I am deeply concerned for my mother, and hate her boyfriend.
posted by kaseijin to human relations (27 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My mother, an historically level-headed and intelligent woman has taken up with a man that really is far beneath her.
First, some back story. The poor woman really did go through a lot in the last few years: a particularly dramatic and acrimonious divorce from her second husband (not my father), a bout of West Nile (the bad kind... not that there is a good kind, per se, but she had all of the encephalitis and macular damage and is still somewhat foggy-memoried), and the death of her father (to whom she was very close).
I was happy to hear that she had started dating again, since she had frankly wallowed for a while in a sort of exaggerated victimhood in the wake of her West Nile experience. She has always been the type of person to pick herself up after anything that comes her way, dust herself off, and continue on her path.
For the last 15 years, she has been active in AlAnon, and served as a sponsor to many members. She works for Hospice assisting the terminally ill, and she has a generous spirit and always gives very sage advice to her friends and family.
Turns out the guy she's dating, though, is just a creep. He's 20 years younger than her, has been unemployed for over a year and shows absolutely no sign whatsoever of getting any sort of job in the foreseeable future, moved in with her 5 months ago (after losing his own apartment), drinks himself into a stupor every day at the sort of bar that caters to professional alcoholics, is a staunch new-Earth creationist (adding this point only as the rest of the family, Mom included, place a high value on science and are also alarmingly secular to the point of functionally being atheist...so it's a strange sort of pairing), has all the social grace of a cave troll (example... I purchased my mother a very nice chef's knife for Christmas, and this clod proudly proclaims, "That knife's so pretty, if it had a pussy I'd fuck it!"). He does absolutely disgusting things like refer to her not by her name, but as "lover" -- even when talking to her family *about* her (..."when lover and I were out at..."). For the sake of this discussion, we'll call this lovely and endearing specimen "Joey".
Since Mom has been dating Joey, she has stopped sponsoring AlAnon, and she now closes the bar every night with Joey. Her work performance has slipped off, and she has been functionally demoted. Her once-pristine and well-tended house is now a complete, smelly disaster area wherein Joey's persian cat and dachshund freely defecate. She and Joey are looking for a new house together (she's buying, he's just living there like a lump). She has become withdrawn, as none of her family or friends can really tolerate Joey.
Now, aside from all of the irritation of having what is essentially a freeloading, alcoholic mooch living with your parent, I have (until now) mostly adopted an attitude of "It's not my relationship. I am not dating Joey. Leave it alone, and if he makes her happy in whatever strange way he does, then it's her business."
The problem with that, though, is in how immaturely she has handled that attitude. When I didn't want to talk to her about Joey (can't say anything nice? Don't say anything at all), she got offended and turned on the waterworks and the passive aggression. When I broke down and talked to her about Joey, I became the enemy. We made up, and I tried to give Joey another chance which ended in an unmitigated disaster. I have since reiterated to her on more than one occasion that, while I love her dearly and she is always welcome in my house, I do not really want to spend time with Joey. She has said that Joey is the last man she ever wants to date.
The thing is, I'm actually getting worried about her. She has never been like this! The drinking is bad enough, but if you had told me even two years ago that she would ever take up with an jobless alcoholic, I would have laughed in your face. Not a single one of her friends or family like this man and instead of listening to frank and honest discussion, she instead gets more withdrawn.
She hardly even speaks to me anymore, and I am becoming more and more aware that she has essentially picked this neanderthal over her entire former existence, children included.
I thought I was doing well here, but honestly... How the hell do I approach this? I am having the damnedest time attempting to balance my desire to stay out of another person's personal affairs with my honest concern for my mother's alarming recent behavior.