I’ll never forget the first time I met the mother of a particular ex-boyfriend. We were vacationing together in the South of France (glamorous locale, yes, but not the place you want to spend a week with your boyfriend’s family!) and I was sort of stunned by the physical relationship between my then-boyfriend and his mother. I should say they’re from a different cultural background than I (they’re Middle Eastern) and maybe that was part of it, but they literally could NOT keep their hands off each other. They hugged, kissed on the lips, caressed each other. It was seriously bizarre. At one point, my ex-boyfriend’s mother even talked about his “golden penis” (over dinner!) — a term she said was some kind of figure of speech in their culture. Um, ohhhkay. Needless to say, it was trés uncomfortable for me and when we broke up several months later it was with much relief that I realized I’d never have to endure another mother-son make-out fest ever again. Remembering all this, I read today’s letter in Salon’s advice column with a lot of empathy. Read it yourself after the jump.
I’ve been married to my husband for three years and I don’t know why this is the first time I noticed it. Yesterday we went to see him mom, and when he greeted her, they kissed on the lips. I had never seen this before — hand, cheek, forehead, yes, but never lips. I was stunned.
We are from different cultural backgrounds, so I’m not sure what to do. I suppose I am annoyed by all obvious displays of affection. But even worse is that it is my husband and his mother. To me, it’s unacceptable. It makes me uncomfortable. It makes me jealous. It makes me think very inappropriate, Oedipal things. Do I tell him? Will that make things weird? Shall I not mention it? Do other people do this a lot? Should I just be more open-minded? My husband is 27.
As usual, advice columnist Cary Tennis gives a totally long-winded response, but his recap sums it up well:
Seeing your husband kiss his mom on the lips can indeed be a charged moment. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. It does mean that you probably need a way to talk about some of the feelings that arise in marriage that are powerful and unfamiliar. I suggest you look into that.
I suggest: “It’s gross when you make out with your mom. Please stop.” Wish I’d said that…