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Hi Piranna,

Once again, I really feel for you because of all the parallels to what I went through with my ex and his family. Although neither of us is remotely traditional or religious or at all interested in institutions like marriage, we moved in together right from the start and genuinely planned on spending our lives together. So I understand the horrible struggle a couple faces when one partner doesn't like the other's family and especially the often impossible, painful predicament it puts the person's whose family is the problem in. To many people, especially men, choosing between their true love and their family (moms particularly) is an impossible choice, but when it has to be made, most men, unless they are unusually mature, strong-willed, or independent, choose their family. This is what my ex ultimately chose after years of his family manipulating him and wearing him down, trying to regain unchallenged control over and access to him. I lost, and it broke my heart. I am very scared that the same thing might happen to you. While I am so happy that you got to express your feelings and vent your frustration, I still am seriously concerned about your future happiness. The reasons for that aren't really the debt or their spending so much as the personality of his mom (domineering, possessive, manipulative, shameless, unyielding, unwilling to share or concede anything) and your boyfriend (still living at home, not completely mature and established, still young, willing to bend over backwards to make his mom happy, won't hold even the worst betrayal against her, tends to put her feelings above all else, and from what you've said before, isn't he also quite insecure and jealous?) When you marry a man, you become part of his family for good--can you honestly see yourself happy being part of his family for the rest of your life? It's nice to think about keeping away and keeping your kids away from her, but realistically, she'll always be a huge, meddling, scheming, smoking, and screaming presence in your life as long as you are with your BF. Are there any circumstances under which you'd be okay with this, say if your BF agreed to relocate and limit contact with his mom (though I wouldn't count on him doing anything to displease her).

It seems like a terrible tragedy when family gets in the way of a happy couple living happily ever after, but I know firsthand that it can and does happen. When one partner's family (or even just one family member) makes it a mission to fight any significant other for control over him or her using any means of manipulation at their disposal, it doesn't seem that the significant other is able to hold out against such an onslaught permanently. I couldn't, and though I miss my ex terribly, I'm still overwhelmed with relief that some of his family is forever gone from my life...the idea of spending the rest of my life linked to them at holidays, family dinners, etc. made me literally sick. Ultimately, my ex's happiness was a secondary priority for some of his family which they eagerly sacrificed in their quest to eliminate any competition for his love, time, and attention...I truly hope that the same doesn't happen with your BF if indeed he is the man you are meant to be with. I guess time will tell, but I can't warn you strongly enough to be very careful before walking down the aisle with only your second serious boyfriend at such a young age. It's one thing to get married if he's more successfully financially and you don't see that changing, but when it's the other way around, you're running a grave financial risk by legally merging with someone with fewer assets, let alone significant debt that I can envision never quite going away unless he finally finds a way to stand up to his mom once and for all. But even then, I worry that she'll keep finding ways to wring money out of him for doctors, medicines, nursing homes, etc...I am just so worried about you Piranna, because I remember how angry and hurt I was when I was in a similar situation. All I can do is hope yours works out much better and less painfully than mine did...I really wish you all the best and will be rooting for everything to turn out wonderfully, no matter how it all unfolds :).

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