I am 22 years old and my boyfriend is 33 so he is 11 years older than me. To me and to pretty much everyone I know, this is not that big of a deal because he is a great guy, he treats me well, and he makes me very happy. The only person who has a problem is my mom. When she first found out his age she was extremely angry because she deemed him too old for me. When I asked why she does not like him, she simply said the only thing she does not like is that she thinks he is too old (mind you she has never met him and refuses to meet him). Things got out of hand when she ended up going into our phone plan and blocked his number from being able to contact my phone and she looks into my bank account to see what I buy and where I go, to try and make sure I do not contact him. I told her I would just get my own phone plan and pay for it, but she refuses to release my phone number from our account. She is now angry with me and will not talk to me, actively ignores me when I try and speak to her, and will not read or answer any texts.
I just graduated college so I have a bachelors degree in science, and funny enough, a minor in psychology. But for the life of me I cannot understand why she is being this way. It has been a pattern in my life where if I do something my mom does not like, she immediately gives me the silent treatment and tries to make me feel guilty. However at this age, I feel as though I am living in prison where my calls are monitored and she see’s everything I do. I am not sure what the next step should be. I know that if I bow down to her wishes, I will never forgive myself for letting go of a great relationship because my mom is deciding to treat me like I am a young child.
Please help, because the thought of my mom never speaking to me again over something so childish seems absolutely insane to me. Do I just give her time or should I take more drastic measure? (From the USA)
Unfortunately, it is time for more drastic measures. Regardless of why your mother is acting this way it is time for a very serious conversation with her. At 22 it is time for you to consider moving out of mom’s house. Let mom know that she has crossed a line and that having your own phone paid for by your own money is the direction you are ready to go in with all of your decisions concerning her meddling. I am sure she has your best interest at heart, but the way she is doing it — and her lack of boundaries with you — can’t be tolerated. I would invite your mom to come with you to a therapist to talk about this. (Send it by text, email, snail-mail, etc.) You are not 15 and she is treating you like you are. If she is willing to go with you then I would air your complaints there and have the therapist manage the discussion and resolution. If she is not willing to go keep the appointment anyway as you may want individual therapy to help you plan moving on.
The core reason you need to take such a strong stand is that your mother cannot (at your age) be responsible for deciding who is the right person for you. This time it is age, next time it may be his education, or his vocation, or, or, or. She may not be happy with your decision, but it is your decision, right, wrong, good, or bad. It is you who gets to decide who you spend your time with.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). Mom Cannot Handle Age Difference in Relationship. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 24, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/06/17/mom-cannot-handle-age-difference-in-relationship/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.