The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a female college student in my 20s. My mom, who raised me single-handedly, told me she has a boyfriend. I don’t know how to respond to this.
I’m really grateful to my mom for raising me thus far, and I really want her to be happy. I think it’s great she’s found someone since I’m an adult and independent.
However, I can’t shake the feeling she’s left me all alone. We spent so much time with it just being the two of us at home, and it feels like I’m suddenly being thrown out.
My mom divorced my dad when I was little. My dad got married a few years later and had a child with his new wife. I feel conflicted about that, too. I feel like they’ve both abandoned me.
I told my mom, “Go for it” about her boyfriend, but deep down I feel like I just can’t support her in this. My mom asked me whether I wanted to meet him, but if it feels as painful as it did when I met my dad’s new child, then I don’t want to meet him.
Should I tell her directly that I just can’t reconcile my feelings about this or should I hide how I feel?
B, Hyogo Prefecture
Dear Ms. B:
You’re trying your hardest to push down your own feelings so you don’t make your mother sad. But I think it’s made your heart full of many emotions. I think you feel so much pain about this because you’re such a nice person.
I’m sure your mother and you have overcome a great deal together after your parents separated. Feeling that deep connection you have with your mother, you decided on the noble course of pushing your own feelings aside to see that she’s happy. There’s no higher example of filial piety than this.
I believe your mother is aware of your complicated feelings toward her boyfriend. I think she must’ve picked up on them when she saw your reaction to her question of whether you wanted to meet him. Therefore, I think it’s best for you to directly tell her your feelings about being left all alone. She may pour her heart out to you, as well.
Whether later on in life or earlier on, all children or parents will inevitably leave one another, so I think this timing might be a blessing for you. I think if you had gotten a boyfriend first, you would’ve maybe ended up worrying about your mother feeling all alone. Your mother’s love for you is eternal, so please don’t worry and support her in finding happiness.