bethany December 18, 2013, 10:48 am

        Yeah, same here. I LOVE my parents more than almost anything, but I have a 4 day/3 night limit. If there were some sort of emergency or medical reason, of course I’d be willing to bend on that, but we both agreed that unless it is absolutely necessary, no parents would ever be living with us.

      • Boosker December 18, 2013, 1:56 pm

        That’s my exact limit, honed after years of too-long visits.

    • AliceInDairyland December 18, 2013, 11:50 am

      Livin’ with the boyfriend and his mom. and her husband. Our reasoning was we are remodeling our soon-to-be-new-house, and that will done in less than a year. So it didn’t make sense have a lease for 6 months in the area we live in (most everything is yearly lease) especially with SO needing to live on location. Luckily this is nowhere near the level of terror the LW is suffering through. But it does suck. I think having strict start and end dates that we are going to stick to come hell or high water is key to success.

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    • othy December 18, 2013, 12:54 pm

      I lived with my in-laws for about 3 months, when I was between jobs and Mr. Othy and I were saving for our first place. It was about 2.9 months too long to stay with them. And they’re mostly normal, and very kind-hearted. I can’t imagine choosing to permanently live with your boyfriend and his mom.

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    • Roxy_84 December 18, 2013, 3:50 pm

      I DON’T GET THE APPEAL EITHER. My brother moved out in March to move in with his gf. Fine. Then the two of them moved back in with my parents in August to save money. Everyone gets along as well as is possible for 4 adults in a not-too-large home (my parents had downsized after my sister moved out in anticipation of being empty nesters since my bro had 1 year left of school), but I don’t think I would feel super comfortable with it.

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  • lets_be_honest December 18, 2013, 10:41 am

    “She has always been a little difficult, but we started getting along one day after she was drunk…Fast forward another year. We moved to a different state and decided to all live together to save money. She was upset with me when I moved…she tried to convince me that I should experiment with living on my own before I moved in with her ”

    I for one am SHOCKED this hasn’t turned out well. It had all the makings of a perfect situation.

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    • MMcG December 18, 2013, 12:44 pm

      It’s madness. MADNESS!

      I def need to spark one up after reading that… prison camps sound more appealing than this shit show; )

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  • Liquid Luck December 18, 2013, 10:47 am

    Whenever I hear about issues like this, I immediately think, “you don’t have a mother-in-law problem, you have a husband problem” (obviously boyfriend in this case, but the principle stands).

    LW, your problem really, truly is not his mother. Your problem is that HE ALLOWS HER TO TREAT YOU THIS WAY. He could put a stop to this by telling her to treat you with respect or that she won’t be seeing either of you anymore, but he won’t. Having horrible/crazy in-laws isn’t what destroys a relationship, not protecting your partner from the nastiness does. And your boyfriend doesn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that his mother treats you like shit, and he’s perfectly happy to let you go on paying for her living expenses and supplying her with food and a social life at the expense of your happiness. Whatever good qualities he may have, none of them are good enough to make up for the fact that doesn’t mind choosing to make you miserable so that he doesn’t have to stand up to his mommy.

    It’s bullshit that he “needs you to be strong” enough to take what amounts to abuse, yet he isn’t expected to be strong enough to tell his mother to cut it out. The only thing you need to be strong enough to do is to see him for the immature coward that he is and leave him to mommy dearest. You do not need this guy dragging you down and making your life miserable. There are plenty of better partners out there who would be capable of treating you with respect and protecting your relationship against abuse, even if it is by his own mother. This guy is not and will not be that type of person, so find someone who is already. Remember that you need to fall in love with who somebody already is and what they already do, because falling in love with potential is a recipe for heartache. I know you believe that your current boyfriend has the potential to be a wonderful partner, but his actions prove otherwise, so that just isn’t enough. You sound like a smart, kind, loving woman, so this is not the only man that will ever love you and that you will ever love. There’s a much better match for you out there, so give yourself the chance to find him.

