My Relationship Is Dying A Slow Death Because Of My Boyfriend’s Mother
I live with my parents. I found a boyfriend. He also lives with his parents. We dated for a year before we decided to introduce ourselves to each other’s parents. All my life, I’d never taken a guy home to introduce him to my parents because I know how this thing works. If I introduced all my boyfriends to my parents, I guess by this time they would be wondering what is wrong with me. I wasn’t enthused about the introduction. I told him, “Let’s give ourselves another year and see. Things can change, I’m not saying they would but life is like that.” He said, “Nothing will change unless you have plans of jilting me in the near future. If that’s also the case, then there’s no need for us to be together.” It was an argument I couldn’t win. I accepted the challenge and took him home.
From all indications, he was excited to have met my parents. My parents were excited too, judging from the conversations and the kind of questions they asked him. He spent over an hour talking to my parents and giving them his life story. He even went ahead to thank them for raising a woman as pure as me. My dad said, “I’m glad you’ve seen the work that has gone into her. When the time comes and we give you the list, I hope you won’t complain.” We all burst out laughing.
He’s the only child of his parents. It was one of the reasons why I dread the visit to his parents. I didn’t know how they were going to react. According to my boyfriend, I’m not the only girl he has introduced to his parents. Actually, I’m the third. I asked him, “Are you not worried about their judgment of you?” He said, “They understand the world better than I do so they shouldn’t have any problem.”
When we got there, the reception wasn’t how I expected it to be. I saw how my parents treated him when I introduced him. I expected something similar but it turned out dull and unexciting. His father didn’t look at me twice. He looked at my face only when I greeted him. He went back to reading the book in his hands. All the time we were there, he didn’t lift his head. My boyfriend said, “Dad, meet Paulina, my girlfriend.” He responded, “I see. Paulina, how are you? Good to have you here.” He didn’t look at me. His mother was in the kitchen when we got there. She came in to see me. She said, “Young lady, I hope you’re good? Welcome to our house.” I responded, “Thank you, mom.” She went back to the kitchen. We were both sitting there looking at his father, expecting a conversation from him. He said nothing.
No questions. No conversation or whatsoever. I started feeling uneasy. He told his father, “Dad, we will be going inside.” He nodded and said, “Great. Nice to meet you.” He still didn’t lift his head. When we went in I asked him, “Are you sure they like me?” He said, “They like you. It will take some time for them to warm up to you so just chill. Once they warm up to you, you’ll be begging them to unlove you.” I wasn’t convinced but I took his words for it.
Every now and then, his mother would call him to the kitchen. When he returns, I will ask him, “What did she say?” He will tell me, “Nothing, she wanted me to help her with something.” I thought the mother needed help so I went into the kitchen and jovially said to her, “Let me start learning your cooking skills so I can kill this boy with great food in the future.” She smiled. She said, “You’ll be cooking a lot because that guy loves food.” I asked, “What can I do to help?” She asked me to peel ginger. I did. I blended spices. I washed dishes. By the time I realized, the two of us were having fun in the kitchen.
When the food was ready,I asked her, “I would like to serve his father so teach me to do it.” I felt that would also open the way for me to have a conversation with him. I took his food to him in the hall. When he saw me coming with his food he smiled. He said, “You’ve started cooking already?” I said, “I’m helping mom out. She needs it.” I served his food and told him, “In case you need anything, kindly let me know.” He didn’t need anything. When he finished eating, I went to clear the table and arrange his sitting place for him. He said, “You’re way too kind. Thank you.” He looked at me this time. I smiled and left.
I spent the whole day with them. By the time I was leaving, I had won them over. I gave myself a pat on the back for a good work done. My boyfriend said, “You see they like you already. For some people, it comes very easy. Others need time to warm up to the occasion. My parents are like that.” I said, “I understand. It’s confusing when you meet people for the first time and they give you a lukewarm reception. I’m glad they like me now.”
