Dear B. Scott: I am a 26 year old single male. I was in a 4-year-relationship, during which I became attached to my now-ex's mother. We have lots of fun together and are a lot alike. A year ago, his mom and I found out that he had cheated on me with a close friend of mine. I was at his mother's house making her dinner when he came over to tell me we were done and he wanted me to leave his mothers house. She was quick to defend me and said "If anyone is leaving here, it's going to be you. He takes care of me and I love him as my own son. You are not going to treat him this way."
Soon thereafter, he moved an hour away. Hasn't shown up to see his mother since then, though they speak on the phone almost every day. I felt awful for coming in between the two of them. His mother is 70 and has asked me to continue helping her out around the house and with her errands. So for the last year, I have also been living with her and taking care of her: doing her laundry, taking her grocery shopping, accompanying her to shows, and cooking and cleaning around the house. She has really become almost like a second mother and I know she really does love me like a son, but is this a weird situation I put myself in? Have I violated some unwritten rule here?
Dear love muffin,
This letter warmed my heart. I would only hope that my future or former partners would have this type of relationship with my loved ones. Just because you break up with a person, doesn’t always mean you break up with their family.
I think what you’re doing is admirable, so long as you’re doing it for the right reasons. I would do some soul searching to make sure that you’re helping her truly because of your love for her and not to subconsciously remain close to your ex.
I would continue to help her, but I would also have a conversation with your ex and his mother in an attempt to get everyone on the same page. You and your ex should work toward developing and maintaining a healthy relationship, if possible.
However, you can’t expect your ex to be 100% okay with you helping his mother. He might even start to resent you for having a closer relationship with her than he does.
Often times, people don’t realize that a good person is in their life until someone else starts to take notice. While he may not like it, you’re the one that’s taking care of his mother in ways that he should. Don’t let anyone change you from the good natured person you have proven yourself to be.
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