More on My Mom & Her Boyfriend...

Updated on September 17, 2012
N.G. asks from Arlington, TX
19 answers

Two weekends ago my family went to my oldest nephew's first football game. My mom showed up with her boyfriend. If you aren't familiar with my past posts on their issues, my family is very suspicious of him, he lies to my Mom, disappears for days, etc. They have been together for 1 year. He lives with her, doesn't pay bills, etc. Anyway, my husband and I didn't even acknowledge his presence. My Mom texted me five days later and tells me that her boyfriend told her that if I keep "being mean to him" then he's going to leave her because he doesn't want to "come between her and her daughter". So she tells me, "If he leaves me, it will be all your fault!" Umm, excuse me? He didn't say anything to me either. I'm a grown woman, I don't have to like the man. I don't meddle in her business, I don't tell her what to do, but I sure as hell don't have to like it. At least, that's my take on it.

I'm pretty offended by what she said to me. I think he was dead wrong to say something like that to her, and it was even more wrong for her to let him drive a wedge like that.

What do you think? How should I handle that? Should I just 'make nice' to make things easier on my Mom? I had resolved to stay away from him and keep my kids away from him because I just don't trust him, but apparently my mom is stressing hard about that. What to do?

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answers from Washington DC on

I am with Lesley B. totally. abusive relationship 100%. He is acting like a man child. that is a ridiculous attitude as A. adult. maybe you can somehow make her see that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

His name isn't James or Jimmy is it ??? Know someone just like that, it 's not worthit and he's not worth it,.....C. S.

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answers from Columbia on

Make nice.

Let me tell you a story. Mrs. On Purpose is in the hospital. It is the DAY after our second son was born. Her parents use that exact time to state that they will leave and not help her if I don't start being nicer to them.

I hadn't yelled at them, I hadn't made snide comments and I hadn't even rolled my eyes. But after being bossed around by my MIL for a week (ordering me where to put MY plants, for example), I wasn't very engaging either.

I wanted to send them home. I wanted to tell them where they could stuff their little ultimatum. Instead, I apologized.

MIL's help was important to my wife (the concept, turns out the actual "help" was far from helpful). Nobody jerks my wife around - even her parents. So I apologize.

It's been a rule I learned in recovery from my sponsor. He said "You can be right, or you can be happy. But almost never both at the same time.".

Ever since then, I've tried to care less about being right (which is really hard when you're right as often as I am :) ). I have consistently been picking "Happy" for several years now, and it's amazing how little it matters to me how often I was right. Happy memories bring a smile to my face. Being right memories just sound...nit picky. :)

10 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Okay so she is desperate to be in this relationship and he knows it. She has walked away once, in his eyes to placate you and your brother so now he needs to extinguish this control he feels you have over her.

The easiest way to do that is, I will put your daughter's wishes before mine and end this. That way to keep her relationship with him she puts up a wall with you.

To him, problem solved.

So you could always go with oh mom I just want you to be happy. How would you like me to treat him? Then she has to tell you to lie about how you feel. That should drive a nice wedge between them as well.

From this day forward I will refer to your family as the wedgies. :)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Meh. You don't have to "do" anything.

He's a manipulator. Personally, I don't at those games.

If he leaves your mom, that's HIS choice.
If she then blames you, that's HER choice.
Dont forget, she can also CHOOSE to tell him "you're not coming between me & my daughter. No need to leave!"

That said, I know you don't care for the man, but you can at least be civil to him in a social situation, right? What's the big deal about saying "Hi Bill, how're ya doing?" and walk to your seat?

I suspect YOU are also trying to manipulate your mom into kicking this guy to the curb, when it's really HER choice and HER life, right?
When you boil it down, she doesn't really need everyone's approval--even if the guy IS a jerk! She's a grown up.
Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

It's hard to know if he is manipulating her, or if she is manipulating you. Or both. You don't really know what he said to her, only what she texted to you.

No third party can break up a good relationship. That goes for a cheating spouse (and the wronged party blames "the other woman" or "the other man") when in fact it was a weak relationship in some way. If your actions (or in the case, lack of action by not speaking to him) can break up her relationship with him, then he is using you as an excuse. And if your mother is so insecure in her relationship that she is already blaming something on you that hasn't happened, it's her problem and not yours.

It doesn't sound like he spoke to you either so I'm not sure what it's all on you. If you have not already told your mother that you are concerned about her because he appears to be using her to pay his bills and house him while he does whatever he wants, you might tell her. If you HAVE told her, you can reiterate it. Perhaps tell her that you want her to have a relationship with your kids but that you cannot sit by and watch him take advantage of her. It's her life and her relationship, but you have concerns for your kids because the boyfriend lies (and whatever else bothers you about him, within reason). Make sure your reasons are concrete and based on things he has done or said, not just "I don't like him."

Tell her that you will not participate in the blame game of who broke up what.

