Question: Dear Luise: I met a man at work that I found interesting. He liked me, too, so we started dating. Everything went along fine for quite a while, and then he took me to meet his family. His mother bosses him around like he was two years old and he takes it. Since then, I have noticed that he refers to her and what she thinks and believes a lot. (It went right by me before I met her and saw them together.) Am I in dangerous waters here? I really like him a lot but all of that feels “off” to me. Thanks for giving this question a shot. Darla
Answer: Dear Darla: Isn’t that interesting, how something gets by you unnoticed until you are watching for it? And I don’t blame you for seeing the dynamics between your guy and his mother as a red flag.
However, it may not be. Take a chance and talk with him about it. It may be something he hates and was trained to do against his will. (Well, we can hope, can’t we?) If it’s all about being respectful and hating it, then you need to talk about what he wants to do about it…and where you fit in.
Men who act this way usually keep answering to mommy for the rest of their lives or transfer their dependence to their wives. It doesn’t sound like either option appeals to you. You can’t undo it. Maybe he can if he wants to, but you need to ask yourself why he hasn’t done so already if that’s the case.
Observation is going to be your best tool to make a decision on this issue. If, after you talk with him about it, his constant references to his mom’s great wisdom continue and you see the same behavior when you’re with his family, you may want to reconsider before you get in any deeper.
One of the most serious mistakes that is made in such situations is the “it will all work out after we’re married” syndrome. Don’t believe it. It won’t. If he doesn’t leave mamma behind very soon, he never will. If you wanted a husband-child, (and lots of women do), you wouldn’t have written to me about it. That may mean you’re just not a match. Look deeper. Blessings, Luise