Leaving the love of my life because of his family
I really felt the need to share this with a group of mature adults, any input is highly appreciated.
I have met a person I felt is the love of my life a few years ago. He's everything I was hoping to find for myself, but after a couple of years together, some complex family relationships are starting to untangle, and it makes me feel not so enthusiastic about our future together.
We're in our early thirties, financially stable, both have decent jobs. We have spent some time living together abroad (not in the country we were born in) but both knew we want our futures to be in our hometown. When we were living abroad, our lives were a bit hectic in terms of working a lot, and dealing with so much on a daily basis. We had a lot of time for each other, but we really didn't have too much time to worry about what we left behind (we moved away after a few months of dating because we got a great business opportunity that you do not say no to - it was mostly about money, but the money we made helped us so much moving forward and has made our lives so much easier. We never thought we are to stay there forever, and since day1 knew we want to go back home after we achieve our goals.)
We were communicating with our families regularly, but it was nothing like when we were home.
His family situation was simple, he's a son to a single mom, she's currently unemployed so he and his brother (living abroad, with no urge to come back home any time soon) are supporting her financially. I had a chance to meet her, a bit too direct, slightly bitter, but ok to chat with, and something I could get used to having at my home for lunch once a week or so.
We wanted to move back home, and after we got back, she has become so obsessed with my boyfriend. She has probably been like this her whole life, but living away from her made me blind to that.
She's in her late 50s, not working (hasn't been for almost 15 years now). While she was, she was sacrificing a lot to raise her kids alone, and I appreciate that. After all, she raised the man I love and he is what he is thanks to her. Her other son is also a great man, but lives a hectic, a bit more hedonistic-kind-of-life. I recognize how good of a job she did with raising them both and providing for them all by herself. That is something I will always admire.
The thing is... She has no life apart from her kids. She never leaves her home, she doesn't really have friends (1 friend that she sees occasionally), some family (a sister and a brother) that she has a kinda ok relationship with, but they visit each other maybe once in a few weeks. All those people are busy living their own lives, working, having hobbies, spending time with their partners/kids/grandchildren, gardening, etc. She doesn't have a hobby apart from staying at home spending time online (using my boyfriend's Facebook to stalk people haha, play online games etc). And she doesn't want to change her job status or find hobbies.
Now when he (my boyfriend) is back in the city, she got a chance to retrieve the only fragment of her identity - that is him. She calls dozens of times a day, they text like high school sweethearts - all day long. She's texting some really alarming good night texts every night. I'm not really sure if that's something normal because even after I addressed that with him, he was never comfortable sharing more details and thinks I'm exaggerating. The way I know about those is that whenever he shows something on his screen - his mums text ALWAYS pops up. And I mean ALWAYS.
On Valentine's day, we were talking over dinner at home and he showed me a funny video on his phone. At the same time, he receives a good night message from her, where she says "I wish I can fly right over there to give you a kiss. Good night." with dozens of lovey-dovey emojis always. (We are 15 minutes walking distance away from where she lives. They see each other every day).
The same thing happens often. Every time he wants to show me something, she's sending him text/stuff. I have become so obsessed that I occasionally find myself instinctively glimpsing over his phone if he's texting by my side in the evening (I work a lot and we spend very intimate evenings together because after I leave in the morning, I'm not back home until 7 pm). I don't want to be the kind of woman that wants to know about who he's texting, but this is driving me crazy. And whenever I do, it's always her he's texting.
His business partner calls in the middle of the dinner, and he picks the phone up at the table, with me being there. But, when she calls, he leaves the room to talk to her. I don't mind him looking for a private spot to have his conversations with people - but he only does it if it's her who's calling. He's very discreet about his relationship with her. He never shares about their calls/conversations, but after a few years with him, I just KNOW things. Just to note, I never went through his phone or anything. I respect his boundaries at all times.
I really tried spending time with her, having coffee with her but it's hard. She's very bitter and doesn't actually talk about anything but other people in a negative way. Those are the conversations I stopped having a long time ago. She talks badly of my boyfriend's friends, and always wants to discuss their negative traits, making them exaggerated. Never, ever did I hear her speak highly of anyone apart from herself and her sons.
