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Mother's Relationship issues


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Hi all,

 

For once I'm not actually posting about myself. I'm posting about concerns and advice for my mother who has been dating someone for the last few years.

 

A little bit of a back story, my Mum was single for about 25 years, after my abusive father was kicked out of the house (never saw him again, and he died in 2013). She focused on raising me and her career. She is now in a quite highly paid job role, and has just gone from strength to strength. A few years ago, so started dating a work colleague (they were initially peers, but she's since become his superior albeit on different teams). He's a bit younger than her, but the age gap isn't really the issue. The main problem is he's separated from his wife, but still living with her - just on the top floor of the house. There is no love there, and it's basically a long drawn out divorce.

 

Last year he broke it off with my Mum, citing needing to get his head sorted and finally out of the house. It broke my Mum's heart but they eventually kind of got back together again, despite nothing changing in his home life. He's been going hot and cold since really. Obviously with the lock-down, they've not seen each other and everything has been on hold. However my Mum has been getting paranoid about his friendship with another female colleague during this time.

 

At the moment, he's not speaking to her outside of work, and my Mum has found evidence that he has been at the colleagues house a few times in the last couple of weeks. There is no evidence that he's having an affair, as to be honest, he's essentially cheating on his separated wife with my Mum, so you wouldn't do the same again with another colleague right? I've stated that because he feels guilt about being around my Mum whilst he's dealing with his difficult home life (work is also a massive stress factor), maybe he's going to this colleague's house as a bit of respite - away from the home and away from the kids. They all work from home by the way. She's convinced there's something else going on, and that they are just lying to her.

 

Now the female colleague could be innocent in all this, supporting her friend by offering a place to chill out for a few hours and get some work done. But not mention it to anyone else in work, as that's how rumours and gossip starts. I've told my Mum this but she's just not listening. I have to see her cry and be depressed constantly and I don't know what to do to help her. Affair or not, he's clearly been messing her about too much and I know she should break it off completely. But she just wants the whole truth and almost a definitive answer that he's sleeping around with another colleague.

 

What's everyone's opinion? Is there anything I can do? She's even talking about getting a tracking device on his car or something as she wants to know for sure, but I'm worried she will throw everything away over him. She's worked incredibly hard over the last 25 years, and I couldn't bare to watch her destroy over this man who doesn't deserve her in the first place.

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I think it sounds suspicious. Why isn't he hanging out with your mom, instead of this colleague?

 

The thing I don't understand, is her still being involved with this married man, and all of the drama attached.

 

When someone is at the point of getting a tracking device, the relationship should be done. That's nuts!

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How does she actually know that he is separated? He could be playing all three women.

 

My belief is when he has tried to put some distance between them in the past, it just ended up with them back together again. So I get him this time needing space to sort out the home life once and for all, but can't be "tempted" by being around my Mum. Apparently he's said in the past that he's wrestling with his morals.

 

She said she can't help who she loves. After being single for 25 years, I think she's ignoring the logical reasons not to be with this guy. But I totally agree, that even if it's a fleeting thought, if you've hit that level of desperation, it's time to say goodbye. She won't listen, and I fear it's because I'm her son so what do I know?

 

And he is separated as he has shown mediation documents to my Mum in the past to get her views.

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Well it sounds like he wants the freedom to play around.

 

You can help who you love. This is her excuse. Did she ever receive any counseling to deal with the past abuse? She knows, but she is hooked on the toxicity . Sounds like she is attracted to bad men, due to her self worth issues.

 

Why can't he move out? Has your mother been to the house?

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It all should have stopped at he is still married, also co-worker, also she became his one up. So many time this should have stopped cold. Unfortunately, your mom seems to have a taste for toxic losers and she never fixed herself and her picker when it comes to relationships. Walking away from dating for so long doesn't fix the fundamental internal problems that drive people to get into these kinds of toxic merry-go-rounds.

 

What you can do is sit down and have a serious conversation about that and suggest counseling and even offer to go with her and hold her hand if that's what it takes to get her some help in that department. What she is doing, what she wants to do is a form of self harming - some people do it with a razor blade, others do it emotionally and psychologically. At the heart of that behavior is a whole lot disordered and messed up that needs cleaning and healing and fixing and putting it off for years only to pick right up where she left off is not the way to go forward in life. She has to address her issues and what drives her to get involved like that and if I were you, I wouldn't mince words about that with her. Rather take a two by four approach and hope it sinks in even if it upsets her. The upset might just wake her up enough to rethink what she is doing.

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Well it sounds like he wants the freedom to play around.

 

You can help who you love. This is her excuse. Did she ever receive any counseling to deal with the past abuse? She knows, but she is hooked on the toxicity . Sounds like she is attracted to bad men, due to her self worth issues.

 

Why can't he move out? Has your mother been to the house?

 

Hmm I think I agree with you there.

 

Don't think any counselling happened, but I was 5 and I don't remember. I know I had some as he was abusive towards me and it made me a very difficult person to be around growing up. She constantly says "I'm just an old fool, why would anyone want me", so I do agree that she's attracted to toxic situations (reminds me of past me to be honest).

