Cut The Cord...
My boyfriend and I have been together for about a year after being friends for many years. We have somewhat of a modern relationship, having met off of a journal website, and I just moved. My boyfriend is a very wonderful man, don't get me wrong. Now that I've moved, though, I've noticed a pattern with his parents, his mother specifically. She is a very wonderful woman, and his whole family has been very warm and gracious to me. I have no ill feelings towards his family whatsoever. However, he's always been kind of the golden child in his family. He overcame serious medical issues, and is incredibly, incredibly intelligent. But I feel like his mother maybe depends on him too much. He just graduated with his master's, so even though he's moved out, they've helped him out a lot with groceries or finances here and there, because he has a student salary currently.
However, I think his mother might be a bit too overbearing, and I fear that this is going to mangle our relationship in the long term. I can't tell you how many times I've been at his place when his parents call to invite us to dinner. He tries to tell them thank you, but we already have plans for dinner or for the night. Well, all I can say is that nearly every single time we end up over there for dinner, which always ends in an apology for spending all our time there that night and having almost none alone together. He's mentioned to me a few times that his mom tends to make him feel guilty if he can't or won't do something. She bought him groceries the other day, and we were at the movies. He saw a missed call from her, so he returned it, and judging by the tone of his voice, she must've expressed frustration that he wasn't home when she brought him groceries. She calls him often for favors to move something or help his little brother with something, and on a couple of occasions, has taken up all of his time so it's almost 9 pm before he gets home, and it's too late to really spend quality time together.
A couple of months ago, we went back to Texas to get the rest of my things and to go to my brother's wedding. Well, because of his medical conditions, he is prescribed strong pain medications. Well, he forgot to pack his pain meds, which led to me taking him to the ER. I kept in contact with his mother to keep her updated, and she would say that we need to take him back to the ER for another shot or this and that. We did eventually go to the doctor and get him the proper pain medications. He seemed to be okay until his mom started telling him that his little brother was crying because he missed him, his dad was upset they weren't going to go camping, and they even offered to buy him a plane ticket to come home sooner, which would've led to me packing up and driving halfway across the country again by myself. Thankfully, he declined. (By the way, none of them asked how I was holding up through everything or thanked me for taking care of him) His dad didn't even know anything was going on with him medically until he answered the phone when I called their house to give them an update.
I know it sounds like he tries to set boundaries, but he always caves out of guilt. This is where I think this is affecting his psyche and our relationship. He did apologize on the way to the ER for ruining vacation over such a stupid thing, but not once did he actually thank me afterwards for taking care of him. I missed my brother's wedding reception, I hardly saw my own mother, or saw any of the people I wanted to see. I even forgot to visit my dad's grave, because he felt so antsy to get home. (Which he didn't seem to feel until after the phone calls from his mother came.) I discovered in his AIM logs some things he said to a mutual friend of ours that were highly inappropriate. When I found it, he said that he was lying to her, because she had basically been coming to him for emotional support for the last six months or so after her fiance dumped her. It still hurts, but I can believe this. I feel like this has turned him into a yes man. He told me he'd stop talking to this girl, and our relationship has improved, but somehow it felt too easy. My point is that he shouldn't have been letting her come to him all the time for emotional support. Girls should lean on girl friends. Period.
So my main point is that he has tried to set boundaries with his mom, but because of guilt (I assume) he's always caving to her, and this has caused him to be unable to set boundaries with anyone. He wants to please people, and he often feels guilty over the slightest things. I realized that some of this may have been part of my own insecurity, so I'm trying hard as I can to be more confident and make our relationship a safe place for him without letting myself get walked all over. I feel like this behavior from his mom has lead to him being passive aggressive at times, and unable to act appropriately, because he just can't set boundaries. (He also doesn't like being wrong or feeling like he failed at anything, which is how this hiccup with the AIM logs has made him feel) He wants to make everyone happy, which has resulted in lying to me, because he didn't want to hurt me, but wanted to uphold some promise or obligation he made to whoever whenever long ago. When I found these AIM logs he said he was willing to go to couples therapy before we move in together, so I'm thankful that he wants to work things out, but when he feels down he goes back to this journal website to ask if anyone wants a letter from him or something similar to feel validated and well liked again. I don't feel like it's my place to discuss his relationship with his mother, because that's...well...rude. All I can hope to do is give him the patience and space so he can set boundaries with me, hoping this leads to him being more honest and open with me.
He obviously tries to set boundaries, but is plagued by guilt. When he gets a job and doesn't need financial help from his family, will this stop? Is this something a couple's therapist would touch on? I love him, and he's a wonderful, wonderful man, but this issue really needs to be resolved somehow before it devastates our relationship as well as any other relationship he may have.
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