Dear Abby: Man’s devotion to his mother concerns his girlfriend

She’s not sure where she fits in when the guy is so willing to chores for Mom, cook with her and take her to church events.

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DEAR ABBY: I have been dating this guy for about a year. We are both 30. He lives at home. At first I thought it was to take care of his elderly father, but I soon realized it wasn’t the case.

His mom is sweet, yet overbearing. She inserts herself into his life at every opportunity. She talks to him like he’s the butler. (“Oh, perfect son of mine! Won’t you clear off the dinner table/clean the kitchen/do EVERYTHING?!”) They cook together every night and attend church events together. He’s in the choir with her because he said it “pleases” her. I think those are things he should be doing with a significant other.

I don’t feel secure in this relationship because I don’t know my place. I feel like I have to compete with her (even though she tries to include me in everything). I see how she manipulates him, and it tears me apart inside. (She NEEDS him so much.) I view it as a hindrance to his own life. He is doing for her what he could be doing for himself or his own family, but he’s stuck in this Mommy cycle.

He will receive a large inheritance when his parents die. Could that be why he does it? He is a great lover and emotionally intelligent, but he depends on his mother too much for my comfort. I caught them in a long embrace (hug) after she had been away all weekend with his father. Then she came over to us while we were watching a movie and started kissing his head! It grossed me out. Help! — DON’T WANT THIS THREESOME

DEAR DON’T: It’s apparent that you are competing with his mother rather than she competing with you. There’s a saying that if you want to know how a man will treat his wife, watch how he treats his mother. Rather than feel manipulated, be glad she tries to include you in the family circle. And keep in mind, if you want to enjoy the earthly rewards after the woman goes on to her heavenly one, she and her “perfect son” are a package deal.

DEAR ABBY: I purchased a beautiful Tiffany engagement ring, but my girlfriend rejected my proposal. I will get only pennies on the dollar if I sell it. Would it be acceptable to save it for a future engagement proposal? — PRACTICAL IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR PRACTICAL: Your letter illustrates the impracticality of buying an engagement ring before proposing. Whatever happened to the tradition of proposing and THEN, if the person says yes, selecting a ring together?

In recent years — thanks to social media — engagements have become more like invitations to a high school prom — elaborate and over-the-top. I do not think you should compound your mistake by offering another woman that ring in an effort to save money. If she were to find out, she would likely be both disappointed and hurt.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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