 

Moving out is due to his kids and money as far as I'm aware. He doesn't have much of a spine and the mother has threatened to take the kids away etc.

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It all should have stopped at he is still married, also co-worker, also she became his one up. So many time this should have stopped cold. Unfortunately, your mom seems to have a taste for toxic losers and she never fixed herself and her picker when it comes to relationships. Walking away from dating for so long doesn't fix the fundamental internal problems that drive people to get into these kinds of toxic merry-go-rounds.

 

What you can do is sit down and have a serious conversation about that and suggest counseling and even offer to go with her and hold her hand if that's what it takes to get her some help in that department. What she is doing, what she wants to do is a form of self harming - some people do it with a razor blade, others do it emotionally and psychologically. At the heart of that behavior is a whole lot disordered and messed up that needs cleaning and healing and fixing and putting it off for years only to pick right up where she left off is not the way to go forward in life. She has to address her issues and what drives her to get involved like that and if I were you, I wouldn't mince words about that with her. Rather take a two by four approach and hope it sinks in even if it upsets her. The upset might just wake her up enough to rethink what she is doing.

 

Agreed. She kept it from me for a while and she knew I wouldn't approve. Still don't to a degree, and definetely not now due to how he's treating her.

 

I'll bring that up to her. I haven't minced my words in regards to him and his actions, and told her that she needs to drop him as he's no good - regardless of how happy he previously made her. I haven't minced my words with her though. This is a woman who sacrificed so much to raise me, and it's hard for me to bring it up. I'll have a word with her.

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How does she react when you tell her he's bad news? Tracking device?

 

Remind her of the movie "Fatal Attraction" and the case whether the NASA astronaut drove several states with diapers on to confront the mistress if her married lover.

 

All you can do is lend an ear and reiterate that the guy is bad news.

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I would stay out of it, as your mom is a grown woman and its up to her who she wants to date.

 

That being said, if she asks you, you tell her that she deserves better than to be with a married man.

About the tracking device - tell her it broke your heart to see her abused and controlled by your dad and that she may not realize is, but she is trying to do the same thing to a man (control him). If you tell her on those terms --- that she deserves to be with a man who doesn't belong to another woman and that it hurts to see her considering abuse, it will be more effective than just saying no.

 

But maybe really the only thing you can do is this" "you are a grown woman who can date who you like but i am letting you know now that I will never love or accept a man that you date who you are having an affair with behind his wife's back. I will not meet or accept a man who mistreats you. I won't even meet him. And if you talk about him i will change the subject." Set a boundary for yourself "if you are willing to throw your career away to track a man, i will not help you financially or emotionally afterwards. We will not be on speaking terms"

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Agreed. She kept it from me for a while and she knew I wouldn't approve. Still don't to a degree, and definetely not now due to how he's treating her.

 

I'll bring that up to her. I haven't minced my words in regards to him and his actions, and told her that she needs to drop him as he's no good - regardless of how happy he previously made her. I haven't minced my words with her though. This is a woman who sacrificed so much to raise me, and it's hard for me to bring it up. I'll have a word with her.

 

Telling her that he is bad for the umpteenth time is probably going to fall on death ears. So I'd shift the conversation to her and try to address the issues you see there as hard as that might be. Not in an accusatory tone of she is doing something bad, she knows, but rather in that you care about her and her well being and you don't want her self harming kind of way.

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My opinion is, if it were me being you, I wouldn't do anything. Your mother is a big girl and responsible for her own life, her decisions and choices. Let her navigate her personal life by herself. Don't meddle, intervene nor interfere. With all due respect, mind your own business. It's her life and whatever consequences she must face, is all her own doing.

 

Once upon a time, I was in hero mode for my neighbor, cousin, friend, mother and sister. I don't do that anymore. Whenever there are any "waifs" in my life, I l don't rescue anyone. I let them live their own lives. Enforce healthy boundaries with everyone in your life including your mother.

 

I would say this only ONE time: I'd remind her not to make herself financially vulnerable to him nor be taken financially advantage by him after she had worked so hard for 25 years to get to where she is. I'd also tell her that he's still married and if he's seeing your mother on the side, she will become his next victim and she too will be deceived and betrayed just like his wife. Beware. After that, back off. You've said your piece and no more. Be done with it and don't rehash it anymore.

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I can put myself in her place. Divorced, dating and two young sons at home. Albiet you are an adult, this is your mom's journey and there are some difficult, yet very valuable lessons to learn here.

I personally don't lean on my sons for my personal issues. It becomes somewhat of a role reversal where you'd be parenting your parent.

Doesn't mean my way is the right way. Never the less, you can be there for her, but you can't make this better.

For the matter, I don't get involved in my sons (who are now young adults) in their relationship business. It's been difficult to watch at times, but I figure I'd rather them learn these lessons now, rather than later. I've listened. I give advise when asked. But unless they are in serious danger, I support them by listening and let them figure things out on their own.

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