M: Jessa is a financial advisor. Her boyfriend lost his job in the hospitality industry during the pandemic. He lives with his mom. When the lockdown was enforced last year, she lived with them as a convenient arrangement considering that her family are all in the United States. She can’t stand his mom’s manipulative behavior. If her boyfriend is not siding with her, she would use the silent treatment, guilt, blame and direct intimidation. She would ignore her too for the most part, conveying that she doesn’t matter to her. Jessa tried very hard to win his mom’s affection but it was a hopeless situation. She eventually moved out of the house. Her boyfriend just recently proposed. Jessa told him there’s no way they’re going back to that house if ever they’ll get married. Her boyfriend is undecided. Now she feels guilty. Is she too harsh?
DJ: It looks like her boyfriend is having a tough time and is dependent on his mom. The house is hers and Jessa needs to follow her rules. It’s good that Jessa is honest that she’s unhappy about the situation and that she cannot continue living that way. She can be perceived as disrespectful and ungrateful but if he’s already ready to start a family, then he’s got to be ready as well to put Jessa first. That’s my opinion. I agree. It works better to sort this entanglement first before they even think about marriage.
M: It is said there should only be one queen in a castle. Whether one’s home is a castle or a shanty, the rule holds true. Jessa is not “too harsh” in her desire to not live with her soon to be mother-in-law. With what she experienced, I think she knows it is better that they have their own home. I presume she has her own place. Why don’t they live there instead if or when they get married? I recommend that newlyweds have their own space because there will be a lot of adjustments. And living with other people can bring some unintended effect or emotions. They say familiarity breeds contempt.
DJ: I’m also not a big fan of living with in-laws. It might save some money but can cost a higher price in the long run. It’s hard for her boyfriend’s mother to give up her authority considering that they’re living in her house. Jessa will have to tiptoe so as not to offend any sensibilities. I think the situation is likely to get worse than get better once they’ll have children. As first-time parents, they’re neophytes. I’m not sure if his mother can resist butting in and giving advice even when they don’t need it. It’s obvious Jessa is not excited to have Sunday lunch with her. How much more living with her? What’s their future as a couple for the next five years? I think it’s not wise to hope for the best. Her current situation is not the best and there is no guarantee that it will change. She can’t change her boyfriend or his mother. She can only change how she looks at her situation or change her situation.
M: This pandemic has seen the best and worst in us. Being cooped up together for a long period of time can cause cabin fever. Sometimes, what is trivial can be blown out of proportion because we cannot just go out and do what we want as we used to. We have to consider our health and safety and those who we live with. We also have to adjust to our own attitude and expectations. To couple that with an impending marriage, in the case of Jessa, can really create a lot of disruption. Being out of our comfort zone can bring resistance. Disruption changes dynamics. We adjust, readjust and when we get comfortable, we do not want what is familiar to become unfamiliar. If her boyfriend is undecided whether or not to stay with his mom after getting married, it is maybe because he is concerned about what will happen to his mom if she will be all alone. As a daughter herself who will soon be a daughter-in-law, Jessa has to think not just of herself but her new family too. So my advice? Talk, think it over and don’t feel guilty if you don’t want a repeat of the situation before. Remember, nothing is constant except constant change.
DJ: We only know a portion of the story and almost inevitably interpret it in our own way. Ultimately, it’s for Jessa to think, process and decide. At least she’s seeing the situation before tying the knot. Love isn’t blind.