Thank you for your question.
Has her mother always been this controlling of her daughter, for example with other boyfriends etc? Is her only concern about you the age difference?
It's amazing that she actually sleeps in the same bed so she can monitor her daughter!
Okay thanks for the additional information. This mother obviously has some severe control issues going on, and due to this is acting not in her daughter's best interest. Obviously it's not in good judgment to invite abusive exes over to their house. Her mother is really invading her boundaries as well.
Rather than trying to influence the mother by meeting her, etc. I would advise you to encourage your girlfriend to gain more independence from her parents/mother. Also, with the divorce going on, it's likely her mom is going to become even more controlling. Your girlfriend needs to move out on her own and start to be more financially independent as soon as she can. In the meantime, she simply needs to set boundaries with her mom and tell her to not set her up anymore, etc. That if she continues to do such, that she will not be there for the dinner etc. meaning there will be a consequence to the behavior. I would stop trying to meet her mom and again focus more on your relationship with this young woman and be supportive about how difficult this is for her.
I would really suggest that your girlfriend get some counseling about how to maintain boundaries with her mother, as this could be a lifelong struggle otherwise. This issue runs deep and obviously did not begin with her dating you.
Again, trying to control the mother will backfire, so stating a boundary and then following through with a consequence if/when that boundary is violated is the best approach. She needs to show her mother rather than tell her. Please click ACCEPT button so I'm credited for my help today. Feel free to continue the discussion with me even after accepting. Thank you!
As she is still living at home and also dependent on her mom for financial resources, etc, it does make it more difficult to enforce the boundaries. Especially if her mom has threatened to kick her out. She should really strive to become independent financially and/or move out of the house. It does sound like you have done really well handling this situation as far as encouraging her and being more than willing to do what it takes to make her mom feel comfortable with you.
If she feels like she has to do what her mom says, or lose that support then that is the price she is going to pay. She is going to be controlled for the financial support. You can let her know that she would have a better relationship with her mom, if she could get out from under her control. She should get a job, or apply for financial aid (if she is in school) or do what is necessary to move out. She could move in with a friend or a roommate. The problem here is much bigger than just about her mom not liking the age gap. It's about her total control.
It could be really helpful for you and your gf to attend couples counseling around this issue. That would help her feel supported and become aware of her options.
From what you are describing her mom is being emotionally abusive. All you can do is what you are already doing.
Once your gf is financially independent, then her mother will have no say in whether she moves out or not. It will be up to your girlfriend at that point to be emotionally capable of standing her ground, after being so controlled.
I think it's very wise that you see a therapist. And I would advise that you do suggest for her to come as well. If she chooses not to (and at some point she also has to take accountability that on some level it's a choice. She is 23 years old now), then I really encourage to of course see the therapist and get much needed ongoing support around this issue. Again encourage her to be more independent. Maybe her mother is suffering from mental illness.
Since yesterday, things get worse for her. Her mom bought her the new IPad and she told her that she didn't want it. Her mom tells her that she is ungrateful for all the nice things she does for her. These nice things are always gifts because she obviously tries to make up for her shortcomings buy getting gifts to make her think she loves her. Her mom took off work today and tomorrow so she could be with her (monitor everything she does). It is now to the point where her mom is taking her to school and picking her up, so she knows exactly where she is all the time. She told me today that she has no freedom at all. I told her that she needs to break away from the cycle because it is not going to get better. She openly admits that she is happiest when the two of us are together and there is no distractions. She wants to be with me, but it seems as if she pushes me away somewhat, which confuses me because I am the only one that sticks up for her best interest. I am the only constant positive thing in her life and each day I become more confused. I told her over and over that I will do anything for her except leave her. I can't run away from what I know is what I want and what makes us both happy.
It sounds like she is simply feeling very torn between you and what her mother wants for her. Does she have any siblings by the way, or is she an only child?
Also, what is her father's role in this situation? He must see how controlling the mother is... Please click ACCEPT, and we can continue the discussion. Thank you!
She has a younger brother that is going to college in the fall. Her dad probably knows exactly how controlling her mom is and that is probably a reason they are getting divorced. I suggested that she talk to her dad, but she said that her and her dad don't have that type of relationship. It really seems to me as if they are a very unsupportive family, but I would never say that to her. I did tell her today that with the divorce going on and her mom's lack of control over that situation and with her brother going away to school (about 2 hours away), that she is getting all the control issues placed on her. I said that by staying in the situation, it is going to only get worse because all of the control her mom has on her brother will cease when he leaves the house for school.
I suggested that she stay at a hotel or even my neighbor's house whom she knows and just get out for a day or two. At least this way her mom will know that she is pissed off and not happy with how she is held as a prisoner. She declined immediately and said, "I cant just leave home".
Again, it just keeps getting worse for her.