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  • Classic December 18, 2013, 10:48 am

    WWS. LW, choose Wendy’s first option.

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  • CatsMeow December 18, 2013, 10:59 am

    Your boyfriend tells you to “be strong”… until? Do you two have a plan to get the hell out? If you’re both covering all the bills together, then you don’t need her. I’m going to try and give you both the benefit of the doubt and hope that you’re only staying in this situation because of a lease.

    The whole time I was reading this letter, all I could wonder is, where is HE when all this is happening, and what has he done to stop it??? At first I thought the two of you needed to escape together, but more and more, I think you should just get out on your own. I know you love him, but he clearly has a twisted, co-dependent relationship with this crazy woman and no apparent plans to change it. He shouldn’t have subjected you to this. He needs to DO SOMETHING about this. Actually, I think if he did do anything, it might be too little too late at this point. I agree with everyone – Run for the freaking hills, LW!

    Oh, and just because she’s his mom doesn’t mean you need to “Yes ma’am” her ass when she’s treating you like shit.

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  • Lyra December 18, 2013, 11:23 am

    Please please please move out as soon as possible. This is an all-around horrible situation and you most definitely shouldn’t have to put up with this type of treatment.

    One of my best friends is married to an AMAZING guy who is so great and so good to her…but his family is just plain horrible. For example, they took out a credit card in his name when he was 17 to pay their mortgage but they didn’t pay it off. He didn’t find out about it until he was 24, so it had amassed a huge amount of debt. They hate his wife (my friend) who is one of the most giving and generous people I have ever met. The difference between their situation and your situation is that he would NEVER put my friend in a situation where she had to live in such horrible, abusive conditions. They still talk to his family and spend time with his family but if it gets out of hand, they simply get up and leave — something that you need to do as soon as possible.

    Trust your gut and please follow Wendy’s advice to run away from this situation. Find somewhere else to live. If you can’t afford to quit your job, get your own place. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. I hate to say it, but quite honestly your boyfriend doesn’t sound like someone who is worth sticking around for because he didn’t stand up for you when you needed it. A good man wouldn’t let his mother treat you like that and most definitely wouldn’t put you in the situation you’re in now.

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    • Tax Geek December 18, 2013, 11:30 am

      >For example, they took out a credit card in his name when he was 17 to pay their mortgage but they didn’t pay it off. He didn’t find out about it until he was 24, so it had amassed a huge amount of debt.

      I hope he called the police. And did not pay a cent on a debt that is not his.

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      • Firestar December 18, 2013, 11:58 am

        It’s always shocking to me when I hear people do this to their kids. Unbelievable. This year alone I’ve heard of this happening three times. I guess I shouldn’t be surprized given that evil, stupid people have children too – but how sad that the children are victims of fraud perpetuated by their parents and THEN have to take the steps to have them arrested and will no doubt be painted as abusing their parents for doing so. That is the thing with bullies. They are the first to cry victim when anyone stands up to them.

      • Lyra December 18, 2013, 1:02 pm

        I’m honestly not sure how things turned out. I know it was reported but I’m not sure any action was taken against his parents…

  • CattyGoLightly December 18, 2013, 11:24 am

    Uhhhh… this is insane, and the fact that your boyfriend isn’t sticking up for you is even more insane.

    If you can, move out when you get back. Look on airbnb for a room to rent short term (my boyfriend found a room for $20 a night when he was working in a different town, for example), look on craigslist for roommates. Whatever you do, don’t go back to that evil woman and her son.

    He won’t stick up for himself, much less you. Maybe he even likes how subservient his mother makes you. Who knows. All I know is that this is fucked up, and his mother is mentally ill. If you want to keep from being mentally ill too, leave. Remove yourself. Don’t let someone treat you that way. If your boyfriend were talking to youlike that, we would all be screaming “VERBAL ABUSE,” and just because it’s some middle aged crone doesn’t change that fact (we all are still screaming it!!!). Talk to the landlord if you have to to figure out the lease. Tell him you are being verbally abused and you cannot stay. Then, leave. Also, do NOT allow your boyfriend back into your life until he can stick up for himself and stick up for you to his insane mother. Otherwise, you will still be in for a world of hurt. Also, never EVER see that women again.