Her other son had two serious relationships that ended up with engagements being broken off. She mentions both of those girls regularly and talks about them in a bad way, how they were with her son only to spend his money, how they would not clean/cook around the house, and how they were useless. One of them, she even accuses of stealing her son's money. Please note that it's all happening abroad, super far away from home where he's been living for a long time, and she only visited once for around 10 days. He visits once every two years, but none of the girlfriends were with his mom for over a few days ever. He (her other son) talks highly of both of those girls, and has never shared anything bad about them with me (I see him more often than his mum does atm), and also not with my boyfriend, apart from some general info on the reason behind the break ups. I regularly ask her to stop sharing that information with me because I don't feel comfortable hearing it, but she doesn't really care.
My boyfriend has never had a serious relationship before we met in his late 20s. He did have relationships, but none of the girlfriends ever met his family.
That is all very alarming for me (although I think she feels ok about me, after all, I'm the one financially helping her out if my boyfriend is unable to, because his business suffered a lot from this covid-madness, and mine did not. Things were tight for him for a few months, but we overcame it. He "owns" me money, but being a couple I think of the money as ours, while he is always the one representing the money I gave him as something he needs to pay me back. It was a decent amount of money, but I am blessed with a lifestyle where I don't need to care about whether I ever get that money back, even if we do break up. I believe he would do the same for me), but the biggest thing happened when she started talking about my family (she's always a better mom than my mom is). My parents live a couple of hours driving away from us, I visit once every few weeks. They have other kids as well, their own home, their garden, friends, hobbies, jobs, and we're not depending on each other in any way. We have a good relationship, but only hear from each other maybe once a week, and see each other every couple of weekends. I speak to my brother and sister more often and see them more than my parents, but I'm really happy with the relationship I have with them all. We have clear boundaries set and have nothing but respect for each other.
She tried insulting my relationship with my parents, telling me how me not speaking to my mum for days is a sign of something not being quite right there, and how she can't understand my mother not waiting for midnight for my birthday to call me and wish me a happy one. How she always waits for her sons' birthdays and calls at midnight. I know that's true and I think it's annoying. (It was my birthday and my mum called around 9 am, while she was heading to work, and I see nothing wrong about it. My mum is asleep by 10 pm, why would she wait until midnight to wish me a happy birthday?) I kinda lost it then and told her that the next time she tries talking like that about my mother (and my mum is really a great woman!), that she's gonna hear some really bad things about how I feel about her as a mother.
I regretted that the same moment I said it, but I said it. I probably shouldn't have, but it was really hard for me to accept that my boyfriend was by my side and he didn't say anything about it until I lost it. He was mad at me for talking back to his mom. I apologized, but deep down I felt relief for letting that out. I respect her, but I would never like to be anything like she is to my kids. We see each other less snce that happened, but we never mentioned it again. She's still bitter, but she never mentioned my family again.
His relationship with his mom is different, and I'm able to understand where does that come from. I understand the circumstances, and her being a single mom for my boyfriend. I really do. But the boundaries set seem very unhealthy for me.
She knows about how much money he earns, how much he spends, how much he has got saved up, and is always stressing about every single one of his business decisions like they are her own. When I was the one carrying both of our expenses, he told her everything about that although I felt that's weird. I earn a lot more money than he does at the moment (I have no issues with that, and neither does him I think!) I was furious when I learned that she knows what my salary is. When I tell him that a particular thing he's shared with her is not respecting my boundaries, he understands it and apologizes. But it's like I have to say the say thing for every single stuff he shares about me. My family knows nothing about how I make. They know about the lifestyle I can afford and know I am there to help them financially if needed, but I have never shared numbers with them, and don't feel the need to. I don't know how much my parents earn, and I don't care as long as they're happy. I can assume by the lifestyle they have, but that's it.
She wants to know everything about our lives, and she feels like she's the biggest part of my boyfriend's life. Sometimes, even I feel that way. She often mentions me in her conversations with him, and sometimes, and sometimes jokes about me always working (I'm a workaholic, raised by workaholics, and I LOVE to work.)
