my mom is dating

a guy my age and I’m the one having nightmares. My dad died when I was eighteen. I remember how hard it was for her. She cried for several days non-stop until the day my dad was laid to rest. After the burial, anything that reminded her of my dad pushed her into tears. So I parked their photos somewhere she wouldn’t see but hiding the photos wasn’t enough to make her stop crying. No one cries forever so at some point she stopped and moved on. I should say two years after my dad’s death, I saw a complete change in my mother. She buried herself in her job and started buying new things for herself. She began dressing like a thirty-year-old girl who was looking for a date. I remember telling her one day, “You look beautiful mom.” She said, “Yeah I have to live again until I also die. I was twenty-seven when I got married. I had to leave my mom and go live with my husband. She didn’t take it lightly at all. She looked at the house and said, “All this place for me alone?

How can I survive that?” I told her, “Get a helper…someone who can keep you company.” She said, “What help would be better than living with my own daughter?” No matter what, I couldn’t continue living with her so I left to live with my husband. I spoke to her every day and every night. I would ask about her day and how life was treating her. One day she said, “A man in my office is making passes at me and I don’t know how to respond.” I asked, “Is he not married?” She said, “He’s a divorcee.” I asked, “He’s a nice man?” She said, “He’s fine like wine.” I said, “So why don’t you give him a chance?” She said, “It’s been ten years since I saw a man in my life. I don’t know how to handle a new one. I feel guilty. Maybe your dad’s spirit would be disappointed that I’m cheating on him.” We laughed. I told her to be serious about it. I said, “You’re only fifty-two. You still look like a girl. Give someone a chance and let’s see.” She told me she will try. A week later, she told me she had accepted the man and they were dating. She started missing my calls telling me she was busy. One day when I called, she told me, “Hey go talk to your husband and leave me alone. He’s here.” I was happy for her and was glad she could find a companion at last.” Four months later, she started calling me every morning, afternoon, and evening. I sensed something wasn’t ok. I asked about her boyfriend and she said, “That guy is a complete waste of time, let’s forget about him.” I asked, “What happened?” She answered, “He has a girlfriend already. He found me available and decided to pass through. I’m back to square one.” From then on, I saw her trying. She would find someone today and the next day he was gone. As old as she was, her heart kept breaking each time they left her. I told her to slow down but she wouldn’t listen. She started getting busy on Facebook, talking to people she could mother. It felt awkward but then it made her happy so who was I to tell her anything. One day, I decided to visit her and spend the weekend. There was this look of awkwardness on her face when she saw me. She said, “Oh you are here already. I didn’t think you’ll be here so soon.” Then someone spoke from the bedroom. The voice of a guy; “Who’s here?” My mom replied, “My daughter.” Then this guy walked out of the bedroom to come and see me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He looked twenty-five or twenty-seven. I looked at my mom. She was smiling sheepishly. This guy wouldn’t shut up; “Oh this is your daughter?

She’s as beautiful as you.” Silence. The guy asked me, “Can I offer you anything?” The way he talked, it looked as if he had been in the house for so long. My mom told him to excuse us. He did. I asked her, “Where from this one too.” She said, “When they all left me, he was the one who stayed with me.” I asked, “You mean you’re dating this boy?” She said, “He’s not a boy. He’s twenty-eight.” I said, “Mom, this guy can’t be twenty-eight. He’s barely your son.” She said, “Well, I have only one child and it isn’t this boy.” I was so shocked I couldn’t contain myself. I told my mom, “I’m here for the weekend, can he excuse us? He can come around when I’m gone.” She said, “No he stays here. Find a way with him. Get acquainted. I’m not married to him so he’s not your dad. Loosen up.” So the guy stayed. All he did was move around the house, watch TV, go to the fridge for drinks and walk to the kitchen for food whenever he was hungry. I asked my mom, “So what work does he do?” She said, “He’s looking for a job. I’m pulling some strings, maybe he’ll get something doing very soon.” “Ah, so where did you find him?

Who proposed to who? You mean this guy had the audacity to walk to you and say he loves you?” I couldn’t wrap my head around the whole issue. Early morning around 6am, I was walking past my mother’s door to the kitchen when I heard some noise coming from her room. I stayed a while. All I heard was Kpa!

Kpa!

and my mom’s voice came through; Hmmmm….arrrhh…ouch…awwwww… I ran back to my room, shut the door, and called my husband. I told him, “You won’t believe what my mom is doing to herself. Can you imagine? She’s dating a boy who’s only twenty-eight years.” My husband laughed. I said, “I’m not joking so stop laughing.” For the next twenty minutes or so, he listened while I ranted on everything that was bad about their relationship. He said, “Come back home if you can’t stand it. Your mother is not a child. She knows what’s good for her. Stop interfering in her life.” When I saw both of them walked out of the bedroom in a morning coat, I felt like throwing up. The guy walked to the fridge, picked a bottle of water, and drank the whole thing in one take. My mom greeted me and the guy also came to say hi. I told her I was leaving that afternoon. She said, “Alright. My greetings to your husband when you go.” I felt abandoned. My mom didn’t even ask me why I’m leaving earlier than planned. It was as if she couldn’t wait for me to leave her house. I went inside, pick my bag, and left. I thought she was going to call me and say something to me. She watched as I walked out of the house. When I got home I cried. I cried in the arms of my husband. “How could my mom do that to me?

She’s embarrassing me.” My husband said, “You have your life to live. Allow her to live hers.” Two years later, they are still together. She has the boy on her Whatsapp profile. On Facebook, there’s a photo of them smiling and looking directly into the camera. I blocked her on Facebook and blocked her on Whatsapp. The guy is still not working and comfortably living off my mother. The last time I called her phone, it was the guy who picked. I asked him why he’s answering my mother’s phone and he said, “She gave me the right to answer her phone.” I told him, “Then not when I call. Stay off when you see my call.” He said, “Yes my daughter,” and then he laughed while handing the phone over to my mom. To make matters worse, my mom said, “It’s been over two years, learn to accept the fact and stop behaving like a spoilt child.” Nothing would make me accord that guy any respect, even if they live together forever. He’s playing on my mom’s vulnerability and the fact that he’s not ready to find a job because he’s comfortable says it all. 8 Things That Happen When Your Mom Starts Dating Again. We all know that 50% of marriages end in divorce. It’s terrible and depressing. My parents got divorced over the past five years and I am still dealing with it. What I didn’t expect is how I would react to my mom starting to date again. First, it never even crossed my mind that she would; and second, I was completely unprepared for what would happen next. 1. You get really angry. My first reaction was to say every swear word that I knew. Mostly it was like “What the FUCK?” I am usually a calm and sane person, but this put me over the edge. I think that for most people they don’t know how to deal with this news, and what better way to cope than by throwing your pillow across the wall? Eventually when I calmed down, I realized I was being irrational. 2. You get away with more things. Now that my anger had subsided, I started to realize that my mom was acting differently. Asking her for $10 was no longer World War III. She seemed more willing to let me go out for the night without coming home. (Side note: I just graduated from college and have moved back home.) She doesn’t pry into things that I don’t want to talk about and gives me my needed space. 3. She asks for your advice. “What color dress should I wear?” This is now something I hear from my mother, who used to not give two shits what my opinion was. It’s like since I’m young and have been dating more recently then she has I know more. I smile and say “blue,” but I’m really thinking is, “does it even matter?” It’s nice to have her ask my opinion, but it also makes me feel like a friend and not a daughter. 4. You get jealous. Being single, I think, is normal for any 22-year-old, but now that my 46-year-old mom is dating, it’s like I think I should be, too. How in the hell can my mom get a date and I am stuck at home watching my sixth consecutive episode of Parks and Rec on Netflix? Yes, I know my mom is using dating sites, but still I am jealous. Also I know these men are taking her on exciting dates and this makes me hate it even more. 5. Your stalking skills are heightened. Who is the guy? What does he do?

Where does he live?

So many questions are going off in my mind and the best way to answer them is to do a lot of snooping. Looking at his LinkedIn, seeing if he has a Facebook, and then going through all of his pictures. It’s creepy, I can admit that, but I am only saving my mom in the long run. I know my mom isn’t doing it, so someone has to. 6. Your mom’s friends gross you out. This could only be for my situation, but most of my mom’s friends are single or divorced and using dating websites. They love to make jokes like “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do” to one another. This makes me want to throw up everywhere. Also they will leave the room that I’m in to “talk,” but I know what they are really talking about and it is the stuff that would give me nightmares for the rest of my life. 7. You learn from their mistakes. It’s a sad thing when your parents get divorced, and it makes you even sadder to think about your parents being alone for the rest of their lives. I know that my mom is just trying to be happy and it’s hard to not see yourself being the same way in 20 years. It has allowed me to know that this is not where I want to be and now I can live my life trying to make it better. 8. You feel hopeful for your mom. Despite the last point, it’s nice to see my mom happy again. Even though I hate the thought of her dating, I’m also trying not to be completely selfish. She is in a better mood and I know it’s not just because I washed the dishes. When I am finally living on my own I know I wouldn’t want my mom to be alone. She deserves to be happy. a guy my age and I’m the one having nightmares. After the burial, anything that reminded her of my dad pushed her into tears. So I parked their photos somewhere she wouldn’t see but hiding the photos wasn’t enough to make her stop crying. No one cries forever so at some point she stopped and moved on. I should say two years after my dad’s death, I saw a complete change in my mother. She buried herself in her job and started buying new things for herself. She began dressing like a thirty-year-old girl who was looking for a date. I remember telling her one day, “You look beautiful mom.” She said, “Yeah I have to live again until I also die. I was twenty-seven when I got married. I had to leave my mom and go live with my husband. She didn’t take it lightly at all. She looked at the house and said, “All this place for me alone?

