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Help me, my heart is breaking

(41 Posts)
mamadrama1986 Mon 17-Jun-13 21:57:12

My mother dislikes my DP.
We have been together 2 years, engaged for 6 months. I've always known that he earns less than my parents would have liked, but ultimately I thought they liked him. They said they did.

My mother is very controlling, and I am well aware that I seek her approval for everything, she knows this too. Therefore, even though I am 27 she has a lot of influence. This is definitely partly my own fault.

When my DP proposed my first thought was that my mum would not approve. It was literally my first thought, as he was on one knee with a ring. I've cried about this a lot since and only told one person in RL. Then he said everyone at home already knew and I cried in relief (he thinks it's because I was touched that he asked my dad). My parents said they were happy, we had wedding discussions.

My DP and I both live at home. I am buying a house and we are going to live together. There is a difference in earnings and savings, hence I am buying the house. My parents have been fine with this for the last 10 weeks. I am a week away from completion and they have turned against my DP and have decided he's only with me for my money.

I have been good at saving, he has not. I went to university and I have a good career. I earn above the average wage, but it's by no means megabucks. I'm not going to paint myDP as a saint, he's a postman and currently works 29 hours a week, so technically not full time. He does need to pull his finger out and get a full time job. My mother has always known this, he's not hidden anything from them.

For the past 2 days I have been subjected to a torrent of venom from my mother about my DP. He's using me, he doesn't love me, I'll never be able to afford to have children and if I do they will be little chavs, they wanted better for me, I can do better blah blah blah.

They say he doesn't show me affection and our relationship is not normal. My DP is very uncomfortable around my parents because they've never hidden that they don't think he's good enough. So he isn't himself around them.

My mother wants me to find a man who earns enough that I can retire at 30 to have babies like she did. Never mind that my DP is warm, caring, trustworthy, funny, makes me feel loved and safe. She only sees the lack of pound signs.

I've had this none stop during breakfast this morning and for nearly an hour after I came home from work. Work was actually 10 hours of blessed relief.

I know they want what's best for me but this is making me miserable. I feel like any second she's going to hiss and spit at me that I have to choose. She said this morning that any inheritance will go to my children not me "because he's not getting any of it, so there's no use waiting for us go die". She can be very hurtful. It's not the money, it's they attitude behind this that upsets me.

The worst part is that she keeps saying that he doesn't love me and he's using me, so much that I'm starting to wonder, what if it is true? I've never doubted DP loves me and I don't think money has anything to do with that.

Sorry this is so long, I dont mind if nobody reads or replies,It was good just to get it out. I dont have any close friends and I can't talk to DP about it, I cant say all this hurtful shit to him.

I just don't know what to do.

fabergeegg Tue 18-Jun-13 20:21:22

OP I'm so sorry that you're feeling helpless re: your mum. Like other posters, I went through this really badly in my mid-twenties - just the time when you're ready to be truly independent, I guess. I'm going to describe it in case there is something here that helps.

Looking back at what my own mum was like back then, there was no one conversation that could have helped her see why her controlling behaviour was inappropriate. I paid a high price for her support, though - always having to worry about whether she'd approve of things. For me, having 'learned helplessness' meant that I felt paralysed and guilty about issues that adults are supposed to be able to handle - making decisions, problem solving, even forming an emotional response. It could feel desperately painful and often left me calling for help because I didn't feel able to change situations for myself. Maybe a little bit like your thread title. Sometimes I'd be gripped with anger towards her, when it occurred to me that she had a right to make her own decisions, but she was getting my life too!

There were a couple of really severe incidents that highlighted the fact that her 'love' was becoming less and less like parental love should be. (E.g., when I was suffering from depression, I was briefly admitted to a psychiatric unit. I didn't even stay the night. Couldn't call my mum to let her know because she was thousands of miles away at the time. Later that week, I visited to fill her in. She heard the first sentence - the bit about being admitted - yelled 'thanks!' and stormed out of the room. When she came back, she was furious to have been left out).

