The issue is that Daryl’s mom (whom he is extremely close to) does not like me. She’s not outright rude, but she is cold when I greet her and won’t engage in much conversation even when I try to talk about things related to her. Recently, at a family gathering, I saw her as soon as Daryl and I arrived and we would’ve made eye contact, but she rolled her eyes, had a dirty look on her face, and turned away. (Daryl was saying hello to other family and didn’t notice; I never brought it up.) I still greeted and kissed her hello as I usually do.
I’ve grown tired of the cold shoulder for no reason and feel like I’m too old to try to “impress” someone. I don’t have the energy to keep up appearances when it is clear that I am unwanted. The rest of his family treats me very nicely. Due to her attitude towards me, I was reluctant to go to her house as much when Daryl would invite me (he moved back in temporarily for one year of our relationship). I know she’s made comments about me to Daryl such as, “You’re still seeing that girl? I thought it would be over by now.” And “You’re spending money on someone else’s child like an idiot.” The first time I met her, she outright told me she didn’t “believe” in my profession, which is what I have an advanced degree in.
When I’ve brought up his mom’s feelings towards me, Daryl downplays it or denies it, and that has been really frustrating. Only recently (after three years) has he admitted that she doesn’t like me at all, and the only reasoning he gives me is because I’m older (six years) and have a child, two things I cannot change. It’s not like our relationship is eating away at the time with his family since he lives five minutes from them. We fill out a couple’s journal and one recent question was “Something my parents like about my partner.” His answer was “nothing.” When I brought this up, it turned into an unproductive argument.
My questions are:
Do you think Daryl has a role in helping to facilitate a more positive relationship between me and his mom? Is it appropriate to decline Daryl’s invitations of events that happen at his mom’s home when it’s clear I’m unwanted or at least when it’s not a family gathering and it will just be me visiting? Should I still greet his mom in the same way even if she is cold to me? How likely is this relationship to last beyond bf/gf since he is so close to his mom?
PS. I know how the DW comments usually go and just wanted to add that I’m on birth control so babies would be very much planned if/when they happen. — Not Loved By His Mom
I’m curious how you know about comments Daryl’s mother has made to him about you like the ones you mention (“You’re still seeing that girl? I thought it would be over by now.” And “You’re spending money on someone else’s child like an idiot.”)? I have to assume Daryl told you about them, which is really strange. Why would he tell you that? What was the context? How did he respond to these comments? And what, if anything, did he say to you to assure you that, while his mom may think these things, he doesn’t think that way at all?
It’s telling to me, also, that in the other examples you give of discussing with Daryl his mom’s feelings for you, he either downplays or denies her dismissal of you or the conversation immediately morphs into an “unproductive argument.” It may be Daryl’s mother who is thinking and saying unkind things about you, but it doesn’t sound like her son is doing shit to change her mind or to validate your feelings or to let you know that he totally has your back, and that’s a far bigger problem here.
The thing is, Daryl’s mother’s feelings about you aren’t even personal. She doesn’t seem to know you very well and you say she has “no reason” not to like you. What she doesn’t like is that you are older than Daryl and have a child. If Daryl isn’t validating for you that HE doesn’t have an issue with those things – when he is, in fact, apparently repeating rude things his mother says, dismissing your feelings when you express them, and turning discussions into fights – you have to wonder whether HE also has a problem with your being six years older and having a child. Maybe his mother is a convenient place for him to project some of his fears or concerns without owning them himself.
You need to talk to Daryl about all of this, and frame the discussion around where your relationship is going since that’s what this is all really about. Does he see a future with you? How does your age and your having a child affect, if at all, that potential future? Does he want to have a baby with you? Is he concerned about your age? What is the timetable for have a baby together if that’s something you both want? When he hears and sees his mother disparage you the way she has, what does HE feel about it? How does he defend you, if at all? How would you like him to defend you? If his mother never comes around to accepting you, how does he feel about taking next steps in a relationship with you? What would a long-term relationship look like if you don’t get along with his mother and avoid being around her? How is he prepared to help foster a better relationship between the two of you?
Daryl really needs to be able to answer all these questions and engage in a productive, ongoing conversation with you about them if you two are to even think about moving forward together. The behavior you’ve described of his so far is concerning, and if he can’t say or do anything to convince you that he sees a future with you – one in which he will make much more effort than he has to foster a warmer relationship between you and his mother, then I wouldn’t waste any more time with him.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.