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My Mom Nearly Ruined My Marriage

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Anonymous: My mom is a hopeless romantic who watches black-and-white movies about people who fall in love and get married three days after they meet. She thinks you should be head over heels with a man or it isn't even worth bothering. She is 55 and divorced. She has a terrible time dating because of her romantic notions. I tried to explain to her that at her age, she should be looking for compatibility and stability. No one is good-looking at 60, and if they are, they want someone who is 30.

woman watching tv
I have been married for over a year. I have a 1-year-old daughter and one on the way. My mom came to stay with me for the holidays and made me watch "It's a Wonderful Life" twice. She is unsure about my marriage and makes sly comments about it. She keeps saying things like, "When you get divorced ...." She thinks I'm not in love, and she isn't thrilled that I'm pregnant again because she thinks that I will be a single mother with two babies.

The more she filled my head with these ideas, the more I started to believe her. I knew I was in love with my husband, but I also married for practical reasons (as many women in my generation do). I knew my husband would be a good provider and a good father; we are compatible and good friends ... and I was over 30.

My grandmother always told me to marry a man who loves you more than you love him. I explained this to my mom. She responded that no one had ever taught her how to date, so she married the first man that she met -- and now she is paying for it. Her old-fashioned ways aren't translating so well to 2010.

But her snarky words about my husband got me worried. Was she seeing something I wasn't? Was I in a bad marriage? I loved him, but the sparks have fizzled. Still, doesn't that happen to everyone? Isn't marriage about companionship? I got truly scared that my marriage was in trouble and that I would have to leave with a 1-year-old and another in the womb. I didn't want to be in a unhealthy marriage.

It then occurred to me that while there had been an initial attraction to my husband, the real reasons I chose him -- the fundamentals -- are still there. Our relationship may not be romantic, and it may be way too pragmatic. But my parents divorced, and I wanted to ensure a stable future so I chose someone who could give me that. I made a mental list of all the guys I dated before my husband, and none of them would have been a better partner. I realized that, had I not married my spouse, I would still be alone and childless.

And that is exactly where I don't want to be.

next: Deadly Eating Disorder Strikes Again and Again
19 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous January 6, 2011, 7:32 AM

Just a suggestion - if you want your mom to stop bugging you, you should stop trying to run her love life the way you think it should be! It’s even possible that one reason she attacks your marriage is because she wants to prove that her way works.

In the meantime, if you’re not feeling very romantic, why not work on making your marriage more fun?

ss January 6, 2011, 10:59 AM

You should have your mom read “Marry Him: The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough” by Lori Gottleib. I was originally horrified by the title but then I read it and discovered she’s not talking about marrying just anyone. She’s talking about how many women these days expect non-stop romance and butterflies in their stomachs throughout their relationships and if they don’t get that they let him go only to find themselves alone for most of their lives because they’re so picky.

EVERY marriage has ups and downs and no one maintains that early giddiness throughout their entire lives. Us ladies aren’t perfect nor do we inspire nonstop excitement in our spouses, either :)

It sounds like you have a great husband and to pass up on him just because you don’t feel like a giddy schoolgirl all the time won’t lead you to unlimited happiness. If you were to leave him for someone more exciting after the excitement wore off (which it would) you’d probably regret leaving him. I’m sorry your mom has such unrealistic expectations.

Hear you January 6, 2011, 11:45 AM

It sounds like your mom is jealous of you. I would stop worrying about what you mom says and look at what you have. Yes, all relationships have rocky times. That is normal. It is getting through those times together that count. You mom needs to find someone else to bug and be happy she has grandchildren to spoil.

CosmoGirl January 6, 2011, 11:54 AM

I’m sorry you’re going through this. Your mom may be depressed, she may have been depressed for a couple of decades already and doesn’t even want to admit it.

It sounds like she’s envious of your marriage and children. She probably wishes she had had a husband like yours who stayed around and helped her raise her children. You seem to have developed well, though.

Maybe you should sit down with your mom and discuss how her remarks are hurting your feelings, and how you need her support, not her negative remarks.

I hope your mom finds someone suitable for her. She should know by now that life and marriage isn’t all romantic. Sure, we all want that one great romance, and some people are lucky to get it, but that happens rarely.

Good luck.

