DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My boyfriend’s father died six years ago, and ever since that time he’s taken on being the man of the house. That was back when he was finishing up high school, and because he didn’t want to be too far from home, he commuted to college and even took a job paying way less than he could have made if he moved to a bigger city, all to stay near his mom.
When we started dating almost two years ago, I thought it was kind of sweet that he wanted to be so helpful to his mom. Now I think it’s kind of weird. She is a super sweet woman and never demands anything from my boyfriend. I don’t think she’s the problem. I think he is just over-protective, and it’s begun to bother me more now that I am expecting our first baby this fall. I worry he’ll keep putting his mother first, even when I think he should put his own family first.
I don’t want to come between him and his mom, but the longer we are together, the more he seems to take me for granted so he can go do stuff for his mother. Is this normal or some kind of mother fixation? --- IS HE A MAMA’S BOY?
DEAR IS HE A MAMA’S BOY: Often a son or daughter who loses one parent becomes protective of the survivor, and from what you wrote, your boyfriend continues to see himself as the man of his mom’s house, even though he’s starting a family of his own. He may be feeling worried and guilty about his not being as available to his mom once he becomes a father.
You need to speak with him about your concerns. Since you said his mom isn’t making demands on him, make your own expectations of him as a partner and a father clear, letting him know you value how dedicated he is to helping his mom, but that you also need to know he’s there for you and your baby.