How can I survive that?” I told her, “Get a helper…someone who can keep you company.” She said, “What help would be better than living with my own daughter?” No matter what, I couldn’t continue living with her so I left to live with my husband. One day she said, “A man in my office is making passes at me and I don’t know how to respond.” I asked, “Is he not married?” She said, “He’s a divorcee.” I asked, “He’s a nice man?” She said, “He’s fine like wine.” I said, “So why don’t you give him a chance?” She said, “It’s been ten years since I saw a man in my life. I don’t know how to handle a new one. I feel guilty. Maybe your dad’s spirit would be disappointed that I’m cheating on him.” We laughed. I told her to be serious about it. I said, “You’re only fifty-two. You still look like a girl. Give someone a chance and let’s see.” She told me she will try. A week later, she told me she had accepted the man and they were dating. She started missing my calls telling me she was busy. One day when I called, she told me, “Hey go talk to your husband and leave me alone. He’s here.” I was happy for her and was glad she could find a companion at last.” Four months later, she started calling me every morning, afternoon, and evening. I sensed something wasn’t ok. I asked about her boyfriend and she said, “That guy is a complete waste of time, let’s forget about him.” I asked, “What happened?” She answered, “He has a girlfriend already. He found me available and decided to pass through. I’m back to square one.” From then on, I saw her trying. She would find someone today and the next day he was gone. As old as she was, her heart kept breaking each time they left her. I told her to slow down but she wouldn’t listen. She started getting busy on Facebook, talking to people she could mother. It felt awkward but then it made her happy so who was I to tell her anything. One day, I decided to visit her and spend the weekend. There was this look of awkwardness on her face when she saw me. She said, “Oh you are here already. I didn’t think you’ll be here so soon.” Then someone spoke from the bedroom. The voice of a guy; “Who’s here?” My mom replied, “My daughter.” Then this guy walked out of the bedroom to come and see me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He looked twenty-five or twenty-seven. I looked at my mom. She was smiling sheepishly. This guy wouldn’t shut up; “Oh this is your daughter?

He can come around when I’m gone.” She said, “No he stays here. Find a way with him. Get acquainted. I’m not married to him so he’s not your dad. Loosen up.” So, the guy stayed. All he did was move around the house, watch TV, go to the fridge for drinks and walk to the kitchen for food whenever he was hungry. I asked my mom, “So what work does he do?” She said, “He’s looking for a job. I’m pulling some strings, maybe he’ll get something doing very soon.” “Ah, so where did you find him?

She’s embarrassing me.” My husband said, “You have your life to live. Allow her to live hers.” Two years later, they are still together. She has the boy on her Whatsapp profile. On Facebook, there’s a photo of them smiling and looking directly into the camera. I blocked her on Facebook and blocked her on Whatsapp. The guy is still not working and comfortably living off my mother. The last time I called her phone, it was the guy who picked. I asked him why he’s answering my mother’s phone and he said, “She gave me the right to answer her phone.” I told him, “Then not when I call. Stay off when you see my call.” He said, “Yes my daughter,” and then he laughed while handing the phone over to my mom. To make matters worse, my mom said, “It’s been over two years, learn to accept the fact and stop behaving like a spoilt child.” Nothing would make me accord that guy any respect, even if they live together forever. He’s playing on my mom’s vulnerability and the fact that he’s not ready to find a job because he’s comfortable says it all. a Guy My Age And I’m The One Having Nightmares. My dad died when I was eighteen. I remember how hard it was for her. She cried for several days non-stop until the day my dad was laid to rest. After the burial, anything that reminded her of my dad pushed her into tears. So I parked their photos somewhere she wouldn’t see but hiding the photos wasn’t enough to make her stop crying. No one cries forever so at some point she stopped and moved on. She buried herself in her job and started buying new things for herself. She began dressing like a thirty-year-old girl who was looking for a date. I remember telling her one day, “You look beautiful mom.” She said, “Yeah I have to live again until I also die. I was twenty-seven when I got married. I had to leave my mom and go live with my husband. She didn’t take it lightly at all. She looked at the house and said, “All this place for me alone?

You mean this guy had the audacity to walk to you and say he loves you?” I couldn’t wrap my head around the whole issue. Early morning around 6am, I was walking past my mother’s door to the kitchen when I heard some noise coming from her room. I stayed a while. All I heard was some ecstatic sounds. I ran back to my room, shut the door, and called my husband. I told him, “You won’t believe what my mom is doing to herself. Can you imagine?

She’s embarrassing me.” My husband said, “You have your life to live. Allow her to live hers.” Two years later, they are still together. She has the boy on her Whatsapp profile. On Facebook, there’s a photo of them smiling and looking directly into the camera. I blocked her on Facebook and blocked her on Whatsapp. The guy is still not working and comfortably living off my mother. The last time I called her phone, it was the guy who picked. I asked him why he’s answering my mother’s phone and he said, “She gave me the right to answer her phone.” I told him, “Then not when I call. Stay off when you see my call.” He said, “Yes my daughter,” and then he laughed while handing the phone over to my mom. #992: “My husband is dating my mom.” I am a 34 year old straight woman in an open marriage with a 39 year straight man. I have taken far more advantage of the openness of our marriage than my husband, at least until recently. I have had a string of long-term affairs and short-term flings. During the past 8 months I have basically been living with another man in a neighbouring town to the one I live in. I am drawn to men who are starkly different than my husband, who is an intellectual, moderate in terms of his vices and has a disdain for the type of men who spend every evening in a pub. I have a drinking problem but it is not a problem I feel any need to resolve and I am drawn to men who are also drinkers like me. I can have a glass of wine in the morning and drink until I pass out in the afternoon and wake up when my lover comes home and go to the pub with him and start drinking again. My husband can’t tolerate that behaviour which is why I moved in with my current lover. This past Sunday my lover and I went to a country pub and I glanced in the dining room and saw my husband with a beautiful older woman, but not just any woman. It was my mother and, from the way they looked at each other and were touching, I could tell instantly that it was more than a friendly lunch; they were quite obviously in love with each other. My mother is 54 years old and is breathtakingly beautiful and, unlike me, hasn’t let her body go. My husband, who is also handsome and fit, looked like he was happier than I had ever seen him. I went to the toilet and threw up and then I dragged my lover out of the pub and went straight to the off-licence where I bought a litre bottle of vodka and drank it at his house until I passed out. I can’t help but feeling betrayed by my mother and my husband. There has always been something lurking beneath the surface with them and since I haven’t been living with my husband for a long time, I guess she made her move and he couldn’t resist or maybe it was the other way around. Knowing I can’t go back to my life as it once was makes me miss it so much. My mother is the one having long talks with my husband at night, or going to a nice restaurant with him or the theatre and I am at a grubby pub every night with my alcoholic lover. I have started stalking them, sitting in the car down the street from our house, drinking vodka from the bottle, and watching them come out hand in hand to play tennis in the courts down the street or go out to dinner. I have sneaked in the house and gone up to what used to be our bedroom and found my mother has moved all her clothes into the wardrobe and taken what I had left out and I have even seen a tube of lube on the bedside table (my mother is post menopausal). Seeing that made me hate her more than you can believe. My husband would be disgusted with the way I have let myself go and would probably refuse to have sex with me but he’s happily screwing my mother now and enjoying her perfect body. I haven’t confronted either of them yet. I would love to put an end to their happy little relationship. It is sick that my mother stole her daughter’s husband and I despise her for that. I can forgive my husband but I could never forgive her and I can’t tolerate the fact that they are together. And then I read it again and thought, well, this person sounds lonely as fuck and she had the guts to tell some judgy asshole strangers her story and if it’s real OH MY GOD her HUSBAND and her MOM are THE WORST PEOPLE and maybe we can help validate THAT if nothing else. Obviously the ick factor of a your husband having an affair with his wife’s mother is high. Y’all have an open marriage, he could theoretically be with anyone in the world, and he chooses your mom?

And your mother chooses the one man in the universe who is married to her daughter?

That is some unfathomable shitheadery right there, from both of them. For the record, I don’t believe in soulmates. I don’t believe that there is romantic love that is somehow divorced from the choices you make about what to do about your feelings. I don’t believe there are feelings of love and attraction that “have to” be acted upon. I don’t believe in “it just happened.” “It” happens because people make it happen. These two assholes chose this. A) Of all the women in the world he chose to date your mom and of all of the gin joints in the world he chose to take her to your regular hangout. What are the chances that that’s a coincidence? What are the chances that they didn’t see you or know you were there? My gut says he/they did it on purpose so that you’d find out that way instead of telling you like the “consenting adults” they’ll condescendingly and repeatedly remind you that they are when you do eventually confront them. B) In between all the references to “her perfect body” and you pining for the companionable life of long talks and theatre visits you’ve lost, there’s the fact that this has been going on long enough for her to move into your house… … and you didn’t notice until just now. That doesn’t mean his choices are your fault – I don’t know how your open marriage works or what ground rules you set but I’m pretty sure he owed you at least one direct “ Hey btw I’m thinking of seeing your mom, is that cool?

” conversation. This isn’t just a case of “ this guy would be so perfect if only he weren’t $#@!ing my mother, ” this is a case of some deep, deep incompatibility and disconnection between the two of you. It sounds to me like you left him, slowly, on the installment plan, and then he decided to hasten the end by setting everything on fire, including the bridges. I have so many questions, like, do you hang out, ever?

Do you talk, ever? What was the long-term plan for your marriage?

Did your husband know that plan?

Did he know whether you ever wanted to come back from living with this most recent dude? When you agreed to an open marriage, did you both envision a situation where either or both of you would move out for long periods of time? What does “normal” or “the desired outcome” for your marriage look like to y’all?

