Out of the blue, the mom of my ex-boyfriend (whom I thought I was just starting to get over with) wants to reconnect, but without his knowledge (we haven't been keeping in touch since Christmas). She wants to have "a little chat" -- when I pressed for details, she said only to keep in touch whenever I find myself in town. As well-intentioned as she may be, I feel this is quite manipulative of her due to the context of our breakup and I'm not sure how to respond, if I should, and if I should go ahead and meet up with her (I'm half-scared of being ambushed and reprimanded -- because she wants his sister to tag along on this chat, too -- plus I feel I'll be complicit in the mother's going behind my ex's back, whatever the outcome).
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (81 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I recently broke up with my first boyfriend whom I thought was the love of my life because although we were talking openly about marriage, at some point he decided that he had a greater obligation to taking care of his parents and insisted on living with them indefinitely after marriage; for his parents, it's as if this has been the de facto arrangement all along. He told me that if he were in a life or death situation and he had to choose between myself and his parents, he'd choose the latter.
The parents obviously don't want to let him go, although they have been very accommodating to me (the mom introduced me as her future daughter-in-law to friends and relatives) , to the point where I feel that I have been the pursuer for the most part in the relationship after getting together... they come from a very conservative Christian background where he still has a 10pm curfew (at the age of 25), and because of us being in a long-distance relationship for three years. They preferred for me to head to his town to visit and stay in their house instead of the other way around.... they even preferred that I stay in their house instead of a hotel.
As the other half in the relationship I felt robbed of the opportunity to build a life with my significant other, who apparently had other plans that mostly involved his parents (he wasn't always like this -- his decision was triggered by his dad's major surgery, but thankfully he's well). As nice as they are, there's just no competing with his obligations to them. They take his time most of the weekend (his only free time, really) as he's the designated driver for their errands. He's basically always busy juggling family responsibilities and work. And the bottom line is, I really don't believe living with any set of in-laws is healthy -- I feel that's just entering a marriage that's doomed from the start. When we broke up and he told them, they were basically silent about the whole thing which he took to mean their agreement with our breakup. And because he told them, there's just no taking that back anymore.
I broke up with him but in a moment of weakness, I wanted to get back together, and argued and argued my case to the point of his getting fed up with me entirely. I still told him I loved him when we broke up, and he wanted to stay friends when I didn't at first... and then he just started getting disinterested entirely, not calling everyday or texting like he used to, saying he was too busy at work, etc. He just wasn't that into me anymore (the numbness and loss of spark he blames on my breaking up with him, the endless roller coaster ride of arguments after the breakup), and I decided to stop pursuing friendship with him... we just lost touch after I decided not to meet up with him before Christmas, which we had previously agreed upon. I just lost the desire with the lack of reciprocality. He says he's open to "great possibilities" of getting back together... maybe that's just something to make me feel better, I don't know.
So I don't know why the mother would get in touch all of a sudden. I have a couple of scenarios in my head (she wants us to get back together? he has a new girlfriend?) I'm open to reconciliation, if ever... but not like this (though aside from this I have no expectation of ever hearing from them again or bumping into them for that matter). And of course, being wary of overprotective parents, I had an inkling that they were the sly types... and now I feel like I have solid proof, though of course I could just be the paranoid crazy ex-girlfriend.
So... here are my questions after the tl;dr wall of text,:
1. Are his parents really being manipulative, or am I just overreacting? She told me not to tell her son that she was getting in touch with me to meet up. (Should I tell him?)
2. Do I go ahead and meet with the mom and "explain my side", or do I just let the issue go? I want reconciliation, but I'm relying on serendipity, not this. It feels forced.
3. If I do meet with her... what boundaries do I establish with regard to the information I disclose?
4. Nobody knows for sure why she wants to meet up with me, but are there any possible situations that I missed out on?
Ultimately... how do I deal with this situation in the most loving way possible?
Thanks all. In case you feel the need to email me... throwaway account is firstname.lastname@example.org.