I can’t seem to accept my mother’s boyfriend

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female college student in my 20s. My mother appears to have a boyfriend, and I hate myself for not being able to accept this fact because it makes me seem childish.

She is a single mother. A few years after she divorced my biological father, when I was in the sixth grade, I peeked at her cell phone and realized she might be seeing someone.

My mother was very busy at work at the time and I wanted to spend more time with her. I couldn’t stop crying with the thought that her boyfriend was more important to her than I was.

But I told myself that I didn’t care, and about 10 years have now passed since then. It seems she is still in a relationship with him, and I overheard her on a call with him the other day. She’s a mother and a woman at the same time. She has taken great pains to raise me and loves me. Even though I know this in my head, I still harbor some awkward feelings somewhere deep inside me.

I thought about telling my mother how I feel, but I just can’t do it. I know this is a small problem, but please tell me what I should do.

— H, Chiba Prefecture

Dear Ms. H:

Your problem is not a trivial one. You have been patient in this situation for more than 10 years since you were in the sixth grade. I think the time has come for you to make a decision.

Since your mom got divorced, she has worked hard as a single mother to provide for you. Even though the man she has been seeing has existed in her life, ostensibly, she has lived solely in the role as your mother.

But she might be thinking that it is time to break free from the role of mother. From a third-party point of view, she is a great mother and I think she can now choose to pursue her own happiness.

However, I think it is only natural that you, her daughter, find it difficult to be so understanding. Suffering from the loneliness of having your mother taken away from you is proof of how important she has been to you. Don’t blame yourself or feel guilty about your mother.

As you think things through, how about honestly telling your mother how you feel? Your mother might already be aware of your feelings. Even though things will probably be tough for both you and your mother for a while, I think it is an unavoidable path.

When you talk to her, please also remember to express your gratitude to her.

—Masami Ohinata, university president