Ask Amy: Husband Has Mommy Issues

By Amy Dickinson | July 30th, 2021

When did mom get priority over wife?

This man clearly has mommy issues Image

Dear Amy: My husband isn’t capable of speaking with ME about decisions in our marriage and insists on running to his mommy for everything.

Instead of planning events that he and I could attend, he has to ask his mommy. Instead of speaking to me about what’s going on in his life, it has to be mommy.

We’ve been together for eight years and married for six, and I cannot stand his constant need for his mommy’s input into OUR marriage.

His mom is great but doesn’t live with us, help with our kids, or pay our bills.

Am I wrong for feeling like I’m being treated as an outsider in my own marriage?

I’ve brought it up in the past but I’m “crazy” (in his words), and honestly I’m beginning to feel crazy in my marriage.

– Wife, Ready for Divorce

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Dear Ready: I completely agree with you that your husband should not discuss private matters or plans for the future with his mother before discussing them with you. When he chooses to communicate with his mother instead of with you, he is essentially partnering with her.

However, as long as you belittle both him and his (“great”) mother with this snide “mommy” language instead of treating both of them as adults you are actually reinforcing the immature behavior.

Your husband’s reaction to you is a classic and unacceptable defensive posture. He is not only denying your right to react to his behavior, but he is offending you in the process.

No matter the conflict — whether it’s how to load the dishwasher or how to claim your rightful space as your husband’s primary partner — you could perhaps start to nudge the narrative in a different direction if you looked at your own communication style.

Consider reading, “The Heart of the Fight: A Couple’s Guide to Fifteen Common Fights, What They Really Mean, and How They Can Bring You Closer,” by Judith Wright and Bob Wright (2016, New Harbinger).

The authors offer useful ways to “reframe” these arguments.

One core takeaway applies to your situation, and you should emphasize to your husband that you want to fight “for” your marriage, and not “against” each other.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2021 by Amy Dickinson

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