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I have been dating a girl who is someone I do care about but

there is an issue that...
I have been dating a girl who is someone I do care about but there is an issue that has come up regarding my mother. My mum is a very caring person who rings me once or twice a day. Now I don't always ring her back as I like some alone time but will do so eventually . However my girlfriend is finding this a bit difficult to deal with. When we first started dating all was good, my mum even sent her flowers as she had lost a close family member in her life. However my GF is also very independent and wants to spend close family time with just her and me and her son( who has autism). She is not used to my mother constantly ringing her each day or messaging her on Facebook asking what her day was like because she has been busy and it's always a case of the same thing happening each day. She gets that my mum is caring but it's starting to drive her nuts. At the same time I also understand my mums feelings in that she only wants to get to know her but there is ( I feel ) a wedge starting to develop between the two. I spoke to my GF about it tonight who was in tears over the whole thing and suggested that maybe she talk to my mum so she can make her feelings clear and then maybe my mum can explain why she is the way she is. Was this the right thing to do? I am at my wits end and feel like I have to choose which I don't think is fair.
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Answered in 12 minutes by:
8/2/2013
TherapistMaryAnn
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5,894
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It is understandable that this situation is making you feel caught in the middle. On one hand, you are used to the relationship you have with your mother and you have established a pattern with how much you interact. On the other hand, your girlfriend is used to a different kind of relationship with her family and sees what you and your mother have as too much contact.

It is important to note that neither side is wrong here. You are doing what comes natural for you and your mother and your girlfriend is expressing her views about what is comfortable for her. However, with the two of you in a relationship, there needs to be some giving in from both sides, particularly before your girlfriend and mother end up on opposite ends over this and become enemies instead of friends.

Instead of your girlfriend talking to your mother and each explaining their sides of things (which potentially could end up with them fighting rather than with a solution), you may want to talk to your girlfriend first on your own. Ask her about a compromise. Let her know that you wish to continue staying in touch with your mother, but that you are willing to try to back off a little so it helps your girlfriend feel better. See what she says. For example, a good compromise might be for your mom to call every other day or call twice a week with emails in between. That way, you both get to stay in touch and at the same time your girlfriend feels the relationship is less intense.

Once you reach an agreement with your girlfriend, talk to your mom about it. While your relationship with your mom is important, it is no longer primary. Your relationship with your girlfriend is. So asking your mom for a more manageable contact agreement will help. Be sure to let her know that this is coming from you and try not to point to your girlfriend as the cause. That will only serve to make things worse between your mom and girlfriend and that is not what you want.

Once things are worked out, try to get your mom and girlfriend together. They need to get to know each other better without this issue between them. Try to encourage a relationship by find things they both enjoy (besides you :) and see if they can connect. It may be that once they get to know each other, they will let this conflict fade and become close to each other.

I hope this has helped you,
Kate










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Customer reply replied 4 years ago
Hi Kate,

Something I did not mention earlier which just hit me...my mum is all about family and I mentioned to my GF earlier that maybe she is being caring because she knows that my last GF had hurt me badly....and she may just want to ensure that it does not happen again.

Another thing is while I do care for her very much and have bought things for her to show how I feel, I have not told her that I love her and we are now nine months into the relationship. She is concerned that I may never say it. Going from being single into a relationship like this was one that I have had to get adjusted to but did so knowing that I wanted to get to know her. Another thing is that I am in the military and may be posting out to a place next year that will take me away from her. We have only recently started living together to see how things will go between us.

Thanks for your time.
You may be right, your mother could be concerned about you. It would help to talk to her about that and maybe reassure her that you are doing ok.

It is fine to take some time to get to know your girlfriend and be sure of the relationship before you commit. If you have been hurt before, that makes sense. And if your girlfriend does not know that, tell her. That will make it easier for her to know that it is about you and not her. But if your feelings persist regarding commitment, you may want to talk to a therapist either in person, or on line (which might be easier if you are in the military).

Kate
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago
Thanks Kate,

One final thing (sorry it never comes to me all at once)

Up until recently I was sharing personal things with my mum. When I told my GF about it she was naturally upset but have tried to reassure her that I will keep that separate and talk to her first when things bother me (challenging but I am trying)

Recently mum backed off calling my GF alltogether because of who she thinks she is (despite my attempts to tell her my GF is not a bad person she finds it hard to accept)

Then of course there is the fact I am a single child and having to be the one that gets "all the love and attention"

Should I still stick to the original advice that you have despite this?

Thank you again
Yes, but add that if you are going to establish a trusting relationship with your girlfriend, you need to allow her to be the first person you turn to if you are bothered by something or just want to share feelings. It sounds like what is going on here is that mom has become your safe person, the one woman you can trust, and you are holding back from your relationship because of that. So keeping that in mind, try what we talked about. The more you can learn to trust again in your relationships, the better they will get. If you cannot, then it is going to harm your ability to have any relationship. If it does come to that, consider the therapy we talked about. It can help you re learn how to trust.

Kate
TherapistMaryAnn
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