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elp's avatar

What to do about my boyfriend's overprotective mother?

Asked by elp (42points) December 4th, 2010

My boyfriend and I have been dating for 6 months now and we are both 17 years old. I think that is definitely a fair age to be dating. The problem is his mother is WAY to overprotective. We are constantly babysat by his 9 year old sister, at all times. I had my permit for 11 months and I’ve had my license for 6. I’ve never been in an accident and my parents think I’m a wonderful driver…but his parents won’t let me drive him until I get my Senior license, which I can’t until next August, though his stupid friends who race each other are allowed to drive him. He also isn’t even allowed to have a cell phone, so our communication is awful and we barely talk. I feel like I’m 12 again. I love him to pieces though, I can’t just walk away. What can I do? PLEASE help. Answers from Mothers would be appreciated. My parents aren’t the type to allow their kids to have sex, but they realize we need freedom and they’re totally cool with us having that. His on the other hand…:/

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18 Answers

Provlear's avatar

How frustrating! It sounds like it may be a case of not enough exposure to her. She’s obviously got some real worries, but putting on a good face and spending time in her presence may help ease her unwarranted fears. Maybe he can invite you over for dinner or something?

elp's avatar

I’m over all the time! Honestly, I’m at their house about 3 times a week but we always just watch tv with his parents. We are never alone. Not only that but I’ve tried to show how much I care for him. He plays soccer and I went to literally EVERY game and all the playoff games. Drove myself there in rain, sleet, what have you, to watch him play. I’ve been exposed to them

funkdaddy's avatar

It’s something he’s going to have to address with her/them, it’s probably best if you’re not there for that conversation.

Let him know it’s important to you and have him approach them in a mature, controlled way. It should be a conversation, not either side making ultimatums. Maybe they’ll appreciate his maturity, maybe nothing will come of it, but at least you’ll get the process started.

At some point they have to start letting go. The only way he’ll get them to recognize it’s time is by proving he’s ready to be an adult.

elp's avatar

He’s tried before but she just gets stricter. She thinks that he’s only saying that so we can get alone to have sex. Which is untrue. However, he’s afraid of her so he probably didn’t truly sit her down to talk to her. I’ll try to get him to again though. Thank you. :)

lloydbird's avatar

You two look nice together. As with most things, persistence is the key. So, try to stay together. Despite the difficulties. This will show your commitment to each other and wear down her resistance (in theory).
Sad to say, but, you are both just starting out on your adult lives, and very few people stay with the first or earlier people that they encounter. Maybe that won’t be the case for you two. But you never know!
ps Are there some cultural differences between you?

Adagio's avatar

The situation sounds enormously frustrating… maybe we are a little more laid back down under… I moved away from home with my boyfriend when I was 17… I am the mother of a daughter (now 24) and I remember her teenage as being rather angst-filled, from a mother’s perspective, but at some point one simply has to let go, a gradual process which takes place over the years… obviously this process is happening slowly with your boyfriend’s mother, in my opinion, too slowly. I’m not sure what to advise but I definitely think your boyfriend needs to address the problem with his parents… is it a problem for him?

elp's avatar

There is no cultural differences between us besides him being italian and be being polish. but his parents arent against that.

and yeah, it’s a problem for him. he’s basically a “mama’s boy” and he’s afraid to stand up to her. but if my mother treated him the way his mother treats me i’d lay it out on the table. it’s rediculous how she is and what she says to me.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

My advice is to just grin and bear it. I know it seems like time passes unbearably slowly at your age; I acknowledge that. But in the context of your entire life, the time between now and next August, or between now and ‘whenever they let him have and pay for his own cell phone’, etc. will be a blink of an eye. Really. Someday you’ll be sitting where I am (figuratively, not literally—this couch is not going to last the year, I think) and wondering where the last 40 years went. And it’ll be as if no time at all has gone by.

They sound like sensible parents to me, if a bit clueless about their son’s racing buddies. Maybe someone should inform them that his friends are far more irresponsible as drivers than they might think you are. (But I suspect that they’re more concerned about what might happen when the car is stopped, if you want the truth of what I think about that. I’ll bet they have very little reservation about you as a driver, but they might worry about where you’d choose to park, and what might happen then.)

And based on your last post, you might want to think about this boy on a longer-term basis. Do you really want a long term thing with a ‘mama’s boy’? (After all, it’s your term for him.) Nice is nice, but a boy has to grow up. When does he plan to start?

elp's avatar

I think he’s just like that because he’s never stood up to her. Since she’s always been like this he knows he’d get clocked if he did. How do I assure her thats nor my plan for us though, with the driving situation? I mean if he can’t come her or I can’t go to his house we can’t even go to a movie or the mall or out to eat because I can’t drive him. It’s a little absurd for her to be that way.

marinelife's avatar

Since he can drive with his friends, but not you, and his 9-year-old sibling is with you at all times, it is not your driving they are worried about. It is the having sex thing.

You will just have to wait until he reaches 18 or moves out, whichever comes first. Also: in the long term this does not bode well. Imagine her as your mother-in-law with him unwilling to stand up to her.

