Middle-Aged Momma's Boy

Q: : I have been dating a momma's boy who is 57 years old and still lives at home. When I bring up the subject of marriage. he just turns away and says that after his mom dies we will be together. -- Joanie, 54

Dr. Susan: In some cultures, the last single sibling is expected to stay single and take care of an aged parent. Your boyfriend is either extremely dedicated to his mother and reluctant to take on the responsibilities of marriage in addition to her care, or he's putting you off because he's comfortable the way he is and doesn't want to change anything. Life is short (but seemingly not for his mother!). Therefore it would make sense, if he loves you, to find a way for the three of you to be together in a way that is satisfactory for all of you. Of course, his old mother probably wouldn't react well to his marrying you now, since she'd be afraid her own needs might go unmet. But he could reassure her. You might suggest that you get married but that you understand one of his top priorities will always remain his mother's health. You have to realize, though, that if he's lived at home all his life, or at least for many many years, he and his mother are a functioning (even if dysfunctional) system, and such systems resist anyone who tries to mess with them. Only you can decide how much longer you're willing to play second fiddle to this momma's boy's mother.

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