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Relationship SOS Dear Maura: I am so angry my husband is living with his mother


Couple argument

Couple argument

Couple argument

Maura O’Neill has been responding to a wide range of problems and issues for the past 20 years as Agony Aunt with the Sunday World. With a Higher Diploma in Education and counselling qualification she also draws on her own life experience in responding to readers’ letters.

Dear Maura,

My husband has been living with his mother for the last six weeks. His younger brother used to stay with her but he's moved in with his girlfriend. I feel it's so unfair that this has happened as we're married and he's only in a relationship less than a year.

I understand that someone has to stay with her, but I really resent that it has to be my husband. This situation has caused tension between us and I'm not even speaking to his brother.

Of course, I love my husband and I don't want to be fighting with him over a situation that he can't help and has no control over. But he could try to organise some home care for her. They have the money to do that. It's a bit of a mess, to be honest. When we're chatting, I try to not say anything to start a row. But sometimes with everything going on I just lash out and I hate myself after. If we could go away for a weekend when it's allowed and just spend some time focusing on us it would be great. But that won't be for a long time. I would love your take on this.


The problem is that you don't know how long this situation is going to go on for. It's hard to negotiate your life and relationship with your husband with this level of uncertainty.

However, surely it's possible for both brothers to work out a schedule so everyone shares in the care of your mother-in-law. It just needs a bit of planning.

Talk to him and see what he says. Life is difficult enough without making it even more so and nobody is happy with the current arrangement.

Get everyone on board with a plan and take it from there. Home help may not work at the moment, you would have to see how she would feel about it, but is something to consider later.

Dear Maura,

I'm so afraid that I've lost my daughter, that I've messed up our relationship and she will never have a closeness with me. I've sensed this for a good while but only really became fully aware of it over the last month or so.

She has been giving trouble and I had to go to her school a few times last year. I'm a single parent. Her father left when she was eight. She's now 12. He turned out to be not a nice man at all.

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My own mother was quite hard and I guess that's had an influence on me. But I don't want this for my daughter or for her to feel alone which her Year Head told me she said. I don't know how to make things better for her and me.

It's not easy. I have to work from home and I'm quite busy, so she's on her own a lot. I've no family nearby but she does have cousins and she had a nice time over the holiday with them, making me more aware of how miserable she is with me.

So where or how do I start? Is it possible to mend this relationship for us both to heal? I know I carry baggage from my own childhood which makes this whole process so difficult.


How about starting with something very simple, like an invite to your daughter to have hot chocolate, treats and watch a film you both like.

Sometimes an atmosphere like this can create a sense of love and care which I feel for whatever reason has been missing for both of you.

Nobody is to blame, it's important to remember that. Have you ever considered talking about your own childhood and your daughter's father? You have experienced a lot of emotional trauma and I feel you have just got on with everything rather than taking time to work through these experiences.

Focus on healing by taking a step back from pressures in your life and making your relationship with your daughter a priority.


Email your problems to Dr Angela Brokmann: dr.angela@sundayworld.com or Maura O'Neill: maura.oneill@sundayworld.com

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