At the urging of friends, I went to see a counsellor. It helped to identify the people-pleasing bits of my personality. Just becoming aware of them helped to take the pressure off a bit, though it's a bit of a self-sentence in some ways. It was also really helpful to practice standing up to my mum with a counsellor. I discovered I couldn't say 'no' without qualifying it in some way. All very intense and hard work. And after all that work, my mum couldn't cope with it. Her instinctive reaction was to cut me out, and that is what she (pretty much) did for a while. It was incredibly hard to lose that support and know that I had made her so unhappy. It was also very hurtful to be effectively without a mum, and to realise she didn't love me that much when I stopped doing what she wanted. Looking back, I wish we'd also gone to cognitive behavioural family counselling (if there is such a thing!) so that somebody else would have backed me up and reassured my mum she wasn't losing me (not that she seemed to care much, given that she couldn't have control).

Things turned a corner after a few years though it was hard not to grasp that reconciliation with both hands and slip right into it again. When I had a pretty wedding and a baby she seemed to return.

I found Christianity helped because of the emphasis on freedom and having accountability for your own life. I found John Powell's Why am I afraid to tell you who I am? very helpful for this, but other posters are sure to know more.

Hope something here might help you. Be happy smile

mamadrama1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 19:04:57

skyeskyeskye that's exactly what I'm trying to protect myself against by buying the house. Originally we planned to buy in joint names but with me putting down the deoosit but realised that I would be risking what happened to you if he upped sticks.

I wish I'd never discussed finances Princess, I really wish I hadn't.

PrincessScrumpy Tue 18-Jun-13 18:53:59

Never discuss finances. Until we had dc I earned more than dh - my parents don't know this as our finances are not a topic of conversation, similarly I have no idea how much my parents have.

skyeskyeskye Tue 18-Jun-13 18:50:02

I bought my own house, when I was 28 and single. When I met my (now XH) partner and he moved in, he paid half of all the food, utilities etc and I paid the mortgage on my own because I did not want him to have a claim to the house. When we married and moved house, I paid for a third outright and we put it in joint names 50/50. This backfired when he walked out because it meant that he was entitled to 50% of the equity even though he had put nothing into it. So just make sure that you protect yourself as much as possible when you do actually get married. If he doesn't contribute in any way, then he cannot claim on the house before then.

You need to tell your mother firmly that you are a grown up, that you can and will manage your own life. Move out asap, and start your new life in your own home in peace.

Remind your mother that things are different now and that while she may have been happy to sponge off your dad for 27 years, you like to pay your own way grin.

heritagewarrior Tue 18-Jun-13 18:44:08

I was in a very, very similar situation with my mother 10 years ago. I had 3 years of therapy to address 30 years of the same sort of treatment you describe. It worked! It convinced me that her opinion on things was just that, her opinion. I learnt to trust my own ideas and beliefs and to remember that I was not a child. It hasn't been an entirely trouble free road since then, but I have managed to weather some subsequently pretty appalling treatment from her since, particularly when my DCs were born, and come through with my core belief in myself still intact.

As many have already said, I think addressing your own relationship with your mother is the key here, and I would strongly recommend a 'talking cure' as a way to do this. Good luck, OP!

lemonstartree Tue 18-Jun-13 18:32:18

my mother is like this to some extent. She has never either liked or approved of any male partner I have had - I am nearly 50 now.

my advice. make a stand NOW. It will be hard but what is the worst that can happen ? Be clear about what YOU ant what what YOU are ging to do. Else she will ruin your relationship and the one after this too...

wrt your DP. Some of what you have written does concern me a little - lack of qualifications can be rectified, laziness is an unattractive character trait - think on a bit, don't get pregnant too soon and see if he can/ is willing to up his game

Sleepyhoglet Tue 18-Jun-13 18:25:06

I am a little shocked that although agreeing to marry someone, you still worry about your mother and seem to be keeping your future distance at arms length financially.

When I got married I had nothing other than a few thousand. My husband however, had paid off the mortgage in full on a cheapest house. He then sold that and we used the hefty deposit to buy a new place together 50/50. I would have been shocked if he had not done that with me. We are a team. A partnership. He is always very generous and fair with money even though I earn less.

