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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

His Girlfriend's Mom Hates Him . . . What Should He Do?

Dear Bro Jo,  

My girlfriend's mom hates me.

She's never met me, but she hates me.

My girlfriend and I met at a Church Dance several months back. She and I hit it off very well, started dating and quickly fell in love. The topic of marriage has come up more and more frequently, and I've already started looking at rings. (Having a friend who works at a jewelry store helps. He can get me discounts!)

Her mom, who has never met me, hates me. She lives here in my state, is going to school, but her mom and the rest of her family live across the US. Her mom criticizes me for not serving a mission (I left the Church for several years and recently came back), she criticizes me for where I work (I work at Subway right now, but I am starting at BYU-I next semester. I'm really just passing the time until then. My area has a very shoddy job market, and this was the best I could find.)

Her mom doesn't believe I am going to make it through school when I get there. Her mom keeps telling her that she should wait until she has a diploma before getting married, that she shouldn't be so quick to jump into a relationship, etc. And her mom keeps telling her about the cute missionaries she meets, about the RM who gave a great talk in sacrament meeting . . .

Every time she gets off the phone with her mom she's distraught and it takes me several minutes to get her back to "normal".

Her mom rips on me for not having a car. (I didn't want one when I could afford one and I can't afford one now that I want one.)

My Girlfriend is going home for 3 weeks over winter break.

I'm worried about what will happen with her over there with her mom trying to break us up. I don't think she will cheat or leave me, but I'm worried about her mom planting the seeds for it down the road. I don't know how to handle this.

We won't be able to chat as much when she is over there, and I don't want to lose contact with her for several weeks knowing she's in that kind of environment.

I should add her mom is divorced once, and is talking about divorcing her current husband. Both of these guys are losers, but the fact that she can't choose 'em makes her lose credibility in my eyes when it comes to relationships.

I'm considering sending her mom a message on Facebook and trying to explain my situation to her. I don't like having this kind of thing for my girlfriend.

I really don't want her to have to choose between her mom and me, but I don't want to lose her.

What can I do to reach out to her mom?

What can my girlfriend and I do to ensure her winter break doesn't break us?


Dear Worried,

If her mom is able to break the two of you up, then this is a marriage that wouldn't have worked.  

Sorry, I know that may be hard to hear, but you'll need your spouse to cleave unto you First, not her parents.

So here's what you do: never say anything negative about her mother. If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all, but better if you can smile and say sincere and encouraging things, like "hey, I don't blame her for wanting to protect you; maybe when she gets to know me better and sees how much I adore you she'll feel differently".

And, you know what? I think she will.

She'll appreciate your maturity, the respect you show for her mother (even when we complain about our parents we want that special person in our lives to love them; not to take their side, necessarily, but to show love for those that love us).

DO NOT "message her mom on Facebook"; I can tell you as an Old Person and Parent that I can't think of anything more cowardly than someone who needs to talk to me doing it electronically.  Either go see her, or hand write her a lovely card, or if you must, then give her a call . . . but you and many in your generation have got to stop using technology as a relationship crutch.  Trust me, if you want her mother to respect you as a man, you're going to have to communicate like one.

Don't try to "fix" your girlfriend when she's distraught. We guys have an annoying habit of that. It's not what women need, and the resent it. Just listen and be supportive.

And don't try to Control Her.

In that way, trying to control her environment . . . trying to control the world around her and what she has to react to . . . you're acting just like her mother.  I hope you can see that.

Even if she may want that on some level, there's a difference between being supportive and being controlling.

Be the Good One.

AND, if you can't "message" her while she's gone, try Writing Her.  You know:  by hand.  In a letter.

THAT would be Romantic!

(Don't you kids read Cyrano de Bergerac???)

Good luck,

- Bro Jo


Emilie said...

When you mentioned that author, I had to look it up. There is a book the movie Roxanne is based on and the author has been compared to Poe and Voltaire!?! I am excited. Thank you yet again, Bro Jo!

Anonymous said...

I love that you mentioned Cyrano. I've been in love with that story since my Dad first took me to the play when I was in middle school. Girls should be so lucky to have a guy like him interested in them.

Also to others, there's a movie version starring Gerard Depardieu and it's excellent. (It's in French, but that's what subtitles are for.)