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    • CatsMeow December 18, 2013, 11:48 am

      Hey, now… I think crones are older than middle-aged! Right? OH GOD I’M ALMOST A CRONE.

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      • othy December 18, 2013, 12:59 pm

        I think crone has more to do with behavior/attitude then age. So, no worries about becoming a crone, Cats.

      • rachel December 18, 2013, 1:07 pm

        Also, you’re nowhere near middle aged.

      • CattyGoLightly December 18, 2013, 11:36 pm

        And I think crone is definitely a state of mind. No worries Catsmeow.

  • findingtheearth December 18, 2013, 12:30 pm

    When you go home, tell your family ALL OF THIS. Show them this letter if you have to. Lay it out for them, and then ask for help from them. Do not go back to that unless you literally have to. This man does not love you – he loves his mother. His mother will never treat you with respect, especially if she continues to get drunk every day. You deserve better and need to demand it. It will hurt, it will take effort, but staying in this situation will destroy you.

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  • Diablo December 18, 2013, 12:33 pm

    This is a nightmare scenario. A young couple living with an alcoholic abusive parent. If you’ve got a “dream job,” wouldn’t that earn you enough for your own small place? You are being insulted in your own home and paying for the privilege of being abused. Anyone deserves better than a partner who would let this happen. That ain’t love, sister. “Be strong” is good advice for you. Be strong enough to leave. Screw that guy! (By which, of course, i mean stop screwing that guy.)

    Meanwhile, my guy brain keeps thinking, how do you ever get any “private” time. My dad stayed with us for 9 days (it seemed like forever) when my folks were househunting to move back to my city, and I nearly went out of my mind. And I like my non-abusive, non-alcoholic dad! Me: “Ssshhh, you made a noise!” Her: “Stop, the bed is squeaking.” Her: “Are you OK? Your face is funny.” Me: “Uhh, yeah, I guess it’s over.”

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  • MMcG December 18, 2013, 12:52 pm

    You are paying for the privilege of being treated like shit… in your own home… all the while your bf lets you take the blame for not having his shit together with school.

    These people are using you LW. Get out now and get thee to therapy asap to figure out what the hell happened in your life to think this is ok. It’s not ok LW. Complete strangers have defended you more than your bf. Please please get out and get some perspective. People who care about you, and are neither alcoholics or co dependent on the alcoholic, wouldn’t treat you this way. If you can’t give yourself a clean break now check into al-anon or something similar… you are in way over your head. I’m sorry.

    And birth control birth control birth control… not that I can imagine having much sexy time anyway… do you wait for mom to pass out? But just in case.

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  • Essie December 18, 2013, 1:00 pm

    Oh, honey, no. Go home. Now.

    And please, find yourself a man, instead of this weak, selfish little boy. Men stand up for their wives and girlfriends, they protect them. This child can’t even muster up enough care or respect for you to tell his mother to stop being abusive towards you, or to get you out of that environment and somewhere where you don’t have an alcoholic shrew spewing abuse all day long. Instead, he just begs you to keep taking the abuse, because he’s too afraid of his mommy to stand up and act like a man.

    You’re not his girlfriend, you’re his surrogate mother. You take care of him, you take care of his crazy drunken mother, you help pay for this horrible woman’s food and shelter even as she treats you like garbage. You take care of all the hard stuff in life for him.

    You say you love him enough to put up with it. Do you really, though? Real, romantic love? Or are you just caught up in taking care of him? Look around you, look at other people in relationships. They’re partnerships, equals who take care of each other, support each other, and have each other’s backs. You have none of that. You’re part mommy to him, part live-in caregiver to his mother. And who takes care of you?

