Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Following the pattern: Why is boyfriend so much like Mom?
Anonymous: I feel like I'm caught in the middle of a bloody coup. My mom and my boyfriend are both dominant, type-A personalities, and I can't reconcile the two.
I live with my boyfriend. Mom wants to come visit for the weekend, but says she won't if he's there. (Power play on her part, right?) Talked to Boyfriend; he agreed to vacate for the weekend. Mom made plans, spent money. Boyfriend reneged on promise — now says he won't leave, Mom can deal with it. (Power play on his part, right?) What to do? Whom to side with?
Carolyn: I'm sure you can see me coming from a mile away, but . . .
When it came time to choose a boyfriend, why did you choose to reproduce your relationship with your mom? Was it conscious, does it make you happy, would you do it again knowing what you know now? This doesn't answer your question, of course, but nothing will unless you know your role in these two very similar dynamics.
Boyfriend vs. Mom Girl: Oh jeez. I did NOT see you coming from a mile away on the re-creation-of-the-relationship-with-my-mom thing, and now I'm floored. But if I could do it all over again, I'd probably do the same thing, with very minor adjustments.
So now what do I do? Seek therapy, since I'm apparently dating my mom with male genitalia? And in the short term — I have to tell one of them to buzz off on this weekend visit situation, so how do I pick which one?
Carolyn: You tell them both to buzz off. Your mom had no right to ask your boyfriend to vacate. You were wrong to put this request to him in the first place, but once he did agree to it, he had no right to back out on his promise without talking to you about it first. Seriously — is there something else you can do this weekend, just for you?
As for the therapy, might not be a bad idea. Unconsciously recruiting people to be decisive for you is one way to end up in a life that you realize — in 10 years? 20? when you're 65? — isn't the one you really wanted.
Go ahead and tell soon-to-be ex-mother-in-law about her son
Cleveland: I am getting divorced. My husband met someone new and moved in with her. In the meantime, he has not told his parents or relatives. I had not mentioned this to his mother, who calls me regularly, because I figured it was his news to tell. But now I feel I am withholding vital information from her. How do I tell her?
Carolyn: She's not your mother, but it's your soon-to-be-ex-marriage as much as it is/was his — and, the mom's calling you. Please feel free to tell her that her son left you. If she wants details, explain that you feel they should come from him.