I'm NOT freakin' 16 years old, Mom!

This is an issue that has reared its ugly head so many times in my life I could just scream…no, cross that out, I already have. Too many times, in fact. I’m surprised I don’t have permanent laryngitis.

Condensed version: I’m single, in my early 40s, and have lived with my widowed mother since graduating from college. The basic reason why I’ve never moved out except once (a horrible story I don’t wish to get into) is that I’ve never made enough money to get my own place…fact is, you need to be pulling at least six figures for any decent housing in my area.

I digress. Most of the time Mom and I get along – sure, we argue some, but what mother/daughter team doesn’t? I pay her room/board weekly and do the housework. She’s in her late 70s and in good but not great health. I’m her primary companion – take her shopping, etc.

The issue revolves around my relationships. Every single SO I’ve ever had has been put “through the Mom wringer”, with most of them fleeing, never to return. It’s not that she’s unkind to them – far from it – but as long as the relationship is “chaste” in her eyes, it’s fine. If I ever stayed overnight, I’d never hear the end of it. I can look her in the eye and say, “Mom, I’m staying over [insert SO’s name here], I’ll be home tomorrow” and be done with it, but when I do return, the arguments are neverending.

Marriage/engagement? I shudder. One of the reasons why my ex-fiance broke it off was because she nearly had a heart attack, as in, “You can’t marry [my RL name]! She’s my baby girl!” They fought about it every time he called or came over. And there I was stuck in the middle, not knowing what to think.

My current SO, thankfully, gets along with her. He and I have been seriously discussing officially moving in together, be it here or to another state where the cost of living is lower. Every so often she’ll ask me what our plans are. When I seriously tell her that we’re discussing all this, she goes apeshit and won’t speak to me for the rest of the day. I’m standing my ground, but every single reaction of hers jiggles my foundation bit by bit. She’s my mother, for heaven’s sakes. I just can’t blindly turn away. Besides, I’ve never been able to.

Any suggestions, insights, or whatever? How do I make her understand?

(PS – mods, if you feel this post doesn’t belong in the Pit, please feel free to move it…)

Maybe I’m just blindly ignorant, but why couldn’t you move into an area where housing doesn’t require a six-figure income?

And you pay this woman to make you feel guilty for wanting to have a life on your own? Your in your 40s? You call your mother out in the Pit? There is so much that is so bizarre here that you might not be able to see the looniness of all this.

Kiz all I can suggest is counselling.

You have very bad attachment issues with your mother IMO. You are 40, and can’t leave home to have your own life because your mother throws a tanty ?

You’ve already passed up other relationships because of your mother’s reaction to your SO’s.

You need to speak to somebody who is a) qualified, b) has the time to find out all the other stuff that there’s no room to do on a message board and c) objective.

I’m pretty sure that counselor will tell you that it there is serious emotion problems in this relationship between you and your mother. A mother should be happy to let her daughter spread her wings and create her own life (IMO). You should not be giving your mother so much power over you. You are enabling her behaviour. Whether or not you decide to live with this man, you definitely need to move out. Find an area that is cheaper, commute, do whatever you have to, or you’ll always have regrets and wonder “what if?” I don’t blame the previous guy for leaving, after all if you’re going to start a new life with a partner, they become your priority, not your mother. Yes, you still love your mother, but if you are creating a new family (you and your partner are the new family) that has to be your priority. If you are not prepared to make this new partner your priority, he deserves to know now.

Think long and hard about what YOU want from life. And then go and grab it, and don’t loosen your grip. You wouldn’t allow someone to emotionally disable you and keep you from your dreams if they were a stranger, would you ? Don’t let your mother do it, you’ll end up hating her for it, and she won’t thank you.

All in all, ignore everything I’ve said, and get yourself to a counsellor. You need someone to talk to who can be objective and trained in this area.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

I ran a family business for 25 years with my dad there looking over my shoulder. Last year, my mother died and soon after we sold the business. I want to move to another state and also am looking at the possibility of going to Mexico. Dad has not said a word to me, but he has expressed alarm to my wife. He has accepted the fact that I’m moving, but Mexico still worries him. The reason is that at the end my mother needed someone there for her and he is afraid of being left all alone. He is 88.

For about the last 5 years, I had a secretary that lived with her mother. In her case, she had no desire to get married or so she said. Her situation otherwise was close to yours.