Have you had a “Hey, this isn’t really working” conversation before now? Whatever the answers are, taking your mom on a date to your favorite local + moving her shit into your house (which is still your house…I think?) are not the stealthy moves of professional secret keepers, y’all. This is the You-signal being flashed in the sky. “ALL IS NOT WELL AT HOME. I REPEAT: ALL IS NOT WELL.” Image: Batman slapping Robin meme! Robin: “They’re consenting adults, who are we to judg-” Batman: (SLAP!) “We can judge them. We can judge them a lot.” It’s nice that you are thinking about the possibility of forgiveness for your husband (after you break them up somehow, of course), but my read on this situation is that there is no going back to any kind of happy equilibrium in these relationships. He’s always going to be the guy who dated your mom. Your mom is always going to be the mom who dated your husband. You’re framing it as “ My mom stole my husband ” but your husband did just as much stealing and breaking of trust. Also, forgiveness is for when someone has a) stopped doing the harmful thing and b) apologized. These people haven’t even done you the courtesy of an honest conversation about what’s happening. I give you permission to ignore the entire concept of forgiveness for now. Even if they agreed to end things, is there any going back to the life you (thought you) had, where your husband is a safe haven who will always leave the light on for you while you explore your addictions totally unproblematic day-drinking hobby? You are, as you say, “stalking” them – sitting in your car to watch them go about their lives, “sneaking” into your house – what has stopped you from talking to them? “Hey, Husband, what’s new with you?

Are you sure there’s nothing new? Nothing at all? Nothing you’d like to tell me? Cool, okay, well, have a good day.”” “Husband, I dropped by the house to pick something up the other day and…okay, I’m just gonna come out with it. Why are my mom’s clothes in the wardrobe?” “Husband, I realize I haven’t been around much lately, but I think we need to talk. Do you think things are working well between us?” “Mum, Husband, I’m having a hard time even looking at either of you right now, also, what the fuck are you doing? Did you sit around trying to come up with the most hurtful, appalling thing you could do to me?” Do these questions seem ridiculous and like you can’t picture yourself asking them?

Even though they are pretty reasonable questions given the situation?

Because if you actually talk about it with them, it will become real?

You were hiding from your own life in that pub, all those days of passing out and killing time with grubby men in grubby places. You were hiding, and then your husband came and found you with this giant, awful, sickening secret and you couldn’t hide from it anymore. Now you’re hiding in parked cars outside the tennis club or outside the house where you used to live. What happens when you can’t hide from or drown these feelings any longer?

I’m scared for you. Drinking in your car (and presumably driving?) is “danger to yourself and others” territory. Something has been permanently lost or damaged, and, while I understand the fantasies, breaking these two people up will not restore whatever it is or was. You asked what I thought you should do and the answer is “Take care of yourself.” So, please, please, please: Take the kind of loving care of yourself that you wish someone else would take for you. Radically intervene in your own life to take care of yourself. I think you need to have some talks with your husband about “ Hey bro, dating my mom, not cool btw, probably time to end this?” and then some more talks about money and living space and what the winding down of the institution of your marriage entails (financially, legally). And then cut him and your mom out of your life entirely. Before that talk, I think it is time to call on any and all resources you can find who are not your husband or your mother. Friends. Other family members who you can count on. A divorce attorney (solicitor where you are?). A therapist. A medical doctor for a complete checkup. Find somewhere to live that is just yours, maybe, with no men/distractions/drinking buddies. Also, no more hiding out, no more monitoring your husband and your mom. Drag everything into the light and deal with it. You told us your story, so tell a therapist and a friend. Start imagining yourself in a different kind of future, where you are free of them and have a fresh start. You are only 34 years old! The next year of your life might suck more than it doesn’t (basically alternating between Adele songs and the”Hold Up” parts of Lemonade on repeat while you grieve), but if you can hang in? If you can hang in, a few years from now you’ll be the lady with the devil-may-care attitude and the “ Oh, you think your ex was shit?

Oh, you think you don’t get along with your parents? Might as well get comfortable” story. Let go of the idea of breaking them up, that that’s something you should do or something you can do. The thing will probably perish on its own without you in the middle providing a dramatic focus. Even if they stay together forever gloriously in love mashing their perfect bodies together for the rest of time?

Every. Single. Time. someone asks how they met the fact that they are the kind of people who would fuck their wife’s mom/fuck their daughter’s husband will be a part of their story, and they’ll have to choose: Lie or oog people out? Lie or oog people out?

Ok, finally, I think your drinking problem is an actual problem that deserves serious, thorough, compassionate, loving treatment. Only you can decide when you’re ready for that, and it doesn’t sound like you’re ready yet so I’ve tried to respect that in this writing, but when you do decide, you deserve it, all of it, all of the help, all of the recovery. You have an illness that is slowly eating your life. Maybe it ate your marriage a few bites at a time. None of that makes you a terrible person who needs to hide in the bushes from the assholes in her life, it makes you human. It makes you deserving of care and compassion and help and second chances and third chances and fresh starts. (If I’m remembering right, Laux and Addonizio are friends who met at the same writer’s workshop or class. They know. Whatever it is you’ve gone through or are going through, they know.) B) I know the comments in my mod queue recommending 12-step programs and other alcohol treatment programs are kindly meant and coming from people who have used them successfully. But until the LW asks for that kind of help, they are a distraction, and they tend to attract a lot of thread-jacking debate that I have to clean up. Hold off, ok?

Thank you. C) Closing comments as of 11 pm Thursday because my moderation queue and spam trap are a dumpster fire and I need to sleep sometime. Share this: Like this: Related. 159 thoughts on “ #992: “My husband is dating my mom.” ” CA, you are a lot kinder than me because when the LW mentioned day-long drinking I almost couldn’t read the rest for the voices screaming THIS IS NOT HEALTHY. Kudos on a compassionate and non judgmental reply to this letter. She is clearly not okay – the “it’s not a problem” problem is a classic indicator – but this is a case of “Are you self-medicating to the point of crisis or are you just surrounded by assholes? Baby, it’s both.” Someday with the benefit of being separated from this whole hot mess, LW will be sober, but her husband and mom will still be assholes. I realize that you don’t mean it this way, but this significantly minimizes the difficulty of overcoming alcoholism. It is a disease that takes a great deal of sacrifice and work to overcome. I feel that it does a disservice to the LW to pretend that it’s something that will just resolve itself with distance, and implying thus is insulting to the addicts who have put in the work as well. I want to give LW a huge, huge hug but also to tell her: if you are sitting in your car drinking… please, PLEASE don’t be driving it afterwards. You deserve better than to put your life in danger (and I don’t wanna be preachy but so do the other people on the roads). I know you’re not stupid and you know you shouldn’t drive after drinking but these things do sometimes creep up on people. This. LW, I don’t know much about drinking or alcoholism, and you aren’t asking for advice on that topic, but what I do unfortunately have personal experience with is how dangerous cars are. I was in a serious car accident last year. It has been a year and a half of hell recovering from it, I’m less than 60% of the way to better, and there are no guarantees I will ever fully recover. A car accident can suddenly and irrevocably shatter a life, and physics doesn’t care whose fault the accident was. Please do not drink and drive. Please. It is not just your safety that you risk. FWIW, there are some areas of the US where being in the car while drunk is treated as a DUI, even if the keys aren’t in the ignition. So that’s something to be cautious about. I don’t doubt you are going through a rough time, LW, but you need to accept that YOU LEFT YOUR HUSBAND. You’ve been living in another town, with another man, for months. I’m like 99% certain this thing with your mom and husband started because they had to be in close contact trying to figure out how to help you or to grieve for the situation you’d chosen. I mean LW has made some pretty terrible decisions here… and then her mom and husband responded by burning everything relationship-related to the ground forever. I feel like one person behaving terribly does not diminish other people also behaving terribly. Everyone in this situation needs to take some time to think about what they’ve done, and then go forth and make better, less destructive choices. I agree with this sentiment. And also, even if LW made a lot of mistakes or bad decisions (and I do think LW did), commenters simply saying “you fucked up and you’re a bad person” or something isn’t remotely helpful or productive. I think it’s more LW started the fire by moving in with her boyfriend & leaving her husband & Hubby & mum just threw their belongings onto the blaze too. This whole relationship house is on fire, all that is going to come of this is a whole lot of screaming & 3 injured people in the end. LW needs to leave hubby & the boyfriend. Get her life together if that does or does not include alcohol is up to her I’ve got nothing against functioning alcoholics, but right now boyfriend is being used as a way to avoid making difficult decisions about her marriage. The relationship is over, you are not getting back with your husband, that’s why he’s dating your mother. It’s over, that’s him setting fire to his end of the bridge you lit the day you moved out. I’m sorry this sucks. You really need to take a deep breath and spend some time alone figuring out just what you do want. What I don’t like from the LW’s comments in that thread is that she says a lot of ageist hurtful bullshit. I get that she’s angry, but the problem is not “54 year old post-menopausal woman initiates a relationship with 39 year old man” (rather “my mom and my estranged husband initiated a relationship without telling me”). As if women were forever vetoed of enjoying their sexuality after they hit 50! a) She’s hurting and furious and lashing out. b) The obsessively comparing bodies with her mother stuff comes from somewhere…like…possibly…her mother. Think, Postcards From The Edge. Her mother who chose to fuck her husband. She’s using “hag,” etc. because they are the words that would most hurt a vain mom. c) Those attitudes are toxic but they aren’t uncommon – she didn’t like, invent them, and being in pain is not always the time for a radical feminist awakening. Someone who was raised with the attitude that your worth is in your looks and youth is right on schedule with this – look at how she talks about her own body, too. It’s fucking sad more than it’s offensive. There’s time to learn if she can survive all this. d) This ain’t Reddit. If she says that stuff here, we’ll deal with it. They don’t necessarily come from her mother though. Society is a more likely source, imo. Slight side note: I have seen a lot of good parents with awful children, and good kids with awful parents. It’s not necessarily true that any problem one has is from or caused by the other. In my experience, I have found that women tend to be a lot harder on the “other woman” than the man. CA did a great job reminding her that it takes two. I haven’t read her comments there (not gonna click the Reddit link for love nor money) but it sounds like she’s cycling and has an audience and that is badness. I agree that “open marriage” vs. “we are kinda separated” are two different things, but I also think some gaslighting has been going on, and even if the “close contact to help her” thing is true, they didn’t have to add falling in love to it. They had choices. This all feels like something designed to force a final decision about the breakup of the marriage. Wise choice, at that! “Abandon hope all ye who enter here” could be the official motto of many reddit comment threads, this one among them. Especially some of the bigger subs, like relationships. Or any of the default subs in which you make the mistake of mentioning asexuality or being nonbinary/genderfluid. Not that I’d know from personal experience or anything like that…! X( I only mentioned it because I thought the advice here was so much better. Please delete the link if you think it’s not cool to have posted it here. (I now think I shouldn’t have.) It’s okay – if we delete it now it will be back like a hydra and I can deal with whatever comes more than I can with 100 identical “did you catch this on Reddit” comments. 🙂 I feel you on this. The husband and mother are awful and that is a terrible way to end a relationship/get back at someone with whom you were in a relationship with… but LW did bail on her husband in favor of an alcoholic lifestyle with another lover very far away. He got a horrible, inappropriate revenge, but she clearly left him. Maybe leaving the husband was…self-preservation? A fumbling towards happiness and safety and a place where people treat her well?