My grandmother destroyed my parents relationship. Don't let your mother do the same to yours. When you are married, your partner must come first.

tobiasfunke Tue 18-Jun-13 18:10:47

You will be unhappy forever if you don't stand up to her and you will let her ruin your life. You don't have to be rude just firm. She is already ruining your relationship. You are a grown up.

mamadrama1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 17:43:41

Should say he definitely doesn't love me, sorry

mamadrama1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 17:42:32

Thanks for the replies.

We have no plans to rush into getting married, we want to live together for a couple of years first and it was my DP who first said there was no rush.

He has been working hard at saving and has saved an amount that is now more than he's ever saved up before. He is not working so hard at finding more hours and this is due to an element of laziness.

I can see where some of my parents' concerns come from. I cannot understand why thy have decided that hecnecessarily doesn't love me, just because he dared to put his headphones in the other evening when we were together. Apparently coming over just to ignore me is terrible... he put his earphones in so he didn't disturb their tv watching to listen to something briefly.

I don't feel able to stand up to her. She treats me like and child and I feel like a child. She thinks the relationship is flawed and that I'm flattered that somebody likes me. Any attempt to dispute that is met with the attitude of "be quiet you silly little girl, get back in your box!".

I'm not sure what learned helplessness is fabergeegg but it sounds like it might be something I have. I do feel helpless and I have a ridiculous need to please them and seek their approval, I always have done. I don't know how to stop, or what to do to gain my sense of self. I guess moving out will help but I've got a lot of shit to get through before then, as they don't want me to.

If they had their own way, I would give up my house, give my ring back to my darling DP (crying typing that) and remain at home saying "yes mum, no mum" until someone agreeable to he comes along.

But I don't want to lose the support of my family, but I can't bear this much longer. I literally don't know what to do, I will not just back down but I don't know how to stand up, iyswim.

I had to 'have a bit of a go' at my mother over the weekend.
She kept going on about my DD schooling and I did shout.
She was a bit shocked and took stock for a couple of minutes then came over and gave me a hug and said she would support me in any way possible. Bless her.
Stand up to her - you may be surprised by her response.
By the way - it's taken me until mid 40's to do this!!!

tobiasfunke Tue 18-Jun-13 16:00:04

If you love this man and you trust him then you need to tell your mother to back off. I would tell her if she says one more word she needn't worry about your children because she won't be seeing them if she continues to bad mouths your dp. You are 27 not 7.

Your partner is a postman- so what. It's a perfectly decent job and perhaps he can pick up more hours. You have a good job and have saved to buy a house but with all due respect unless you are Tamara Eccleston I doubt he is with you for your money.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 18-Jun-13 15:46:14

My thoughts are that you shouldn't rush into marriage just because your mother is making a big fuss about your choice of partner. Having been in a similar situation once I know how parental objection and being put on the defensive can lead to poor decision-making. Not saying you are making a poor decision.... just asking you to avoid the 'I'll show you' reflex. So how about buying the house and not getting married straight away? Live with each other and get to know each other for a while.

fabergeegg Tue 18-Jun-13 14:32:55

your perhaps not having the choice, sorry

fabergeegg Tue 18-Jun-13 14:31:18

You need to address your own need to please your parents. Yes, your parents sound demanding and controlling. It sounds like they've insisted on your being compliant, and you have just put up with it. But that's them. Unfortunately, changing them now will do nothing for the internalised parents you seem to have in your head.

I think it's worrying that you're unable to put your foot down with your mum. You seem to just take it - could that be learned helplessness? What is lacking is you explaining your position calmly and firmly and refusing to be drawn into an inappropriate discussion. If your mum is anything like mine, that would not be appreciated and there would be flouncing about and tears. Fair enough. Her decision. It's irrelevant whether she has your best interests at heart or not as that would not be a license to behave inappropriately and it doesn't oblige you to sign away your rights to being an adult.

