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How Do I Win Over Boyfriend’s Mom?

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From a teen in Canada:  me and my boyfriend have been dating for 1.7 years both 18 years old so our relationship is very good dispute the arguments and a 4 month break from each other to sort out our life because we are at the age where the decisions we make are ever lasting.

my bfs parents got divorced when he was like 8 years old. he has not talked to his dad in over two years except brief texts from his dad to say happy birthday and marry christmas. him and his mom have a very good relationship and so did me and her. he has a younger brother who is 11 who sees the dad every other week for weekly visits. so my boyfriend and i are very close,

for the first 1 year and one month me and him were inseparable, we don’t go to the same school and both have extracurricular activities after school sometimes. my parents tend to be on the strict side when it comes to boys, he is not allowed in my room or upstairs at all. so we would go to his house after school and hangout in his room and then go and have dinner with his mom and sometimes brother which lasted about 2 hours between talking and maybe playing w his brother. his house is small and very open. the amount of stairs between each floor is very little so his room was the only place that we have privacy not to forget that his basement is basically attached to his living room it just has a hall way and large stairs w no door separating them.

his mom is also a work from home mom so she is always there. at the time everything was pretty much perfect. we took time away from each other to focus on school and other things and after 4 months got back together.

for the first month things went back to how they used to be. after that things started to get more complicated, his mom said ( to him and not to me)  that we need to spend more time with his brother and we can’t just isolate ourselves.

my boyfriend has a lot of patience, which is something i lack. his brother is always talking or yelling and is constantly requiring my bfs attention and my bf always gives it to him. his brother never includes me into their conversation and is always talking about video games and movies that i don’t know a single thing about. every time i try to talk to my boyfriend he interrupts me and my boyfriend rarely says anything about it because he doesn’t want to hurt his brother’s feelings. he is always trying to wrestle and grab and hug my boyfriend even when i’m cuddle on his shoulder and some times even tells me to move.

i have a dysfunctional family and my mom is always away on trips, me and my dad just not talk much and i have a sister who is 13, me and my sister just go in our rooms and do our own thing and never really bother each other unless it’s the rare occasion that we wanna hangout w each other. it’s hard because we go to school all day and have to be somewhat nice and stuff so when i get home i wanna relax and rebuild my ability to be a nice person which is impossible when i’m with his brother cuz i know i have to be nice to him. so we would try and go up to his room after dinner because before dinner we would play with is brother and for a couple weeks we did this. then his mom said to him that if his brother is at the house we aren’t allowed in his room. one of the things he told me is that we didn’t have to spend time w his brother we just had to be out of the room, but since it’s a wide open space the brother constantly following and bugging him. so basically every other week i would have to sit through torture just to see my boyfriend after school.

my parents weren’t very happy about the break up and back together thing so my house was out of the equation for a while. after a while i told my boyfriend how i felt and that if he won’t tell his brother to calm down sometimes and be respectful to me and my relationship w my bf then i would have to stop coming over because it got to the point where i felt like i was just intruding on their relationship and i didn’t belong there. as well as having absolutely no private time to talk or to even cuddle and bond which we definitely needed after that break up. nothing changed really. it only got worse. when my bf tried to tell his brother to calm down or stop bugging us then he would only act out for the attention more. he tried to tell him mom but she only got defensive.

i would stop going over as much when his brother was there maybe 2 out of 7 days of the week but at least we had a week where we could talk about things and rebuild after each week. NOT. his mom told him that we shouldn’t go in his room when she’s home because it’s rude to her and that they aren’t a family that isolates themselves in there room despite the fact we have a 1.5 hour dinner talking to her every day. so that means that the only time we can have privacy/allowed in his room is when she goes to to bed or is out. i would go over and i just felt like i was being watch the entire time.

we are 18 and we should be allowed to have privacy to talk and i felt very uncomfortable. eventually she said we aren’t allowed in his room period and this makes me so upset because i now feel like i’m forced to hangout w his family and like i’m dating him not his mom and brother we should have to spend 4-9 with them it’s completely unfair. as well as the fact that the mom doesn’t even talk to us. so i’ve talked to him so many times and he agrees w me but he doesn’t wanna hurt his mom or brother feelings and when he tried to talk to his mom she won’t budge and now he won’t bring it up again w her. so i stopped going over there and now she said to my bf that i’m not very polite anymore. it’s really tearing us apart cuz we have no time to do private things that are important in a long term and serious relationship. i just don’t know what i can do because the more i’m in that house with them the more upset and annoyed i get :/

How Do I Win Over Boyfriend’s Mom?

Answered by on -

A.

Even though you said a lot in your letter, you didn’t get to what I think are the most important things. You are lonely in your own house, living in a family where people don’t talk to each other. Your boyfriend’s brother is 11 and lonesome too. He only sees his father every other week so your boyfriend is important to him as a kind of father figure. From the brother’s point of view, you are competition for your boyfriend’s love and attention. He can’t stand it so makes a pest of himself, hoping you’ll go away. His mother may not know how to respond to his loneliness so counts on her older son to do what she thinks she can’t.

I think both sets of parents think that what you mean by wanting privacy is that you want to have sex. They aren’t comfortable with that, so they put up obstacles to you and your boyfriend being together. He isn’t allowed at your house. His mother makes having private time in his house impossible. You are experiencing what many young people go through as they explore a serious relationship but with no place of their own.

The antidote is more clear communication. Your boyfriend could talk to his mom about how he can’t be a substitute dad for his brother. She needs to give him more of her time, instead of asking your boyfriend to give all of his free time to brotherly love.

You could talk to your parents about how to loosen up the rules so that your boyfriend can be there. That probably means talking about boundaries around privacy and sex. And your boyfriend needs to have the same conversation with his mother. If the two of you are mature enough and sure enough of your relationship to want to be sexually active, you are mature enough to have difficult conversations.

I have a guess that both sets of parents are concerned that you two are too exclusive. If you don’t have other friends as well, they are right to be concerned. Instead of limiting the relationship you do have, it would be more helpful if they would encourage you to enrich your friendships and to bring other people home to meet them and enjoy their company.

At 18, you are both close to a time when you will be able to get out on your own. Being clear now with each other about your expectations and limitations regarding closeness and sex will help you manage your situation for the next year. I hope you are both doing well in school and making plans for the future — be it more schooling, training in a tech job, or full time work. Supporting each other in future planning will also help strengthen your relationship in the present.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

How Do I Win Over Boyfriend’s Mom?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). How Do I Win Over Boyfriend’s Mom?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 21, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/08/02/how-do-i-win-over-boyfriends-mom/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 30 Jul 2019
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 30 Jul 2019
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