Maybe not a good or functional one?

I agree with all the people who say the house of the relationship is burning. Who set it on fire?

Everyone. It’s on fire. Time to get to safety. There’s plenty of time to lay or accept the blame when the ashes have cooled. We don’t have to do that work for her. We’re not the jury, we’re the fire brigade. Sure, she left him, but if he felt abandoned and that the marriage wasn’t working anymore, there are approximately ten million things he could have done rather than sleeping with his mother-in-law. ch as, I don’t know, having a conversation with his wife. I agree. The two who were closest to you came together to figure out what was going on with you. Also if you had moved that far away from them emotionally, they might not have thought that you cared. Showing up together where you were known to be to get some kind of closure was cowardly. They should have told you to your face separately. But people do cowardly stuff all the time when it comes to dating a best friend or a sibling. I’m sorry this happened to you and by this, I mean all of this. The Captain is right about still being young and having a chance at a better life and a happier you. Try to take this as a wake up call so that things can be better. I agree. It sounds like the LW started the dysfunction. I mean, becoming an alcoholic and it sounds like because of that choosing to move out of your house to live with your lover and abandon your husband for months, well of course he found somebody else. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Uhm, the LW says they moved out because their husband “can’t tolerate” their alcoholism. If there was something about me that I couldn’t change, moving out of a house with someone who “couldn’t tolerate” that aspect of me seems like a really sensible decision, and we don’t even know how well the husband’s inability to tolerate it was presented. (I have a suspicion!

That suspicion is that a guy who doesn’t tell his wife that he’s started fucking her mother is not the kind of guy to express his intolerance by saying “Honey, your drinking really upsets me for these reasons, and I can’t be around you when you do it. I understand you’re not ready or willing to change it yet, and for the moment I still want to be in a loving and committed relationship with you; how should we handle this?”) And he didn’t just find “somebody else”, he found “LW’s mother.” And didn’t tell LW. Assuming the LW’s husband is only comfortable communicating in English and is only attracted to women, there are still several dozen million people he could have found to hook up with. And he chose to pursue and develop a romantic and sexual relationship with that specific one and not mention it. I agree it’s not a bad decision, but I do think it’s a telling one about the state of their relationship. Doesn’t mean she doesn’t get to be hurt about what’s happened since, though. Your comments together seem really determined to remove all benefit of the doubt from the Letter Writer, so, okay, howabout the people who are 💯 in an inappropriate relationship? LW is also in an inappropriate relationship with alcohol. Idk somehow husband + wife’s mom isn’t really much worse to me than all the other permutations of husband + wifes’s BFF, husband + wife’s sister, etc. re they went about it wrong but LW is also not going about things perfectly?

I feel like there is a LOT going on that’s left out of the letter entirely. Nope, no one has to be perfect – no one even can be perfect. I guess what I’m getting at is, if I take this letter at face value, there’s way too little information for me to decide who the truly toxic person(s) is/are, or if it’s just a situation where everyone’s dysfunctional but not evil and things snowballed. LW gets blackout drunk daily and has moved out – was it possible for her husband and/or mom to ever have a conversation about this stuff? Did they have a conversation that was forgotten? Did they know where she was?

Etc. I’m not sure how helpful it is to LW to judge mom/husband either?

I’m sure it’d feel good for her, but she’s already using it as an excuse to engage in questionable behaviors (stalking, drinking in the car, etc). LW if you’re reading this – I’m sorry it SUCKS, but the best thing is to try to move on now regardless of who is at fault. I have no idea if the alcohol prompted the relationship problems or the other way around and probably it’s both because that’s what it usually is but either way, relationships seem to be irrevocably damaged. It sounds like LW’s relationship with her husband is not salvageable and like it wasn’t really salvageable even if mom wasn’t in the picture. I have no idea what LW’s relationship with her mom was like prior to this mess; there’s a good chance that is not salvageable either, certainly LW needs a long break from her. Ultimately what it comes down to is: — I think LW should nope out of there with husband/mom rather than confronting folks and trying to get back her husband or whatever — LW does have a serious problem with alcohol and before she can try to work on new relationships with other people I think she needs to figure out if the alcohol is worth her health, her future, and every other relationship she has. If she likes the alcohol more than everything else, I guess she’s already got things set up just fine. If she does NOT actually like her lifestyle with the drinking and lover, she needs to work on that before she can build healthy new relationships. But lots of people have had partners with substance abuse issues, contacted their partner’s family to get help, and somehow not wound up fucking their partner’s parent(s). It’s not that hard!

