DEAR NATALIE: My boyfriend’s mother is out to get me. She really doesn’t like me. I think she knows we are “serious” and will most likely get engaged this year and she has been pulling out all the stops to end our relationship. She says to me that “I’m not good enough” for her son, that “I am not pretty enough” and that I am not “intellectual enough” to sustain a long term relationship or marriage with him. We’ve been happily together for three years and he is the love of my life. I know he would do anything for me and tries to shield me from her as best as he can. He is a mama’s boy – and admits it! – so I think part of the issue is that she is jealous of our relationship. I know that sounds weird, but that’s the feeling I get. She has even tried to set him up on other dates with her friends’ daughters to see if he will end things with me. I don’t know why she dislikes me so much other than the fact that we are an interracial couple. I love him and want to marry him but the idea of our future kids having her for a grandmother really makes me nervous. Any advice on how to win her over? –MOM NEEDS TO TAKE A SEAT
DEAR MOM NEEDS TO TAKE A SEAT: His mom sounds racist and I don’t know if there is much you can do other than keep your distance. The coded language of you not being “pretty” or “good enough" for her son definitely raises eyebrows. You shouldn’t have to deal with this from anyone, let alone the mother of the man you may marry. If you are set on him being the one, then you need to have a serious heart-to-heart with him about this situation. Be honest and open about what is going on. I understand he may be a “mama’s boy” but if he can’t take your side at this moment, what makes you think he will ever take your side once you are married? Another thing to consider – your future children will be biracial – how will she treat them? Is this someone you would want to have around your babies? A lot goes into considering marriage. You aren’t just marrying him, you are marrying his whole family. Is this truly the family you want to call your own?
DEAR NATALIE: My husband and I have been together for almost 30 years and while I love him, I am no longer in love with him. Everyone says we are the “perfect couple” and it breaks my heart to know that I have emotionally moved on. We haven’t been intimate in months and I know he wonders why I have become so cold towards him, but I am just not interested in him anymore. To make things more complicated, I have started to see someone behind his back. This person excites me in a way that he never did. We married very young because I was pregnant, and while he has been a wonderful father and husband, I have never felt that “passion” like I do with this new person. I’m 58 years old now and don’t want to live the rest of my life in a loveless and sexless marriage. Our kids are grown and I think will take his side in all of this. How do I make everyone understand that this is for the best? I don’t want to alienate my children, either. –TOUGH CHOICES
DEAR TOUGH CHOICES: Put your affair on hold and sort things out at home. You owe it to your husband to let him know how you feel and what you want from this life. It's also possible that he hasn't been as happy in this marriage as he would like to be. Divorce is one of the biggest decisions you can make in life and transitions can be hard. Don’t make this worse by betraying him and everything you built over these past three decades. Explain to him that you aren’t happy and that you can’t continue on this way. After you discuss this with him, you will need to talk to your kids as a family. They may be adults, but they deserve to hear this from you both. I hope you find what you are looking for and can take this next chapter to do what makes you happy. There are many women who hit this phase of life and realize how much of their life was spent taking care of others and catering to other people’s needs. I understand your desire to strike out on your own and do what you want to do. But don’t burn the bridges you worked so hard to build with the people that love you. Step back from the affair, reassess your values and be honest with your spouse about your future. He deserves at least that much.
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