I'm a 48 yr male with 3 children and have been in a relationship with a 42 yr old single Asian mother with a 2 1/2 son for about 2 years. We live in Hawaii where family customs are a strong part of our lives. My gf past relationship was being abandoned by her son's father and left alone raising her son by herself without any support from him. Her mother which she lives with helped raise her son from birth and up till today.While dating my gf for about a year, I was separated from my wife and not yet divorced due to financial reasons. My gf always knew my marital status and waited patiently for me to eventually get a divorce. Early last year Jan my gf got pregnant with my child. When she told me this I was scared, thinking that it's not the right time for another child. Considering the fact that I was still married and my girlfriends son was still young. In a way I didn't give my gf a choice and told her that it's not the right time now for a baby and that she should get an abortion.I have always got along with her family, helping around the house and occasionally cooking dinner. Then suddenly one day her mother had a change of heart about me and felt I was using her daughter and it was not fair for her since I was still not divorce. I tried talking to her that I was in the process of getting a divorce with papers filed with the court, but I guess she still did not accept my answer and status. I feel that I'm a threat to her, feeling that I may take her daughter and grandson away with me. Her mom always wanted to fix up her home or wanted to purchase a bigger house, but I feel if I married her daughter, she will no longer be financially able to do so since she was retired and widowed.Since August 2011, my gf and I would need to sneak around her mother to see each other. I was told by my gf that sometimes her 2 yr old son would talk about me when he is with his grandmother. She would get upset telling him to shut up when he mentioned my name or tell him to go live with uncle Randy, taking her frustration out on him.Now my gf tends to avoid any conflict with her mother concerning me in fear that her mother will take it out on her son. Saying the wrong things.My girlfriend chooses to stay with me now, telling me that she eventually wants to spend her life with me. I asked her are you sure that she wanted to marry me with all that going on with her mother? She told me that the difference between her and I, was that she know what direction she wants staying with me, as opposed to how I felt that I did not know what direction I wanted and that I was unsure that I wanted to stay with her. Can I rely on her what she says, being committed to me? I ultimately she will need to make a choice. Either marry me sometime in the future or feel indebted to her mother for supporting her. I feel my gf once again felt abandon by her partner when I told her that she should get an abortion.Any suggestions? I tried talking to her mother and continue to offer my services, but she seems that she has made up her mind to disapprove of me.randy
talking to other people
Hello! Please remember that my responses are informational only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.
Hi Randy, Your girlfriend's mother sounds like a very difficult person.
Yes she is and seems to be unreasonable.
I guess the real question is --is your girlfriend willing to sacrifice some relationship with her mother in order to be with you? It sounds like she's saying that she is, but that you're not sure if you can trust that? Did I hear you correctly?
Yes, but her actions right now do say that.
Well --not to be cliche, but actions do speak loudly. I assume you are not rushing to get married?
Sorry mistyped "her actions now do not show that"
I would like to get married soon because I'm not getting younger. Before my girlfriend would always talk about getting married but not anymore. The tables are turned and I'm the one now talking about marriage.
Oh, that changes my perspective
If her actions do not show that, then there is cause for concern
We had a fight last year one night. While driving me home my gf told me that she could not see me anymore. I asked why? My gf went off and yelled at me that she did not know what her mom's problem was! She told me that no one ever asks how she felt! Especially directed toward me for persuading her to get an abortion and did not give her a choice. She told me that she would've had the baby anyway even without me. At that time I guess she felt again that she was more indebted to her mother rather than to me. Probably remembering the feeling of being abandoned and no one feeling how she felt. Not to say that it is now payback time for me hurting her feelings (she is not like that) for asking for an abortion. Not considering her feelings then, maybe now she feels that she needs to really think about herself and her son more and is more on her guard since I made her feel abandoned not wanting a new child at that time.
The issue of suggesting the abortion should be just between you and her --(no matter how she feels) without the complication of adding another party (her mother). I can understand how she might feel abandoned. Did she have the abortion?
Sorry, I forgot to mention. She had a miscarriage. I now regret that now
It seems like an issue that the two of you could work through --but I think having the mother's input complicates it a great deal.
Yes, and her mother does not know about the pregnacy.
One day we were talking about her son visiting the father's parents, which he does at least once a month. My gf does not want his biological father present when he visits their house. Not wanting him to be confused who he is. She mentioned as far she is concerned that I'm his father now and her son probably already feels the same way too.
That actually sounds like a good sign to me. She's willing to keep some things private from her mother.
Does the bio. father want to be involved with his son?
not at all. He does not visit or see his son.