I have to admit, my initial, knee-jerk reaction to the letter was vastly unsympathetic and entirely unhelpful. But having read her comments on reddit, I just feel sorry for her. She’s spent the last eight months lying around drunk all day, now she’s coming out of it and realising she isn’t happy, she’s lost her husband, and it’s too late to do anything about it. And she can’t even slink home to her mother to cry it out and try to put her life back together. I mean part of me still wants to shake her and yell GET HELP, but the poor thing. 😦 Being in an open relationship does not mean your partner has carte blanche to date literally anyone in the world. Any decent person in an open relationship would talk to their spouse before embarking on an affair with a relative or close friend of the spouse. Unless you have had a conversation that went, “Hey, spouse, our open relationship means that we can date literally anyone in the world, including immediate family members, agreed? Agreed.” then you have every right to feel pissed off and betrayed. Even if you were separated, decent people don’t date the immediate family members of their estranged spouses, at least without the full knowledge that they are hurting their estranged spouse horribly and their estranged spouse has every right and reason to burn figures of them in effigy forever. It’s one of those things where I’m like, “I suppose it might be just this side of okay if the child had died, and they and the spouse didn’t have any kids, and the spouse and the parent were completely estranged from absolutely all the rest of both of their families…and even then it still gives me the oogs.” I agree with you wholeheartedly that her husband and mother shouldn’t be dating. (I just love the mildness of the word ‘dating’ in this context.) Just as regards the “unless you have had a conversation…” I’d want to say to the letter writer that one of the effects of the type of drinking that you are doing is that your memory will be faulty. My husband is an alcoholic who is currently sober, and one of the properly surprising things has been how many things he just doesn’t remember at all. Things that were seismic in our family life, and also things that were said, or happened, when I thought he was sober. You may have had conversations you don’t remember. And I know my attitudes and actions seemed hurtful and bewildering to my husband, because he had forgotten things that would have made sense of my behaviours. But you ask what you should do and I think, while you’re drinking, you should just let it go. I think it’s difficult to make the happiest, most honest relationship work when drinking is involved. I think it’d be difficult to deal with this particular relationship if you were the most sober, emotionally wise person in the country. I think trying to deal with this particular relationship when drinking is involved would be difficult squared, and won’t benefit you in any way. This is absolutely true. One of the things that I think may be difficult to understand if you have not been around someone who regularly got blackout drunk (or if you have not been someone who regularly got blackout drunk) is how much it affects your brain. It can do very strange things to it. It can cause you to not be able to create long-term memories of certain periods of time–periods of time where you seemed to be entirely lucid. It can also cause you to remember the words and actions of a particular interaction but to forget the emotional underpinnings. It can erase memories that had previously been indelible. It’s weird, is what it is, and it’s frightening to watch, and it makes the alcoholic an unreliable narrator even when they are doing their absolute best to be honest. My step father was initially a positive influence in my life, and loved as a parent. As his drinking became worse, he became progressively more abusive. By the time I was a teenager it was survival mode for me. Avoiding my home as much as possible kept me sane and alive. When he acted genuinely bewildered at my coldness and that we weren’t close anymore, I assumed it was an act. But as an adult, I’m realizing he was probably blacked out for huge chunks of my childhood, and didn’t remember being abusive. Her Mom and Husband are being flamingly awful people, though. I’m so sorry the two people who promised to be there for her are failing so very hard. I am a firm believer in what I call “the messy list,” because I have a loved one whose ex dated Loved One’s sibling while in the process of breaking up with Loved One, and it pretty severely damaged all the relationships involved. When I was still with my most recent ex, who was dating other people, I asked that he not date anyone in my family, on my dissertation committee, or in the class I was teaching. There was still a world of people remaining. Wow. That’s an incredible situation. My first thought was “this can’t be real” but I know a woman who was married to a man who willingly lived apart from him for years – during which time he fed her all kinds of BS lines about why they couldn’t be together until he’d gotten the perfect job while he met, dated, married and had a family with another woman. It gets so much worse than described here…but my point is that people really do experience soap opera worthy plot lines in their own lives. LW, I agree with CA…you need to let your marriage and your relationship with your mom go and take care of yourself! You don’t sound like a happy person, current situation aside. Please take care of yourself and do what you are able to change that. 🙂 Honestly I know two people who ended up leaving their spouses for their in laws, but just via the usual affair route, so this doesn’t surprise me that much. I’m glad the captain was able to offer some compassionate advice, I hope OP sees it and can get their life back on track. But since we’re in the habit of believing letter writers here and life has a way to fulfill and overcome our wildest expectations, I’ll just say: please take care of yourself, LW. Take yourself away from people who hurt you and break your trust. When you feel ready to, seek some help to reduce your dependence on alcohol. Find some means to support yourself and some supportive and nice people to surround yourself with. I hope things gett better for you ♡ My mother is the one having long talks with my husband at night, or going to a nice restaurant with him or the theatre and I am at a grubby pub every night with my alcoholic lover. It sounds like you have a lot of disdain for the life you’re living. That you value relationships that revolve around long talks, and not spending every night in bars. It seems like theres a discrepancy between what you’re “drawn to” and what you actually want in your life, and I’m hoping you can find a way to have more of what you actually want. Yep, alcohol can “draw you” to places you actually really hate being in, and keep you there with the stone of “ugh hate this but cannot deal so another drink” on your chest. Actually, to me anyway, it sounds almost as if the husband wrote this. The “I’m the one who has benefited​ from this open marriage’, “My mother is beautiful, hasn’t let herself go like I have”, or “We”re drinking in grotty hovels while they have nice nights out” seem to indicate that. The other thing that struck me as ‘off’ was the description of each spouse, cf. “My husband is an intellectual with no real vices, whereas I drink from breakfast time until i black out, and I think that’s fine, and hook up with boorish men who do likewise” Nope. Not just you. This reads REALLY weird with how the LW is just matter-of-factly portraying herself in negative terms. It feels more likely somebody out to make polyamourists seem as awful on both sides. She’s an out of shape, unrepentant blackout drunk, he’s hooked with with her mom, together they fight crime! No. I got the same vibe for the same reasons. I mean, it’s possible that he wanted to paint her in a terrible light so people would crap all over her (like they have on Reddit) so he feels better about sleeping with her mother. I don’t know. The level of self-hatred and denial in this letter seem pretty consistent for someone who is in a very self-delusional phase of addiction. It’s crossed my mind. I also think she doesn’t like herself much right now and could be parroting the way these people talk to her or how they see themselves vs. her. Agreed. Before I managed to extricate myself from my shitty abusive parents I described myself in similarly awful language all the time. That was more how I read it–suppressed anger, hatred, self-loathing. Assuming the wife did indeed write this, one small piece of advice–stop saying these things. I won’t tell you to try and change how you think about yourself (and I do think there’s value in owning your negative traits), just…stop insulting yourself out loud or in writing. It’s a small thing, hardly life-changing, and it’ll probably be difficult at first as it’s likely habitual–don’t stress out if you slip up–but it’s also surprising how it changes how you feel about yourself. I noticed the same thing WRT the descriptions, but read it with a heavy sarcasm tone in my head – but having read your comment, that heavy sarcasm would imply that the LW is parroting/mocking what her husband has already said to her. It’s also making me understand some of the Captain’s mentions of the LW moving out of her marital home for Reasons. I didn’t necessarily suspect the husband, but it does sound like something a guy would write to “get in the mind” of a fictional character perhaps. A lot of gross ideas on how someone might behave without any real understanding or compassion for that character/real women. Granted I read a lot of dubious story ideas so am biased, but this sounds exactly like them. I dunno, this sounds a lot like mean stuff her mom or her husband has said to her that she’s repeating in a self-deprecating way. I got the same impression, but reading the insightful and compassionate responses here, I think it’s most useful to both the wife and the husband for people to keep commenting from the point of view of believing LW. Also, it doesn’t have to be one or the other on fancy intellectual/cultural stuff and casual wings-and-darts style fun. It’s possible to lead a life that has both, and even to do it in a healthy way without any kind of substance abuse, and I hope for the LW to find the balance that works for her and makes her genuinely happy. Wow. I don’t even know what to say except I am so sorry that you are going through this and I think your husband and mom are awful people. Even if you are in an open marriage, I don’t think dating/hooking up/whatever with a member of your spouse’s family (especially their parent.) is acceptable in any way. Please take the Captain’s advice and take care of yourself first. It’s gonna hurt for awhile because this really sucks but you can get through it. Oh, LW, I am so sorry, but, I think that marriage is dead. I’m polyamorous and I also think your husband burned that bridge. I don’t know how you were handling the open marriage, but, the lack of communication in this situation would have killed any relationship of mine dead as a door nail. Please take care of yourself. I highly recommend living in your own space for a bit. Give yourself a space that’s yours, that you control the ins and outs of. Choose it yourself and make it yours. You deserve a space that you control. I also highly recommend a therapist to talk things over with. Get this stuff out of your head and talk it over with a professional so the space in your head is also yours and belongs to you. Therapists can be a good reality check, and when my own brain weasels are wigging out I appreciate having someone to check with who wishes me well, but doesn’t have a personal stake in my outcomes. I’m polyamorous, and this is such a breathtaking level of betrayal and boundary-stomping that I’m sitting here with my mouth agape. LW’s marriage is over, and I hope that she can get to a place where she seeks treatment for her addiction. But her mother and husband have chosen to hurt her deeply, and that’s what she needs the most help with, in the moment. LW, a therapist is a good place to start, a healthy place to vent these feelings and start trying to find some solutions that will help you claw your way out of the pit. I wish you well, and I hope that you can build a happier and healthier life. Second on the suggestion to get your own space, LW. Not with another lover, someplace, however small, that is under your control, for you. Good catch. And since, going by the letter, that’s not Husband’s scene at all, this adds more weight to CA’s theory that the revelation was premeditated by Mother and Husband. I had exactly the opposite reaction: LW says it was a “country pub” which means not in the town LW is currently living in and not a regular hangout for LW. So I think it’s a leap to assume they deliberately planted themselves there for LW to see. Being “moderate in his vices” and “disdain for the type of men who spend every evening in a pub” doesn’t mean someone will never go to a pub dining room so husband’s presence in a pub isn’t evidence of anything. I’m not defending husband and mother, but LW is already in an emotional shit-storm and already has all the reason she needs to end the marriage, that she doesn’t need to add fuel to the fire by assuming they did it deliberately. I mean, LW’s already suffering horribly and knowing they did it deliberately to hurt her would cause even more pain. LW doesn’t need additional pain. If it was accidental, that’s a different world of hurt, but assuming it was deliberate, I think she’s entitled to not take on that too. I mean, it’s not great if the husband did absolutely nothing to let LW know, but it is possible that he and LW’s mother weren’t being deliberately cruel and angling to be seen. In addition, there might be an issue of scale in the LW’s perspective. In my drink all day youth, I would have called my current 6-8 standard drinks at sports ball events ‘moderate’ because at my height I was drinking 1.5 litres of vodka daily. I hadn’t thought of that. So a country pub would not be a staple in LW’s routine because she lives in a town? Makes sense, and it’s indeed less cruel. And if she had lost contact with both her husband and mother, maybe they didn’t have any way to know where she would be that night. Not to tell you how to run your website, Cap, but LW (or someone who lifted her letter and reposted it, who knows?) is taking on all commenters over on reddit. It seems pretty inevitable she’s going to end up doing the same thing over here. In your shoes I’d close the comments since that seems like a real recipe for unpleasantness no matter how gracious your response and commenters here might be. I gave into curiosity and went over to Reddit. (The comments are actually not that bad – I was expecting some really nasty stuff, but for the most part they were shorter, less compassionate versions of what you said, CA. The top comment (when I just checked) was compassionate and also advised against revenge.) But I did see the LW posting – she said that she did end up confronting her mother and husband (last night?) and the two of them had to call the police to have her removed. I don’t know if that motivates you to close the comments, but I wanted to just let you know just in case. If you can hang in, a few years from now you’ll be the lady with the devil-may-care attitude and the “Oh, you think your ex was shit? Might as well get comfortable” story. There’s someone who stalks many different corners of the internet, and has done for over a decade, asking, “Is it weird for my uncle to ask me to wear stockings to a wedding?” There’s someone else who does that with a conflict in a church social group. Found them on a messageboard a while back, and someone who’d seen them before alerted the mod team. I…really don’t get that kind of thing, but I kind of hope this is that. Otherwise, well, that’s a lot of pain in the world. Every so often, someone posts an incredibly long and disjointed rants (nearly identical, but clearly different enough not to be cut and paste) about there being no young people in social groups, on the queer women’s message boards I frequent. When they arrive, they post these rants on every board and thread, over and over, until they get banned; every now and then they find a way back again. There was this…dude?

dudette?

nonbinary individual? who was posting on two of the JustNo subreddits a while back under three different handles who had the communities in quite an uproar. You’re allowed to be angry about this, and hurt, and upset. This is an hugely upsetful thing. You’re allowed to not be perfect in your response. Moms shouldn’t sex up their daughter’s husbands and QUITE FRANKLY men shouldn’t be sexxing up their wife’s mom. Like CA said, he could be sleeping with literally anyone who isn’t your mom. That isn’t an accident; it’s intentionally selfish and hurtful. I really hope you can get maybe some counseling? Because this is an incredibly painful thing and you need someone to talk to who is trained to help you grieve. Grief is NATURAL here, but it will be hard sometimes because there’s the “oh, hon, he was GARBAGE” factor when dishing with friends, and this guy IS garbage but that doesn’t make the grief less. Please, please, please be safe and take care of yourself. (And stay off Reddit, if you can. That place is not a safe place, I’m sad to say.) LW, please stop saying mean things about your body. It’s the only one you’ll ever get. Even if you don’t love it or how you’ve been treating it, you can be mindful of the self abuse. If you must criticize, can you focus on how you’ll try to take better care of yourself? Anytime I read, “[Person] would be disgusted and refuse to have sex with me,” I want to add, “who doesn’t deserve my time,” after person. I struggle with self compassion A LOT. It is so hard. It’s so easy to find flaws and see them as terminal and permanent instead of choices that you can make differently. You want to take better care of your body?

