Boyfriend’s mom won’t meet her

The Mercury News Weekend - - A+E - AskAmy Amy Dick­in­son Con­tact Amy Dick­in­son via email at [email protected]

My boyfriend and I have been dat­ing for a year, but I haven’t met his­mom yet.

We’re both in our mid-20s and cur­rently live near our par­ents.

This is a tough sit­u­a­tion be­cause his mother suf­fers from an un­di­ag­nos­able con­di­tion that has left her home­bound and un­able to per­form many of what we con­sider nor­mal daily du­ties.

My boyfriend has told me many times that when he has ap­proached the topic with her, she has been very in­ter­ested in him bring­ing me by the house.

One time we even had set plans to do so and then she backed out a cou­ple of days be­fore.

I’ve spent a lot of time over this year be­ing some­what of­fended. I just can’t help it.

I re­al­ize that she is go­ing through some­thing that I can’t ever truly un­der­stand and that she is self- con­scious about the re­al­ity of it.

I also re­al­ize that there are some un­der­ly­ing men­tal health is­sues that have been cre­ated be­cause of her in­abil­ity to leave her home or in­ter­act with oth­ers.

I hate feel­ing this way be­cause I un­der­stand that she is re­ally strug­gling, but our re­la­tion­ship has got­ten very se­ri­ous and I worry that I won’t even meet her un­til our wed­ding day, if it gets that far.

I want her to know that I am very much in love with her son and that I care about her deeply, too.

I also want to stop feel­ing of­fended that she has made lit­tle ef­fort to meet me be­cause I know it’s not com­pletely her fault. Do you have any ad­vice that could help me in this sit­u­a­tion? — Longing toMeetMom

You and I are both guess­ing about this woman’s con­di­tion, but I doubt it is “un­di­ag­nos­able.” It is un­di­ag­nosed, how­ever, or at least you haven’t been told her di­ag­no­sis.

I also as­sume that her men­tal health is­sues are not a re­sult of her iso­la­tion, but pos­si­bly the cause of it.

She might be ago­ra­pho­bic, a hoarder, al­co­holic, de­pressed or have any num­ber of other health is­sues af­fect­ing her abil­ity to meet you.

What­ever her mal­ady, you are mak­ing a mis­take to take this per­son­ally. She was this way be­fore you came along and she may not im­prove with­out treat­ment.

You might have some suc­cess if you con­tact her via so­cial me­dia, email or postal mail. Don’t pile on the guilt (this will only make things harder for her), but keep things light and let her know that you are very happy in your re­la­tion­ship with her won­der­ful son.

Although it is ob­vi­ous that you and your boyfriend need to com­mu­ni­cate more frankly and fully, I hope you won’t pres­sure him or his mother about meet­ing. You should in­stead en­cour­age him to help her ob­tain the health care she needs. As you con­tem­plate a fu­ture to­gether, she will be a part of it, even if you don’t spend time with her.

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