advice on your boyfriend’s mom talking smack about you

my boyfriend’s mom told him she thinks I’m controlling and said lots of bad things about me because we didn’t want to move cross-country and live in her house. now she wants to act like it never happened, refuses to talk about it ever again, and never apologized!! 

Oh, wow! Okay.

This is probably not reassuring, but this situation is rough.

Before I get into some hopefully okay-ish advice, I want to tell you something my dad always used to say. Origins of this saying, I don’t know. Let’s pretend my dad was its creator.

Two out of 10 people are going to love you, no matter what you do. Two out of 10 people are going to hate you, no matter what you do. And the other six can go either way, depending on how you treat people.

This is a saying I personally don’t want to agree with, because I have an intense and overwhelming need to have everyone love me. I’m definitely the exception to this, I’ve told myself many, many times. (Is that sad?)

But no matter how charming or friendly or funny I think I am, there’s always going to be two people who really just won’t ~vibe~ with me. And that’s something I am continually coming to terms with.

Obviously it’s a lot harder when one of those two is someone that you really want to love you. Case in point: your boyfriend’s mom. I’m sure he means so much to you, and it’s probably so hard to grapple with the fact that someone who literally created him just doesn’t ~vibe~ with you.

Let’s break this down.

You say that she says a lot of bad things about you because you didn’t want to live in her house. Is this the first instance of her being disrespectful towards you? Was the decision to not move in with her solely your decision, or did your boyfriend have a say, too? Was your boyfriend defending you when speaking with her?

Every family dynamic is so different, so I don’t at all want to generalize or make assumptions. But if you haven’t already, I think it would be a good idea to have a conversation with your boyfriend and make sure he’s standing up for you and emphasizing to his mother that this was his decision, too. I can understand being upset, but I can’t understand the blame and the word “controlling” being put onto you if this is something that was clearly both of your decisions. 

Which has me wondering (oh my god, I don’t sound like Carrie Bradshaw, do I…), is moving back with his mother something your boyfriend originally planned to do before you were in the picture?

If so, I would really try to look at it from her side. This is her son, someone she must love very much. If he was away, and she expected him to come back, this could be incredibly hard on her. Not saying it’s right, but maybe she needed someone to put blame on, and you were the easy target.

You said, “now she wants to act like it never happened, refuses to talk about it ever again, and never apologized!!” Again, not saying this is at all the correct way to handle it, but maybe she just wants to move past it all in the only way she knows how. Is she treating you how she did before all this went down? If so, that’s really important to take note of. Maybe all is forgiven on her end.

I don’t blame you for being upset about it. If I were you, I would have an honest conversation with your boyfriend and say how you’re still feeling. What do you want from her—to talk it through? An apology? Decide which, and express that to him. Unless you have a super close relationship with her, which it doesn’t sound like you do, it’s your boyfriend’s responsibility to facilitate that for you and his mother. 

Good luck navigating this tough situation. I commend you! (And if this advice doesn’t work, please don’t be one of my two.)

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