As young couples approach adulthood, a common problem experienced by many men and women is that they realize their man is in another relationship too– a relationship with mom.
If you’re planning on being with a man for a while or maybe even your whole life, you may want to consider that she may be with you for the ride too.
Research supports the notion that great relationships between a mother and her son help create a bond and a sense of respect that enables men to be respectful, positive, supportive and loving partners. But often times, when it comes time to cut the cord many mother’s have a difficult time letting go and encouraging the independence of their sons.
If your man has this type of relationship with his mother and you feel as though she will always come first, chances are it may not be worth fighting the battle because while behaviors can be changed, they must come with the desire to change them.
If your partner doesn’t believe that the relationship with his mom has faults, or the closeness of the relationship isn’t problematic, trying to change his mentality may create resentment towards your relationship in the future by both him and his mother.
BUT… before deciding whether or not this can be changed, I do suggest that you discuss where you fit in on his list of priorities!
When a man is ready to settle down, if you’re the person he chooses to be with, you’ll move up the ladder of importance above mom or at least on the same level as her. The important thing is not to want to come before mom, but rather to be as important, just in a different way. You will become his partner, she will always be his mom and both of you will have prominent roles in his life that will need to be respectfully differentiated for a happy and healthy outcome.
Often times in relationships, when the relationship between a man and his mother becomes overbearing it can be considered a co-dependent relationship.
Co-dependency is when we can’t exist without the other person and the other’s person’s actions define our feelings.
If you notice that the relationship between your man and his mother has begun to interfere in your life with him, it’s best to bring it up before it becomes something that brews resentment and can eventually be a reason you and your boo break up.
Therapy can be a great thing here!
Opening up these lines can be quite difficult, and it is important to acknowledge and verbalize that this type of communication can be nerve-racking. If the communication between you and your partner is struggling it is always okay to see a therapist, like myself, to help facilitate healthy reciprocal communication between you and your partner.
If only people thought of therapy as a preventative method, rather than a solution to a problem, I believe more couples would be able to gain the communication skills necessary to work through their problems rather than giving up on them.
How much communication is normal?
Reality is, it’s not about the amount of contact, but rather the type of contact and quality of it. If your man calls, texts and e-mails his mother frequently, that’s fine as long as they’ve set reasonable boundaries with each other and maintain them.
So, what do you do?
Write things down. It’s very easy to verbalize all of the things that make us feel angry and frustrated. Writing them down puts things into a different perspective and gives us an opportunity to re-evaluate the total picture in front of us, rather than what is solely in our minds.
Expect him to be defensive. Remember you’re talking about his family, they’ll always come first until you become family to him as well, and maybe even after that. The best way to counter act his defense is to be supportive and explain why the things bother you. For example, you can say something like: “it hurts my feelings when you talk to your mom about our problems and my feelings” –> focus on your feelings, this way no one can dispute them as no one has the power to tell you that you can’t feel a certain way.
Sometimes problems arise when men are not managing things for themselves, such as doctors appointments, finances or even laundry. In this case, instead of telling him you think it’s ridiculous that he depends on his mother for these things, encourage him to do it alone, help him and then praise that he did it without her. I don’t mean, “great job making a dentist appointment baby!” I mean, “I’m glad you made the appointment at the dentist.”
Separate all finances, including bills and access to viewing your bills. Unless your parents are financially supporting you, or you have another important reason, allowing parents to monitor your spending can make things sticky. At the end of the day, you and your man are going to have to learn how to financially support yourselves and deal with financial struggles that you’ll face as a couple. While people do live longer in today’s world, the truth is, we don’t live forever and independence is a necessity to a happy and healthy future.
He should always be the one to confront her, even regarding issues that may arise between you two. Most importantly, you want to make sure your man is fully ready, willing and able to say NO to his mother.
Be careful about what you disclose. Your struggles are between you and your man, and so is your intimate relationship. Regardless of how much mom may like you, he will always come first so be careful what you share as it can taint her image of you and make the future between you and your man more difficult.
Mom’s don’t have to approve everything. There comes a time in our lives when our parents can advise us, but no longer make decisions for us. Keep this in mind as you and your man are making decisions for your relationship.
At the end of the day, each relationship in your life, whether it be with your partner, his family or your friends, is going to take communication and work to achieve success! So stay Honestly Naked with yourself and others, including your moms!