Social Question

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

How to address an issue with my Mother about my Muslim GF?

Asked by lightsourcetrickster (1902points) October 22nd, 2012

Well this is uhh….tricky..and also pretty lengthy so I apologize for that but I REALLY need help with this one.

I come from a Christian family (although I don’t do the whole church thing) and my gf comes from a Muslim family, and she’s not exactly religious herself.
For me, that’s not really a problem (obviously). My gf has BPD, doesn’t “do” people. Not a people person. But when you get to know her, she’s really nice (not a word I like to use but it’ll do), funny, quirky (with BPD – so that works either well, or not well at all), she’s a really good person to know and to be with, despite her mental health issues, which means that I need to be able to handle things when she might have an “off” day.
My real problem is with my Mom.
My Mother seems to be hellbent on meeting her, which is understandable I guess – my gf and I have been going out with each other for almost a year now – but she’s lately been trying to find ways to force the situation. I’m in hell between trying to keep my gf from situations she isn’t likely to be comfortable with, and trying to keep my Mother from just ‘turning up’. Which she wouldn’t usually do, but I suspect she may well be working on it.
What aggravates me more so, is that thanks to bad media coverage, I suspect my Mother has tarnished EVERY Muslim as being a terrorist wannabe which REALLY f**ks me off. They’re not all like that, and aside from anything else, my gf is more likely to harm herself than she is likely to harm anyone else.
I’m not sure how to really go about putting my foot down with my Mother without having things escalate into choosing between my gf and my Mother.
Last weekend my Mother phoned and said she was coming up – I managed to stave that off, but she did seem very pissed off and was about to hang up when I said I would visit her instead (she lives a fair way off from me).
I’ve told my Mom that my GF will need time to get geared up for meeting someone she’s never met before, and her argument is that having been in a relationship for nearly a year, then maybe sooner would be better than later. Argh, she just winds me right up.
So aside from getting really mad with my Mom about trying to barge in uninvited or just turning up with a moment’s notice (which she knows I seriously don’t like), what can I say to try and get her to be more patient and to wait until the time really is right for them to meet up?

This probably sounds all so trivial and pathetic but it is a big issue. I don’t want my GF to get all weirded out or start having panic attacks etc etc.

Any words of wisdom on this one would be really good about now.

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21 Answers

augustlan's avatar

If I were your mom, I’d want to meet your serious girlfriend, too. If I were you, here’s how I’d handle it…

Does your mother not know she is Muslim? Does she know about her mental illness? If not, tell her before the meeting. If she makes negative comments about her religion or illness (to you), tell her you don’t want to hear any of that kind of talk about someone you love. If she’s not able to go into it without pre-judging your girlfriend… maybe she should never get to meet her. If she can be open minded, proceed to the next step.

How much time does your girlfriend need to prepare? Figure that out by talking to her, and telling her that a meeting does need to happen fairly soon. Whatever time she feels like she needs, accept that and help her prepare for the meeting. Then make arrangements for your mom to meet your girlfriend after that period of time. Make it a very short visit, at first, and try working your way up to longer ones.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Do you want your mom and girlfriend to meet? If so, then have you talked to your girlfriend about meeting your mom yet? What does your girlfriend think? If she isn’t read, is there a reason she doesn’t feel ready to meet your mom? If you don’t want your mom to meet your girlfriend yet, is there a specific reason (besides your concern about your mom’s reaction to her being Muslim)?

If you aren’t ready for them to meet, you need to be honest with your mom and tell her that you aren’t ready for that step in this relationship yet. Tell her that once you feel you are ready for that step in your relationship, you will all get together for lunch or dinner (or something).

If you and your girlfriend are ready for that step, but you are concerned about your mom’s reaction, do something in public (like going out for lunch or dinner). People are less likely to make a big scene in a public place. I agree with @augustlan that you should tell your mom about your girlfriend being Muslim and her BPD before the meeting so that she isn’t completely caught off guard by it.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

What is BPD? It’s a common abbreviation for Borderline Personality Disorder.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

@augustlan @Seaofclouds

My mom knows she’s Muslim, and also knows she has BPD. I should have made that clear. My mom has a negative opinion on Muslims in general, not just one of ‘em and she made it clear in a subtle, beat about the bush kind of way that she was uncomfortable with the idea of me going out with a Muslim.
She’s just being very forceful about the whole thing. I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that I need to address the situation in a way that tells her to back the hell off until we’re both ready without being blunt about it….I can’t just tell my mom to piss off, although it would save effort in finding the right words, it wouldn’t lead to any positive outcomes if I did tell her that.
It seems that every girlfriend I get, instead of letting me decide when things should happen, Mom wants to take charge and tries to invite herself down to see me or get herself involved in whatever I’m doing.. I’m 35 for f**k’s sake. Not seventeen. I want to do things in my time when it comes to my relationship with someone, not hers,

Shippy's avatar

It is so hard to change a stubborn mindset. But some would say God sends people to teach us lessons about life. I would have a chat with her, if it were me, saying upfront you realize how she sees all Muslim people. But you love her. List the reasons why you love her, how she makes you happy. Maybe give her one thing to swallow at a time. I would leave the BPD for later on.

Most people have something “wrong” in another’s eyes. Lot of people have disorders never diagnosed. At least you have your facts and know what to expect.

