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What To Do If You're Married to a Mama's Boy

Find out how to save your marriage, even if your husband puts his mom first


Your husband’s strong relationship with his mom and family might have won you over when you were dating. But now you realize that you might be married to a mama’s boy – and it could destroy your relationship. Between your mama’s boy husband, who turns to his mother for everything and displays signs of immaturity, and your mother-in-law, who is keen on remaining the number one woman in her son’s life, you’re about ready to tear out your hair. But before you kick your mama’s boy husband and mother-in-law to the curb, you might try understanding their relationship and showing your husband that you should now be his number one priority.

The first step is determining if you really have a mama’s boy on your hands. Here are some of the signs that your husband is a full-fledged mama’s boy:

  • His mom’s wish is his command. If his mother wants him to run an errand, take her to the doctor, eat with her, etc., he always obliges no matter what you would like to do.

  • He wants daily contact or nearly daily contact with his mom either via phone or in person.

  • He always chooses his mom over his wife and children, if he has them.

  • He never moved far away from his mom, or he still lives with her (and now so do you).

  • He has trouble making decisions without his mom, and might expect you to baby him.

  • He might have financial ties to his mom, which keep him on a short leash with her.

    Once you have established that you are indeed married to a mama’s boy, you have to determine what behavior is tolerable and what is not for you personally. For instance, you might be all right with your husband talking to your mother-in-law once or twice a day, as long as it doesn’t infringe on your time together. You might not like it if he turns to her with problems that he should be discussing with you. You might be fine with your in-laws living in the next town over, but you might not like it if your husband insists you live in the same house with them.

    A big mistake many wives make is blurting their feelings out to their husband or mother-in-law in anger without thinking. Herb Goldberg, a practicing psychologist in Los Angeles and author of What Men Still Don’t Know about Women, Relationships, and Love (Barricade Books, June 2007), says women need to keep the peace and not make an issue of their husband’s relationship with their mom, even if it crosses a line. Instead, he says women need to develop a strong, personal identity, set limits with their husband and not their mother-in-law, and stand firm.

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