The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a female part-time worker in my 20s. I got married six months ago and now live with my husband. I’ve been getting more and more sick of my husband and his mother frequently contacting each other.
He is her eldest son, and his father died when he was a child, which apparently helped them make their bond stronger than usual. They are planning to have his mother’s house rebuilt in the near future to make it into a two-family house, to which my husband and I will move and live under the same roof with his mother and younger brother.
I understand they need to discuss the room planning for the new house. But his mother calls and emails him so often, while my husband similarly contacts her very frequently. On weekends, my husband visits his mother’s place to talk with her, which makes me feel lonely and unhappy. I’m also concerned he may end up talking only with his mother after we start living in the two-family house.
I’ve complained to him about this many times, which probably has driven him to contact his mother behind my back recently while I’m taking a bath. Once, he said he would go shopping at a supermarket alone. I later learned it was an excuse for calling his mother.
I’m not certain I can continue my married life.
H, Saitama Prefecture
Dear Ms. H:
You’ve been married just for six months, so I understand you want your husband to direct his attention only to you. However, it’s unwise for you to have driven him to contact his mother behind your back.
Rebuilding his mother’s house is a large-scale project that requires discussing various matters. I suppose your husband is making a lot of efforts in this project for your well-being. If you don’t want to live with his mother, you should say it as soon as possible before it’s too late. If you agree to living with your mother-in-law, you should cooperate to build a good relationship with her.
I can tell you, based on my own experiences, that it’s only natural for mothers and their children in single-parent families to have strong bonds because the younger ones are usually involved in household management and have supported their mothers since they were very young.
Additionally, mother-and-son relationships involve different forms of affection from those of couples. You should not mix them up, or you will be trapped.
It’s certain your mother-in-law most wishes to see her son and his wife be happy together. You will be helped by her in the future, particularly when you are raising your young children. In my opinion, it is more advantageous for you to open up to your mother-in-law and build a friendly relationship with her, rather than compete against her over your husband.
I believe developing a relationship with her will help assure you of a peaceful life from now on.
Megumi Hisada, writer