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You Asked: How Can I Deal With His Mother?

Dear Sugar,

I've been seeing my boyfriend for a few months now; long enough that I've developed a relationship with his mother, but lately I'm starting to wish I could avoid her altogether. For a while she was calling me on a daily basis to "chat." Eventually I started ignoring her phone calls, which felt rude, but I didn't know what else to do. Topics of conversation ranged from her day-to-day business to problems she has with her son. She tried to talk to me about his money situation, his job and his previous relationship habits. For the most part I would simply respond with "Mmm" and "Right" but I felt uncomfortable with every "chat."

After I began neglecting her calls, they died down and I would talk with her whenever we saw each other, but the other night she called me to talk about some pretty personal stuff: her relationship with her ex husband, her opinion on my parents' relationship, and of course, her opinion on my relationship with her son. Although I did not contribute to the conversation, I felt extremely guilty after hanging up with her. If I found out that my mother was calling my boyfriend to discuss such personal matters I would feel incredibly betrayed. Although I haven't heard from her since, I'm still not sure how I should proceed. How do I deal with this without offending her and possibly straining my relationship with my boyfriend? And more importantly, do I tell him about this conversation? — Caught in the Middle Milly

To see DearSugar's answer

Dear Caught in the Middle Milly,

I don't blame you for feeling uncomfortable with these "chats" — they seem incredibly inappropriate. Before taking any next steps, I would tell your boyfriend what's going on; you don't want him to think that the two women in his life are ganging up on him and hopefully he'll have some words of wisdom for you.

In the meantime, I'd tell her the truth the next time she contacts you, gently of course, as she needs to know that confiding in you on such personal matters is putting you in a weird position. Let her know that while you enjoy catching up with her and developing your own relationship with her, you think it'd be best if she turned to her friends to discuss her personal life.

If your attempts don't change anything, your boyfriend is going to have to step in. Dealing with your significant other's parents — especially mothers — can be arduous, but since she isn't going anywhere, finding a middle ground will be best for all involved. Good luck to you.


