Ask Grandma Anything: Me, My Boyfriend… and his Mother

Dear Cutie,

I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for over three years. We’re talking about getting engaged. Everything would be perfect if it wasn’t for one thing: his mother.

His mother has emotional problems due to a rough life. This has led her to be very co-dependent and irrational at times. I am worried that once my boyfriend and I take the next step, she will expect us to help her out constantly, despite my objections at choices she has made that led to the situation she is currently in.

I have been taught that family is FAMILY. However, I ‘m not sure if I can stand taking care of a woman who doesn’t learn from her mistakes or respects her son’s desire to start a new life. My boyfriend and I argue about it, even though he says he will not let her run our lives. I’m not sure that when that time comes, he will be able to do that.

If I can’t fully commit to taking care of his mother, is it best to just break off the relationship?

Frustrated Future Daughter-in-law

Dear Frustrated,

You are not responsible for his mother. She will have to stand on her own two feet. You be kind, try to be understanding, keep your distance. If there is not good feelings, try to be as civil as possible. You are not responsible for taking care of his mother. If there is no other family other than your husband, it is too bad. She will have to realize that she is responsible for herself. There is always medicare, or she can go to the City of Hope.

In many ways, this is in your husband’s hands. He is the one who has the relationship with his mother and he needs to make a choice about how he wants to move forward. If he does not understand your feelings, make them clear to him. If he continues to make excuses for her, then you get to make a decision about how this will impact your relationship. Perhaps you can come to a compromise? Only you know how important this issue is to you.

If your husband is resigned to bailing his mother out and you simply cannot live that way, then you have a problem. But it is better if you figure these things out in the beginning of a relationship. This is the first of many decisions you will make together and it is important that both people hear each other and agree to act as a team.

Good luck to you.


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Ask Grandma Anything: My mom has untreated schizophrenia

Dear Grandma,

My grandparents were married 42 years until PaPa died of cancer in 1981. I was seven at the time. His death sent my mom into depression and later schizophrenia.  For 25 years it persisted without treatment. While growing up my mother was incapable and/or unwilling to have healthy relationships or be employed. I credit my grandmother for raising me. She’s 87.

My mother sought treatment for two years recently and it helped enormously. Even though side effects were minimal, she stopped taking her meds with my grandmother’s encouragement. Now she is worse than ever. My question is this: am i obligated to continue a relationship with my mother when a relationship barely existed in the first place?

Thank you for your insight.


Dear Wondering,

You are in a very difficult situation and I’m so glad to hear that you have had your grandmother’s support for all these years.

I don’t know very much about schizophrenia, but I do know how hard it can be to have a family member who is sick. You should get the advice of her doctor and they will tell you if you can handle your mother, and also they can give you information about how to relate to someone who has schizophrenia. If she needs medication, she needs medication This is not your problem. This is a very big job, a very big burden.

The most important thing for you to do is take care of yourself. If she will not take her medication, you are not obligated to be traumatized by her behavior. And no matter how much you want to love and support her, it might be the case that nothing can help but the medication. No one can force another person to do anything, but you can make it clear that you support her by wanting her to take the medication. If she does not take the medication, you may have to walk away and continue to take care of yourself. That’s all God wants from you. And please know that as terrible as things may seem, God is taking care of your mother.

Do the best you can, that’s all anybody can expect of you. That’s all that God wants from you. That’s what the people that you know want from you. You do the best you can and try to say to yourself that you are equally as important as your mother. Do what you can to save yourself — you deserve it.

Good luck to you and to your family.


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Ask Grandma Anything: Too Many Lady Friends

Dear Cutie,

I was watching the news and I heard about you and I was wondering if you could give me some advice. I am a 24 year old male and I am happily engaged and I love my fiancée very much. But recently I have been chatting with a friend online and there are feelings there that are more than friends. She recently had to move away from her boyfriend because she could not handle the stress living with him and his sister produced. Since she moved in with a friend she and I have spoken almost every day. She tells me she loves me and I love her too. But I also love my fiancée. The woman and her boyfriend have been having issues and she asked me the other day if they broke up, would I move in with her and be with her? I told her I would have to think about it. I love both these women and I am so confused to what I should do. Please give me some advice Thank you so very much.

Confused and Torn

Dear Confused and Torn,

You have a fiancée? You might need to break things off. Or take some time to consider who is more important to you. If you can’t make up your mind, you are not ready to get married. Recognize what your priorities are and give yourself six months to think it over. You have time to make this decision. Make it the right one.

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