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Problems with his Parents


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So here's the situation:


I've been dating my current boyfriend for about 2 and 1/2 years. He is 21 years old and I am 22. I love him to death and we have a great time together. We moved in with each other about a week ago and, for the most part, everything is going very smoothly.


The problems in our relationship all seem to surround his overbearing parents. You see, by boyfriend is an only child with fairly wealthy parents. Although he rarely asks for anything, they insist on buying him everything he wants. Additionally, although they live an hour away, they visit twice (yes twice) every weekend and his mother still insists on doing his laundry. It doesn't end there. His mom insists on knowing ever detail of his life. She lets him know when he needs to buy a new pair of shoes and precisely what color and kind he should purchase (or rather, she should purchase for him). Not to mention his parents still pay for his rent, parking, electric and cable bills even though he has a part time job that pays him a decent amount.


Moving in together has only made this more complicated. A few weeks ago, he parents insisted on taking us on an all-expenses payed vacation to San Francisco. They also bought us 2 HD tvs for our apartment and come with gifts almost every time they visit. I've never asked for any of these things but feel that it would be impolite and awkward to refuse them.


I don't know what to do. I want my boyfriend to grow up but I don't know when I'm crossing the line. I'm especially confused now that I'm living with him and they have been so generous in their gift-giving. I don't want to seem ungrateful or rude, but his parents need to stop micromanaging his life!! help!

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Haha, I wouldn't mind having parents like that! Well, minus the laundry & telling me when I need new shoes part. The gifts & paid vacation I would welcome with open arms!!


Your boyfriend has only been out of the house a few years; I have a feeling he is either an only child or the youngest? Sounds like a bit of empty-nest on his mother's part.


How self-reliant is your boyfriend? Is he responsible with his money, job & managing other parts of his life, or does he depend on his parents to do it? It's one thing if they are just being overly-helpful; it is another if this has resulted in him not being able to handle his life himself.


It's up to him to tell his parents that they don't need to be so "helpful". I would refrain from getting in the middle of that business. Maybe they could back off on some things, and you could get used to their generousity. It's okay to accept their offers and express your gratitude.

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Right... I mean I wouldn't say anything to his parents... but do I say anything to him about how much it bothers me?


You could ask him why he doesn't do his own laundry and other "little things" like that. I'm kind of suprised he feels comfortable with his mom doing his laundry. I didn't even want my mom doing mine when I was in high school, but maybe that's because she ended up ruining (bleach) my clothes. Or sometimes I just wouldn't see them again.


You could encourage him to do those little things himself while trying to refrain from saying something like "why do you let your parents baby you". Really, if he is at least capable of taking care of himself and does so in their absence, I wouldn't worry too much about it. In the future, it is possible he may end up moving further away from them for school/work so that they won't be able to do his laundry ot stop by twice every weekend.

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if you dont mind me asking what is his nationality.. in some cultures it is common for the mother to continue doing things like this, laundry staying in touch every day cooking meals for them until they have a child. Once they have a grandchild in some cultures the mom will transfer this care giving to the grandchild- always requesting to see grandchild, caring for the baby, teaching the baby languages.. just being a mom.

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oh it has nothing to do with culture. He's white. He's just an only child.



You're right, he does function just fine without his parents. Sometimes it just bothers me that he doesn't even realize this micromanaging isn't something that most parents do.



It bothers me even more the times that he does feel like they are micromanaging his life but he won't say anything because he's terrified of conflict with them.

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  • 1 month later...

Dear Coffeebean,


I rarely reply to these things but I had to when I read your note. I was actually searching for similar articles on this subject myself when I came accross your note.


I am afraid you are heading into a potentially relationship-ending situation and I know this from experience.


You seem like an incredible patient and understanding person but if this doesn't change, you will become resentful and angry. Resentment will destroy any relationship.


You obviously need to talk to him and get him to understand your concerns. In-laws need to know where their life ends and the couple's life begins - they need to know their place and when it is appropriate to intervene. They need boundaries and your boyfriend needs to prove he can put you first and respect your needs for independence.


I have vacationed with my ex-boyfriend's parents and it was hell. I am a very independent person and this was awful. I now have a boyfriend of almost 5 years who still wishes to go on elaborate vacations with his parents because, they too, are wealthy and bored. They use vacations as a way to lure him into spending time with them and they live blocks away! My boyfriend and his dad see each other every day as well (they have a business together)!


I, myself, am torn as to whether I can handle a life with a man who refuses to grow up and who will never put me first. I have to spend some of my vacation days seeing my family who live in a different province and I refuse to spend the rest of my vacation with someone else's family on their dime, doing what they want to do, on their agenda. I don't enjoy time with them and don't have a lot in common.


If you value your vacations like I do and want space, rules and healthy boundaries with your boyfriend's parents, my suggestion is to talk IMMEDIATELY to your boyfriend. If he doesn't see how needy and demanding his parents are and refuses to believe in some sort of boundaries, you need to run and run fast. He is being selfish and will never change.


Ya, it sounds great to have all-inclusive paid vacations and your laundry done, but we all are on this earth for a short time and if you value your independence and don't want a life of sacrifice and 'duty' to a man or feeling obligated as a woman to make things work, I would address this FAST.


Good luck!

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Dear CoffeeBean,


I would absolutely hate this. I am currently living with my BF's parents and I find his mum very overbearing. I'm not sure if its twinned with the fact that I left home when I was 19 and my mum has let me be very independent all my life but his mum will do anything for him (which I know is a good thing), but she doesnt stop talking and she wants to be involved in everything. She still makes his sandwiches for him for work, but its mostly because my BF works with his dad, but even her calling him to ask him what he wants in his sarnies in the AM is just weird to me, lol. When we weren't living with her, she would call him several times a day, quite manically aswell about certain things. It's very weird to me. My BF gets very annoyed by her though and he gets very frustrated with her, but luckily he is quite firm with her.


I really understand how you feel. I mean the gifts are nice and the vacations but they are over-stepping the boundaries here aren't they, what with the laundry and still treating him like their little boy.


I mean, you and he have your own home but it most probably doesn't feel like your home because it's almost like his mother wants to be in charge of that home aswell, which his out of order. I would really resent that and I would most definitely say something to my boyfriend. Another woman coming into your home and having such a big say and having that power is not nice at all.


You don't have to be rude, just explain to him that you think his parents are lovely people and they obviously care a lot about you both and are very generous but just explain that it makes you feel uncomfortable that they are just a little bit too involved in your lives. Visiting twice every weekend is a bit much. Tell him that you want to feel in charge of the home but you just don't because you feel that his mother has more say in what he does than you do. Just tell him you're unhappy, but just do not be rude or he will get defensive and that can cause problems. GOod luck

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