Ok...so that makes that part a bit easier.
only his grandparents, since her son is their only grandchild.
That makes sense. Are they easy to get along with?
I have never met his parents, but it seems that my gf gets along with them fine.
OK. So what does your gf specically do with regards XX XXX mother that makes your relationship difficult at this point?
She would need to lie to her mother of where she is to see me. She feels terrible doing that.
We would need to sneak to meet each other. At our age that seems silly.
That is exactly what I was going to say --that is what a 15-18 year old does,not people in their 40s
So, what consequences would she suffer if her mother knew she was going out to see you?
She explains that her son is the most important person to her. She will do whatever is best for him (he loves his grandmother very much) and she cannot separate their closeness by causing conflict of getting married anytime soon. I think the purpose of waiting later is it may be easier when he starts preschool and slowly being weaned off with his grandmother. By starting part-time preschool in Aug and possibly attending full-time next Jan. What do you think?
Is the grandmother a significant caretaker of her son?
Her mother would take it out on her son. Telling him to shut up when he mentions my name or tell him to go live with me then.
yes she is, she watches him while his mother is at work. Especially so now, since she had started 2 new jobs as a ER nurse.
That is terrible, it is not right or fair. He is an innocent child who has no choice or say in this matter.
Her former hospital closed in December due to bankruptcy.
So, maybe she feels trapped? Feels like she has no other options?
Yes, very immature of his grandmother to say or do that.
yes, I feel that she feels indebted to her mother for supporting her during her first pregnancy and now.
My gf tells me that it is not a good time now to get married and that we should wait a few months or even a year.
I would ask her "How will it be different in a few months or a year?" When her son is in school, will she really believe that she can have that separation from her mother?
She may have felt abandoned by me once more when I asked her to get a abortion. Maybe thinking that she still only has her mother to support her.
That might be a good thing to ask her too. "I am wondering if you feel like I abandoned you when I asked you to get the abortion. I am wondering if you believe you can't trust me now?"
Yes maybe she feels that her mother will be weened off caring for her grandson so much and that it would take off some pressure from my girlfriend.
You can tell her that you regret telling her that (I think that's what you told me earlier)
Sometimes people feel trapped --like they have only one option --maybe she feels her only option is to have her mother care for her son.
I have told her and apologized.
Did she accept your apology?
I think so? she did not say anything, but I was very sympathetic about the situation.
Maybe she needed time to process/absorb what you said. A year is not long to wait to get married. But, the more important issue is --if you marry, will she put you first if you do get married.
Sorry I repeated myself there --what I really mean is how will she relate to her mother after you get married. I'd express those concerns if I were you.
I'm not sure how she would do. We do practice Asian family customs that taking care of your parents is important to us in Hawaii.
I told her that I would never abandon her mother or take her grandson away.
I would do my best to please her mother without any resentment.
I understand that. But, "taking care of" parents is different (in my opinion) than having the parents make the decisions for how you live your life.
Yes, I'm very concerned about how her mother will react, since she would be my mother in law.
She will probably throw tantrums.
And, that can be OK, I think. You two can still take care of her, respect her, let her have her tantrums and move forward with your life. Not that it's always pleasant, though.
I think she will just have to deal with it. I don't think it would be that hard to overcome. We always had gotten along before, cooking together and sharing recipes. But suddenly her attitude towards me changed.
Either she will come around (after you are married) or she will continue to be mad, resentful of you. That is her choice. It would be much nicer if she came around and accepted you, of course.
I think if the two of you can respect that it's her choice (how she reacts) it might make it easier. The only thing that's NOT OK is if she says mean things to your gf's son.
We were planning a trip to Disneyland in October, and she did not invite her mother. She told her that she was going to meet her friends with children there.
It would be her son's first plane ride and he occasionally talks about riding the plane.
The lying concerns me. Sounds like your gf does not want to deal with the tantrums. Lying puts pressure on everyone --
My girlfriend mentioned "what if my mother wants to go?"
I told her "I don't know what to say."
Well she told me that she just has to deal with it, I guess eventually revealing that I would be there with her on the trip.
"I am sorry. We want to take this trip by ourselves. If you'd like to go on a trip, I will take you in April (whenever)."
Not that you should take her on a trip ---it's just an option.
I think that her mother still has a feeling that her daughter is still seeing me. Her son talking about me and my gf offering her my flight benefits. I work for an airline.
Well, then there is no reason for anyone to pretend ----
Her mother was planning a last minute trip to Phoenix next month and asked her daughter to check on some airline fares. Well they were very high $800 plus.
wow --that is high.