I keep our home in a pixel-perfect state, clean, tidy (we don't have kids or pets together yet), I'm a fantastic cook, so she can never criticize that as she did with her other son's girlfriends. Sometimes I put too much effort into that, just so she can't have anything to complain about when she comes over.
The way she can't let go of constantly being around his neck and (I think) making him feel guilty when he doesn't give her attention is really hard for me. I had a long relationship before this one, and his parents were a joy to spend time with. Respected our boundaries and after all, had a life outside of our relationship.
My boyfriend is the only identity she has at the moment, and I know it would never be ok for me to make him choose between a mum and a wife. I'm thinking about leaving him because I don't feel he's really mine, and I have the need to be the number one woman in my man's life. I'm not scared to "share" him with her, but I don't feel like this is ever changing. It breaks my heart when he goes to her for advice, and not to me. Yes, maybe sometimes she can help better than I can, but I want to be the person he goes to first when he's dealing with a problem. He is that person for me, and I want to be that person for him. I think that's what it's all about.
I don't think I can live a life where she is there 24/7, even when she physically isn't. Even he and I are not together 24/7, are not texting and calling each other all day long. We have other roles in our lives apart from being each other's boyfriend/girlfriend.
She doesn't have any other role in her life, apart from being a mum, and that's extremely scary. I'm thinking about leaving the relationship, because breaking up with a momma's boy is easier than divorcing a mamma's boy. I just hope to get unbiased feedback - am I the crazy one here???
The biggest value in my life is my independence, and I know that not everyone appreciates it the same way I do. This is too much. Especially the part where he never mentioned their relationship being like this when we were living abroad.
Thanks for reading, I feel better already.
Trust your gut feeling here. There is “ emotional incest” going on here between these two.
The fact that he does nothing to set healthy boundaries with her tells you all you need to know.
Take care of yourself in this breakup. Fireworks are on the way.
She will consider herself the victorious one because she will now have sonny all to herself. That’s what narcissist s do.
Always good to get things off your chest
I appreciate that raising kids on your own must be hard work, and that she must of sacrificed a lot and had to work hard. I’ve looked my cousins kids before, and was ready to hand them over at the end of the day. Doing it all day every day on your own, I’m with you on the admiration to any single parent.
I think you're right, it sounds like she’s always been this way and she has no intention of changing her ways or making her world bigger by making friend or finding a hobby because (in her mind) why should she, she doesn’t need to ? She’s financially supported and has two sons. Maybe she’s had it really tough and now she thinks she can relax and she deserves it.
She must have found it very hard when your bf was living aboard. Might of added to her bitterness.
You can see the kind of romantic relationships she’s created with your through the unhealthy texts. If you tell your bf you’re really uncomfortable with this he’s going to defend her. If you tell her to stop she’ll go on about being a caring mum and be upset. It’s all really hard for you.
Good for you for nipping it in the bud when she started picking at you family, would of been nice if your bf supported you on that. If she did it again I wouldn’t hesitate on being assertive again. She can’t make judgments on your family if she’s not even met them. But bitching isn’t nice anyway.
But from what you put second son has been engaged twice neither made it to the wedding, hardly brings gfs to meet her, hardly comes home. What does that say?
I can totally appreciate why you would think of breaking up with bf. I can only think you need to talk with bf and tell him you want to start putting firm boundaries down and he need to support you. See how he reacts. Or have you made your mind up?
If you don’t know much narcissism, it will help you a lot to read up on it
Thank you SusieDqq and Lily31,
I appreciate your inputs. Although what Susiedqq said are my own thoughts in the "dark moments", when she pisses me off, I've really grown to be an extremely understanding person, and I can clearly see where everything she does comes from. I hate the sin, not the sinner. I find this extremely hard because I didn't know about the real nature of their relationship until we moved back home. She wasn't like this when we were away, but our lives were just so hectic that realistically, he didn't have time to pursue that kind of relationship with her. Our lives are much more stable now, we work less, and we both have more time to be observing towards each other's lifestyles, families, etc.
I love every single part of that man, but the feeling of being a mistress to a man married to his mother is tearing me apart. And that feeling is only getting stronger. I have addressed these problems with him bit by bit.
