Mommy issues – even the name sounds bad. No one wants to be with someone who has problems. But what does it mean when someone has a mommy problem, can you do something to make it better, and could you have your own mommy problems?
What’s the big deal with mommy issues?
The running theory is that the relationships we form with our parents and caregivers influence all of our intimate relationships. If your parents were loving, available, and encouraging, you are likely to have an easier time with romantic relationships. This includes friendships. But unstable relationships with your parents, whether your parents were distant or overbearing, make healthy relationships much more difficult.
Part of this relates to attachment styles. Learn more about attachment styles .
Psychologists go further in predicting and diagnosing relationship problems based on your relationship with your parent of the opposite sex (assuming you are heterosexual). Therefore, the relationship you have with your father has a particular impact on the type of men you choose and how you engage in your relationships with them. This could explain the type of man you are interested in. More on types of men here.
This brings us to the thought that a man who has a strange relationship with his mother may have problems with his mother – and these problems could make you unhappy!
What mom problems look like
So mom problems can be bad, even a deal-breaker, but what exactly do these problems look like?
1. It is presumptuous
Wherever your guy goes, there’s mom. He might have trouble making his own decisions because she always made them. Simple things around the house might be foreign to him because his mom has done everything for him again.
He will probably agree with her at every turn, even to oppose her. If you ever find yourself butting heads with her, he might fight over which side to take or take her by default. This is not a good sign for your relationship. It’s hard to feel like a team when he’s still holding onto his mother’s aprons.
Even if she makes him unhappy, he might have a hard time cutting those strings because they don’t have healthy boundaries.
Psst, Learn why boundaries are a necessity in a relationship.
Sometimes a man with an overbearing mother chooses a woman who is similarly harsh or “bitchy” because he lacks the willpower to stand up to his mother. This, of course, puts you in a precarious position. And in-laws can be difficult enough to deal with in the first place.
2. She is far away
Whether his mother worked all the time when he was young or simply preferred her lover du jour to her son, your husband probably has some mother issues. He is likely to have an insecure reaction to this type of experience. He will worry that a woman will leave him because mom did, and he may still spend time trying to convince his mother that he is worthwhile in the hope that she will stick around.
You can understand why it’s difficult to deal with a rough childhood, but no one wants to deal with those consequences in their adult relationships. His insecurity is probably pretty obvious.
A man who is afraid of being dumped might be clingy. He may not like it when you have friends, go out and spend time without him. An inability to trust often occurs when someone has problems with his mother. He may need constant reassurance and worry that he is not good enough for you, even if he is a hook.
If that sounds exhausting, it’s because it is! It’s just as terrible for him, but he may not even realize it if he’s been dealing with these issues his whole life.
Anyone can struggle with abandonment issues. This post on abandonment issues can help you both work through them.
3. He abuses women
Maybe he’s a liar, a cheat, or a user. Whatever it is, he doesn’t know how to treat women well. It may be that he learned this behavior from his father, who treated his mother badly, and he has problems with both dad and mom.
It could be that his mother’s abuse was a defense mechanism because she treated him badly, but you don’t deserve that. If things are more than rude, you may be in an unhealthy state (signs of an unhealthy relationship) and possibly abusive relationship.
Are you concerned about the direction your relationship is going? Avoid these signs of emotional abuse.
4. No one is good enough
This goes hand in hand with a mother who is overbearing and too close to your mother. If your husband’s mother always told him that he is the best and deserves nothing less, he may have crazy high standards for partners. If she is the picture of perfection, you will have a hard time meeting his expectations. Provided that he gave you a chance first.
Guys who feel they are perfect, even though no one is, can just play the field. They are always single because they refuse to settle down. If you are not fit, successful, a good housekeeper and cook, you are lucky to get a second look, let alone a second date.
Let’s not forget that no one is perfect, including this guy. However, if you try to suggest ways he can change, he probably won’t be willing to listen to your criticism. Instead, he may just be angry.
5. He may fail as an adult
A common problem with mother manifests itself in an inability to do anything for himself. If your husband can’t cook a meal, do laundry, balance a checkbook, or make a bed, he may have problems with his mother. She was probably the type to do everything for him instead of teaching him how to do these things for himself. She was busy treating him like a child and not raising a functioning adult.
You know what comes next. Yes, he expects you to do everything for him. Why shouldn’t he? He never had to lift a finger himself.
Of course, your job is to be his partner, not his mother. However, it is not easy to get this message across.
Mom problems don’t magically disappear
As with all relationship problems, mommy issues can lead to all sorts of problems. You may be tired of this guy being immature, insecure, entitled and impossible to please. This can lead to resentment and you may do something that you may regret after this position.
Fortunately, you can solve these problems, but only if he admits that he has problems arising from his relationship with his mother. He needs to be open to criticism and work through problems, which could mean seeking the help of a professional.
The solution varies. You may just need him to grow up, understand you, and help around the house. Or he (both of you) may need to set boundaries with his mother, including limiting how long he talks to or sees her – or even how close he lives to his mother!
He may need to make it clear to her that you are a priority and come first. She may not respond well to these changes, which can lead to a broken relationship with her. Eventually she may come around, but you can’t count on that. He may have to face the fact that he may have an unhealthy relationship with his mother that affects you (and your life together and possibly your children), or a distant relationship (or none at all) that allows you to be healthy and happy.
If he is not mature enough to admit his imperfections and try to improve as a person, a breakup may be the best option. Do you think it’s time to break up? Check out our guide to ending relationships.
You might have your own mommy issues
While we’ve focused so far on a man having mommy issues, we wouldn’t be sure if we didn’t mention that you may have mommy issues as well. You can imagine what the problems with the mother listed above would look like if they were your problems. You might be overly critical, afraid of abandonment, or expect so much from a partner that they could never meet your expectations. In addition, you may both have your own problems with the mother, which together cause even greater problems.
Obviously, this is no better than being in a relationship with someone who has problems with the mother. But when the problems are your own, it can be harder to recognize them. It’s usually easier to see what someone else is doing wrong or where they can improve than to look inside yourself.
We’re not saying you can’t uncover and treat problems. You absolutely can! But you have to be willing to do so. This may mean asking difficult questions, being open to constructive criticism, and admitting that you are not perfect. However, this does not mean that you are not worthy of love.
One thing you may discover is that because of your unhealthy relationship with your mother, you see others’ relationships with their mothers incorrectly. If you don’t know how overbearing your mother is, you are probably letting her be too involved in your life. This can be difficult for partners, but it can also mean that you believe your husband is not close enough to his own mother, even if they have a healthy closeness.
In addition, the opposite could also be true. You may be quite independent and distant from your mother, making healthy, close parental relationships seem overwhelming. You need to look at the big picture and more than just your own relationship to determine if there are problems with your mother.
If you have determined that a problem in your relationship is actually your husband’s mother’s problem, you may be tempted to run in the other direction. Sometimes that is the best course of action. But if your husband seems willing to change and work on himself, you may be able to have a happy and healthy relationship with him.