My house is very small. To get into my room, you have to pass through the hall, in the full glare of everyone before you get into my room. Because of that, I didn’t want him to visit me often. Whenever he came around, we found a shade outside and sat beneath it until he was ready to leave. He didn’t find that exciting and I didn’t find it exciting too. I was the one visiting him all the time. His place was spacious. There was an opportunity for privacy and I wasn’t guilt-tripped anytime I was inside his room. I went to his place one weekend to relax. When I went there her mother was washing. I greeted her and went inside to see him. We were there watching TV when his mother knocked. She said, “Asiw, please come let me give you some gist.”
The excitement in her voice got me anxious. I rushed to her. She took me to where she was washing. She said, “Sit here. When I wash and put them here, you’ll rinse them and hang them in the dryline. We’ll wash and gossip at the same time. I was supposed to rinse and hang but by the time I realized, I was the one doing all the washing. I washed everything. The gist she promised didn’t come. After washing, she invited me to the kitchen. She said, “Do something for the house. Cook us your favorite dish. We are waiting.” She joined her husband in the hall and left the whole kitchen to me. My boyfriend would walk in every now and then and tease me; “Madam chef, kill us today with flavors.”
It happened again and again. Each time I went there on a weekend, she used me however she wanted. I hatched a plan. I decided never to go there on a weekend again. So as early as Thursday, I will start telling him that I would be busy over the weekend; “This weekend, a friend of my mom’s friend who is also the sibling of my mother’s uncle is dead. We’ll be attending the funeral this weekend so I won’t be able to see you.” For over a month, they didn’t see me in the house. One Friday morning, I had a call from a number I didn’t know. It was my boyfriend’s mother. She screamed on the Phone, “Eiiii my in-law, are you fighting with us? These days we don’t see you around at all. Please this weekend diɛ kindly let us see you. We miss your presence. Or you and my son are fighting?”
I said, “Mom, we are not fighting. I’ve been busy these days, that’s why I’m unable to visit. I’ll try to come around this weekend if only my mom won’t ask me to do anything for her.” She said, “I can talk to your mom if you want me to. So she will allow you to visit us. We really miss you.” When I hang up the call, I called my boyfriend. I said, “Your mother called me.” He said, “She had been asking about you every day. She thinks we are fighting so I gave your number to her to call you and verify for herself.” I said, “She shouldn’t worry. I will come around this weekend.”
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Early Saturday morning I was there. This woman came to hug me. She was all over me, showering praises and telling me how she had missed me. That should have given me a clue that this woman was up to something but stupid me couldn’t read the signs. I was in the room with my boyfriend when she came to knock. She entered. She said, “I’m taking Paulina with me today to run some errands. Stay home with your father until we return.” I looked at his face and he looked back. When his mother left, I asked him, “Do you know where she’s taking me to?” He said, “I don’t know. She didn’t tell me about it until now. This woman really likes you. She even makes plans with you in mind without telling me.”
I followed her. We took three different trotro before we got to our destination. She never mentioned where we were going. We got to a house where there were a lot of women wearing black and cooking in big pots. It looked like they were preparing meals for a funeral. Immediately we got there, this woman announced, “I’ve brought the best cook here today to cook graduate meals for us.” All the women there turned to look at me. They believed her so they started giving me control over the cooking. All my life, I’ve never cooked food for people larger than my family but this woman set me up there to do something I’d never done before. We were there until sunset. After braving the scorching sun and inhaling smoke all day she told me, “You look tired. Let him massage you when you get home.”
My relationship is slowly dying because of how my boyfriend’s mom treats me. Since that incident, I’ve never stepped foot into their house again. I’ve mastered the weekend excuses so whenever he calls to ask me to come around, I give him one excuse and go my way. My boyfriend is a good person. He ticks the boxes for me but it looks like I have to go through his mother before I get to him and that is making the relationship look like a mountain too high to climb. Yes, I’ve had a soft conversation about it with him. About the way his mother uses me when I’m around. He said, “She likes you. That’s all. You complained when they didn’t give you attention. Now you’re in the middle of her attention. Why are you complaining?”
How do I solve a problem like this? How do I take his mother’s attention from me so I can have a free heart and spirit to enjoy my relationship? Please advice.