Please could you keep my email anonymous, thank you.
My boyfriend’s mother gets so involved with our relationship that I’m scared it’s going to break us up. Luckily, she likes me. At least it seems as though she does. She’s not horrible to me like some of the mother-in-law stories I’ve heard, so I guess I am lucky for that.
However, she is involved in EVERYTHING!
If we’re trying to book a holiday, she gets involved. If we look at houses, she gets involved. She even got stuck in about a date night he and I were treating ourselves to post-lockdown. My boyfriend tells her what we’re up to, then she gives her two pennies’ worth, which he has to listen to, so we end up going along with whatever it is she’s told him we should do.
I’ve tried to suggest to my boyfriend that he is a grown man (28) and therefore does not need to listen to all of his mum’s advice, but he feels like he has to, or else it would be ‘disrespectful’. When I suggest that he wait until afterwards to tell her, he says he doesn’t want to keep things from her.
It’s getting too much for me. I’m independent, I don’t need another woman deciding me what I can and cannot do.
Do you have any advice for me Donna?
Lots of love,
Relationships with in-laws are so often tricky, if not complicated, so you are not alone.
Firstly, it’s brilliant that you have a boyfriend who has so much respect for his mother. This is an excellent trait and one to be valued.
At the same time, this should not infringe on his respect for you. Whilst I’m sure his intention is never to upset or frustrate you by involving his mum, he has to actively recognise how her interference makes you feel.
You mentioned that you have already raised the matter with him. I would recommend that you do so again, but ensure that it is not at a time when you have a pending plan that his mother could interfere with, as sometimes the heat of the moment in a situation can escalate the conversation unnecessarily. Go into the conversation with no current issues, but prepared with some clear examples of how a previous plan was altered by his mother and – most importantly – how it impacted your enjoyment of that date night / holiday etc. Explain to him in no uncertain terms that he is fortunate to be in a relationship with such an independent woman, and with that comes the need to have the autonomy to make your own decisions. Ultimately, you personally will not allow her to interfere in your plans anymore, and he’s going to need to be on board with that.
You could possibly give him an example of a plan that was changed and interfered with, then pose to him the question of how he thinks it made you feel. This should hopefully encourage him to actually think hard about your feelings, and consider how that interference has affected you.
If he refuses to engage with what it is you put to him in the course of the conversation, then it would seem you unfortunately have a greater issue within the relationship of him not considering you and your feelings enough. However, cross that bridge if you come to it. I am sure your boyfriend will not want to see you upset, and will be keen to work with you to find a work around.
I will keep my fingers crossed for you that the conversation is constructive.