Start by acknowledging that your body deserves being taken care of. I needed this for myself really badly. Thank you, Shine! LW: You have been abusing yourself and your marriage and while that was a mistake it doesn’t make you a bad person. You can come out of this! ❤ In the not-nearly-as-bad-as-this category, a dear friend was living at her mother’s house with her boyfriend, and her boyfriend ended up leaving her for the mother, and my friend had to move away to get distance. Granted, they were much younger (right out of university) and the mother had just gotten divorced, but there should pretty much never be an excuse for this. It was awkward for a year or two all around. Once the ex-boyfriend was an ex to both, my friend and her mother have been able to rebuild their relationship. I hope you can prioritize getting away from this junkiness and getting to know yourself. Please grasp whatever time and space you can to process this. This sounds so amazingly “lifted from a soap opera” level fake to me that I can just applaud the captain’s ability to find something constructive and helpful to say, even to this. 1: I could maybe, MAYBE, see a poly relationship with mom and daughter dating the same guy MAYBE if it was thoroughly discussed by all involve beforehand. Maybe. But that didn’t happen here and I think it’s just super… MEAN to surprise you with that, LW. 2. You definitely need to stop stalking them, as you called it, LW. That’s not healthy or okay behavior either and I can only see it leading to negative things in the future. I agree with Captain that you should just get it all out in the open. Oh, LW, this is so messed up, the only part of this triangle you control is your side; I hope you can cleanly and openly remove yourself. Then take some baby steps towards the life you’d like to have. There are many ways you can do this. Good luck to you!

“Alcoholism is a strange condition. If you survive the drinking stage, and many don’t, it has relatively little to do with alcohol, which is merely the drug with which the alcoholic treats herself. It is, rather, a way of thinking, and continues long after you have stopped drinking. It is a voice in the head: a malevolent voice that wants you to die. I certainly see it that way: it makes it easier to pick my way through the days if I know what, exactly, I am dealing with.” – Tanya Gold, reporting recently in The Guardian. wasabigrrl, I like this quote much better at explaining the way alcoholism is not just about drinking alcohol, but other things about someone’s mental and psychological makeup than I do many of the concepts from AA. AA tends to have a lot of concepts that are more about ‘all alcoholics have fundamentally deceitful personalities and lie and cheat and steal all the time, and they destroy the lives of everyone around them’, but in my experience it has more to do with mindset than with behavior (other than the behavior of drinking) and I’ve known plenty of alcoholics who are mostly only self-destructive, not destructive towards other people. Okay, taking a deep breath and assuming this is a real thing, LW, your husband dating your mom is a Burn-It-To-The-Ground, Extinction-Level Event. It seems like you kind of left your marriage by degrees, or at least, shoved it to the back burner, and your husband decided to force your hand, as it were. Your marriage is over. There’s nothing to “steal” from you or “get back” from your mom, because those relationships are just a smoldering pile of ash. I’d look into hiring an attorney to tie that up legally, before your husband beats you to it. Speaking as someone who has been through a self-destructive descent and come out the other side after hitting bottom… you seem like you’re in a self-destructive descent. Maybe you’re not at bottom yet, and you have to let this play out until you are. I don’t know. But, if this event shocks you into taking stock and making changes, I think a good place to start is with seeing a therapist, where you can unpack your feelings about all this, and address your issues with your mom, because good god, I can’t imagine what’s going on with someone who thinks their child’s romantic partner, current or former, is in any way a viable option. I imagine your mother’s parenting choices are probably… interesting… on a lot of levels. LW, as the Captain said, take care of yourself. You are at a crossroads. You can let this push you further down into a bottle, or you start fresh, clear away the ashes, and build a new life for yourself. Best of luck to you. The drinking while sitting in a car is a huge red flag to me and I am surprised that Cap didn’t at least touch on it… My concern being that it sounds like LW is drinking and driving, which is putting her and everyone on the streets around her at direct risk. This is what gave me red flags too. I’m more than willing to abide to the “LW isn’t ready for help with alcoholic dependence yet”, but this part — where others could be endangered — definitely warrants a response. Yes. The heavily implied drinking and driving needs to stop ASAP, and also the stalking. It’s incredibly unacceptable to stalk people even if they are total shitheads. Drinking&driving and stalking need to stop even apart from the LW getting therapy and emotional support; they’re separate from the “you will start to make better choices when you are healthier/happier.” They need to stop immediately, regardless. They are frightening and dangerous. This constant refrain of “my mother’s perfect body” sounds like something that was drilled into LW’s head from early childhood on by a cruelly competitive mother who is very likely a narcissist who was bent on crushing her daughter from the get-go so as not to have any “threats” in the realm of sexual competition (except who seriously thinks their own child is after the same man/men?). I feel like this would also explain LW’s alcoholism. Her husband sounds like a narcissist, too, and I’m almost wondering if the husband/mother’s relationship isn’t founded on some twisted notion of “we’ll show HER” antagonism against the LW that will fall apart the minute she finishes processing and recovering and moves on with her life. Because two narcissists in a relationship without an outside target will either devolve and split quickly or try to kill each other, I would think. Yeah, considering that LW’s mother and husband are both the kinds of people who would ever even think of dating each other (what the actual fuck, guys?), I have some theories about how they treated her all along and how LW could’ve been driven to alcohol as a coping mechanism. Eh. To me that’s a very enabling narrative. I think it’s very likely that there were massive problems in the relationship between LW and her mother, and maybe if she decides to see a therapist or get help for her drinking she can start unpacking that. But “these terrible people drove me to drink, it’s not me” is 100% an enabling story. You don’t get close to starting to think about recovery until you start to be able to see the outlines of something like, “my upbringing was terrible and maybe I’ll always be damaged by that but I have choices in how I react”. I’m not sure my phrasing was the best there, and totally agree that “everything wrong in my life is someone else’s fault and there’s nothing I can do to fix things” is not at all a healthy or useful attitude, but I don’t believe that LW’s alcohol problems started in a vacuum either. I’ve read some interesting articles (let me know if you’re interested in links, I don’t want to be that jerk on the internet who assigns homework to total strangers) about how addiction is strongly linked to childhood trauma and that makes a lot of sense to me. I don’t believe anyone chooses to be an addict, I believe people abuse substances because being sober seems unbearable. Basically I think LW’s mom and husband are both tremendous assholes and that LW needs space from them (lots and lots of space) to even begin to get a handle on her other problems. It’s still LW’s job to fix her own life no matter how much her childhood sucked, but I think understanding where her pain comes from and processing it is a really important part of that. Yep, yep, yep. Untangling the relationship between trauma, abuse and addiction and figuring out where to put blame and responsibility is super mega hard. And it’s something you can only do for yourself, and you can only do if/when you aren’t using booze or whatever to keep the bad thoughts away. It doesn’t sound like th LW is anywhere near ready to start that process yet, but I hope she gets there. Although it is also the case that there’s a genetic component to alcoholism. To some extent, it’s just having ended up with a bad roll of the dice, similar to cancer. I say this because sometimes people get the idea of “if I just fix the external elements of this, the addiction will go away,” and that’s very often not at all the case, and unhelpful. No one chooses to be an addict; pretty much by definition addiction is a set of maladaptive (damaging, undesirable) behaviors. But, addiction can have many ways of springing up and it’s not always the parents fault or some problem in upbringing. Most things are, what, 40% environmental (ie, upbringing), 40% genetic, and 20% chance/personality/je-ne-sais-quoi and addiction doesn’t seem to be much different. I can come up with all kinds of hypothetical scenarios where mom and/or hubby are total villains vs themselves at the mercy of really weird circumstances and messy hormones but pragmatically I’m not sure how much it matters in that it’s clear LW’s relationship with the both of them needs to be done for a long time if not forever. And if the mom is 54 and the LW is 34, that means she was born when Mom was nineteen or twenty. I can see a young, immature, angry mom lashing out in this way against the “competition” she gave birth to. Blech. My father’s second wife was a woman only a dozen years older than me, his eldest child. I was immediately pegged as competition for “daddy’s” attention (their wedding song was George Michael’s “Father Figure” god I wish I was kidding). Fortunately, I was old enough that I had moved out and was mostly able to avoid her. When HER youngest daughter got to be about 14 or so, she transferred her jealousy to her own daughter. So I can confirm that this is indeed a thing that happens. My mother is that level of narcissist — she’s fine-boned, tall, narrow-shouldered, small-busted, refined, and fashionable. I’m robustly-built (same height, but hippy, broad-shouldered, very busty, curvy, and not thin as an adult, although I had an extremely slender hourglass figure as a teen.) My mother told me that my breasts were “in bad taste,” that my body looked “slutty” in clothes, that men wanted to have sex with me because I didn’t look or act like someone they should respect. Even though my mother gained significant weight after menopause, she STILL harps on mine (and my daughter’s, since she’s built similarly to me.) I had to tell her that I would permanently cut off contact if she said it to my child’s face again. So, yeah — while my boundary-trampling mother has never slept with my partners (in part bc my mother doesn’t believe in sex outside marriage), she very much evidenced sexual hostility and competition towards me, and I very much wonder if the LW’s mother behaved similarly. I’m honestly amazed that I managed to survive my childhood/adolescence without more mental-health issues (I certainly have some, though), and while I don’t want to venture into Internet-Diagnosing, this situation is screaming THE BEES HAVE BEEN THERE FOR YEARS to me. Not directly on topic, but the contrast you’re describing here reminds me so much of Marge Piercy’s poem “Always Unsuitable” that I hope you are familiar with it or will enjoy it. www.goodreads.com/topic/show/13915-always-unsuitable—marge-piercy. I’m sincerely impressed that you stood up to your mom about your daughter, and wish my mom had done the same. You are incredibly strong and resilient. Jedi hugs to you if you want them. I couldn’t cut my mother off completely (in part because I wanted to maintain a relationship with my father), but I sure as hell could step in and protect my kid from that level of toxicity. My mother is a “small doses relative” today, and my daughter and I both agree that we present a united front against my mother getting to spend one-on-one time with her. We’re polite and friendly about it, but we see her as a team, or not at all. BTW I bit the bullet and read the Reddit thread (because it’s still less toxic than the current news cycle) and I would like to say that one commenter made some very very good, rational and compassionate points about the alcohol aspect of the issue, yet still their user name is Cumshitter. I think the internet is amazing. LW: I have to agree with Cumshitter and I also hope that you find peace in yourself and your heart and your life. And a job!

