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Caroline Rules

How Do I Deal with My Boyfriend's Live-In Mom?

Caroline Manzo puts the real in The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and her fans relate to the reality star's no-nonsense attitude, focus on family and, above all, abundant common sense. Check back at Glo every Monday as Caroline helps solve your most pressing dilemmas.

The Dilemma: I think you are a great mother and have sons who love you very much, so I'm hoping you will help me with this situation. I moved in with my boyfriend seven months ago — we are amazing together and have been for the past two years. We plan on getting married and starting a family soon. Our only problem is that my boyfriend's mom lives with us — she's been a widow since he was three — and him not living with her isn't an option. He's a good son, but I'm not sure if I can deal with this; I feel like she's the "other woman." She's always home and we have minimal privacy. I feel like we can't possibly grow together if she is around. I love him so much, but this is causing a lot of uneasiness. Any suggestions? I really need your help! —Natalie

Caroline's Ruling: Good question, Natalie. Not so sure you're going to like my answer! You say that living without your boyfriend's mother is not an option. According to whom? Is this what your boyfriend wants or what his mother wants? If this is a condition that your boyfriend has, then you need to make a decision. Have you ever had the conversation regarding living arrangements before you moved in? Was this something that was understood from the beginning? If so, why did you put yourself in this situation?

I can understand where your boyfriend's coming from, and part of me loves him to death for it. Another part of me needs to know how far he takes his mother's role in the household. There comes a time when you have to put your mother aside and recognize your partner as the “lady” of the house. Do you play that role in his eyes? If not, that's a problem that needs to be addressed. I will say these things take time. Once you get married, I think you'll see a change, especially if you have children. The roles will gradually shift with time. ...Read More

Another question I have is what's his mom's attitude? Is she bossy and standoffish or does she lay low? If she's pleasant to be around and contributes to the household, then you really don't have too much to beef about. So she lives with you, big deal. As long as she doesn't sleep in bed with you guys, there are worse things in life.

In fact, if her biggest sin is being home all of the time, trust me, you're ahead of the game! You can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family. Learn to adapt with the situation in a positive way. It is what it is. If there really is no other option, you can learn to live together in harmony or you can end the relationship.

Your boyfriend clearly is a devoted son and, from reading between the lines, he seems like a wonderful partner as well. The decision is yours to make.

  • From marriage dilemmas to family issues, Caroline's got the answers!

    Photo by Michael T. Greco
Caroline Rules
How Do I Deal with My Boyfriend's Live-In Mom?
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