Dear Abby: My partner of 12 years and I are well-educated, successful career men. Every few months my mom comes to visit, and we all enjoy spending time together.
The last few visits were not so great. We caught Mom snooping in our bedroom and our home office. When we confronted her, she got upset and stormed out of the room in tears. I have asked her to respect our privacy, but her response is that she — as the mother — is the one who deserves respect.
We recently had some renovations done to the house that included locks on our bedroom and office doors. When neither of us are home, the doors stay locked. Nothing was said about it during Mom’s last visit, but last week we received a note from her telling us not to come for our usual summer visit. I tried to call her, but she won’t answer.
Today I talked with my aunt (Mom’s sister), who told me Mom is furious over the locks. My aunt also expressed disappointment in me or “shutting Mom out.” I don’t understand how I could be in the wrong, but it seems my whole family feels I am. Please advise.
In a Jam in St. Pete
Although your mother deserves respect, it is hard to respect someone who goes through one’s bedroom and office after having been asked not to. You may be her son, but you are also an adult and have the right to some privacy. What Mom is doing is the equivalent of throwing a tantrum. You were not shutting her out; you were drawing the line. Regardless of what your aunt said, you owe no one an apology.
Let’s hope this storm blows over soon. And as to your summer holiday plans, an Alaskan cruise might be a lovely change from the humidity of Florida and the steam coming from wherever your mother lives.