I want to see the space opera version of this where at least one of these characters is interplanetary royalty, at least one of them has a huge space fleet, and all of them are fictional. Already linked my sci fi author friend to this post and made the suggestion. You’re welcome, everyone. The problem is, if she is in England, is that it’s not a no-fault divorce situation. Irrespective of whether or not her husband was bonking her mother, she left and moved in with someone else. So she needs a non-judgmental SHARK b/c the dirty laundry will come out. Oh LW, there are so many Bees in this situation and I am in awe of the Captain’s compassionate and helpful response. Please, take care of YOU. When you are done being very very angry and all you have left is despair for a while, please don’t give up on you. I can’t imagine what you’re going through, and I don’t have much else to add, except heartfelt wishes that you make it through this situation as intact as possible and -jedi hugs-. You are in pain, a lot, and I think you have been in pain for a long time. Now two people you should be able to trust are behaving like assholes. The hardest thing to do can be to walk away from a wrecked relationship. One wants to try again, one wants to fix it, one wants to confront the asshole causing pain, one wants both justice and revenge. Walking away, leaving him and her and I think eventually the lover who is now tangled up with those relationships, unless he is willing and able to be a solid and loving rock to support you, might be the best thing you can do. The captain is right that the marriage is over. Divorce your husband, who is your ex-husband in everything but the law. However smart and interesting he is, he’s also an asshole and you do not deserve that. Stay away from your mother and stop all contact with her, including indirect. They are not good for you. They are actively bad. And, if you can, move. If your job and life allow it, with any amount of effort, get miles, a lot of miles, hundreds of miles, possibly an international border, between you and these people and this place, because although a move will be wrenching—therapy can help with this, I know everyone is saying therapy therapy at you, but a therapist should at least give you a listening ear regarding the rotten way your husband and mother have treated you—staying where you will be in the same small towns, same pubs, same shops, same streets, that’s going to be a continuing source of pain for you. So I say, move. I don’t defend the awful choices of the husband and mother here, but I’m pretty sure that the LW wrote she saw them in a country pub, which are mostly pleasantly restaurant-y during the day, and not at her local pub or a pub in the town she’s moved to, or somewhere they’d be expecting to see her. I don’t think there’s reason to believe the reveal was a set-up. OK, I think we all had a bit of a cultural misunderstanding. When I read, “country pub” I read that as “a country style pub” not “a pub out in the country”. Like, I wasn’t imagining everybody in cowboy hats necessarily but I definitely didn’t grok that it was literally a description of the location of the pub, not the style/vibe inside of it. Yeah, she didn’t say they’d wandered into her local. To me this reads as if there’s a nice gourmet pub out in the country between both towns which people would quite naturally drive to for Sunday lunch, and it was pure coincidence that they happened to be there. “Off-licence” also suggests that LW is in the UK, where “country pub” definitely means “pub in the country”, not “country-music-themed pub”!

Yeah, I didn’t get the impression that it was an intentional set-up either. It was Sunday lunch at restaurant. There doesn’t seem to be any indication that they would have known she would be at that place at that time. It doesn’t make it any less weird and awful that they’re dating each other, but I don’t think they’re dating each other AT her exactly. Still though, Captain is right. They could have dated anybody and they picked each other. Not good whether it was a set-up or not. Even where I live in the US, the dining room area of a pub is more restaurant than drinking establishment, and people who don’t drink alcohol at all will go there for the food. It’s not at all the same as going to a bar when you don’t drink. LW, i know these feels. i know them too well. my wife decided to fuck hir ex-fiancee, the same one ze insisted on comparing me to repeatedly. i felt like i was going fucking crazy… now that i’ve broken it off with wife it’s easier to ignore. i hope you, too, find a resolution soon. jedi hugs if you want them LW: this is so so hard. But, see if, instead of focusing on them, focus on treating your addiction and whatever is driving that. I wonder if you’ve ever focused just on sitting with you and the life you want, and who you are. The best thing I’ve heard recently is that we all practice some form of self-care, the question is if what you’re doing now is working for you in your life. Sometimes drinking be self care, the warm feeling, the knots in your shoulders softening, the blunted edges but this isn’t working for you and you have to find something that’s more effective. I have an appointment and won’t be reading/moderating for a few hours. Please don’t let me come back to find the Donald-Glover-holding-a-pizza-in-a-burning-room gif, or, as my mother-in-law would say, “be sweet, y’all.” I understand wanting to be compassionate to the LW’s pain. But I don’t feel like it is necessary to paint the husband as the villain, in order to be supportive of the LW. Don’t get me wrong. He made a mistake by being passive instead of saying what was on his mind – likely that he wanted out of the marriage. But my point is, it sounds as if this marriage has been over for a long time. They have been separated for 8 months. From LW’s desciption of her typical day, it doesn’t sound like they even spent time together in those 8 months. And I would suspect that her decision to move out didn’t happen overnight either. And, yeah, he should have said something to officially end the relationship before sleeping with her mother. There’s nothing that changes that. But I do think that there is a difference between cheating (let’s just call it that, since you can still cheat in an open relationship) at the final stages of a fading relationship, versus cheating when both the other party believes the relationship is thriving. If LW was my friend, my encouragement would be to grieve, and yes, that can include being furious at the mother and husband if she needs to. But I would encourage her to see that the marriage has been over for a long time, and to focus on herself, rather than on him. Learning to practice self care – loving herself, and seeking treatment for her drinking problem – may be a good place for her to start. If it’s financially possible, perhaps seeking therapy to help learn to see herself more kindly, and to treat herself kindly. (Rather than comparing herself negatively to her mother or other women.) I would encourage her not to try to have a relationship with this husband, because I believe it would just be a distraction from her relationship with herself. I tried to word the above paragraph in a way that’s not advice giving, but if this was my friend, I would be giving advice. I would say, let yourself be angry and cast them as the villains if you need to do that to move forward, but do move forward . Don’t let your anger keep you stuck in this stagnant situation. Please take care of yourself and learn to be kind to yourself. And there is real love out there in the world, and one of the sources of that love is you . I know it can sound vague and ambiguous when I say that, but that self love is something tangible you can find again, and there are resources out there which can help you find it. I’m not 100% convinced the husband was aware that they were still in a relationship. She’s been living with someone else for 8 months, and hasn’t beem back to the marital home for long enough that her mother has had time to move her clothes in. Hooking up with your daughters ex is sketchy as hell, as is hooking up with you ex’s mother. Seriously. Wow. They seem like a “lovely” couple who deserve each other. Still. Her mother did not “steal” her husband, as she has said elsewhere. You can’t actually steal another person, the person has agency … and the husband, in this case, may well have assumed the marriage was over. LW, I think you need to let your husband go and start planning your divorce. Even if your husband ended things with your mother tomorrow and came begging on his knees for you to leave your boyfriend and come back to him and have everything go back to the way it used to be, can you really see yourself enjoying long walks and nice dinners with him, let alone sex, after everything that has happened? Your description of why you backed away from your marriage places all the blame on you (“he couldn’t tolerate my drinking”) but your husband’s behavior since you moved out makes it clear that something went wrong on his side of the equation as well. The captain has a good point about the fact that he could have had a relationship with any number of women, including older women, and yet specifically chose your mother. Either he did so specifically to hurt you, or he’s had a thing for her all along and your moving out was the excuse he needed to act on it. Neither of these (“vindictive asshole or hung up on Mom”) is a good option. You are better off without him. That said, LW, your husband and mother, as creepy and awful as their behavior/relationship here is (and really “and then I started having pseudo-incestuous sex with their parent in the bed we once shared” should qualify for some kind of official Seal of Awful award) are the lesser issue here compared to the parade-of-majorettes-all-waving-red-flags problem that is your drinking. According to your letter, you drink to the point of passing out on a near-daily basis, not as part of a social situation or “I party hard on the weekends to blow off steam from the work week” habit, but while sitting alone at home. It also sounds, from your description, that you drink through the day and are almost never not drinking. And you are, by your own admission (“ sitting in the car down the street from our house, drinking vodka “) almost certainly drinking and driving, which is something that has a high risk of actually killing you. It’s possible for people to be functional alcoholics. You don’t sound functional. You sound like your health and safety are at risk. If your marriage is an emotionally unhealthy House of Bees that needs backing away from, your relationship with alcohol is a full-blown House of Angry Violent Bees Who Sting People For Fun And You’re Allergic to Bee Stings that you should run, not walk away from, before your abusive partner (the alcohol, in this tortured extended metaphor) seriously hurts or kills you. LEAVE. Alcohol might have been a decent anthropomorphized-beverage to hang out with once, you may have had some great times together, but now Alcohol is isolating you from others, monopolizing your time, trying to control you, and hurting you. Don’t hang out with Alcohol alone. Make Alcohol a small-doses friend you only see at parties, (mom-free oh dear god) family get-togethers, or dinners with mutual acquaintances. At the very least downgrade Alcohol’s status within your relationship circle from Primary to Secondary. I also think that in addition to being better off without your literal mother-f er husband, you may also be better off without your lover/boyfriend, who it sounds like is enabling and encouraging your bad relationship with alcohol, but you haven’t included as much information about him, and also he isn’t sleeping with one of your parents and rubbing your face in it so he’s kind of coming out ahead in the partner sweepstakes here. But if he has his own problems with alcohol, the two of you may not be healthy partners for one another right now, even with the best of intentions. Threesome/poly arrangements with abusers don’t work any better than one-on-one relationships with them do. I don’t have much to add that hasn’t already been said – except to validate that, yes!

