My Ex-Husband Is A Mama’s Boy
Every day, My ExHusband would leave for work, and immediately call his mommy when he got into work, and they'd talk 2-3 times in the day.

Dear Rob,
I am really confused. I had a 15 year marriage to a mama’s boy. All throughout our marriage, he would seek out his mother constantly for everything. For example, he insisted on having meals over his mother’s house two to three times per week (he would have spent MORE time with his mother if I would have accepted it, but I didn’t).

Rob, I actually had to create a structured, written-out schedule with him about “how many times” he should go over to see her (which made me feel so parental, and I didn’t want to be his parent… I wanted to be his wife!).
Needless to say, he AND his overbearing, narcissistic, controlling mother were resentful of me for the “restrictions” I placed on their relationship. How dare I intrude on them!!!!

Every day, My ExH would leave for work, and immediately call his mommy when he got into work, and they’d talk 2-3 times in the day. On his desk at work, he kept my picture AND his mother’s, side by side. At home, we’d argue all the time over taking trips, because he didn’t want to travel. He used excuses such as, “I’m afraid to fly” (ironically, his mother is apparently “afraid to fly” too… yet she’s flown at least 7 times before this??).

When he was feeling ill, he’d immediately ask me to “go get” his mother so she could take care of him (he never asked for ME to take care of him). He got very anxious when I talked about moving out of his parents home (yes, at his request, we lived in an addition attached to his mother’s house). He told me straight out on several occasions, “We don’t have the money. Why don’t we just live here. We’re going to inherit my parents home anyway”, which I thought was ludicrous. Heck, I wanted a normal, independent life with him .I wanted to be one with him. I wanted a healthy adult marriage.

In a very short while after we got married, I truly resented both he and his mother. And this may sound weird, but it actually felt like THEY were the married couple, and I was the affair (after all, my ExH was actually a substitute for his mother’s husband, who was pushed away and ignored… she and her husband even slept in separate beds).

I actually saw a counselor alone and told her about this. The first thing she had told me was, “The situation you are living in is very unhealthy. If he won’t move out of his parents home, then you’ll really have to seriously consider other options, unfortunately.” She also said (and I’ll never forget this as long as I live), “Essentially he is having an affair…and YOU are the other woman.”

Ok, so Rob, now I’ve finally (after 15 years of feeling so resentful, pushed aside, and devalued) left my marriage in October 2005. I felt so free…and yet…so hurt at the same time. The person that I loved so much… the husband that I shared so many fun things with…didn’t bat an eyelash when I left. He was nonchalant about it, and perfectly happy to stay with his mother. His attitude was, “Well, I’m sure we’ll get back together again someday. I love you. I know we belong together.” But he made absolutely NO effort to fight for our marriage.

It is taking me a long time to get over him, because he and I were best friends (who had sex). Let me explain:

Other than the mother thing, my exH and I had an excellent relationship. We spend loads of time together, finishing our graduate degrees at the same time, taking walks in the woods, playing golf, going out to beautiful dinners, and holding hands. However I just didn’t have sexual feelings for him. Still, we had sex but only 1-2x month. And when we did, I felt numb, like I didn’t really want to be there. Yet I love him so dearly, so deeply, because he is such a great individual. His heart is so good, he’s highly intelligent (has his PhD), and an excellent work ethic.

Ok, so here’s the current scoop:
I have a boyfriend whom I love very much. And yes, I finally discovered that I actually have a very healthy, normal sex drive (with my boyfriend) that WAS NOT present with my exH.
Knowing that I have a sex drive gives me comfort, because I totally was not feeling passion or sexual feelings toward my exH. At the same time, I feel sad and GUILTY that I didn’t have “IT” for my exH and I mean REALLY GUILTY, cuz he’s such a great guy.

I still LOVE my exH SO MUCH but DO NOT want to be with him sexually. I believe that the reason I don’t want him romantically is simply because he’s NOT a man (Heck, he’s 42 and STILL lives with his parents – – essentially he’s a “man-child” as you write about on your website, Rob). The mother-son co-dependency thing really soured the whole thing for me.

So, here’s the problem:
My ex-H emailed sent me an email today, asking me to go for a drive with him tomorrow so we can “talk about our relationship” (i.e. he wants to get back together with me). Well, #1, as I said I have a boyfriend whom I love. But #2. I still love my exH a lot but not in a romantic way.
And I’m just so confused about all of this. It hurts tremendously, because I love them both deeply, but in two different ways (i.e. I love my exH so deeply, but he is a man-child who is still very attached to his mother’s umbilical cord VS. I love my boyfriend, who is a real man and can stand on his own two feet). So you can see the horrific dilemma I have.

My question:

Some people say that one can actually “work on” and “develop” feelings for someone. If I were to get back together with my exH, would I be able to CREATE and DEVELOP sexual feelings and passion for him?
Thanks in advance for your reply,

Hi Sue,
I do understand the situation you feel yourself in, but I have to say:
Unless your ex-husband is willing to make positive changes to his lifestyle, initially starting with moving out on his own and getting away from the dependency of “Mama”, there is no hope for the two of you getting together again and renewing a positive relationship.

Sure, you’ve had good times, you’ve shared a lifetime (albeit 15 years) together. That isn’t easily given up on. But unless your ex is ready and willing to crawl out from his mother’s bosom, you’re still in the situation you were when you left him: he’s a baby that wants his mama first and foremost.

I would not get back together with him unless he moved out on his own, started counseling for his dependency on his mother, and was finally able to be a man, not a little boy. He needs to find his own inner strengths, not relying on others. He needs counseling so that if he does manage to move away from “Mama” he doesn’t just project his dependency onto you or someone else in his life.

As far as your current relationship, maybe you need a break just so you can experience the single life for a while. That’s why the confusion when your ex contacted you and the thoughts of giving up on your current boyfriend.

I also think that your ex-husband emailing you a get-back-together message is also a sign that he’s under control of people around him and not able to openly talk about what he wants, another co-dependent trait. Sure, he misses you…. But not enough, not yet.
Maybe he never will.

As for your question:
“Some people say that one can actually “work on” and “develop” feelings for someone. If I were to get back together with my exH, would I be able to create and develop sexual feelings and passion for him?”

This is not correct in your case. You’ve had 15 years of neglect, of being placed second in your husband’s life. Why would you want to go back to this knowing full well he still can’t offer you the true love, satisfaction and commitment that a wife truly deserves?

Until your exH can correct his past behavior, you will not be able to create any passion and sexual feelings for him simply because these emotions will be overshadowed by his types of behavior that never inspired these feelings in you to begin with. The “Love” for your exH you still feel is brought on by your comfort level and security in the type of relationship you did have (romanticized somewhat as well by time), not the relationship you actually lived.

I suggest that you start a journal right now. A past history diary.
Starting date: when you first met your husband.
Include the things you did together and how you remember the feelings you had for him at the time.
Try to remember the dates of trouble and the events that led to your husband running to his mother instead of coming to you.
The confrontations you had with him and his mother that drove you away.

Write everything down in cold hard factual style. Date and times are important. Fill in details later, arrange dates when you can.

You need to face the reality of your old marriage relationship and understand that it’s ending was not your fault. You never had a chance. You were married into a game that had no rules you could follow and still be a vibrant, sexual, compassionate woman.
The fix was in. The honestly pitiful fact is that it took so long for you to understand this.
Best wishes,