(Closed) Addressing a touchy subject in order to move forward…(super long)

posted 4 years ago in Relationships
Post # 2
152 posts
Blushing bee

stardustintheeyes:  Well this is a tough situation but if you’re the one who he’ll be spending the rest of with, then you have a say whether his family likes it or not.  You need to first talk to your SO and get this all out to him as well because you don’t want any of this hidden anymore when you’re living together.

His siblings are definitely taking advantage of your SO and it’s now their turn to help take care of the mother.  Your SO and you need to start looking for a place and have a family meeting without his mother to discuss the changes.  Once the idea of you two moving in together is on the table and help for the mother is also on the table then you can have a meeting as well with the mother to see what she would like to do.  There may even be a possibility that the mother may want to move to a 55+ living area, possibly closer to his sister? 

Either way, everyone needs to sit down and discuss it because your SO will continue to be the only one helping his mother.  My dad was this one, along with my mom, until the day that we had to move 15 hours away and then his siblings had to step up and take care of their mother and grandmother.  My dad was upset at first about the changes but recently he’s discovered that his mother is being well taken care of in an old age home (my grandmother passed away at 96) and his siblings need to be the ones who take care of her by taking her out, etc., he’s done his time.  Your SO sounds the same, its time to live his own life with you. 

Most important though, talk to your SO first because if he’s going to continue being the mama’s boy then you need to tackle that issue first.  He needs to be on the same page as you otherwise you’ll be wasting your voice and time for nothing.

Post # 3
901 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2014 - 11/15/14-Vineyard

stardustintheeyes:  Ok, first of all. I have always loved your posts and answers to everyone else’s (even to mine) with such well thought out and eloquent wording to help others.  I have always admired that in you. I have no doubt in my mind that you will find a way to put it gently to address it further with him. 

It seems from what you have said that he is already well aware, very receptive to your discussions and knows he needs to address it. I think that is 90% of the solution already. I think honestly that it won’t be addressed further until the time gets closer or after you have moved in together. With passive people, they need to slowly work into it. Maybe if he starts now, forewarning his sister that he will no longer be able to once he moves in with you, it will help her plant it in her mind. Maybe he can start by NOT doing it a couple times a week to acclimate her to have to do it herself. 

I definitely think you need to bring it up again (and again if needed) with suggestions to help him “get there”. Heck, show him this post and your trepidation. It’s clear you love him and he understands, I have no doubt it will be resolved. 

On the sister front, it’s only been 7 months, give her time. Don’t mindscrew what she is doing, she is just not used to someone else being in his life it seems. Only he can call her out on her actions. 

Post # 4
1231 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I think women are often taught that making their needs clear, makes them some sort of clingy-bitchy-controlling-nagging-psycho.  It doesn’t.  I think it would save women a lot of heartache if they were clearer about their needs.

I’d tell him that moving is in a big step for you.  That it’s causing you to think about your future together.  Then talk about what you both want for the future.  Kids or no kids, career, money…..and yup, how to handle each other’s families.  I wouldn’t make this about “You need to cut the apron strings or else!”, this is more of a conversation about your future life together.      

Edit: It’s really up to him to make this change.  If you make your expectations clear and he doesn’t do anything, you have a very tough decision to make.  

Post # 5
130 posts
Blushing bee

Well, from my experience you can’t change lazy people no matter what you say. What  I would suggest is to offer to help with the taxi jobs and help drive his mother to and fro when you can. This has multiple benefits. It makes you look good to your SOs Mom. If he’s her baby this will score you big points (and really its just nice). You’ll have bonding time with her outside of other pressures and maybe be able to forge a really great relationship with your SOs Mom. Also, your SO will have time to rest and you’ll be doing something sweet for him. I’m sure if he’s very close with her he’ll really appreciate it. 

And, for the icing, if your SOs sister is really a weird jealous/needs to compete with you type of person- she’ll stop the you driving her mother around right quick and do it her own self. 

This avoids having to have the bad talks and looking like you’re an outsider trying to interfere with anything. Because the truth is if you’re in it for the long haul you’re going to be in contact with these people a lot. Better to tread carefully now while there are still options. If this continues on for months on end, then have the talk. But for now I’d suggest the above. 

Post # 6
5220 posts
Bee Keeper

I would phrase it as a boundary and balance issue in general, and that it is a cause for concern to you.

He is most likely well aware of what boundaries and balances are off. I would approach it not as, “You spend so much time on your mother and bend to your siblings whims” as I would, “I’m worried you’re stretched too thin and don’t know when to say ‘no’, and that worries me when we start to combine our lives in a more permanent way.”

