She Doesn't Like Her Son's Girlfriend. Knowing Your Place - Relationship Advice

Dear Veronica,

I am writing to you for your incredibly insightful relationship advice but I don’t know if you can help me. You see this isn’t about my relationship, it’s about my sons.

I have a handsome, intelligent, wonderful son. We always had a close relationship. Now he is not the person I raised. He got involved with this woman a couple of years ago and everything changed.

After he graduated college he was having some financial stress but he refused to move back home. He can be so stubborn. Well after a couple of years he had amassed quite a bit of debt and finally began speaking with me about moving back home as soon as his lease came up. It was about this time I first hear about this woman.

When he first brought her around I told him right off the bat I did not like her. She is a little older than he is. She is divorced. She is just not the right kind of woman for my son.

My son’s lease came up and he began to move his things here. He would come over with her and I would try to just be the bigger person but I had to tell him my thoughts. I could see the changes in him, staying out to all hours with her, not answering his phone if I called while he was with her. The way he dressed, the TV Shows he liked, even his eating habits all changed. Things came to a head on Easter two years ago when she asked me if I wanted to come to her house for Easter dinner. You can imagine my surprise. I always have Easter dinner here at my home, and my son is always in attendance. I accused her of doing this on purpose to try to drive a wedge between my son and I. She just lied and insisted that wasn’t the case. She said it was an opportunity for me to meet her parents and to see her home. Needless to say I didn’t go which is what she wanted, and my son and I had a big fight about it which is also what she wanted. Her plan worked. My son decided not to move in here and instead he moved in with her.

That was 2 years ago. They never invite me over not that I would go and I tell him that. He seems to think this is acceptable. She has filled his head with crazy ideas. He’s not the boy I raised at all.

How can I get him to listen to me and realize that woman isn’t right for him?

Gaye

Dear Gaye,

You didn’t say how old your son is but I can make a guess. You reference his graduating college, 2 years after graduating, and then 2 years after that. Assuming it was a 4 year college, he’s about 26.

Thank the gods he isn’t the boy you raised. He’s not a boy. He’s a 26 year old man.

It sounds to me like you were on the attack against “this woman” from the onset. Telling him you didn’t like her before you even gave her a chance, and feeling it was your place to keep telling him your thoughts about his choices and his girlfriend,  all add up to a very poor effort on your part.

Your reference to how you wanted him to move “back” after college tells me he lived on campus. Additionally he lived on his own for 2 years. That means you kinda missed 6 years where he changed from being a kid to being a young adult. You missed a great deal of growth and change. You blame “that woman” for all the changes that occurred in your son like wardrobe, diet, adult behavior and entertainment preferences. Really? You don’t think he had just grown up and changed? You really can’t imagine that would have happened without “this woman?”

The Easter Invitation Incident of 2 years ago is telling. It’s very nice that you always have Easter dinner at your house and that you’ve had the pleasure of your son’s company at this tradition all this time. But to assume as an adult he will attend every Easter at your house because that’s what you want, is wrong. 

Children grow up. They become adults. They enter into relationships that take priority over the relationship they have with their parents. These are facts. This is the way it is.

It is perfectly normal, reasonable, and healthy for your son to want to spend a holiday with his partner. Assuming he would choose to spend the day with you especially considering your very vocal disapproval of his partner, was a pretty big crazy leap on your part.

Major Kudos to your son’s lady friend for trying to include you in their lives while you made no effort to do the same. Inviting you to see her home and meet her family was a mature and generous gesture. You not only declined, you accused her of lying and of doing this on purpose to create friction. Wow, you really screwed that up big-time.

The advice you’re asking for is not something I would give. I will however give you the advice you need.

You have a lot of work you need to do on yourself before you are going to be able to repair the damaged relationship with your son and his girlfriend. You have a choice. You can continue to pretend your son is a child, deny the fact that he is a man making his own choices, and go on being excluded from his life. That means, you’ll continue to be bitter and alone. By the way if grandkids come along, you can forget about being a part of that too.

Or, you can work very hard on accepting your son as the man he has grown up to be. You can accept his choices which include everything from his Television preferences, to his living arrangements, and his girlfriend.

I have the feeling you are a widow and that your son is an only child. You speak singularly about your home as if you are not part of a couple. You don’t mention your son’s father. Your comment that his girlfriend is divorced was derogatory thereby leading me to believe you aren’t divorced. Usually when a parent writes about a problem with a child, they include other children if there are any in comparison form. I’m lead to believe you’re alone. And this would make sense as to why you’re clinging so tightly to your son, and with keeping him in your mind’s eye as a child whose priorities are not those of a grown man.

His girlfriend sounds fine. I believe if you had better dirt on her you would have flung it. But Gaye, the truth is, it doesn’t matter if your son’s girlfriend is right or wrong for him. Regardless of how good his decisions are, they are still his decisions. You have no right to make them for him. You have no say over his choices.

The truth is, it’s none of your business.

