Is he worth it?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’ve been dating for a year and I just can’t stand his mom! I know your advice is to be the bigger person. But she has the exact same personality as a girl I met in Varsity. In varsity I had a huge phsycological breakdown. And one of the very few things I did was tolerate this girl during 5 long years (just because i didn´t want to have a fight). I can´t do it now with my boyfriend’s mom. I see her and I just want to throw her over the balcony!

His mom had a easy life but thinks she went through a lot. So she’s full of self-rightesness and wants everyone to think the same. I’v lived half as long as her and have been through much more. So why must I take her nonsense? (I mean I really can’t do it, I just want to scream when I’m next to her)

And then my boyfriend just talks about her all the time. I even avoid going out with him during the week, so I don’t blurt out that she’s a worthless no-one. My boyfriend wants to buy her a 3000 euro present and all I ever got was 10 euro presents (and I have bought him lots of expensive presents!) And then he says he’s mom has so many chores and thats why she’s so tired. Please! She’s younger than my mom, is retired way before her age, does nothing the whole day and gets a pension! She’s got a sweet life and has no idea of whats its like to go through dificulties.

A: Thank you for writing. I’m sorry this situation is making you revisit a painful time in your life. You learned in Varsity that it isn’t healthy for you to give in repeatedly at your own expense. Now here you are in a similar situation. But I do need to tell you: The problem isn’t the mother. Your problem is with your boyfriend. His mother is in your relationship even when you aren’t with her. Although you are in your late 20s, your boyfriend is so connected to his mother that she is his primary topic of conversation. He’s not talking about his hopes and dreams for his future. He’s not enjoying his friends’ achievements and adventures or filling your ears and heart with affection.

I’m sure you could simply let her “poor me” comments slide if you and your boyfriend could later talk about how they are sadly inappropriate. You could manage his mother if it meant occasional visits. It’s that you can’t seem to get away from her that is making you want to scream.

On the other hand (I do have to mention the other hand): It could be that you are oversensitive to the issue because of your prior experience at school. It could be that you are inappropriately competititve with her and her son’s efforts to get you to see his mother’s perspective are in reaction to that.

I have no way of knowing which is the case. Probably there’s a bit of both going on. So get into a calm, quiet space and do as clear a self-appraisal as you can.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Mar 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Is he worth it?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/03/30/is-he-worth-it/