Ask the therapist: My mother will not stop talking to my ex-boyfriend

In the “Consulting Therapist” series, I will answer all your questions about mental health and psychology. Whether you are struggling with a mental health condition, coping with anxiety about living conditions, or just seeking the insights of a therapist, you can submit a question. Please pay attention to my answers to your questions in the Healthy Mind newsletter every Friday.

Our readers ask

My mother refuses to stop talking to my ex-boyfriend, even if it hurts my feelings and makes me uncomfortable. what should I do?

Amy’s answer

You can’t force your mother to stop talking to your ex. However, you can set some boundaries with her. Take steps to solve this problem with your mom. If she doesn’t respect your wishes, you may need to set some strict restrictions on her.

The end of a sad relationship

The end of any relationship will cause sadness. When you are in constant contact with individuals or even third parties, it is difficult to experience that sad process.

Your mother may not understand that you need to suspend contact with your ex to recover. It is up to you to decide whether you can contact at some time in the future. But initially, you may need to completely separate yourself to give your heart a chance to heal.

Your mother may not understand this. Therefore, talking to her is a good starting point. Even if you have talked about it before, she may need to listen again.

Talk about your feelings

Although your relationship with your boyfriend is over, it is clear that your mother does not want to end the relationship with him. If she stops talking to him, she may feel sad and miss him. Therefore, in order to avoid her grief, she chose to continue communicating. Unfortunately, this will increase your pain.

Talk openly about your feelings with your mom. Explain that it is difficult for you to accept the fact that she has been talking to your ex.

Remember, she cannot refute your feelings. So when you say, “I feel sorry that he is still getting information about me,” you are providing her with facts.

Saying “When you talk to my ex-boyfriend, it will prolong my pain” is very different from saying “Stop talking to my ex-boyfriend”. When your mother realizes that it is harmful to you, she may be more willing to stop talking to him.

Also acknowledge your mother’s feelings. She may treat your ex-boyfriend as a friend or even a family member, so keeping him out of the door altogether may make her feel painful.

Although you may want to say: “If you think this is difficult for you, then imagine how difficult it is for me!” However, minimizing her pain will only cause more pain between the two of you. Disagreement. Try to confirm her feelings and say something similar, “I know it must be difficult for you.”

When she realizes that you understand that it will also be painful for her, she may be more willing to make changes.

Explain in detail why you are uncomfortable

Does your mother regularly provide your ex-boyfriend with the latest news about your life that you don’t want him to know? Does she give you any information about him now? If these are the problems you are experiencing, you can set some healthy boundaries.

Or, are you uncomfortable that they are still communicating in general? It’s okay if you feel this way. However, setting boundaries is more difficult because you cannot control who your mother communicates with.

It is important to understand why this situation makes you uncomfortable. It can help you decide how to proceed.

Establish healthy boundaries

If your mother insists on continuing to contact your ex, then establish some boundaries with her. You can ask your mother not to share information about your life with him. You can also ask her not to tell you what your ex-boyfriend is doing now. Of course, you are likely to be the glue that binds them together, so they may not have much to say other than talking about you.

You can’t really control the information sent to him. If he is curious about your life and wants to know your latest developments, he is likely to find a way to do this.

But you can control what information you receive. If your mother tries to talk about him, you can say, “I don’t want to hear that” and then change the subject. If she insists, end the conversation.

If your condition is serious, you may need to take stricter measures. For example, if your relationship with your ex included domestic violence, you may have some real safety concerns about his continued communication with your mother.

In this case, you may need to stop communicating with your mother altogether, lest she provide him with information about what you are doing now.

Get help if needed

You may find it helpful to consult a mental health professional about your situation, especially if you want to maintain a relationship with your mother.

However, please remember that if she does not respect your boundaries, you have the right to restrict or terminate the communication. You have the right to initiate a conversation and take further measures as needed.