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What Can I Do About My Controlling Mother?

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Dear Rabbi,

I am fairly new in the dating phase in my life and I am 27. I don’t know whether or not to consider my situation embarrassing, or whether or not to wish things were different in my current predicament. I will be frank, I am almost 100% sure my mom is a control freak and being raised in that environment may be a result of why I have never been with someone (though there have been some benefits).

Now, I am well aware of the commandment “honor thy father and mother,” but I’m not sure how to handle this. I would like to be with someone without feeling like my life revolves around my mom.

I’m pretty down to earth and my peers know I am no mirror image of my mom, though I think she means well. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one that has this issue. Any advice on the proper way to handle/approach/overcome this bump in my journey in life so that I can move on and be with someone?

Thank you for your time,

-Concerned Single

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Dear Concerned Single,

I need to preface my response with a disclaimer. I’m not a psychologist or therapist, and the issues that you are dealing with might require the expertise of those professions. I also don’t know your particular family situation. My answer is just my personal opinion based on what you’ve written, so you can take it or leave it.

Considering that you’re on a Jewish dating site, I don’t think you have to worry about being the only one dealing with a stereotypical traditional Jewish mother. Everyone reading this is nodding in agreement, and empathy. Granted, some mamas might be more “controlling” than others, but in general they all want the best for their child and want to do everything they can to make it so. Accept that fact and love them for it. But as an adult, you are the only one who can make decisions for you. The only way your mom, or anyone for that matter, can have any control over you is if you give her that power.

The commandment to honor your parents does not give them the right to tell you what to do, how to live your life and whom to marry. Your mom made her decisions and is living her life based on them. Now it’s your turn to do the same. Stop being your mom’s little child and start being the adult you want to (and should) be. Make your own dating and relationship decisions and choices, and stand by them. You can ask your mom for advice if you like (I’m sure she’s got a lot of wisdom and experience), but at the end of the day it’s your decision to make, and your life to live.

Cut the umbilical chord, take ownership of your life, and start relating to your mom like a loving and respectful adult. Tell her you love her and appreciate her advice and guidance, and listen to what she has to say. Then do what you think is right.

Wishing you much mazal with your dating — and your relationship with your mom.

Arnie

Rabbi Arnie Singer offers dating and relationship advice on both of his sites: Jcoach.com and ItoIdo.com. He is the author of From I to I Do: How to Meet, Date and Marry Your Mr. Right.
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One Comment »

  • Tina says:

    I never had a mother growing up. I’d take a controlling Jewish mother any day. I used to get sad seeing mother’s and daughters shopping together or at formal events so, be grateful.

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