Addonizio and Laux have taught tons of classes and stuff together, and are some of the most phenomenal poets to ever exist. (Big fan here, if that wasn’t obvious.) Together they wrote The Poet’s Companion, a book of poetry exercises on just about every possible topic and style, and the only book I have purposely neglected to return to the library. (And thus purchased through said library.) LW – maybe go find that book? You have a lot of feelings to work through, and will probably have more for a long time, and writing bad, angry, sorrowful, heartfelt, embarrassing poetry is a great way to process those feelings. Take it from one who has done exactly that. 1.) Accept that your marriage is over, and has been over for a long time. 8 months of voluntary separation is long enough to call this even without the other stuff. Contact a lawyer, and initiate a divorce. Follow the legal advice you’re given, but try to hold on to a goal of having the divorce complete as quickly as possible. Do not confuse monetary issues in a divorce with the opportunity to inflict emotional pain and suffering; that path only makes the lawyers richer. 2.) Seek stability in a new life. Find a new place to live, a new job or source of income, and start building the pieces of a new life. The life you had with your husband is over. The life you have with your lover should also become if not ended, at least untangled from him and the drinking you two share. It is time to start building a new life. 3.) Part of your new life will be new friends, and new co-workers and new acquaintances, which will give you room to let go of people from your old life. Your mother needs to be one of the people you leave behind with the rest of your old life. Right now, where you are, she is not an OK person to have in your life in any way. No contact with your mother, and possibly with anyone connected to her, because it’s not doing good things for you. Likewise, once your divorce is finalized, you will probably have no contact with your ex-husband. 4.) This is a really rough period in your life with some difficult challenges, and you shouldn’t be facing it all alone. Finding someone who specializes in helping people, a therapist or counselor, for example, will give you an ally you really need right now. 5.) If you’re a religious person, spend some time in church. If you’re not a religious person, I want you to consider the idea that karma, or retribution, or fate is a thing that is out of your hands. If there is suffering or pain or misery to be dealt out, that’s up to someone or something larger than you. Feel sad and hurt at the hurts you have, but let the anger pass on to whatever god/higher power/universal consciousness you believe metes out fate and punishment, and let that burden pass from you. There’s a lot to sort out for the LW here, and a lot of basic, day-to-day living stuff that needs to be set in order, and that’s going to take a lot of time and energy. Letting go of anger, working with experts for the divorce and the therapy, and letting go of the old life to build a new one are all connected. Oh LW, you’ve certainly been no innocent, but you don’t deserve this – I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Having suffered infidelity myself, I know the gut wrenching pain and the absolute disgust you have for the couple. And yeah, it IS infidelity of the most blatant kind, open marriage or no. It has all the passive aggressive hallmarks. In an open marriage you have a say on who gets let in your private circle. It sounds like he let in your arch enemy through the back door. This betrayal of privacy goes both ways. He will be leaking to her your marital privacy. She will be responding with your childhood. Oh I know exactly where your head is at. It’s the worst pain in the world and it doesn’t depart quickly. That said its the kind of flood which can clear the decks. It takes time, but walk through and you WILL be that “devil may care lady”. You’ll be happier than you’ve ever been. My advice? -Realise that every stalking session, even on facebook, buys you hours of pain. How many years do you want to be recovering from this?

– I would block, block, avoid, avoid as much as possible. Don’t even have the confrontation. Don’t even get third hand reports. Every second you spend on this shitshow is a second you don’t spend on your healing. – if you really want to forgive him approach it later on when you’re stronger and they’ve had their inevitable break up within two years. Without you watching, or caring, what’s the point? But I predict you’ll want someone who raises issues with your marriage fairly, with at least a warning shot ultimatum before plan cruel revenge. Hiya Captain, a tangential suggestion for you: Maybe reconsider using the Batman-slapping-Robin meme?

I know some survivors of physical childhood abuse whom it makes really uncomfortable. OMG -- my mom is online dating. (LifeWire) -- On her second time around, 51-year-old divorcee Susan Potter decided to try online dating to find her perfect match. But she ran into an unexpected obstacle: her daughter, April, 31, who became furious with her mother for even trying after she launched her Internet search for men last spring. "Every time I would go online, she'd have a hissy fit, and say I wasn't safe, and yadda yadda," says Potter, a nursing instructor from Buffalo Grove, Illinois. "Online, they are complete strangers, and they can lie to you about anything and everything." Plus, she points out, her mother "hadn't dated in years and years and years." Susan eventually quit online dating -- after too many miscues with men who, indeed, were not who they portrayed themselves to be -- and joined a singles club. She thinks that she has now met "probably the love of my life." But April was so upset with her mother's online dating that she refused to meet the boyfriend for eight months. As the baby boom generation ages and once-married boomers become single again, they increasingly are turning to the Web in search of dates. The number of eHarmony.com users who identify themselves as 45 years or older and divorced has more than doubled in the past eight years, says Gian Gonzaga, senior researcher for the site, which has had 20 million members since it started in 2000. Registered users ages 45-64 jumped 9 percent from 2007-2008, Becky Teraoka, the site's public relations manager said. "What people worry about most is the well-being of their parents. They're concerned their parents are out of the loop of dating and going to pick someone who is going to treat them badly," says Stacy Kaiser, a Southern California psychotherapist who works with the women on "DietTribe," Lifetimes' reality show about five female friends who try to lose weight and get fit. Kaiser is also a former consultant for the Jewish dating site JDate.com. Kaiser says she often counsels parents and children on working through issues that arise when a parent begins dating online. One of her clients hacked into his mother's e-mail account and, posing as her, sent rejections to potential suitors. Another followed her mother to an outdoor Starbucks rendezvous and repeatedly drove past her mother and her date, yelling at her. The mother eventually had to shout back: "Let me live my life!" For some children, this new role can mean supporting and encouraging a parent who is dating online, rather than throwing up roadblocks. When Eunice Webb, a 73-year-old widow and retired teacher in New Prague, Minnesota, grew lonely and contemplated buying a dog for company, her son, Todd Anderson, suggested she get a man instead. Anderson, a 40-year-old teacher in nearby Northfield, Minnesota, then persuaded his mother to try eHarmony, going so far as to help her set up her profile and read the e-mail responses she received. "I didn't know the difference between a Web page and an e-mail. I didn't have the guts to put myself out there. but he put me on," Webb says. Anderson had reason to believe in eHarmony, having used the service to find his wife, Tracy, whom he married in 2005. "When it came to my mother, I had absolutely no reservation. My mom's a pretty cautious person," he says. Still, says Kaiser, for many grown children, having a parent suddenly jump into the dating pool -- and a virtual one at that -- is a shock, especially if the parent begins dating numerous people, and perhaps having sex with new partners. "When it comes to the sex thing, I tell parents, 'Your adult child might not want to hear all the details,'" says Kaiser. "They may not even want to hear that you kissed.' People are uncomfortable imagining their 60-year-old mother making out in the back of a car." Kaiser does recommend parents and children in this situation keep lines of communication open, but children need to realize that "their parents have a life; their parents are grown up." Meanwhile, parents need to recognize their child's concerns. If a new boyfriend or girlfriend is now in the picture, says Kaiser, it's important for the child to spend time with that person, "to develop their own relationship." She recommends activities that both can enjoy, such as attending a sporting event together. PerfectMatch.com founder and CEO Duane Dahl, 46, put his enterprise to the ultimate test when he helped his own mother, who is in her late 60s, enroll in his service. "I think by spending time with our parents and helping them, we put them in a position where ultimately they can use the Internet to pursue friendship, companionship and even romance," says Dahl. "This is a great opportunity for us to help our parents and educate them." Instead, he reviewed some practical online tips with his mother and then directed her to his site's services which provides advice and insight to all members on optimizing their photos and profile content. My mom is online dating, and I’m thrilled (really) Decades after my parents’ divorce, my mother’s back in the dating pool. It’s about time. When I was 13, about three years after my parents divorced, I came home to find my mother kissing another man on our living room couch. I bolted to the nearest bathroom and started dry heaving. The man made an excuse and slunk out of the house. My mother, mortified beyond belief, got me a glass of water. After the retching subsided, I tried to explain to her that it wasn’t the sight of her necking with a stranger that had sent me running for the toilet — I had just gotten carsick on the ride home. And here’s the thing: I was telling the truth. Almost two decades later, I still can’t sit backward on a train. Even so, I’m sure my mother didn’t believe me (would you have?). We never spoke about that incident again, and she never again brought a man home. My parents’ divorce was amicable, and I know they still care for each other. A high school friend once remarked about how odd it was to see a divorced couple holding hands as we all walked, like one big, happy family, into a movie theater together. But I also know how much the divorce weighed on them. They’re deeply religious people, and I am sure they have struggled with the idea that ending their marriage was a sin, an admission of defeat, or some combination thereof. That made talking about the divorce hard, especially when I was younger. I remember my father pouring out his soul to me over an empty whiskey glass, while I awkwardly shoveled a bowl of ice cream, coconut, and hot fudge into my mouth. I remember my mother — this was before the couch canoodling — asking me why I seemed to have such a problem with one of her particularly sanctimonious suitors. At all of 12, I couldn’t find the words to explain to her that I wasn’t opposed to the idea of her dating, per se; it was just that this guy was a prig. And it didn’t get easier as I got older, either. My father found a new partner, and I absolutely adore her. But my mother never met anyone. That isn’t to say her life was empty — far from it. She raised three children. She worked for more than 20 years as a social worker and began volunteering almost immediately after she retired. She had friends, faith, and an uncanny ability to hum “Que Sera Sera” no matter what came to be. But despite all of that, a question gnawed at me — a question I could never quite screw up the courage to ask. Because as terrible as not knowing was, knowing might have broken my heart. And then, during a phone call a few weeks ago, she finally broached the subject. After 20 years of radio silence, my mom matter-of-factly informed me that she had started online dating. The conversation had its awkward moments, sure. We both knew what the much younger men who messaged her were looking for, even if we each played dumb for the other’s benefit. And I did have to cut her off as she told the story of one date (yes, Mother, I know what “having tea on the patio” leads to.). But still, the relief is palpable. I couldn’t be happier that she took the leap back into the dating world. Maybe even more important, I’m glad she told me. I needed her to take that first step. Because even after all this time, I still didn’t quite know how to say that what I want for her is the same thing she’s always wanted for me — to be happy. So, Mom, now that you’ve put your cards on the table, all I have to say is: go, swipe right, and be merry.


my mom is dating

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