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  • Lucy December 18, 2013, 1:19 pm

    LW, I assume you moved away for valid reasons, and don’t necessarily want to leave your job and run hom. But you have to get out of this living situation immediately. Find a place of your own, with a roommate if necessary, and move out. Tell your boyfriend that you will never spend one minute around his mother ever again; if he’s not 100% supportive of that, dump him immediately, because he doesn’t really love you if he doesn’t protect you. Don’t let this situation drag on so that 10 years on you’re looking back with regret at all the time you wasted on this crazy situation. It’s never going to get better; you just have to get away.

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  • Fabelle December 18, 2013, 1:25 pm

    Ohhh god, just no. LW, extricate yourself from this situation IMMEDIATELY. Loving somebody doesn’t mean you need to “be strong” in the face of this craziness. Leave, leave, leave. Your boyfriend wants to live with his mother, not you. Or else he would not have allowed this living situation to even occur. Get out, don’t look back.

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    • something Random December 18, 2013, 4:08 pm

      Just saw how you used the phrase “be strong” differently than I did. Totally agree with your sentiment.

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  • Bittergaymark December 18, 2013, 1:57 pm

    The mother is HORRIBLE. And the boyfriend is s spineless wimp… But — MOST of the blame for this mess STILL goes to the LW. Listen up, next time — you know, before you’ve even signed a lease and somebody flat out says: “Um , whoops. Gee, I guess I don’t want to live with you…” Take them at their fucking present word — don’t hold them instead to past agreements. I don’t care how long you’ve all been apartment hunting…

    And seriously? Living in SIN? HOT!!! Living in sin WITH your future MOTHERINLAW/present drunk who flat out tells you that she–oh, you know–hates you? …Really?! Was this that huge of a surprise that this, somehow, all turned out to be… not so hot?

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    • Lucy December 18, 2013, 9:04 pm

      Harsh but fair. But most people have to learn the hard way to run from crazy, at least the first time.

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  • Something Random December 18, 2013, 4:05 pm

    WWS and what everyone else is saying, too. I’ll just add that that an only child with a co-dependent parent will often feel a tremendous amount of guilt at what feels like abandoning the abusive parent. Appropriate, safe boundaries are the healthiest thing you can do not only for yourself but for everyone else involved. Your boyfriend doesn’t have true concept of boundaries or autonomy (his or his mothers). You cannot develop them on his behalf. But you MUST establish your own and that means creating an emotionally safe living space for yourself immediately. Co-dependent people usually do not respond well when others assert boundaries. They find it threatening to the existing dynamic. Be strong, if your boyfriend is worth it, he will do what it takes to be with you.

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  • sarolabelle December 18, 2013, 4:11 pm

    The second bf said “let’s move in with my mom” the answer would have been, “no”….haha!

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  • AKchic_ December 18, 2013, 6:31 pm


    If this guy loved you, truly loved you, he’d stand up for you and tell his mother to shut her pie hole. He doesn’t say a damned word because he’s too cowed by her, therefore he doesn’t love you as much as you think he does. Get out now. Do not help them financially. She’s a drunk. He’s a co-dependent wimp. Ditch the both of them and strive for independence in 2014.

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  • Kim December 18, 2013, 6:49 pm

    He doesn’t love you – at least not enough. He will NEVER be independent of his mother not ever. She’s not paying any housing expenses so he will never feel ok moving out and leaving her alone. He’s more worried about her explosions than your feelings so he will never stand up to her or tell her if she wants to live with you two then she needs to treat you with respect and politeness.

    If you have friends that are not mutual friends of the BF then keep the job and start apartment hunting for January 1st NOW so that when you come back from home you have a place and stay at a hotel or with friends until you can move in.

    If you don’t have a life outside of your boyfriend and his mom then despite the bad economy I say move home where you have family and friends and can make a fresh start even if you have to stay with YOUR parents for a while…..