You do however get to decide to handle this better. You can decide to be a part of his life. But you have to note, it’s HIS life. You have to stop thinking your opinion should matter. You have to stop blaming his girlfriend for everything you don’t like from the fact that he grew up to the fact that he chose her.

You most likely have many years ahead of you. Living them this way is not working out for you, is it. My advice to you is to do what you need to do to be part of your son’s future.

My advice is to send your son’s girlfriend a very nice and heartfelt note. It’s not too late. It’s never really too late. It’s all about how sincerely you want a relationship with your son. It should be in your own words but it should convey something like this:

“Dear (Lady-friend,)

I am sorry.

I apologize.

I handled many things badly.

I wish I had been more open to getting to know you. I wish I had accepted your invitation to Easter dinner years ago. I don’t know how to fix the past but I hope we can put it behind us and go forward.

Maybe we could just start again? I would like to invite you and my son for dinner on (this) date. If that date doesn’t work for you, please let me know what would work better.”

I can almost guarantee a gesture like that will be honored and accepted. Good luck.

Do you have a parent in-law that disrespects you and your relationship?

  • YES! I have an in-law that inserts themselves into our lives inappropriately.
  • No, my in-laws function in reality.
  • My in-laws aren't the problem, it's MY parents that are driving us crazy.
  • Neither my partner nor I have parents in our lives at all.
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11 comments

Earth Angel profile image

Earth Angel 5 years ago

Ten Thumbs Up Veronica!

Good, sound, strong, direct advice! You have a wonderful gift of calling a spade a spade while still respecting the other!

Blessings to you and yours, EarthAngel!


Veronica profile image

Veronica 5 years ago from NY Author

Thanks so much, Earth Angel! Blessings to you and yours xo


Lindsey79 profile image

Lindsey79 5 years ago from CA

Great article, Veronica! It's almost hard to believe that Gaye is a real person. I've definitely encountered plenty of controlling parents with her general viewpoints, but they've usually been a little more diplomatic or suave in their controlling ways.

Gaye seems just off the deep end with her expectations -- almost to the point of paranoid delusion (an invite for Easter is an attempt to cause friction? really?). And there are no real criticisms of the gf -- she hasn't treated her rudely or anything. I hope she can hear your advice and take it in. Otherwise, she will be a very bitter, lonely old woman and that's so sad when it's so unnecessary. But for some, control is a bigger deal than anything else --- so sad.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

it is really strange but only an hour ago I was discussing this topic with someone then I come on here and here we are !!

This one is so true and I think that many will be able to connect.

Thanks for sharing and another up/useful here again.

I love your hubs Veronica, and I look forward to reading many more.

Take care

Eiddwen.


Lala_Lisa profile image

Lala_Lisa 5 years ago

LOL I swear I know this woman! Not really but she sounds so much like someone I know. It is amazing to me how some mothers can think this way. They just don't get it. This woman is going to be very%20alone and not happy about it. I hope she listens to your advice before it is too late.

%0


Gaye 5 years ago

IT IS EASY TO SEE THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN. THAT IS WHY YOU GAVE THIS ADVICE.


Lindsey79 profile image

Lindsey79 5 years ago from CA

Gaye -- lots of people with children, both mothers and fathers would give this exact same advice. Those parents understand that their children aren't merely extensions of themselves, but their own people, entitled to their own thoughts, opinions and choices.

When your child becomes an adult, the parent-child relationship changes. The parent can no longer control the adult child, they can only act as advisors, hoping that if they raised them well that they'll make decisions that are good for them even if they are different than the parent would have made. You have seemed to miss this whole chapter in the parenting handbook.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 5 years ago from NY Author

Thanks again Lisa. Hey, whatever little smiley face or thingy you're doing at the end of your comments, isn't coming through. Sorry! Not something I can control, I can just see a % and a digit after a few comments. lol!

Gaye, I don't have children. So think of this way, I am somebody's child, so I can completely understand where your son is coming from. Good luck to you.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 5 years ago from NY Author

Thanks Lindsey, I hadn't gotten notice on your comment until after I posted.

Gaye, here's an idea. Email this link to your son. See what he has to say about it all. Maybe you can try to listen to him this time.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Veronica....Your advice is SPOT-ON in every regard!! I listened and gave "advice" (so to speak) for 38 years....Not an advice column....but counseling. I can't think of a single thing you said or didn't say that was not the very best advice you could have offered.

"Mamas" like this one are especially tough nuts to crack!

I must tell you, I raised 4 sons....all now married with children. It never entered my mind even once to interfere in any aspect of their lives...but much more importantly, being totally confident in the MEN I raised, they would never have stood for one second of nonsense from me. Which is how it should be. Period, the end.

I loved and accepted my daughters-in-law from day one. I KNEW if my son chose her, she was near-perfect!

UP & across the board!!


Veronica profile image

Veronica 4 years ago from NY Author

fpherj48, Thank you very much. xo

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