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?