“My boyfriend has a weird relationship with a family member.” This is an easy one to recognize because it eventually gets to a point where the creep factor and the alarm that your gut sounds off becomes too loud to ignore.
Although a weird relationship with a family member is as easy to identify as a pink elephant in a room, it’s tough to acknowledge, especially when everything else is going so well. You try to convince yourself it’s a good thing; that he’s either “such a family man,” because of how close he is to his mom, sister, etc. Or, if he has a hateful/dysfunctional relationship with a family member, you tell yourself how great it is that he’s able to have “boundaries,” despite a familial connection.
The bs eventually and inevitably becomes too hard to ignore and you find yourself more and more creeped out, frustrated and in a state of perpetual competition with the one thing you’ll never be able to compete with – FAMILY.
I’ve been in relationships where I’ve been happy, but eventually had to make the inescapable acknowledgement time and time again that:
“My boyfriend and his Mother are too close. Why is he telling her personal details about me/our relationship? His mother shouldn’t know that I’m on my period. Why does he have to run everything by her? How come he’s capable of emotional intimacy with her and not with me? Why do I feel threatened?”
“My boyfriend and his sister are too close. Why does she always get in our business and why does she seem almost jealous and sabotagingly spiteful/competitive? Does SHE want to sleep with her brother? Wtf is this?”
“My boyfriend hates his Mother and subsequently doesn’t have a relationship with her. Why? How?”
“My boyfriend doesn’t speak with or have a relationship with his sister. Why?”
Here’s what to do if “my boyfriend has a weird relationship with a family member,” is or ever was in your looming vocabulary:
If he’s got a relationship with ANY family member that makes your stomach crawl, creeps you out or at best, seems “off,” listen to your gut instinct and RUN. Seriously, save yourself the time that you’ll never get back, the tears, the confusion and the anger. There’s nothing confusing about an iron-clad, emotionally-incestual-teflon relationship that was established way before you ever came into the picture.
Sprint and don’t look back. You will never, I repeat never be able to compete with dysfunctional, emotionally ancestral relationships (nor should you ever want or have to). If you do, you’ll just end up getting vilified and be made to feel crazy.
This is all obviously easier said than done, so let’s break it down.
If he’s too close for comfort with his Mother, sister, etc., you have to understand that just like dating an addict, you will never be in a mutual, one-on-one relationship with this man. You will ALWAYS be in a perpetual threesome: you, him and the family member.
Mom/sister, etc., will always be right and you, your opinions, your emotional well being and your privacy will always come in a close second. And if you’re okay with being a close second, you have no business dating. If someone makes you feel like you’re asking a lot by not wanting to be with an emotionally incestual swinger, you need to work on YOUR boundaries and self esteem instead of getting a phD in his f*cked up family dynamic.
If you’re in a relationship where loving him means that you can’t love you and as far as he’s concerned, loving him means that you have to accept that he’s having emotional sex with mom/sis/both (barf), that’s called a relationsh*t that you need to exit. ASAP.
The ultimate liberation in life is when you get to a point where you don’t need to be “right,” you don’t need to be “chosen,” you don’t need to be in “control,” and you don’t need to “win.” You just let the chips fall where they do and most importantly, you know when to fold. You’re kinder to yourself and you cease feeling guilty for putting one foot in front of the other. You know who you are, you know what you’re worth, you know what you want and honestly, that’s all that matters. It’s none of your business what other people think of you. What IS your business is recognizing yourself in a healthy manner and having your own back so that you’re able to exit relationsh*ts with dignity & on your own white horse.
I overheard my boyfriend from years back listening to his Mother criticize my looks, my family and the fact that I was broke as a joke. He did nothing but listen and his silence translated as this kind of passive agreement that broke my heart and shattered any confidence, self esteem and gratitude that I had left.
My boyfriend had never cut the cord with mom. Why? Mom always forgave him, made excuses for him (she still referred to him being slightly out of shape as “baby fat.” He was 26.), and mom put him on a pedestal. So, when I didn’t put him on a pedestal and didn’t continue to excuse and forgive him for his consistent lies, cheating and disrespect, he wrote me off. My boyfriend could not make the relationship that he had with his mother independent of the relationship that he had with me (or with any other past girlfriend), which set all of his relationships up for relationsh*t failure status.
In a relationship, there should be 2 grown adults that love, respect and care for one another with honesty, integrity and availability. There isn’t room for 3 adults to be in a single relationship.
Can there be exceptions where the guy will recognize that he wants a future with you and that will motivate him to deal with his dysfunction? Yes of course, but that takes time and you need to see the want and willingness in both his actions and his words.
Talk is cheap and talk only works on people who cheapen themselves by believing it without actions to back it up.
You guys – there are AMAZING mothers and sisters out there that support, love and will enrich the relationship that you have with the RIGHT man.
If you’re in the “my boyfriend is too close with his mom/sister/has a weird relationship with a family member,” dynamic, don’t waste your time trying to get him to see what you see and don’t embarrass anyone or do anything to highlight the inappropriateness of what you feel. It’s not your job. Stay kind and be kind to yourself by making a dignified exit, not by trying to “win” at a casino game in which the house ALWAYS win.
If he hates his Mom… This is another huge red flag. If you’re involved with a man who hates his Mother (he may not even be aware that he hates her), you probably confuse being needed with being wanted. Unless it’s a pet, a senior citizen or a child, no one should ever need you.
As I’ve said before – going for people who need us is like taking a sh*tty insurance policy out on our own abandonment issues because even if he leaves, he won’t ever entirely exit because he still needs something from you. Men that have a hateful, a negative, an angry or a nonexistent, vengeful relationship with their mothers tend to need the women that they date because they’re trying to fill a void that is un-fillable.
Are there great guys out there that have a nonexistent relationship with their mothers? I’m sure. But when they have a hatred and/or anger toward mom, they will forever be incapable of a fully connected and mutual relationship because they consistently have to value and devalue due to their anger at Mom.
Remember – hate is not the opposite of love. When you hate, there are still very strong feelings there. The only place that love cannot reside is within indifference. So if he hates mom, this is why he won’t be able to stop the wash, rinse, repeat, “value, devalue,” cycle that he puts every woman that’s unlucky enough to be with him, through.
Men that hate their mothers tend to be hot and cold, have major jealousy issues and are control freaks. Because they have such a painful lack of a positive relationship with a female mother figure, they will passively (or directly), try to make you feel crazy, guilty, and anything but sexy or confident because their confidence was obliterated by mom’s absence. Communication with him will also be impossible as will extracting any empathy or understanding.
Can these issues be worked on if your man has them? Yes, they most definitely can. Just make sure that you’re being met halfway, that you’re not betraying yourself and that you’re not wasting your time, handing over the pen for others to write YOUR story while you sit in the passenger’s seat of YOUR car.
& PS! – I will be attending Grieving to Believing on the 16th & 17th and would love to meet you!
My friend & grief expert David Kessler along with James Van Praagh, Maureen Hancock and my dear friend & yoga teacher that I just interviewed here on PMS, Paul Denniston, are coming together for a 2 day event to help us work through grief. “Combining grief work, mediumship and grief yoga has never been done before on the west coast. Imagine a life beyond grief, a life where love is everlasting and deep soul work takes place on three planes at once – the human, the body and the spiritual planes.” – Grieving to Believing.
+ If you’d like to attend this amazing 2 day event and hang with me, go to Grieving to Believing & use the code: “NATASHAPMS” to receive $100 off the regular price.