He always tried making it about me making my independence a priority. That indeed is a trait of mine, but I'm not blind to other people being more dependant on people around them then I am.
Another reason he provided was her being a "poor, single mum" that "has no one else but him". The latter one breaks my heart. I can clearly see that he's the only thing she has. (She had a tough life, and she left everything and everyone behind, including her abusive husband, to give her sons the best life possible, working her arse off to provide for them without anyone helping her out. I admire her for that, I really do.)
I think he's carrying a burden of her wellbeing that has been too heavy for only him to carry. She always tells how she "deserves" to be treated that way by her son, because of all she did for him throughout his life. I think he was raised by her making them feel guilty of the situation she was in. I tried getting him to speak about that, but he never shared any "bad" thing about her. It's like she's God himself. She occasionally shared some alarming things like this one, but she's always so sarcastic that I have no idea if she's just overdoing it.
But just because I feel sorry about the place she's in, but that's not a good-enough reason for me to accept her being my boyfriends number one. She thinks she's fine and likes her life the way it is, so she obviously would never say yes to any kind of therapy.
I did spend a lot of time reading up on hundreds of different issues I think she could have, including narcissism. I once made a joke about therapy, saying how with everything going on around us, we should all go see a psychiatrist as often as we see our gyno. She replied with a joke that if I feel I need therapy, I don't need to feel ashamed and should just go for it. I firmly believe she was joking, because I'm used to her humour by now, but she obviously has no idea she could be the one to do that.
I want to say that I don't have the mum-in-law issue at all. I was in a long relationship when I was younger (I broke up with him, but we just grow apart. Fell in love when we were 17, but after 6 years we really grew up to be people that don't share the same values and visions of their future... Just to give some context, it wasn't an unhealthy relationship or anything like that). I had a great relationship with his parents, his sister, his nephews. There have never overstepped their boundaries, and he had a very good relationship with them. I loved having them close, and would occasionally spend some time alone with his mum and loved it. So, I don't think this can be about me only.
I think I am making my mind up - I'm aware of the fact I need to leave him, but it's just so hard. I am finding strength to talk to him about it all one more time, so I was wondering what other people have to share regarding this issue I'm having. The hardest thing is that even if I can set clear boundaries with his mum - I'm uncomfortable with the boundaries they two share. If he does agree on changing that, I think she would not take it well and she would suffer a lot. I'm not sure if I'm able to live with that burden. Even if we end up breaking up, I want to do that in a way that would make it clear for him that this is something that's probably going to ruin his next relationships as well. Even if I'm not the woman he's about to share the rest of his life with, I want nothing but true happiness for him. I'm afraid he won't be able to find it with anyone else until he has his mum around. He hopes to become a father in a few years, and I really want him to pursue that role in the future. And I want him to find love.
Thank you all, your input has been so helpful.
Yep, you have to have a lot of patients with a narcissist! They are so self obsessed, demanding and childish. And they don’t stop.
By the sounds of it, she has well and truly got her claws into him. So yes on reflection it’s going to be very hard to set boundaries, doesn’t sound like she would react well.
she shouldn’t makes him feel guilty about what she been through and that she’s worthy of his finials help but that’s what narc parents do and say to their kids/ adult kids. They guilt trip them. She’s doing him no favours and not really being the good mum, she really thinks she is. It is sad that she’s not been able to move on from her past but He’s been fed the poor single mum line too many times. It’s been drilled into him.
My dad is a narcissist, they don’t change, I’ve gone no contact with him. They don’t usually go to counselling to get help, if they do, they walk out as soon as they don’t like what there hearing (like my dad did) or they have found a counsellor who will tell them what they want to hear (not a very good counsellor!) . Many boundaries have been set with my dad and each time he breaks them. So I can see your bfs mum would probably do the same.
I agree, for him to have any kind of good relationship in the future with you or another girl, he needs to see the control and manipulation, emotional abuse he’s under. But this is his mum, I have a feeling he’s going to be very defensive and dismissive of what she’s really like. He might need to learn the hard way, if he won’t listen