The problem is that because of the above, I can identify somewhat with your situation, but as to having any advise, I have none. I think it is obvious that your mother does depend on you and she does not want to see you leave. That makes it tough, but the fact is that you have your own life to live.

Without going into ‘therapist’ mode, I think you have some REAL ISSUES here (apart from mum hassling your SO’s) that need to be worked through AND NOW!
If you ever (truly) want to be in an intimate relationship with another, it seems to me that you are going to have to ‘terminate’ your current relationship with your mum first. Only YOU can decide when and if that will occur.

Hell, I live in NYC (Queens, not Manhattan) and it doesn’t take six-figures to live in a decent neighborhood. Loose the champagne tastes and live your own life.

Too many other issues here, but don’t delude yourself that you haven’t moved out because it’s that expensive. If you’re making a decent salary (mid 5 figures), there are few places in the US where you cannot find ‘decent housing’. There are a lot more where you can live decently on even less.

This belong’s in the Pit so someone can give you a big, ol’ Car Talk Dope Slap ™. Get thee to some people trained to help others (social workers, therapists, religious leaders), explain your situation, then shut your mouth and listen to their advice. Get different opinions from trained professionals and tell yourself you will adapt the advice that best fits your situation and personality.

Like D_Odds, I live in Queens, and since you certainly can live decently here on way less than a six-figure income, I’d imagine you could almost anywhere. Of course, it might mean changing your lifestyle or having a roommate, but it’s not impossible.

As far as getting your mother to understand- you never will. Give up on it. Doesn’t matter anyway.What matters is your reaction to her. I’m nearly forty years old,have been married fifteen years, have a decent income and have never asked my parents for money. My mother still feels she gets to decide everything from whether I have curtains in my windows,to whether I buy a new car , to which school I send my children to. Doesn’t matter. I let her talk and do what I want to do. If she doesn’t want to talk to me, that’s her problem, not mine.

As others have said, see a counselor.

Thank you everyone…of course, everything that everyone’s said re the counselling, moving out, etc., is always in my thoughts. Yes, I’ve had counselling before. I mentioned the time when I did move out – something I don’t care to either recall or relive – but suffice to say it was more-than-horrendous enough for me to move back. I don’t expect any of you to analyze me or my mother and/or our relationship, nor would I ask.

The reason why I posted this here? It wasn’t so much to call her out (or myself, for that matter), but to get a sense of what others think of the situation – also to see if anyone has a similar situation.

To pick up on a couple of things posted:

  1. OK, I exaggerated about the six figures. But, as I’m sure those who live in Queens can attest, living anywhere in the Northeast Corridor (barring northern New England) is mucho expensive. Apartments in my area start on the average of $1200-1300/month for a 1-bedroom…if you can find any. I have several friends who’ve had to move back home because of it.

  2. I’ve been laid off twice in the past 8 months. Yes, I know 9/11 and the recession has affected nearly everyone in some way, but my line of work (restaurant/food service) has taken a particularly hard beating. I am currently trying to formulate a plan to go into another line of work which is less recession-proof.

  3. There is a pretty good chance SO and I will be moving out-of-state within the next few months. As for the others, including my ex-fiance, I don’t blame them for bailing out.

The difference this time, though, is that I’ve gotten enough Dope Slaps to make me realize how ludicrous and how complicated my situation is…and again, thank you! :cool:

You now may return to the usual ranting…

Good luck, Kiz. I hope everything turns out for the best.

And the heavens opened up, and GOD said…



Right out of college, I worked in NYC on a salary of 18k, and lived on my own. Didn’t live in the nicest place, but it was done. So did my SO of the time, lo these many years. Of course you have to add a bit to 18k to get current buying power, but the point is even in NYC, you can live on your own without a six figure income.

And further, I know damn well one can get cheaper apartments in your area. I’ve been there.

What you’re really saying is (a) I can’t find a cheap apartment that recreates my mum’s house (b) I’m too afraid to be on my own © I can’t honestly admit my attachment and fear issues to myself so I have to come up with an excuse (d) I’m afraid of the kind/color/look/culture or whatever of people in other areas (e) I fear sharing space with people who are moderately different or unknown to me (apartment shares).