Post # 9
799 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

stardustintheeyes:  agree with PPs that you should address it directly with him, but I’d also add that I wouldn’t move in with him until you actually see him making changes, so as to avoid any conflict down the road. It’s definitely a life adjustment for him, he has to create a new role for himself and for the two of you as a couple. You’re right not to position it as a criticism of him and his family. Maybe approach him with the discussion of wanting your relationship to succeed and the adjustments and compromises you both have to make in order for that to happen. Best of luck! 

Post # 10
2194 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

is his mother some how infirmed? if she can watch a couple kids all day it would seem that she is able to drive a few miles too 

Post # 11
9549 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

Your boyfriend sounds a lot like my husband. And we’ve been having a very similar problem with a very different situation. 

A few weeks ago my husband joined some of the neighborhood kids playing football outside and befriended this little boy. His mom doesn’t let him go off the street without an adult (understandable) and doesn’t like to supervise him going to the local park, so this little kids has been asking my husband to take him to the park nearly every day. The kids mom thinks my husband is awesome because he’s entertaining her kid and my husband was enjoying it at first, because he likes playing with little kids. But now it’s turned into him feeling like a free babysitter, which is annoying. But he has such a hard time saying no to this cute little kid.

So that’s what I’ve focused on and what I think you should focus on. Your boyfriend needs to be able to say “no” to his sister and brother. He doesn’t need to say “no” all the time, but he needs to be able to do it when necessary. And recognize that that doesn’t make him a bad son/brother. Because if he can master that skill, the rest is just a matter of deciding when he can and can’t do things, which can be negotiated, and can change as his circumstances change.

And I would try to be honest about your feelings. Be nice and understanding, but honest. Talk about how his actions are making you feel and how that affects your concernsd about the future and stonger commitment with you. I think it’s okay to let things change a bit at a time rather than a radical “come to Jesus” conversation. But I wouldn’t agree to move in until you two have this situation under control, where you both feel comfortable. 

Post # 13
3240 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I think it is definitely something to bring up before moving in with him, but I would do so from a point of wanting to be on the same page with how your life has rhythm.

Post # 14
2194 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

hard situation but I think that you and your Boyfriend or Best Friend need to sit down (alone together) and talk about what is ok (giving up tickets bc mom has emergency — that is totally normal and right to skip a concert to help her, helping her recover illness, being there for special dr appts) and what is just too much (daily rides to “help” sister get free childcare)


I think that if she (the mom) already brought this up with you then she must realize that they are taking advantage of his kindness and have an idea that this behaviour is not ok.

The next step is helping your Boyfriend or Best Friend get his thoughts together and maybe even writing out a speech w reply back to expected issues so that he can be firm but friendly and let his sister know that this is NOT OK and just that this is not going to happen any more period.

something like “hey sis you know that I love you and the kids but I have to be honest I just don’t have time to be heading over there after my 13 hr work day every night – I think that you and hubby are going to have to figure out how to make it work for your guys starting on Nov 1st”

and then when she says “but its too far for mom to drive” he needs to have an answer ready “yeah I know so I figure that while you get dinner ready hubby can drive her” or “since she is saving you so much in day care maybe its best to get her a cab”

if she says “but the kids will miss having you for dinner” then he can say something like “I am going to miss them too we should plan a family day on sundays to all get together” (or once a month or whatever)

if she says “well that is the only time hubby get to see the kids before bed” then he can say something like “yeah I know its really hard to manage schedules – I have been trying to do XYZ for weeks and seems like I just never have a free minute”


basically over all don’t make it about you, or mom or whatever just about the fact that this is her (and her husbands) issue to deal with and while the free labor was nice its over.

I would try to deal with one issue at a time instead of making a big change overall at once and to me the taxi duty seems to be the worst of the issues


Post # 15
3718 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

stardustintheeyes:  This is such a hard thing. If you make the issue be about your relationship, you are making him choose between you and his family. That won’t go over well, especially with the siblings.


I’d suggest spending a year really trying to understand the dynamic. Offer to volunteer to pick up grandma. See what kind of pressure there is and why (is it the sis wanting to make sure she and your SO are fed? Is it that grandma wants more time with the kids?). Then have your SO work on those. So ” sis, I need to be home by 7, so I can’t pick up mom and stay for dinner. Can you drop her off or send dinner to go?” Or “I can’t help out today, but Jessica can”. They’ll realize you’re dependable and compitent and start including you in decisions more.

My Darling Husband caves a lot to his child bearing siblings. I never wanted a me vs. them war, so we worked on small steps–limit visit length, go over on weekends instead of week days and the like. It is hard because you are changing their dynamic, but by working in baby steps we are in a much better place. Together, we provide childcare when needed and I’m included in every major communication. It has been 4 years in the making, but so important to understand how Darling Husband was playing into the dynamic before changing it.

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