Michelle January 6, 2011, 6:33 PM

The reason why you are seond guessing yourself is becuase you want mom’s approval. You need to move past that. You have one baby and another on the way. Their best interest should be the first priority and if your husband is a good husband and father, then you need to make your marriage work

That is some inspirational stuff. By no means knew that opinions could possibly be this varied. Thanks for all of the enthusiasm to offer such helpful info here.

zandhmom January 7, 2011, 5:09 AM

First let me say that I married for love and not to “ensure a stable future” and I guess since I have been married for 18 yrs, I got lucky! We have a very loving and happy marriage -although nothing is perfect:-). I’m alittle concern that after only 1 year of marriage there aren’t sparks anymore. Do you really love your husband? I hate to think that 5 yrs down the road, you and him are living more like roommates and not lovers. Trust me, the longer you are married the harder it is to keep the romance going esp. after the kids come so you need to make sure that you put in the work to keep the sparks flying. As far as your mom is concerned, I would limit telling her any real intimate details and when she makes off the wall comments, just smile and say “Oh mom, you’re so funny…you know I’m happy” and leave it at that.

Lurlene January 7, 2011, 9:09 AM

My mother’s been divorced from my father for 25 years, and is still single. When my oldest sister married she got along well with my brother in law, then their first child was born and things went downhill. I believe a lot of it is that my mom’s jealous of the time my sister’s family gets with my sister—that they get to see her more than my mom. She’s unfortunately caused more than one fight in their marriage.
When your mom says things like this, the only thing you can do is tell her to stop. Easier said than done, but remember YOU know your relationship. She doesn’t. And she’s probably struggling with loneliness herself.

s January 7, 2011, 11:12 PM

While I sympathize with this woman’s issues with her mother, it bothers me that she married her husband for “practical reasons” (I knew my husband would be a good provider and a good father; we are compatible and good friends … and I was over 30.)

Anonymous January 9, 2011, 1:12 AM

To be fair, I can see where your mother is coming from. It looks like you married for money, and those marriages do tend to end in divorce. Love, companionship, and sexual satisfaction are far, far more important than the car your husband can afford to buy you and the size of the house he pays for. I got married when I was twenty-two, not for money but because we wanted to be together. That was a fair few years ago now, and, you know what, it’s all good. Your mother is right, love is important. I sincerely hope you can learn to love your husband. He sounds like he really deserves it. I hope for his sake that you can try. Good luck.

Air Max 95 January 10, 2011, 8:32 PM

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Jay January 13, 2011, 12:53 PM

It’s too bad your mother bases romance/commitment
on those silly old B&W movies. Life and marriage just don’t come together like that. The reality: Life’s rough. Marriage and raising kids is even rougher.
There ARE bumps in the road, and this is coming from a MAN. It sounds to me that you and your husband are a decent match for each other. It might be wise for you to spend less time with your mother, before she clouds your head with a lot of useless garbage and expectations you really don’t need. With a husband, a 1 year old and another on the way, it sounds like the last thing you need around you is your mother; smaller does of her might be in order! Good luck with your pregnancy and your marriage. I’ve been married for 26 years, have two grown daughters, and yes, there have been some years that were better than others, but we stuck it out, and we are pretty happy together, even if I do say so myself!

Jimmy Muratore January 15, 2011, 8:41 PM

This was a fascinating read. I have been looking all around and I stumbled upon this site. Keep up the great work.

Amado Sebron January 21, 2011, 11:32 AM

I don’t agree with it, many thanks for taking the time to throw it up

Jacob January 21, 2011, 6:49 PM

Marriage is a Life-Long Covenant!

Eric Blair January 22, 2011, 4:10 AM

I think you are worrying about the wrong relationship. Your marriage sounds fine, but your relationship with your mom definitely needs work.

Eric Blair  January 22, 2011, 4:12 AM

Most people marry for pragmatic reasons. I don’t think it has too much to do with your generation; this has always been true, although perhaps a little more true in some times and places than others.

Hillary Squillace January 24, 2011, 8:40 AM

Fantastic ideas, thanks for having the initiave to come up with it

Nick February 16, 2011, 4:44 PM

It is not the relationship with your husband that has a problem, it is the relationship with your mother that has the problem, specifically the lack of boundaries. You would think she would be old to know that your marriage is not of her damn business and she needs to keep her damn mouth shut unless you actually ask her opinion but since she clearly isn’t, it is up to you to law down the law and make it clear that you are happy in your marriage and won’t be following her old movie advice because you have seen how well that worked, and that you will not permit her to disrespect you in YOUR house with her put-downs and snide remarks so when she either keeps her opinions to herself or you rescind her visitation privileges and she will not step foot in YOUR house or see YOUR daughters again until she learns to keep her damn fool mouth shut.

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