I recently had a conversation with a 43-year-old Korean man I’ll call Sam, who was looking for an American girlfriend. He and his mom were born in America, yet his mom likes to follow Korean traditions and customs. Sam is somewhat conservative and lives in his own immaculately kept home.
He confided how difficult it is to find a “suitable” woman. He is frustrated because many young women are, according to him, sloppy and coarse and can’t carry on a conversation without using the “F” and “S” words in almost every sentence. Aware that crude language is common in everyday usage and seemingly accepted, he still doesn’t like it. As for tattoos on women, he asks, “What will tattoos look like when women are old and their skin is flabby, wrinkled and covered with spots?”
Right or wrong, by today’s standards, Sam is a “stick in the mud.” He knows it and doesn’t care what anyone thinks.
Sam says, “Take it or leave it.” Whew!
His REAL Problem
As we continued to talk, it became clear Sam has more than a problem with young women. He also has a mother who rearranges his already neatly arranged kitchen when she frequently visits. Believe it or not, Mama tells Sam he shouldn’t get married, and she means it! Some would shrug it off as “she’s just being mom,” but it bothers Sam.
Current TV shows demonstrate problems adult sons frequently experience with interfering, controlling mothers. The TLC show, “I’m In Love With A Mama’s Boy,” highlights the issue, and it is disturbing and uncomfortable to watch. If it were not illegal, I’d like to slap those mothers up one side and down the other for emasculating their sons.
Another show on TLC, “90-Day Fiancé,” highlights (among other men) 30+year-old Colt’s unhealthy relationship with his mother. Mama messes up his relationship with young women by deliberately and continually butting in and trying to control him. Mama is Colt’s best friend, constant companion, and she has made it clear that no woman will ever be good enough for her boy.
“I Come First!”
EVERY ONE of the mothers featured on these shows firmly believes SHE IS and always will be number one in her son’s life. A wife will ALWAYS be number two. These women are so screwed up and so sure of their rightful place in their son’s life that I don’t believe counseling would help. Their issues require far more help than a counselor can provide. For example, for the mother-son dance at her son’s wedding, this Mama chooses to do the Tango, during which she wails, “hold me like you mean it.” Is there a psychiatrist in the house? (Mama is in the photo below.)
Because I hold the prestigious Buttinsky Award for telling people (who don’t want to hear it) what to do, here are just a few miscellaneous tips for Mama that will hit her like a lead balloon:
X – Please don’t call your son every day to chit-chat. He has a job.
X – Don’t have sleepy time tea with him every evening while his girlfriend waits alone for him. It’s creepy.
X – Don’t tag along on dates.
X – If you are financially well-heeled, please don’t use your money to try to control him.
X – Don’t ignore his girlfriend or make snide or passive-aggressive remarks about her.
X – If his girlfriend is of another race or culture and you don’t like it, get over it!
X – If your son wants to live with his girlfriend, that’s none of your business. Do not invite yourself to “stay over” or expect to have “your room” in their love nest or a key to their front door.
X- How they furnish their apartment is also none of your business. Unless he and his Sweetie ask for your help, they can decorate it all by themselves.
A hot flash for Mama: Has it EVER occurred to you that perhaps your son wants to live with his girlfriend to get away from YOU? You have your life. Let your son have his life. Retract your cloying claws and encourage your son to be the alpha male God intended him to be instead of an emotional, feminized eunuch hanging onto your apron strings.
If you are a widow, find a man of your own to manage and manipulate. If you are unhappily married, are you the reason? What does your husband mean to you? Is he anything more than a voiceless, grin-and-bear-it provider? Are you using your son as a stand-in for the love and emotional support you don’t get from your husband – perhaps because you do not give your husband the love and emotional support he needs? Think about it.
Don’t try to heal or hide loneliness or unhappiness with your husband by fixating on your son. If you don’t stop interfering in your son’s life, he may eventually develop enough backbone to declare “enough is enough” and cut you out of his life and the lives of potential grandchildren. If that happens, don’t complain. Look at the part you played that made that tragic situation inevitable.
Finally, I respect long-held family customs and traditions, but I don’t respect customs that deprive any family member of their right to happiness and independence. Give your son freedom to live his life however he wants to. Encourage it. To keep him in your life, let him go. It is in giving away unselfish love that we get back far more than we imagined possible. Try it; you will like it.