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Wedding Woes

I wonder how long they've been together.

Dear Prudence,
When she was 24, my girlfriend, “Lisa,” lost her mother to a sudden illness. By all accounts, Lisa’s mother was incredible—intelligent, accomplished, a pillar of the community. Five years later, Lisa still struggles with the loss. I know I will never truly understand what this feels like, as my own mother is alive and well, but I’ve tried to be supportive nevertheless. Lisa has been pretty clear that she has “little patience” for people who have bad relationships with their (living) mothers. My own mother was borderline abusive. She kicked me out for my sexual orientation, turned my siblings against one another, and cheated on my father for years. We do not have a good relationship. Lisa knows to not push me to make amends. However, she is impatient and displeased that I don’t “appreciate” my mother while she’s still alive. This is the only fight Lisa and I keep coming back to. In all other ways, we are compatible, and she’s the love of my life. But I will never be close with my mother, and Lisa’s will never come back. Does this mean we will never get over this dynamic? Or should we just agree to put a moratorium on all mother-related discussions? What if this keeps coming up?
—Maternal Woes

Re: I wonder how long they've been together.

  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    honestly, if they've talked about it and Lisa still doesn't get it...maybe a therapist can explain to her better?  My answer: therapy. 

  • mrsconn23 said:
    Dear Prudence,
    When she was 24, my girlfriend, “Lisa,” lost her mother to a sudden illness. By all accounts, Lisa’s mother was incredible—intelligent, accomplished, a pillar of the community. Five years later, Lisa still struggles with the loss. I know I will never truly understand what this feels like, as my own mother is alive and well, but I’ve tried to be supportive nevertheless. Lisa has been pretty clear that she has “little patience” for people who have bad relationships with their (living) mothers. My own mother was borderline abusive. She kicked me out for my sexual orientation, turned my siblings against one another, and cheated on my father for years. We do not have a good relationship. Lisa knows to not push me to make amends. However, she is impatient and displeased that I don’t “appreciate” my mother while she’s still alive. This is the only fight Lisa and I keep coming back to. In all other ways, we are compatible, and she’s the love of my life. But I will never be close with my mother, and Lisa’s will never come back. Does this mean we will never get over this dynamic? Or should we just agree to put a moratorium on all mother-related discussions? What if this keeps coming up?
    —Maternal Woes
    Lisa sounds like she needs counseling.

    She needs to understand that not everyone has the relationship that she did and she cannot project what she has onto others. 

    I also recommend counseling for both of them.   Perhaps a neutral 3rd party can help the conversation. 
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    Hmmm, this many years later, I'd probably see a couple's counselor. No couple agrees on 100% of everything and Lisa needs to learn to accept and respect LW's position here and move on. Even without the death of her mom, she needs to understand that her partner's family dynamic is not something she has a say in. Doesn't sound like there's much for LW to appreciate about their mother and it makes me sad that LW's partner is trying to guilt for distancing themselves from someone who is borderline abusive.
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    short+sassycharlotte989875
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Counseling. Lisa needs to understand where LW is coming from re: the relationship w/ the mother. 

  • Many of you all know this because I've mentioned it when the subject comes up but, just like Lisa, my father passed away suddenly when I was 22.

    I know people grieve differently there will always be some level of grief for a beloved parent.  They certainly aren't forgotten.  But 5 years does seem really excessive to me for Lisa to still be struggling with her mom's death.  She needs some grief counseling.

    I think it would also be great and helpful for some couples counseling also.  Lisa is being super judgy of other people's relationships with their parents and its especially unfair to visit that on the LW.

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    charlotte989875STARMOON44
  • I think people should take as much time as they need to grieve. 

    But this sounds like something more; the LW has made her feelings about her own mother quite clear and it’s unfair for the gf to downplay that, even if she means well (which I’m not sure she does). I do wonder if the gf is really pushing LW to have a relationship because she thinks it’s whats best for the LW; or there’s something bigger here (she feels guilt about her mother’s death, she wants a mother figure even if it’s theough the LW). 
    short+sassyShesSoColdeileenrob
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    banana468 said:
    Lisa seriously doesn't get it.

    It's up there with saying "at least your husband is alive" even if he's an abusive d!ck.

    No - these are two separate and unique situations.

    They BOTH get to mourn the different losses of their mothers. 


    Exactly. They both didn't get the time with their mother they deserved.

    Anniversary

    short+sassyeileenrob
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    I think people should take as much time as they need to grieve. 

    But this sounds like something more; the LW has made her feelings about her own mother quite clear and it’s unfair for the gf to downplay that, even if she means well (which I’m not sure she does). I do wonder if the gf is really pushing LW to have a relationship because she thinks it’s whats best for the LW; or there’s something bigger here (she feels guilt about her mother’s death, she wants a mother figure even if it’s theough the LW). 
    This is a really good point. She may be pushing her feelings of guilt or regret about her own relationship with her mother onto LW. 

    If anything, the sudden(ish) death of my mother taught me that your feelings right now are valid. You could die tomorrow so feel however you feel and own it. H and I were having huge issues with his mother around that time and pushing him towards dealing with a toxic relationship was the last thing I would have done. 
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    charlotte989875short+sassyeileenrob
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Lisa needs therapy to deal with her grief and also being told not to make assumptions and give advice to other people about their relationships with their mothers based on her own relationship with her mother.

    Contrary to what she seems to think, it doesn't help anyone's relationship to be told how to manage a difficult one based on someone else's great one.
  • GBCKGBCK member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    Yeah, lisa sucks.
    My grandparents were the beset people in the whole world.  As in, I consider myself lucky to know them, and really hit the world's jackpot to be RELATED to them. 
    The Mr. had some great people in his life, but his grandmother was a piece of work.  When he cut her off, I didn't push anything. When he renewed contact, I didn't push anything (except to protect Buffy) In fact, the ONLY time I pushed either direction was that I wanted him to go to her funeral, for his mom's sake (and he did)

    Empathy is hard--but understanding others' life experiences aren't yours and don't dimminish yours is part of being a grown-up.
    charlotte989875banana468ShesSoColdshort+sassy
  • This may be the only issue they fight over, but in my opinion, it's a pretty big one. Lisa's heartbreak over her mother's death (which is perfectly valid) does not give her permission to decide everyone else's relationship with their own parents. If she cannot understand why LW would want to distance themselves from an abusive, mean-spirited mother, because she's so blinded by her own grief, then I don't think there's much chance of this relationship working out. 

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    mrsconn23
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