I wouldn't be sure that marriage will change anything for you, either within yourself, about your parents, or with your partner, who hasn't bothered to get a full time job yet, despite having an upcoming wedding. How likely is it that he will get one in the future if this is not incentive enough? I'm sorry but I'm with your mum on this one, however inappropriately she has expressed it to you. I wouldn't care how nice he was, if he didn't show a desire to get out there and do an honest day's work - and handle his finances properly so there were savings, however small - I wouldn't marry him. Very unattractive.

Although your parents don't have a right to say it to you, I do wonder if they're simply sad for you at the thought of, down the line, perhaps not having the choice to return to work or not. This would be harder to take if they felt that your DP is a bit lazy as well as unqualified.

MissMarplesBloomers Tue 18-Jun-13 06:27:51

I think your mother is being really toxic , TBH she cannot chain you to her indefinately and this scares her, she is losing control.

I agree about maybe getting some counselling to help you be more confident around her.

Move into your new home & enjoy your new life, don't rush to get married just yet. You need to build your relationship with your DP on your own & see how it goes together.

Re his work, if being part time gives him more time to do housework/garden/ cooking so you have time together when you are off,then what's the problem? You might be one of those households where Dad is the SAH parent & after Mat leave he does the childcare which would save you a fortune!

Whatever works for you & your DP and no-one else not even mother!!

Lavenderhoney Tue 18-Jun-13 06:21:42

You seem to have sorted out finances for when you marry, and it either of you do decide ( and one never really knows) to spilt, then future inequality of original financial input can be arranged.

Ensure the split of income when married is fair, either the same into a joint account for bills, own savings etc. also, if you did have children, there is no reason why he can't be a sahd if he is a postie doing those hours and you get to stay in a job you enjoy. ( that might set the cat among the pigeons) !

Its up to you who you choose as a life partner. Its also up to you to protect your assets as you see fit, and i think a back agreement or pre nup is fine. I think I would do a bit of straight talking with your parents tbh, and I would be interested to know why they have started to fuss now.

I would also say " this is the last time I am going to hear all this about my future dh, so get it all out now" write down all their concerns, answer them as best you can. If they don't like your answers its your choice in the end.

My parents were a bit like this, but as I got older and still unmarried with no hint of a gc, they dropped their standardssmile

mamadrama1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 01:07:53

Thanks canineteeth these are all valid points.

My solicitor is aware we are engaged. My DP has said he would not object to a pre nup agreement, which should signal to my mum that he's not the gold digger she thinks he is, she knows he has said this.

I am aware I may feel differently once I have DC, and this does concern me a bit.

My mum has a very old fashioned view on male and female roles. I pointed out that one of my male friends has his own house, bought in his name as he's single and if he met a girl with lower income then she would move in with him. She replied "but that would be the right way round" as in he would support her and that would be ok. Would it be ok if I was male and DP female, I wonder? I'm not sure.

canineteeth Tue 18-Jun-13 00:54:18

Is your solicitor aware that you're engaged? Because although it's true that he'd have no claim to it while he's your DP, it would become a marital asset once you're married. He could be seen as contributing to it simply by enabling your career, particularly if you continue to work once you have dc, and it sounds like you'll have to do that. I have known women who were not on the mortgage to get half the house (and more) in a divorce because of this reasoning.

I think your mother's view is quite harsh, but I can also understand her concerns. I have known a few friends who, although they love their DHs, admit feeling frustrated once they have dc, at being the breadwinner and not having the option of taking longer maternity leave/being able to drop hours, because their DHs don't have enough earning capacity to keep the household going. There is also the risk that if anything happens to you (health, redundancy), your DH cannot pick up the slack financially on his salary - I've seen a few families fall victim to this and it's been worse in this economic climate as there's no safety net at all.

