My Mother Has Too Many Boyfriends

Dear Dr. G.,

Hello Dr. G. I really don’t know what to do anymore. I am losing it. My mom has
had so many boyfriends and she just can’t stay stable with anyone. She just
got a new boyfriend about 2 months ago and she already says she is completely
in love with him and that he’s the love of her life. She has said that with all of the boyfriends she has had. I am 18 years old. She is 34 years old. She has been doing  this since I was 9 years old but it’s come to the extreme that she prefers him over her only family and the children she has which include me and my 12 year old brother. She completely loses it for that person. That person has lied so much to her in every way that she just doesn’t want to see it. He has promised her a million things and up until now when she tries to talk to him about the things that he has promised he ignores her. She believes him all the time. I would move out but I can’t. I just can’t leave my brother by himself not knowing where he is going to end up if I don’t protect him. Dr. please help me with this situation. I am struggling so much. It has come to the point that I am just so tired of this. I have a history of struggling with depression. I don’t have anyone to talk to about this. I am really hurt inside from things my mom has done. I don’t feel like I respect and love her as my mother anymore. Thank you doctor for any suggestions.

A Distressed Daughter

Dear Daughter,

You truly are in a very difficult situation. I see a number of issues going on. I am truly concerned about your mental health and the depression that you have struggled with, your anxiety about your mother’s situation and your concern that you can’t move on with your life because of what that might mean for your 12 year old brother. You state that your mother prefers her boyfriend over you and your brother. Additionally, you are concerned about your mother’s boyfriend choices and particularly about the behavior of her current boyfriend. You are shouldering many concerns,way too many for an 18 year old daughter. In an ideal situation your mother would be taking care of herself and you and your brother and you would feel less responsibility at home and perhaps would be able to move on with your life. Instead, because of the unfortunate set of circumstances that you are dealing with, you feel stuck and frustrated and as a result prone to depression. That makes sense to me. I would be surprised if such a situation did not wreak havoc on a teenage child’s life.

Your current situation occurs in the context of a long history of familial instability. Your mother was quite young when she had children and has probably been searching for a partner who would make her life easier. Sadly, it sounds that she falls for men too quickly, gets overly immersed in her relationships and puts her kids on the back burner. I am truly sorry for this. Your mother sounds desperate to be in a good relationship and as a result seems to make bad choices. I am not sure what your fears are for your brother if you move out but it sounds like they are quite valid.

I have a number of suggestions for you. First, find someone to talk to. You describe feeling lonely and hurt. Perhaps you have a school counselor that you can talk to. Maybe there is an adult relative or friend that you can begin a conversation with. In addition and most important, I strongly encourage you to find a therapist to talk to. You need to deal with the depression and feelings of hopelessness that are so powerful and present in your life. I am not sure what your mother had done to you and your brother but you must share this with a therapist who is in a position to help you and the family. If there is abuse going on then the therapist will contact the appropriate agencies. Perhaps, your mother will be referred to a therapist during this process. She, too, needs help and has needed help for a long time.

Please take my advice. You cannot continue shouldering the problems of your family alone. I also hope that you will get back to me.

Good luck with your very difficult set of circumstances. I believe that you should seek treatment and hold on to hope that things will change and get better. This will take time and the involvement of a professional in your life. Not a single one of us would be able to handle your set of circumstances single handedly. There is no stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment. In fact, it is a sign of strength.

Dr. G.

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Dear Daughter,


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