Culture or religion though, can turn out to be a big deal later, no matter what the “adult children” think of it. As there are families attached. As you are finding out now with your own mom.

anartist's avatar

What about HER mom? Has she met YOU?

kess's avatar

You have dug a massive unnecessary hole with this thing.
Now mom has become the terrorist you two are playing a game of chess.
Forget everything you ever thought about and do what you should have done from the beginning.
Bring your GF over to your Mom and leave them to shoot it out,
You will find out that there was nothing to be uptight, cagey, or handle delicately to begin with.

reijinni's avatar

@lightsourcetrickster, if you do marry her, don’t you have to be a Muslim yourself and how would you handle her condition and to keep her from endangering lives, especially hers?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@lightsourcetrickster How do the dynamics work in your family? Who’s the boss or the alpha male or female? That makes a difference how I would handle it.

flutherother's avatar

It is understandable that your mother wants to see your girlfriend and if you don’t want her just ‘turning up’ you should arrange a time for her to visit. Make her a meal or something. What’s the problem?

tedd's avatar

If you are bringing home the person you love and your mother has issues with her because of her religion, then you have far greater concerns than how to introduce them.

Just work out some kind of mutually comfortable means for them to meet, and make certain to your mother that you will be exceedingly unhappy if she forces this issue and it doesn’t go down in a designed manner.

That said, the longer you put it off the more troubling/awkward it’s going to get. Good luck!

Judi's avatar

If you were my son I would be freaked out too. Not because she’s Muslim, but because you have turned her into some sort of scary mentally Ill mystery. If I were your mom I would not be judging HER because I wouldn’t know her, but I would be very worried about YOUR secretive behavior.

marinelife's avatar

You said it yourself. You are 35 not 17.

Tell your Mom in a very blunt way that you do not appreciate the pressure. That you will introduce your girlfriend when you choose to and not before.

Tell her that if she just drops by, you will not let her in.

Why haven’t you set boundaries on her before this? She will never change until you do. There might be some initial unpleasantness, but what can she do? As you said, you are 35 and an adult. Do not let her tyrannize you.

wundayatta's avatar

This sounds more to me like a struggle setting boundaries with your mom than it is an issue about meeting your girlfriend. You’re 35 and it sounds like you still feel under your mother’s thumb. Could you be using your gf as an excuse to establish more distance between you?

I think you can establish boundaries diplomatically. One simple way is to just keep on repeating what you want her to do. Stay home, or whatever. You don’t give excuses or reasons, because that gives her something to argue against. Just establish this is what you want and how it will be. You understand her desires, and reassure her that when the time is right for your girlfriend, you will see her.

You might suggest that that time might come sooner if she refrains from the anti-Muslim comments. Right now, your gf isn’t interested in seeing someone with anti-Muslim attitudes. Surely she can understand this.

augustlan's avatar

Ok, new answer based on further information:

“Mom, please don’t try to force the situation… you’ll meet her when we’re ready to take that step. I’m 35 years old, you know. I really do know what I’m doing.” Said with a smile.

creative1's avatar

Sit down with mom and tell her all about the girlfriend from her BPD and the fact she doesn’t have the same religious beliefs as you do and the fact that you accept her for who she and you would expect her to treat her with respect. I would then say something like if you are still interested in meeting her then she is going to have to take things slowly. I would then set a simple meeting up like coffee or a luncheon. If you see a future with your girlfriend then you want to definately want them to meet some time sooner than later that way you can begin to include your girlfriend in your family functions.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

Right let’s sort that little problem out. My Mom knows “enough” to know that my girlfriend has BPD, I’ve told her about that, I’ve also told her about the religion thing – and I don’t really think I’ve made my girlfriend out to be some mentally ill mystery psychobitch to my Mom. She wouldn’t even want to contemplate seeing her if I did! I’ve already explained to my Mom that to all intents and purposes, so long as she takes her meds and everything is already “ok” then there aren’t likely to be any problems, failing that, if there are problems, then it’s just not freaking out and making the situation worse for her..
@Judi I think you’re totally missing the point. I have hidden nothing from my Mom about my gf, I’ve told her straight up that my girlfriend genuinely is not ready to meet my mom yet. Btw, my girlfriend has seen the responses you people have left. She asks why people are getting so freaked out…
BPD…..“Google it and it’s not as extreme as it sounds” (gf)

This is not about some kind of chess game, this is about me telling my mom to go forth and sanctionally multiply without resorting to sweary words and nastiness. No chess. No misleading about my gf, none of that.

Shippy's avatar

@lightsourcetrickster You love two women, your mom and your girl friend. They probably have loads in common, simply because of that fact you know. I wish you luck and blessings, both of you.

Judi's avatar

Are you going with Bi-polar disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder? As a mom, the later would scare the bejesus out of me. My son is bi-polar and I would be concerned a little less, but still concerned there too. It’s a tough life and it takes an extremely grounded person to maintain a relationship with someone who is bi-polar.
Let me explain. (I am really only speaking for myself, not for all mothers, but I am going to put my vulnerabilities and fears out there for the sake of the question, and the enlightenment of the OP. I’m not saying I’m right, I’m admitting I can be irrational, but if the OP really wants to understand his mothers fears, I might be a safer person to ask than his actual mother.)
In most cases I am a calm, fairly rational thoughtful person. When it comes to my children, something crazy can take over, especially if I get the slightest inkling that someone might be putting my offspring in danger, taking advantage, or trying to separate them from the herd. A primal instinct emerges from the pit of my belly and it’s hard to subdue. My claws extend, my heart beats faster and the impulse to pounce makes me almost have to tie myself to the chair.
She is worried about you. She is thinking about your future and possibly even about if she will ever get to see her grandchildren if you have a family with this girl.
Maybe you should start activity planning this meeting. Make sure your girlfriend has plenty of Xanax on hand and has seen her mental health professional 2 times a week for a month to prep for it.
Your mom loves you. Unless you are ready to completely cut her out of your life, I hope you will work towards a meeting soon.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

Thanks to all for the responses to my question. There was much food for thought presented here, but one or two answers were of particularly good use.

augustlan's avatar

@lightsourcetrickster Please let us know how it goes. Good luck!

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