I’m a newlywed but tend to prioritize my mother over my husband

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female company employee in my 20s. I tend to be overly attached to my mother, so I have a feeling that I’ll live my life as she wishes.

I got married this year and we live near my parents’ house. When my mother tells me, “I’ve made a few things, so I want you to come over,” I rush over to her house several times a week after work. When she says she wants to go on a trip with me on the rare occasion I have time off, the two of us will travel alone together.

I enjoy being with my mother, but there are times when I hate myself for doing whatever I can to make her happy. Even though I’m a newlywed, I sometimes prioritize plans with my mother over spending time with my husband.

My father and husband have yet to say anything about me frequently visiting my parents’ house or going on trips alone with my mother. However, my mother often complains to me about my father and husband. I don’t like it when my mother says she’s unhappy with my husband’s educational background or income, but I end up agreeing with her just to keep the peace.

Please give me advice on how I can deal with my mother in the future, as it seems that we are dependent on each other.

S, Yamagata Prefecture

Dear Ms. S:

For the past 40 years, I have been researching how parent-child relationships change after the child gets married, and I have found many cases in which the mother and daughter get along very well.

You say that you are overly attached to your mother. However, I don’t see a problem as long as you’re aware of it. If you don’t automatically accept all of your mother’s opinions, but actually dislike them, I think you’re fine.

But there are issues that could arise when certain life events occur. You might have a child, and your father is probably nearing retirement age. When that happens, I’m sure you want to avoid having her meddle in your family.

In my research, there were cases in which wives were so attached to their mothers that their husbands asked them who was more important. The wives said their mothers were more important, and the couples eventually divorced. To prevent that from happening, I think it’s good to start taking action to let your mother be able to let you be independent.

The best thing you can do is to show your mother how well you and your husband get along. Show her how affectionate you are with your husband and how in love you are. Talk about how great he is. How about creating more situations like that? Then, maybe, your mother will gradually let you go.

Masahiro Yamada, university professor

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 23, 2022)