Living Columns & Blogs

Carolyn Hax: In his 30s, he lets mother dictate his and girlfriend’s travels

Carolyn Hax is away. In her absence, we are offering columns from her archive.

DEAR CAROLYN: This year I will be spending all of my vacation time (and money) on traveling for or with my boyfriend’s family.So my boyfriend and I talked about taking a brief, private trip for New Year’s after being with his family for a week.

Well, after meeting his mother for dinner last night, he came home and said, “My mother said ‘no’ to our New Year’s trip.” Carolyn, his mother lives 15 minutes away, and we see her frequently. We are both in our 30s, and are paying our own way.

He claimed that though I have great parents, they raised me badly, and that I feel I have the right to do whatever I want. I think he needs to cut the strings. What do you think?


DEAR ANNOYED: I think it’s astonishing, and a little scary, how you just threw in at the end that your boyfriend thinks you were raised badly.

However, the facts of your question suggest the willingness to adjust/improve/please is running strictly one-way. That’s telling you something screamingly important about your boyfriend. He’s not just fine with having his mom control his travel plans; he thinks you’re wrong to want to control your own.

Please get help – competent counseling – and learn not just how to get out from under this guy’s thumb, but also how to flick away anyone else’s. Stat.

Email Carolyn at