My mother does not approve of my relationship because my partner is infertile

The issue: I am in my 30s and have been with my current partner for 5 years. I have known from the beginning that she was infertile. I have never been that keen on children myself and so it has never been an issue. My mother on the other hand feels aggrieved by it, mainly because I am her only child and her only chance of becoming a grandmother. She has confronted me on many occasions about this, and her relationship with my partner has deteriorated to the extent that they are barely on speaking terms. I love my mother and I am grateful for all the sacrifices she made raising me as a single mother, however, my partner is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, and so I am not sure how to deal with the situation.

Nina’s answer: I salute your mother for giving you the best possible upbringing she could under the circumstances. I know the sacrifices that single mothers make, and I can understand why you feel the way you do toward her. Having said that, I cannot ignore the fact that your mother is interfering in your life and that this is having a negative impact on you and your relationship with your partner. Although you will always be your mother’s son, you are an adult, capable of making decisions for yourself, and it seems that your mother does not see it that way. She obviously gives a high importance to you having a child, higher it seems than your happiness as a whole. Her desire to become a grandmother is clouding her judgement, in my view.

I am afraid that unless she changes her mind and accepts your choice of partner, you will have to choose between the two. I am not suggesting that you sever all ties with your mother, instead, what I am suggesting is that you see less of her in the future. That way, she will get the message loud and clear that her behaviour is unacceptable. This is the only way in order for you to keep your sanity and above all, for the sake of your relationship with your partner. Imagine being in your partner’s shoes and having to deal with an in-law who disapproves of you and does not make an effort to hide it. It is not fair for your partner to have to put up with your mother too often. This is your life after all, not your mother’s. We all have to make difficult decisions at some point in our lives, we cannot expect issues to take care of themselves or just go away. It is up to you to decide whether pleasing your mother is more important than your personal happiness.

Nina Steele is agony aunt. Send any dilemma you may have to: [email protected]

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