OK to Mate with His Ex-Mom-in-Law?
Q: I've been divorced 15 years and my ex-mother-in-law has been divorced 10 years. We've always gotten along, but had no real contact for the last 5 years until last year. When my job brought me to her town, I ran into her, and we talked a while and decided to have dinner together one night. We had dinner and talked and had a really great time. I have not been with anyone for 7 years and she for 10 years. We've become very close to each other and we want to stay together as a couple. My ex-wife and her mother do not speak. My 20-something son who has been close to his grandmother has accepted our relationship as partners. She and I have been lonely for too long and want to live together as man and wife. How is this kind of a relationship viewed socially in today's world? -- Mark, 58
Dr. Susan: Men hooking up with their former mothers-in-law are rare enough that I don't think there is a specific viewpoint you can predict. Many people hearing of how you met one another will at first naturally think of their own in-laws, and many of them will feel twinges of disbelief, if not disgust. Others may "get" it. The age difference will be a factor too, as she must be significantly older than you. But none of that has to matter to the two of you. Two fully grown up and lonely people, not attached to anyone else (other than grown children), and hurting no one, can and should make their own decisions without worrying about some vague notion of what "society" would say.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.