You two could meet at a mall or the movies. He could take the bus.

jca's avatar

17 is old enough for a boy to stand up to his mother and tell her to back off. i would find this dating situation very frustrating, to where i don’t know if i could tolerate it if i were you. when does he turn 18? is he going to college or is he willing to move out? either he goes to college, he moves our or he stands up to his mother. If none of those 3 things are likely to happen, i don’t see much hope for this relationship.

Supacase's avatar

Are you his first serious girlfriend? I think mom doesn’t like the idea of another female taking a prominent role in her boy’s life.

For your sake, I hope he is able to stand up to her at some point and shed the “mama’s boy” relationship, but my experience has shown that it doesn’t end easily, if at all. She’s had 17 years to train him. :) Kind of joking… until I think about my mother-in-law.

I hope it works out for the two of you.

skfinkel's avatar

I would say the best way to deal with this is not try and put a wedge between your boyfriend and his mother. It is not you who needs to stand up to her, but him, and he will do it in his own way and in his own time. If he doesn’t or can’t, or you can’t wait for him to get there on his own, then he may not be the one for you. What you don’t want, for sure, is to have her against you, and putting him up to talking to her could end up with that result. The other way to deal with it is to have an open and clear conversation among all of you, at a given time when emotions are not high, when you two can calmly explain that you are 17, and old enough to have some time alone. If she is worried about sex, maybe you need to talk openly about that as well. (Mind you, I don’t think this is something most people could carry off—I don’t think I could have—but it is another approach, if he is up for it and you are too.)

cazzie's avatar

Esh… this brought back memories. I tried all that stuff, even discussing the ‘we’re not having sex so don’t worry’ thing directly to her, but she couldn’t handle it. 25 years later, and he has had issues for a VERY long time with women (we broke up, got back together for a few months and then broke up again waaaay back then) but it came down to his relationship with his mother and how he saw women as a result. If he wanted to hang out with his friends and do stuff he wanted, he had to make elaborate plans and lie to his mother. He enjoyed the drama and intrigue of this a bit too much. He carried that on to me and I didn’t appreciate him trying to deceive me or even thinking he had to instead of talking to me. His longest relationship after me was to a MUCH much much older woman… (Oedipus complex, anyone?) whom he ended up deceiving and she found out and put all his belongings in a dumpster.

I actually had a very vivid dream about this guy last night, so this is sort of weird.

Last I heard, he finally found a woman with whom he could settle down with (in his mid-30’s) and they got married. I can only assume she and his mother get along very well, and I’m assuming they’re still together, because I’ve lost contact with him and so have all our common friends.

Boys and their mothers is a very touchy thing and every man has it. I think a man’s relationship and attitude with his mother goes a very long way to show how he’ll treat you in the end as well and what his expectations become of women.

As for your ability to have a relationship with this young man, it will be on HER terms, not yours or his. She is going to control his life for as long as she can and won’t realise he’s grown up until he finally breaks away somehow and then has an awkward adult relationship with her. Sorry. If you want him in your life now, at 17, you get her too.

lonelydragon's avatar

That does sound frustrating. Obviously, the two of you need to have some alone time in order to get to know each other. I agree with the others who said that it’s best to confront along bloodlines (i.e. he should be the one to talk to his mother). It could be that your boyfriend will need a certaint amount of pressure before he truly confronts her. He has always lived with her controlling nature, so he probably isn’t as bothered by it as you are.

Unfortunately, f it’s sex that she’s worried about, then she’s unlikely to relax even after you get your full license, or even after he reaches adulthood. Some parents just can’t cope with the idea of their children being sexually active, even after the child is an adult. No matter how many times or how truthfully you reassure that you’re not active, they will not believe you. So you will probably just have to play the waiting game; wait until the two of you are in college and living more independently. If you want to do this, make sure you think about the future—as others have pointed out, this woman probably won’t suddenly decide to back off once she becomes a mother-in-law.

luckytoad2's avatar

ever tried reverse physiology? im not sure if that would work, probably not. Also don’t threaten him to confront his mother, this would imply insecurity ( regardless if you actually are, which i doubt.) and his mother would see an opening for her chubby little fingers to grab.

If all else fails just whack her with a frying pan.

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DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Having dated a “mama’s boy” once or twice in my life….there is one thing that stands out: “No one…no one….not even Kate Middleton….or her sister…or the girl who gets straight A’s and is in medical school…or the girl whose father owns half of the world…will ever be good enough…__ever__”. You can be the most perfect person…remember to give gifts, can cook like a dream…are very respectful of their home and their time…and it will never, ever be good enough. It’s really frustrating to be in this sort of relationship. In my case, I basically left…I couldn’t take her constant interference. He is still single, two decades later. (And he is a great guy, too!)

If you want to see the quintessential mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship that you might be looking at one day….watch “Everybody Loves Raymond.” That sums it up fairly well. And like Deborah, you will just have to learn to live with those restrictions…in the end, you alone can decide if this is what you want.

I wish I had some solution for you…I don’t. Just follow your heart and learn patience as this will certainly test you. But if you are looking for her to change (or the parents to change) this will not happen.

Meanwhile, don’t take it personally. As I said, if the richest, most beautiful girl in the whole world came into the house…they would still make her sit down and watch TV between them and never let her be alone with their son! (You are a cute couple, by the way. All best wishes.)

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