Try to get together with her. If he disappears for days, that's the time to get with her. Since she's "not busy" then she has time for you and the kids. If he shows up while you are at her house, just cheerfully pack up the kids and say it's time to go. If you can show her that you love HER as your mother and as their grandmother, it may be reassuring. After all, if this guy dumps her or hurts her or takes her money, she's going to need your emotional support.

So yes, you can make nice but you don't have to where he's involved.

Your mother is a grown-up and can decide what to stress out about. It's not your job to fix her stress.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I suggest it was childish of you to have not said hello. And it may be that he's being honest when he says he doesn't want to come between her and her children tho I doubt it. On the surface your post sounds like he's being more mature. I know that there is more to this story and it's highly likely that he meant it as a threat rather than as an attempt to be helpful.

That said you're still being immature. What happened to good manners? Who your mother has as a boyfriend is her choice. When my brother married someone whom my mother found questionable, she said, "If he can live with her, I can walk around her." My mother was polite and I'm sure the woman had no idea my mother was less than pleased.

I suggest that you apologize to your mother and work on accepting her choice. I also suggest that she may get tired of his behavior much quicker if she's not having to defend him to you. You are not helping to get rid of him by being mean. You're making life difficult for everyone including yourself.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

You don't say how old your Mom is but I can kinda understand where she is coming from. And you don't know what happens when they are alone. He is probably playing the 'oh you are so lucky I am with you routine". She's older, probably doesn't have the body of a super model, a grey hair here and there -- so he can use that to chip away at her self confidence. The no man will touch you because your fat or old or all that grey hair so you should take care of me you are sooooooo lucky I put up with you. THEN after he tears her down a little more -- he gets affectionate and loving and he's probably good in bed, it's part of his strategy to keep her wanting more and to put up with him.

Now think back to the days when you were a child or teen and you started to hang out with someone Mom didn't like a lot. When she would say I wish you would find other friends, I don't like her/him because _____ (fill in the blank) -- as a kid you DEFEND your friend. Mom doesn't understand him/her my friend wouldn't steal or lie or ____ . He/She may be a bit rough around the edges but is really nice ect as a young person you defend and justify their actions. This is normal -- and it's where your Mom is now.

If you want to keep the lines of comminucation open then you have to be polite. You can grit your teeth and say hello, be pleasent. Not to show that you like or accept this guy but to keep the peace. So your Mom understands that you love her and her happiness is important to you. Also if you don't keep those lines open you won't be able to subtlely show her why he is soooo bad for her. You have to be gentle. Next time he leaves for an extended period of time find ways for her to meet other men her age with the same interests as hers. Get her involved in groups and activities where she will meet other people.

The biggest thing you are fighting here is your Mom's lonliness. So find ways for her to meet new friends.

This guy is an emotional and verbal abuser and maybe physical. You can get some good advice by calling a shelter or hotline for domestic violence. They can explain in greater detail what I posted.

Good luck --- remember you love your Mom and her happiness is important.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

he will leave her either way. but would you want to be blamed when it happens? it will be a guilt feeling you will have to carry for years. i say, be nice. apologize. your mom is a grown woman. she can make her choices.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

I agree with Lesley B that #2 is what an abuser does. But #1 also plays into his hand. Because if you make nice to this man, your mom can stay in denial, stay in this relationship and pretend that everyone approves of him. So even tho it might seem that you're making things easier for your mom, in the long run it may be making things harder for her. And this guy is a first class manipulator to figure out how to put you in a lose-lose situation for you that makes a win-win for him.

If it were me, I'd be honest with my mom and tell her the truth. That you love her and don't want anything to come between you, but that you are uncomfortable witht the way this man treats her and aren't willing to stand by and watch. I'd also call her on it when she tries to tell you that if he leaves it will be your fault. That's BS and now she is trying to manipulate you!

Sorry you are stuck in the middle of this. It must be hard to watch someone you love mess up their life like that. Blessings and be strong.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

So because you didn't run up to them and gush all over him you were rude?

Would it really be difficult for you to make nice with him? Or you could play the same game he is. Tell mom that you would never want to be the cause of any unhappiness for her and that you will attempt to be more pleasant. Now, the key word is "attempt". Doesn't mean it has to be successful!!! He's a winner by the way. I'm sure your proud!

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answers from Dallas on

I agree with the others. He's planning his exit and using you as the excuse.

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answers from Biloxi on

You have two options -

1. make nice to the man so you can continue your relationship with your Mom

2. let him get his way and continue to manipulate your Mom to the point that she cuts off contact with her own family.

#2 is what an abuser and a user does.

This is what your Mom's boyfriend is - a user and abuser - to cut her off, or allow her to cut you off, is to play right into his hands.

For the sake of your Mom - suck it up, play nice, and be there for her.

She is not ready to face the facts of what he is. But she will need her family - don't let him take that away from her.

