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Jealous of his mom

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  August 28, 2013 07:41 AM

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Thanks to everyone who came to the Coolidge last night. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was lovely and so were you. Let's do that again soon.

No chat today, but we'll make up for it next week.


Q: I recently got out of a relationship of almost two years (we were also friends for two years prior to dating) and I'm completely torn. He ended things because he felt completely suffocated and probably for other reasons that he may not be mentioning. Anyway, this man was my best friend. His parents loved me and my parents loved him, and everyone seems to be hoping that we'll get back together. My boyfriend and I were supposed to go to a wedding together the Friday after our breakup. He asked me if I still wanted to go, but I declined, seeing as how I thought it'd be too hard for me to deal with. On Facebook yesterday I saw a picture of him and his mom at the wedding and I felt so bitter and angry.

After doing a lot of reflecting this morning, I've realized something huge. I've been wondering why none of my relationships ever work out, and I've realized that they always end the same way. After getting really close to the guy I'm dating and his family, I start to compare myself to his mom, almost trying to do everything I can to be like her and take over her role. I become angry when boyfriends want to be around their moms and talk/hang out with them. I internalize it and interpret it as them wanting to spend time with their mom rather than me. I become bitter and angry toward their mom and the relationship they share. I begin to obsess over their relationship and lose sight of everything I have with my boyfriend because I'm so tied up in their relationship with their mom. Why do I do this? How can I stop it?

It's crazy, because my last boyfriend, who just ended things, is one of the sweetest most caring and genuine guys I know. He always wanted me to be happy, no matter what. His parents were so sweet, but I STILL ended up reacting in the way I explained above. I really don't like that side of me, and I don't want it anymore. I want to be close to the guy I'm dating and his family. I want things to work out and for us to all enjoy our time together. I don't want to be bitter and cold anymore and I want to get rid of this jealousy. Please help me get started.

– Lost Girl


A: Well, this is a new one.

Are you jealous of your boyfriend's female friends? Do you feel slighted if he focuses on work instead of the relationship? If it's really just a mom thing, this is about control. You're looking to be a powerful parent instead of an equal partner.

My advice? Be single right now, please. You mention suffocation, which means that you have too much time on your hands to maintain balance. I want your life to be so full that you barely have time to date, let alone obsess about somebody's mom. You need to learn that in your own life, you can have a number of important relationships at once. Alone time will help you figure out what role you really want to play in the life of a boyfriend.

The thing about mom-kid relationships is that they're often unbreakable. If mom calls, you have to call her back. Mistakes are forgiven. Love is unconditional. If you're seeking that kind of bond, it means that you're afraid of being left behind. It means that you want to feel indispensable. I can understand that.

But ... you’re not going to get that kind of security unless you're capable of being happy on your own. Prove that you can orbit yourself and you'll do a better job of sharing someone else.

Readers? What’s happening here? Is it about power? Unconditional love? Are the mothers jealous of her? What should she do? Is this common? Help.

– Meredith



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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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