My girlfriend asked her who was going to watch her son? Since she started new jobs, she can't take off anytime soon. Her mother mentioned that she was going to take him with her for a week.
She just decided this on her own?
I don't think so, I think they mutually agreed.
OK, that's different
My gf told her that she could not afford to pay airfare for her and her son. She offered to pay her airfare, but her son would need to stay back. Unless she used my airline passes which would be standby, and would be significantly lower. Like maybe $400 for both of them to travel. Also she told her if she used my passes, she would give her $1000 for spending money on her trip.
Well, I don't think she wants to use my pass and may decide not to go.
Interesting. That shows a lot of stubborness on her part.
That's why I mentioned that she must have a feeling that I'm still seeing her daughter in some way, since I'm in current contact with her on current events of what's happening.
She is turning down a generous offer. That's her choice, I think. What more can you do?
Well to make a long story short. What do you think of this silly situation?
Yes, I have been very patient with my gf and her mother. Being very gracious and giving towards her mother while she treats me like dirt. I have never said anything bad to my gf about her mother either.
I think it's all up to your gf. Either she is willing to let her mother have her opinions, her tantrums, or whatever and put up with it, or she will bend herself over backwards to try to keep her mother happy. If she chooses the former, then the two of you can work together to try to manage the situation. If she chooses the latter, it would be much much more difficult to maintain a healthy relationship.
You can tell her how much you are willing to support, respect, care for her mother.
But, there might be certain boundaries that you want to see in place.
I think too! I feel bad being treated like 2nd best. After her son, her mother and now her job. Telling me that she has no time for me now.
No, that's not OK --you need to be important too!
Trying to get her life back together, juggling spending time with her son when she comes home and giving her mother a break watching her son. She does mention to me that she wished that I could watch her son and give mom a break.
That would be great --but I assume that you work too ?
yes, I do
do you think I should further wait to see what happens when her son starts preschool?
That seems wise.
Also see what happens during the trip in October? If I last that long with my gf? lol
:) yes ---you need to decide what you can tolerate!
As a women point of view, do you think my girlfriend is acting reasonably now. Trying to cater to her mother and not cause any conflict for the time being?
Or should she be grown and old enough to make her own decision?
I feel that she is stuck between a rock now, since her mother watches her son.
Well, for a single woman with a child who feels she has no other options, I can understand it. But --as a 42 year old with a career and a boyfriend who seems intelligent and caring, I would think that she could brainstorm some other options. If she were young 18-20something, I'd say it would be harder, much easier to feel trapped. But at 42, I would hope that she could come up with more options--one way or another.
She feels that whatever is best for her son now she will do. Her son loves his grandmother very much and visa versa and she feels that she does not want to tear them apart.
That's fine --but it shouldn't dictate her choices for a spouse.
Well I feel, if it's not me it would be some other guy taking her away.
Yes, that sounds accurate....
I wonder if her mother will feel the same way too if it was another person?
Possibly ---It sounds possible that eventually any guy would offend her.
or threaten her --more accurately
Sadly, there is no need to feel threatened by you, it sounds like
I guess. She does bitch to her daughter that she will be dead before they fix up the house or buy another.
You have limited control in this situation. The control seems to be in the hands of your gf.
Very sad to hear that and showing what her priorities are.
I am sorry ---and I'm guessing that your gf doesn't realize that she has all the control.
She probably thinks her mother has it ---
I think so. She needs to decide what she needs to do. She needs to consider that it may be good to have her son have a father figure around and that she need to consider her needs for companionship.
DrFee, thank you. It's been helpful to get a woman's point of view.
You are welcome. I am glad I could be helpful.
Best wishes to you.
I guess the end result is that it's in my gf hands and not her mother's or mine. Only time will tell, and I feel I'm getting very impatient.
Maybe she is just thinking too much about what's best for her son now.
Could be. Make sure you share your thoughts/feelings with her.
Feeling bad that she is not around that often with her new work schedule and that she depends a lot on her mother now.
Damn I'm just going in circles.
I will try, but it gets kind of tired talking about the whole situation.
I need to sign off. I hope that you have a good night and that you two are able to come to some mutual understanding and agreement. Yes ---it sounds like you are trying to rationalize for her. That's OK to a certain extent, sounds like you really care for her. But, do be honest with her about what you see, and what you feel. And tell her you'd like to work this out as a team.
yes, I bet you get tired of it!!!
Thank you, goodnight.
20+ years of counseling experience, Wife & Mother