How to Balance Parent’s in Relationship/Jealous Mom

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  • Jenna
    October 4, 2023 at 1:41 pm #1125839

    So my boyfriend and I have been together for 2 and a half years and things are very good. I am an only child and have grown up very close with my mother and the two of us have always been very buddy-buddy. My parents are also local. He is one of 3 and his parents do not live here, but are retired and split their time between homes.

    I think growing up my mom and I have just been so so close that neither one of us really got lives of our own if that makes sense? I never had a ton of close friends, but have gotten a lot more since getting into a relationship and spending time with his. I don’t particularly think my mother and father have a ton of people either that they regularly hang out with, and neither one of them have family that are close. So needless to say, it’s always just been the 3 of us, but mostly my mom and I.

    I would always hang out with them/her because it was just the safe, default option, but not that I didn’t want to or anything. But now I am 26 and have a boyfriend so I do spend an increasing amount of time – not with them. To put it bluntly, I’m starting to form my own life. I try to see them as much as possible, like going up on sundays and inviting my mom down during the week if my bf and I aren’t doing anything. I also try and get together with them and my bf together about once a month.

    Now, like I said, my bf’s parents are not local so when we see them, it’s usually them inviting us to their house where we spend a prolonged period of time together (i.e 3-5 days). this happens 3-4 times a year And it makes my mother upset. She feels as if we don’t spend ample enough time with them, that we’d rather go there, that I’m leaving them in the dust, etc. and it becomes a very emotional thing where she yells, cries, and says her “feelings are hurt” when we spend prolonged amount of time with them and that she is “losing a daughter instead of gaining a son.”

    I do understand her POV in the sense that having spent all her time with me for 26 years, seeing me spending time with another person/group/family can be tough. I try my best to do things with them too but I feel like she’s never happy enough. I don’t know what she wants and it is very hard for me to figure out a balance where everyone is happy and feels included – as she also mentions she feels excluded.

    So it’s getting to a breaking point for me to where I feel guilty doing anything with his family, and I feel this pressure to include my parents in things, but I also don’t want to impose on my boyfriends family either. I’m so scared of the emotional turmoil that will result if my mom feels left out. I also want to note that my parent’s don’t really plan or suggest anything for us to do together either, so I just make it a point to get dinner with them once a month with my boyfriend.

    Finally, I am afraid to voice any of this to my boyfriend because I don’t want him to feel like my parent’s (mostly mom) are a burden, or people that we have to appease and always include? Or cause resentment? I do fear that there is already resentment because of the intense emotional turmoil my mother expresses any time I do something with his family. For example, she saw a photo posted on social media of me with members of his family, and she immediately stopped speaking to me for a full day. So now, including them does feel like something I do out of anxiousness and fear rather than a genuine place. Any advice on how to balance this, keep my mother happy, or compromise moving forward?

    October 4, 2023 at 6:23 pm #1125849

    Well, it sounds like you and your family had a bit of an unhealthy dynamic growing up. They sound isolated and like your mother’s been a crutch for you- until now. Do you have other friends? Other than the fiancé? Now she’s getting very upset, unable to control her emotions, and lashing out, angry and spiteful. Now is when you need to learn how healthy relationships work and what boundaries are. You should take some time and think about what you want, how you can approach your mom and get what you want without maybe causing a total blowout, or with- we can’t control how other react to our boundaries.

    My quick suggestion is to be as calm as you can and treat her with respect and say, “mom, if you can’t stop shouting I need to hang up.” And do so. Insert the behavior that will cause the boundary enforcing with you. Make time for her in other ways. Encourage your parents to make friends their own age…it’s a little strange to me that you have all been so isolated.

    If you have the income, I’d start seeing a therapist and explain what you wrote above. She built an unhealthy dynamic relationship with you, however unknowingly, growing up, for whatever reason in which you both have been very codependent with each other, is how it sounds.

    October 5, 2023 at 3:21 pm #1125873

    You have started to pull away from super-close ties to birth parent(s), as all adults must do, if they are to live a happy and successful life. Your mother has become overly dependent upon you and is manipulating you to force you to re-establish your ultra-close and more-than-a-little unhealthy former relationship. Her complaint is a false one. From what you wrote, you are spending significantly more time with your parents, especially your mother, than you are with your bf’s parents. But to her, the split of time is not adequately unequal in her favor, because it represents a change.

    I have witnessed far too many friends and acquaintances, mostly women but including one man, throw away the best years of their adulthood and lose very promising relationships with bfs/gf, because they were unable to ration down the time spend with a parent and live a largely independent adult life. These cases weren’t as bad as yours, because in each of them the parent had lost their spouse to death, divorce, or institutionalization. Your mother has your father for support and companionship. There is no physical or mental need for your mother to cling to you so strongly. She is capable of living independently, with your father. She doesn’t require your physical care. She should be able to establish a network of friends and enjoyable activities, with or without your father. You still plan to see her in person frequently and, I’m sure, have frequent phone and digital contact with her. She is being totally unreasonable in her demands on your time and dishonest about you and your bf favoring his parents in your time allocation.

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How to Balance Parent’s in Relationship/Jealous Mom

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