    I know you love your boyfriend but he will never love you as much as his mother or put you first above his mother – no matter what he says or what you convince yourself. do you want to live like that – you will ALWAYS be 2nd. God forbid you have kids how will she criticize your parenting skills and will she poison your children’s minds by saying horrible things about you in front of them because you WILL still be living with her and your spineless boyfriend-now-husband!

    Bottom line – the writing is on the wall. Get out now or you will be miserable forever. You need to rebuild your self esteem…I think once you are away from the situation you may not feel as “In Love” with a man who watches his mother be abusive to you day after day.

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  • Teri Anne December 18, 2013, 7:35 pm

    It is difficult to make alternate plans when someone is always screaming at you, but you MUST get out for your health, and sanity. I am actually afraid for your safety living with such an explosive situation. Your boyfriend’s mother could attack you, give your address to violent people, or cause an explosion because she is too drunk to turn off the stove.

    Use this break over Christmas to make your future plans. The first decision is whether to keep your job or not. You may decide you like your job and want to find a new apartment. But even if you decide to quit, you may still need to return so that you can give adequate notice or to have a job while looking for a job. Whatever you do decide, it will take time to find a new job or to find a new apartment while keeping your current job. Because you must not spend another minute living in this abusive and very dangerous situation, stay at an extended stay hotel like ValuePlace while you finalize your arrangements. ValuePlace is not a resort, but it is clean, safe, no more noisy than a regular hotel and has cooking facilities. As for breaking your lease, many states have laws that enable the victims of domestic abuse to break their lease. You are definitely a victim of domestic abuse.

    I know you love your boyfriend, but leaving is the most loving thing you can do right now. He will never take steps towards maturity as long as he has both you and his mother. Maybe you’re leaving will be a wakeup call for him or maybe it won’t, but you will be doing the most responsible thing.

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    • Lucy December 18, 2013, 9:06 pm

      It’s a really good point that the most loving choice the LW has is to stop protecting the boyfriend from the consequences of his own poor choices.

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  • Jubietta December 19, 2013, 12:33 am

    LW, it seems like the three of you have developed a pattern of behavior where you and BF are playing “lose-win” (a.k.a. it’s easier to ‘give in’ than engage in conflict) and BF’s mom is playing “win-lose” (a.k.a. I don’t give shit about you, it’s all about me). Both are horrible strategies for long-term relationship happiness. BF & Mom’s dynamic is probably too ingrained to change easily, because she likely taught him to take on the “lose-win” position from the time he was a little boy, and pinning your happiness on other people changing is a sure path to disappointment. But you can change the way you behave with your BF and learn to play “win-win” together. A counselor can help if you need guidance.

    And just to be clear: lose-win means one party gives up what they want to try to keep an even keel and the other person gets exactly what they want; win-lose means the one party will take any steps necessary to get their way (and be right about it) AND the other party must suffer the loss of what they need/want; and win-win is when both parties walk away with some part of what they need and agree to the compromise.

    Win-win is harder than lose-win because it includes knowing what you want and having the self-confidence to convince the other party that compromise is really the best solution for everyone. In some cases, and it sounds like BF’s mom might be one of those folks, it’s impossible to get the other party to play win-win with you because they aren’t mentally healthy enough to have empathy. But, even though it’s hard, it’s worthwhile to learn win-win because it gives you the strength to set healthy boundaries and build a future worth enjoying. Win-win builds trust…in yourself and between you and others. Win-win is full of lessons…and sometimes that’s what we get out of the most difficult people in our lives. Win-win grows respect, enables communication, and strengthens bonds.

    No matter what path your life takes: home, new apartment, BF, no BF, dream job, or new dream job…I wish you peace and happiness as soon as it’s possible!

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  • Breezy AM December 28, 2013, 8:38 pm

    Is anyone else reading this thinking “wow he must have a HUGE dick”?

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