Join The Conversation
bchicgrl bchicgrl 8 years
Wow, I'm so glad my fiance's mom isn't like that at all, I think they have my number but I'm not sure. If they call to invite us over they normally call his cell phone. We get along great and will chat when we are together but other then that we don't have any communication.
candace87 candace87 8 years
That is just awful. I couldn't imagine what I would do. There is only one instance that I can think of that she tried to have a "personal talk" with me and it made me uncomfortable but I didn't give her any information. I just smiled, nodded, and threw in a couple "i'm sorry you feel that way.."s. I get that these mothers just want to protect their sons but.. they don't have the right to get involved in his personal relationships (unless needed, say if his wife/fiance/girlfriend was abusive or something).
mommapoppins mommapoppins 8 years
She may indeed have some mental health issues as others have mentioned. Just remember - if you marry the guy, you marry the family - mom included!!! Think about if you want this much drama in your life for the long term. And if you get married and have kids - she'll be MORE involved. Trust me!
lolliriots lolliriots 8 years
Oh dear, it sounds like I wrote this. I have the same issues, and she manipulates things to get information. When I first moved to NY; we rode in the car together, for a doctor appointment that she needed to take me to see, since he was in the city. Well, talk about fun. She really edged in that he would never leave home, and it's her before anyone else (far from the truth). To this day, she involves me with her "issues" with Mr. Lolliriots - however, I am not him, and telling it to me does nothing. However, she'd never tell him because it's very insulting the things she says - things a Mother should never say! And she seems to have an opinion about my family, despite never having met them, she thinks they are just awful people, when I've never said a thing to make her think that. She's just petty because I talk to my mother EVERYDAY - and we have a great relationship, unlike him and her. Best thing to do is play her game - ignore the calls, and on the occasion you do answer, just don't say a thing - not a peep. But, if you feel ballsy enough, do the advice DearSugar said. (This morning I was about to, after she manipulated her way into some information that got my boyfriend pretty pissed at me. Now I'm involved, something I didn't want to be.)
kia kia 8 years
My MIL tried to go down this road with me and I told her from the start that I would take my cues from her son. The two of them have a couple of cracks in their relationship and I suggested she work on repairing them with her son rather than trying to do it with me. She wasn't too thrilled that I refused to be her ally or spy, but my husband knows where I stand in the situation and that means the most to me. She also tried to get up in my kool-aid but I squashed that real quick as well. Be honest with him soon about what is going on and discuss with him what you should do with her.
lemamike lemamike 8 years
You definitely have to talk to him about it first. While it is your situation and it would be nice for you to deal with it head on she is and will always be his mother to him. He might not see it your way. If you handle the situation in a way that may seem correct to you and to others but he does not feel that way it could cause a strain on your relationship because you have inevitably insulted his mother and or him. Sit down with him an explain what has happened. Decide on an approach that you are both comfortable with and agree that you will stick by each other if the situation gets hard to deal with for either of you (whoever decides to confront it)
red4bonez red4bonez 8 years
that is kinda weird. I have a friend and her boyfriend's mom called her and talked about her personal relationship but only when she was drinking little bit. I think you should talk to him but, make sure he wont go to his mom and tell her you told him. because then she will feel betrayed and you dont want that. And you can also talk to her. tell her you like talking to her but with some of the conversations you are not that comfortable with. tell her you rather would talk to her person to person over a coffee than on the phone. maybe then she would call you less. But you do need to tell your boyfriend. he knows hows how his mother is and how can you get out of situations or let her down gently. good luck.
dm8bri dm8bri 8 years
Oh, I feel sorry for you. My mom is exactly like your boyfriend's mom. My mom has a personality disorder, Borderline, which makes it mentally and emotionally impossible for her to understand social and familial boundaries. Relationships with BPD patients, and anyone with personality disorders, are painful and disorienting even when you know for sure what's going on and how to deal. Definitely talk to your boyfriend. I'm sure he knows better than anyone how "ridiculous" his mother is and how she should be handled. Bottom line: do what is most comfortable for him. This may take a lot of open and honest, and potentially emotional, communication. As much as I agree with k8 rckstr that mothers need to be kept happy, sometimes there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO. If you're dealing with a person who is emotionally or mentally "off", it's truly a no-win situation. What you have to do is figure out a way to coexist peacefully with her. I do commend you for handling her well thus far - as awkward as the conversations are on your end, you are validating her feelings just by listening and that's very important for her psyche.
k8-rckstr k8-rckstr 8 years
I don't know what to tell you but one thing I'm gonna say is you better figure out how to deal with her, and she better like it, and her son better not be caught in the middle...because if you want a good relationship with a man who has a good relationship with his mother, Momma better be happy...thats all Im gonna say about that! lol
queenlizzie queenlizzie 8 years
I'd do the same as myystque. Not knowing her very well, it's probably difficult to try to figure out why she's doing this (maybe he had a past relationship where she did this sort of thing with one of his exes, and she misses that or something) and how to get her to stop. I wish I had a better relationship with my boyfriend's parents, but not THIS kind of relationship!
myystque myystque 8 years
If it were me, I'd tell my boyfriend first and let him suggest a way to handle his mom, because that is a weird situation. My boyfriend's family has my number, but they don't call just to talk, especially not about such personal issues.
kristyy kristyy 8 years
Woah, you need to cut this woman loose. I don't mean cut all ties with her, but no more of that deeply personal stuff. Giving you her opinion of your parents' relationship when you never asked is a bit extreme (I guess I'm not in the situation to understand why you allowed her to get that far, so I could be mistaken). I agree with DearSugar. Tell your bf pronto. If he doesn't tell her to stop, the next time she calls and gets too personal, just tell her that you are uncomfortable speaking about these matters and perhaps her friends (even your bf!) would be better suited to discuss with her and hope that she understands your situation. If she goes off, then politely and firmly tell her that you need to go and hang up. Imagine what you'd have to deal with if she became your mother-in-law. Good luck!
psterling psterling 8 years
My MIL emailed me once when my husband and I started dating to ask a question about his birthday plans and we have corresponded ever since. I love chatting with her though- she's not at all intrusive or over-sharing. We both know where the line is and stick to our side and it works out well!
krae85 krae85 8 years
My mother-in-law has never called me, ever. So, I agree with Tidalwave, it is a bit out of the ordinary. It seems like she wants to be your friend, when that's not what she is. Maybe help her to find some friends of her own?
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
My boyfriend's parents have never had my phone number. This just sounds very strange. I would confront her and explain that you don't feel comfortable with the conversation. I would also talk to your boyfriend about it, perhaps he could be of some help.
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