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answers from Dallas on

It takes 2 to make an abusive relationship. I have seen this in a close relationship. Be civil, be honest. Tell your mom that you will always be there for her but that you will not be manipulated or threatened into a relationship with this guy. If she has a problem with him then it is her problem to solve as you are all adults. I have said hello to a person I really, really don't like just to keep peace but no farther will I go.
I feel like I am repeating myself tonight but personality disorders seem to be on the menu. Both of them depend on the disorder of the other to meet their emotional needs. You can't cure it. You can make choices about your involvement. You can reasearch BPD/NPD relationships and see if this is what you are dealing with. Try Good luck

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answers from Phoenix on

I guess I'm in the minority, as usual, but I think you just need to deal. My mom has a crappy boyfriend also but I don't act like you and "don't acknowledge his presence". What does that solve? Frankly it makes you look like a bratty little girl who doesn't like mommy's boyfriend and is going to make it clear to everyone around. Your mom is old enough to make her own (poor in your opinion) decisions and it isn't your place to judge those decisions. I know its hard, I'm dealing with the same thing. But frankly, I'm an only child and we dont' have any other real family left. So I'm not going to make any more problems between my mom and I than I have to. Some battles are worth fighting and some aren't. Unless her boyfriend is being rude and disrespectful to you, your husband, and/or kids, then I really think you need to just bite your tongue, talk about the weather and call it a day. Just my opinion. Good luck.

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answers from San Francisco on

I think he's setting your mom up to leave her. He's found a convenient excuse - you.

I wouldn't change anything other than to be sure NOT to be around him AT ALL! If that means not inviting your mom to your son's games, then she'll just have to miss out. That's the extent of what I'd do. I certainly wouldn't "play nice" because in the end if he does screw your mom over, you don't want to walk around feeling like you could have prevented it if you would have stuck to your guns.

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answers from Chicago on

It sounds like the boyfriend is using you as a excuse for his future (and possibly planned) exit. Your mom sounds sounds like a mess and seems to "need" this guy in her life or thinks she does. Liking and tolerating are two different things. Perhaps you are redirecting your anger at him when you are really mad at your mom for the decisions she's made about this boyfriend. Your mom is being mentally and verbally abused - poor thing doesn't see it. You don't have to like it. You can tolerate it since he won't be around long anyway. However, your mom will likely replace him with a newer fancier model of a jerk.

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answers from Detroit on

It doesnt sound like this guy is going to make anything easy for your mom.

My vote, keep being "mean" to him and hope he leaves her alone!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

My take on it is he's a manipulative SOB who's found a willing participant, your mother. From your posts I think you agree. The best you can do is not react to either of them. He wants to be in control and she wants to maintain her status quo. His manipulative behavior is the easiest to deal with because you don't like the guy and have no connection to him other than your mother. Slap civil manners over every interaction with the jerk and move about your business. If he doesn't talk to you, then don't talk to him. If he initiates a conversation, act civilly but coolly like you would with any person you don't care for. I would not let a single thing the guy does get under my skin for one second. Undoubtedly getting under your skin is what he wants for reasons of getting to you (controlling you) and/or manipulating your mother (controlling her). He is not your problem and what he gets away with in his relationship with your mother is neither your business (unless she asks for help to get out of the mess) nor your problem. He's playing your mother to get to you and/or to control her. Don't give him the satisfaction of any response. They are both adults and will both have to be responsible (or not) for the choices they make in their lives. That responsibility will take into account whatever takes place in their relationship and their relationships with others. If they won’t take responsibility, then it is not your duty to do so in their place.

Sadly I would argue your mother is learning manipulative behaviors simply because that is her new norm in how you treat your loved ones. You have every right to ignore the buffoon and do so as politely as possible. If your mother retaliates with some nonsense about you breaking up their happy home, then I would deflect it away in a noncommittal fashion. The suggestion of making more effort in the future is a good one. Don't define or explain what you'll do, though. Keep it a nice neutral I'll make a better/different attempt in the future. I would not bleed for your mother. She is choosing this jerk and I would not let her drag you into it. Neutrality and civility would be my watch words with these two. It’s hard to argue with or point fingers at either of those traits. They can certainly try but ultimately it will be mud on them not you.

One finally thought if it so happens the jerk dumps her, then I am not sure I would be too upset if you are blamed as the hatchet man. You can help your mother pick up the pieces after his departure since I sincerely doubt she'll hate you forever if he leaves her. However, I would put large piles of money on him placing all of the blame squarely on her if their relationship does end. Sure, you and your meanness may get a mention in his good bye speech but truthfully he will get far more satisfaction in grinding your mother into the ground over the end of their amazing relationship. He will want to tear her down as the reason for their relationship ending and that will involve ripping her to pieces. I believe that ending would be so much more satisfying for a jerk of his caliber. He will end that relationship controlling her until his parting breath. It’s how cretins like him operate. With that said, though, he won't leave that relationship with your mother any time soon. Too many of his needs are being met in a satisfactory fashion. At any rate good luck and blow the episode off I say.

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