You’re making excuses, and sad ones at that, for a sad situation. Either face up to it, bite the bullet and move out or admit honestly what your issues are with your mum and either snuggle in our get counseling. But don’t dumb-ass excuses and expect folks to nod and agree.

for all those yelling “APARTMENT”, have you actually being reading what she said? she has tried to move out already, and from what I can gather, her mother made it so bad that she had to move back. Maybe she isn’t the one with issues, that the problems are with her mother and moving out isn’t as easy option as we may think.
Of course, I may be wrong.

If that’s the case, she still needs counseling, preferable together, but singly if necessary. Perhaps assertiveness training too.

Of course this is really not at all true of all but the Northest of the Northeast. I think the first thing you’ll need to address is whether or not you actually want to move out from under your mom’s control because such excuse making would indicate that you do not.

Apartments in Boston start at $1200 rent a month easy, and they aren’t easy to find - there are waiting lists.

She’s not exaggerating.

That’s a load of hooey. I checked the Boston Globe Web site, and here’s what I found

CHARLESTOWN, 3 bdrm., 1 ba., Very Nice place, new paint, modern, Avail 3/23. $575/mo, util, sec.

BROOKLINE, Three professional females seek female to share their spacious, 4Br., 2Ba., apartment in a Victorian house in Brookline. 10 minutes from Coolidge Corner and C Line, 3 minutes from Comm Ave and B Line. No smokers or pets, please. $500 month including heat.

ROSLINDALE, 2 bdrm., 1 ba., Looking for roommmate to share bright, spacious, newly renovated apartment in Roslindale. Hardwood floors throughout, washer & dryer in unit, front and back porch, cable, high speed internet access and off street parking. $550

If she’s lving with her mom, shared housing can’t be that hard to adjust to.

Let’s try single-occupant apartments. I found 76 listings for studios and 1-br for under $1000 in Boston and suburbs.

The other thing that makes it hard to relocate in Boston is that finder’s fee thing you have to pay the rental agent. Do they still do that? It’s highway robbery. You have to pay it even if the rental agent did NOTHING.

kiz, it sounds like you are aware that there are some emotional issues that need to be resolved so that you can live your own life. However, I don’t like seeing you get a beating about the arrangement. There are plenty of people who live with their parents.

It is is many ways a good arrangement when it works. In some ways it’s improvement over the way we presently tend to divide up family and scatter to the four winds. If more grown people stayed close to their parents, children (if/when they had any) would benefit from the additional supervision and stability, and fewer elderly people would be lonely and suffer from neglect.

So there is nothing “wrong,” as I see it, with you still living with your mother. What’s wrong is her inability to let you go if you choose to, and to let you make your own choices about boyfriends and life partners. In the end, moving out may be the only good solution, but that’s not because family cohousing is weird, it’s because you and your mom don’t have a relationship right now that makes it possible.

I do have a very deep prejudice against the concept of adults living with their parents, but that’s just me. However, that’s really not the weird part of this problem. It’s the problem described by CrankyAsAnOldMan above, but even more, it’s the feeling I get from the OP that she thinks it’s not all that weird. Okay, you might say, so she wants to kind of live as a child, that’s not so bad. But it is, and here’s why: the mother will most likely be dead before the daughter and then where will she be? She’ll have neglected to make a life for herself and it could really be too late to start.

Oh, and if she lives in Boston, she could commute from as far as Providence where she could rent a whole house for $1200.

I think this comment says a lot of the mother-daughter relationship. Why would she run off your fiance like that? Why would she blow up at your current SO for suggesting you two live together? Doesn’t she want you to have your own life? What does she think will happen to you when she passes away and you’re left all alone, because she’s trashed every relationship you’ve had?

What did she do the first time you moved out that was so bad that you had to come back?

As Caricci said, I also find it unusual when grown adults still live with their parents for no obvious reason, other than “Mom” just wants her baby at home.
You’re an adult, and should be able to live your life the way you see fit. If you want to live with your SO, and that means living in another state, then so be it.
I agree with the others who have said, “Move Out!”, even if it means a studio apartment or a roommate or two. You need to be away from your mother. It’s not a healthy realtionship for her to be smothering you like this.

Does your mom drive? Can you offer to come back home on Saturdays to run her on errands? Does she have any friends to do things with? Does she do things during the day, like volunteer work or some sort of social thing (at church or a senoir’s group?)