I was talking to a relationship counselor about some of the guys I've dated, and she was particularly interested in the one who seemed, on paper, the most different from me.
"I was very comfortable with him. I could be myself around him. The day-to-day things were easy. We liked the same music. We drank the same beer. Our interests and lifestyles were very similar. We both volunteered. We were both close with our families. I got along with his brother." None of this seemed alarming or interesting to the counselor.
"And I seemed to have a lot in common with his mom," I said. And her eyebrows rose. "With his mom? Like what?" she asked. "Well, we both do yoga, we both write, we both like to bake… We even have the same Rosie the Riveter refrigerator magnet." "How do you know all this?" she asked. "He'd tell me. 'My mom has this.' 'My mom does that.'"
I didn't think anything of it at the time. We were in our twenties and he didn't talk about having any close female friends. He didn't have sisters. I figured he was comparing me to the woman he knew best. And I thought she sounded pretty awesome! But this counselor had a very different view on things.
"He's attached to his mother. Of course the relationship didn't work out. He can't get close to you if he's still attached to her." How To Get Along With His Mom
At first this sounded crazy to me. He's just close with his parents. That's a good thing, isn't it? He's not like my other ex, who needed his mother's approval on every major decision. This guy simply used his mom as a female reference, no?
But this counselor has over 30 years of experience and a list of fine credentials. I figured I should pay some attention to what she said. Thinking back, there was one time I thought it strange for him to mention his mom. He had a rash on his leg. "My mom doesn't know what it is, either." For someone who was 27, I found that to be a very childish statement. In fact, he had more medical training than anyone in his family.
And I thought about it some more. I realized that if he had replaced "my mom…" with "my ex…" all of those times, I would have been out of there in a heartbeat. I would have been sure that he was still attached to his ex. So, is that my answer? The counselor says yes.
I'm still not sure. But I much rather believe he's attached to his mom than believe he just wasn't very interested in me.
So, yes. He has mommy issues.
Rebecca Marquis is the author of How to Be a Good Boyfriend: 34 ways to keep her from getting annoying, jealous, or crazy and is now a YourTango Expert.