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Should I Tell My Mom’s Boyfriend that She Has Another Boyfriend?

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From a 13 year old in England:  Recently, my mum has gotten herself out of a toxic relationship, not abusive, but toxic (this was not my father). I suppose given the freedom that she now has, she began to “experiment”, leaving me and my brother alone in the house for hours/nights at a time. My father has custody every other weekend, so as I wanted to stay home, she said… “no”  Which was strange for her, typically I was able to come home, and for good reason?

Later that same day she was texting… a lot, every 5 seconds or so, her phone wouldn’t go down. And so again I found it suspicious.

After this I was at my dads, when my brother came into my room stating, “Mums at a hotel in another town”  And I was simply confused, why I couldn;t come home was clearly because of this event that was taking place.

She had already had a boyfriend, even after she had broken up with the “toxic” one, and was going to a hotel which is nowhere near where he lived.

She left her phone unlocked one day, and I quickly grabbed it, and put my phone on record, but slow-motion. And I swiped really quickly up the list of messages.

Again, later I was reading them. They weren’t text. But sexts, saying that theyre going to do some dirty stuff on FaceTime. But what I found, was them saying that they’re meeting up. In a hotel. On the day that my mum was in a hotel. My mum and him exchanging… disturbing pictures, and in some sort of lingerie.

Now I’m stuck with an issue. Do I tell her boyfriend? Or her? My brother knows already, and we’ve come to a mutual truce, where nobody says anything without the other.

The only issue with telling my mum is that, she has become VERY impatient lately, and shouts, slams doors, and sometimes hits. She changes her attitude when alone and in front of her “boyfriend “as she is all for appearances.

Should I tell her in front of her boyfriend, behind her boyfriends back? Or keep it quiet, as she may also punish me for going onto her phone?

Should I Tell My Mom’s Boyfriend that She Has Another Boyfriend?

Answered by on -

A.

I’m sure this is really hard for you and for your brother. Your mother is evidently going through some issues of her own that have negative consequences for both of you. I’m guessing you are feeling abandoned and your brother is confused about whether he is supposed to step in as a “parent” since mom isn’t doing the job.

Your mother’s private life is exactly that — private. You had no business going into her phone. You have no business telling boyfriend A about boyfriend B. She’s obviously feeling defensive about her decisions or she wouldn’t react to things you say with shouts and physical violence. That certainly isn’t acceptable.

Leaving your alone for hours and nights at a time means she isn’t doing her job as a mom. You and your brother do have legitimate complaints about how much of your mom’s time and attention you are getting. You don’t deserve to be hit, ever. But the way to handle this is not to violate boundaries even more by spying on your mother or by sharing information you aren’t supposed to have.

I don’t think it is wise for you and your brother to hold onto information that makes you both so uncomfortable. But it’s important that you not judge your mom for information you got by grabbing her phone.

Instead, think about whether you and your brother can calmly sit down with your mother and tell her that you know she is trying to figure out relationships but that you miss her and that you miss having a family life. Don’t “confront” her with her dating behavior. Just let her know that her absences at night worry you.

Approach her with compassion and stick to what you need from her that you aren’t getting. If she gets upset, don’t get angry in return. Adding angry noise to angry noise only ups the noise. Sit quietly and repeat that you aren’t judging her but that you love her and miss her and that you worry about her. See if you can work out having time with her. Tell her that, at 13, you still need a mom. It’s not your brother’s job to be your “parent”. It’s not your job to try to parent yourself.

If your mom seems to want to find a solution but the three of you can’t figure it out, see if she would be willing to see a family therapist for a few sessions to help all of you. Another option is to ask to live more of the time with your dad while she figures out her life.

I hope your mother is able to respond to you. You clearly care about her or you wouldn’t be looking for a solution.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Should I Tell My Mom’s Boyfriend that She Has Another Boyfriend?

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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. (2020). Should I Tell My Mom’s Boyfriend that She Has Another Boyfriend?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 9, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/01/24/should-i-tell-my-moms-boyfriend-she-has-another-boyfriend/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 23 Jan 2020 (Originally: 24 Jan 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 23 Jan 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.