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Ask Jen Helant Your Own Question

Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1386
Experience:  I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
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My next question is as follows: A week ago her brother

Customer Question

my next question is as follows: A week ago her brother helped me move and I said that I would pay him $100 upon completion. So he helped me and I paid him $100. Well a few days later, he had texted me and asked if he could have another hundred up front.
I said “No, I’m out of town. However, next time you help me I will pay you again.” Well he lives with the mom and is 26 with learning disabilities. He told the mom that I owed him money.. I didn’t owe him money as he didn’t help me again.. So the mom texted
me “Hey I paid Cullen the $100 you owed him, please pay me back ASAP.” Well I had a bad day that day and I was a little upset that she was saying I owed him anything and so I flipped out on her.. I sent a text basically saying bluntly that I don’t owe you
or him anything, I helped your whole family move for free and I’ve done so much for your family. Looking back I made a mistake flipping out on her and listing out how much I’ve done for her. Generosity doesn’t keep track of things done and it looks really
bad doing that. I was just upset. So that really hurt and upset her to the point where she contacted my girlfriend and said that he is no longer allowed over at our house. This was a major issue as my girlfriend lives at home.. I feel like this was punishment
but also to encourage things to end between my girlfriend because that is where I always was. And unfortunately the mom witnessed and heard everything because she lived at home which sucked… So what I did was I apologized and offered to take her out to dinner.
She never responded. So then I went ahead and got a card and hand wrote this “I just wanted to reiterate my apology. I am very sorry and I wanted you to know that I take full responsibility for being disrespectful towards you on Saturday. I know that things
have not been great between your daughter and I lately, but that's no grounds for me being disrespectful towards you as you've always been good towards me and I've greatly appreciated that.” She texted me this in response: “I appreciate the gesture. I don't
need the money. I have witnessed your pattern of abusive behavior followed by grand gestures of apologies and I cannot have that around me or my family anymore. Emotional and verbal abuse is not acceptable. I am happy to return the money and computer you gave
me.” I responded with: “Saturday’s text towards you was not what I wanted to send and was not my intention for things to play out like that. You know how much I love you and your family. You guys means everything to me. Sometimes my upbringing influences the
way I communicate. The grand gestures were due to feeling very bad that you were hurt. I will never communicate disrespectfully ***** ***** again or to your family. Julia and I are figuring things out on our own and talking about things. I truly love her and she
truly loves me as well. We are both immature and make mistakes, but are constantly learning and growing. Does this mean that you are cutting me out of your family and I will no longer see or be able to talk to you or come over with Julia to your house? I feel
like this will really hinder growth moving forward as it will all be resorted to my new apartment without you being in the picture anymore as family which is very sad. I would really like to meet with you and talk about this and other things in person as I'd
really like to work this out with you as I value the relationship I have with you and your family.” So how do I rectify things with the mom? Her verbal abusive behaviors she is referring to the pattern that my gf and I have where we say mean things and then
apologize. But never have I ever done anything against the mom before. What are your thoughts? How do I smooth things over with the mom and or meet up with her to talk? Thank you
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Jen Helant replied 1 year ago.

I think what you wrote was good and at this point it would be best to give her some cooling off time. Pressuring her may backfire. She is hurt right now and is questioning the relationship she had with you based on your response that day. Rather than reply harshly it would have been better to explain why you did not owe any money. Regardless, the mom did not handle the situation well because rather than contacting you to discuss the situation she rudely texted you and demanded you pay her back. Therefore, she has fault in this even though you also did not handle your part well. Regardless of what happened blaming or pointing fingers will not help at this point. Everything you wrote was wonderful and I think you did all that you can do. It seems that you are very sorry and want to get passed this. Like I said give the mom some time to allow this to pass and then try contacting her again to set up a time to meet and discuss this. After some time you can also ask your girlfriend to try to arrange something and have her tell her mom personally how you are feeling. Try to be patient and not worry about this and that it ruined everything. This can be fixed. It just may take a little time, but it will be well worth it.

I wish you the very best and please let me know if I can be of further help.

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