Having said that, I am a much lower earner than DH and I have a different work ethic to him - I enjoy my work but have other interests too, and DH is happy to support me in that. I've never had any negative attitudes to our different incomes/ambitions and I contribute to the household in many other ways. DH finds it much easier to run the household with me than he did on his own - due to my shorter/flexible working hours I'm able to deal with things like tradesmen, deliveries, housework, meals and DIY, so he can focus on his work. You might find it handy to have a DP who has shorter working hours and is around to deal with all of that as well, especially as you've never had to run your own household before.

mamadrama1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 00:35:03

I think this is what she would like, the option for me to give up work should I wish to.

However, DP is aware of the need to buck his ideas up and, while I am aware that I cannot rely on things to change, surely he gets the chance to prove himself?

We have an arrangement 're him paying something for his accommodation but I'm trying not to out myself too much here, although I probably already have.

LessMissAbs Tue 18-Jun-13 00:22:03

Regarding the house I am paying the mortgage, so the house is in my name, there no return to DP should we split up

So he isn't paying anything at all to live there? While wise from the point of view of property ownership, does this not strike you as slightly odd?

Still be careful that if you split up and he is paying bills, maintenance and decoration costs, that he does not try to claim these back.

Is it perhaps the fact that he is a grown man who doesn't propose to pay anything at all for his own accommodation that is bothering your mother? Perhaps she simply means a man who is equal or near equal to you in terms of income and work ethic, and who could enable you to give up work should the time be right?

But yes, a good idea not to put him on the mortgage I think.

mamadrama1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 00:19:52

And until a few months ago he had no idea I could afford a decent deposit on a house, it came as quite a surprise and was well after our engagement.

I guess I'm buying the house because, although he is saving well at the moment, it would be a long time until we could do it together and I don't want to wait that long for independence. I want to eat a meal in peace, it's the favourite time for an ambush at the moment. I'm treated like a child and I need distance to change that.

mamadrama1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 00:15:07

Regarding the house I am paying the mortgage, so the house is in my name, there no return to DP should we split up.

He is not on the mortgage because he had no savings to put down as deposit. My mum, funny enough, originally suggested buying the house with me putting down the deposit and splitting the mortgage, so owning different percentages of the house as tenants in common with a deed of trust drawn up by solicitor. The solicitor felt it wasn't wise financially so I decided to buy, primarily for my independence. A friend did a similar thing when she was in a position to buy and her DP was not.

We are furnishing the house together and obviously splitting all bills and living expenses. I can see his work ethic is not the best but he is looking for better work. At the end of the day, if it doesn't work out we go our separate ways and I still have my house. But if that happens if will be my decision, not due to the immense pressure to ditch him and stay at home under my mum's rule until a suitably rich man comes along and she agrees to release me to him.

mamadrama1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 00:02:25

Thanks everyone.

My dad said a while ago that he was pleased I was able to be financially independent. They seem to sway between liking my house, seeing it as a good investment and a good starter home and mourning the fact that if I had met a man with similar or better income and savings I could have got something bigger and more expensive. There seems to be no pride at all in the fact that I saved hard and at 27 am able to buy my own house, with no help from anyone, (except a mortgage obviously), which is harder and harder these days.

My mum does try to wear me down. I guess mostly it works. I am worried that she will get in a rage and tell me I have to choose between my family and my DP. I want a relationship with both, obviously. My DP and I have just spoken, he can tell I'm upset, he knows it's probably my mother's doing. I can't see them all getting along and it makes me very sad. Obviously I don't tell him what she says exactly.

I genuinely don't think money has anything to do with why he's with me, in fact he has said it would all be a lot easier if I had less of it. But we met online and mum thinks he saw my profession, which is one where people often think we earn more than we do, and is with me for my salary. I put my job on there so I would meet like minded people, or at least someone who wasn't disgusted like my first boyfriend (I do a normal job, honest, he was just weird!).

FiftyShadesofGreyMatter Mon 17-Jun-13 23:47:39

Your partner sounds lazy. At his age he should be working full time and saving for the future. From what you have said he gets to live in your house without having to make any effort for it himself, that doesn't sound right to me. You need to have a really good think about this situation.

As a mother of adult children myself I can see where your mother is coming from. I would never say the things she is saying but I would have concerns.

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