Q&A: Wanting to control my relationships


Is it appropriate for my mum to demand that I – a thirty-something independent woman – allow her to “vet” the men in my life? She insists it’s her prerogative and responsibility as a parent. I have a potential suitor who’s visiting from out of town, and my mother says she needs four hours alone with him so that she can “check him over” and “tell him about me.”

Answer: Unfortunately, it sounds like your mum has serious control issues. Wise motherly advice is a good thing when it’s offered in the right way. But your mum needs to understand that advice isn’t advice until it’s requested. Whatever your mother may think, at this stage of your life it’s not her place to tell you what to do.             

If you think she’d be open to hearing your concerns, we’d suggest you talk to her about your feelings. You might say something like, “Mum, I appreciate your concern for me, but I need to make these types of decisions for myself.” Then let her know that she simply doesn’t have the right to subject your prospective boyfriends to some kind of interrogation. If she listens and agrees, you’ve gained your point. If not, you may need to keep your distance. Boundaries are good for all kinds of relationships – especially relationships with controlling and manipulative personalities.  

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t seek wise counsel from others who know you well. In fact, we’d strongly encourage you to enlist the help of a marriage counsellor if your relationship has or may soon be moving in the direction of marriage. Pre-marital counselling offers the best option for determining if your relationship is marriage material before the ring is purchased and the invitations mailed out.

Call our Family Support Services at 03-3310 0792 or write to support@family.org.my for a referral and other resources.

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