By Jody Valley
Mother may I?
Q: My girlfriend, “Lydia,” doesn’t have the gumption to tell her mother to quit interfering with her life (which translates into Our Life)!
Lydia talks to her mother every day, and I mean every day, without fail. Her mother wants to know every little detail of what is going on in our lives, and then proceeds to tell Lydia how to handle both the big things and the little every day things we are encountering. Unfortunately, Lydia believes her mother knows all. If her mother tells her she should do something, Lydia will do it even though I might not think it is the best solution.
I always end up having to change my mind and go along with what her mother wants. An example of this is that the other day Lydia and I were discussing redecorating our living room. Lydia’s mother came right over to see what colors we were choosing to make sure that they all worked (according to her). Lydia and I picked out a color we liked, but by the time mom got done with her advice, Lydia no longer liked that color. In fact she thought it was “tacky.” Gee, I wonder why! Lydia and I had decided to wait to buy furniture until we got all of our other bills paid, but her mom convinced Lydia that we could just go to a place that does “same as cash” and get everything now, so of course that is what Lydia wants to do.
When I told Lydia I just want her mom to butt out she get all mad and cries. She says we should be happy that her mom cares so much about us and takes such and interest in our lives. I’m not saying I want Lydia’s mom out of our lives. In fact, most of the time, when she’s not telling us what to do, I like her. It is just that I want Lydia to stand up to her mother when it comes to our making decisions.
How do I make Lydia see that we are not a threesome, there are some things she shouldn’t tell her mother, and that we make the decisions for our lives, not her mother?
A: From Lydia’s behavior that you have described – telling her mom everything – she must see her mom as her confidant, as well as probably not having faith in her own ability to make adult decisions. And my guess is that her mom lives through Lydia instead of having her own life. Tell Lydia – in a calm, non-accusing manner – what it feels like to you when she tells her mom everything, and when she always takes her mom’s advice instead of sticking with what you two had been happy with. See if the two of you can agree on the topics that you would rather her not discuss with her mom. This type of couples work takes a lot of listening to each other, as well as trying to understand where the other person is coming from. Make sure you both understand each other’s feelings and opinions before trying to come up with any solutions.
Q: We went to the Gay Pride march in Ferndale this weekend and I must say I was appalled with some of the behaviors I encountered. I had my two daughters with me and I have never exposed her to the foul language I heard, the type of messages on t-shirts or the lewd behavior. This is called “Gay Pride,” and if I am teaching my children to not be ashamed of having a gay mother, I need to have gay places that I can take her that are fun, without being bawdy. It was not like I was taking them to a bar! Can’t people take their bedroom behavior and filthy mouths somewhere private so we can all enjoy “Gay Pride,” and feel the pride?
Proud but disappointed
A: Not having been there myself, and not knowing what behaviors you are referring to, I have a difficult time responding to this. However, I’m sure there are folks out there that were there, and have an opinion one way or another. What do you say folks? Was this your experience?
Have a problem? Send your letters to: “Dear Jody,” C/O Between The Lines, 20793 Farmington Road, Suite 25, Farmington, MI 48336. Or, e-mail: [email protected]. Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. The “Dear Jody” column appears weekly.