By Chris Seiter

Published on May 4th, 2023

This is the ultimate guide to understanding why your boyfriend chooses his mother over you.

And I want to be clear about something. This isn’t your average “Google article” that you’d just stumble across on the topic.

I’m going deep and that means answering the following questions,

  • Why is my boyfriend prioritizing his mother over me?
  • How do I address this issue with my boyfriend without causing a rift in our relationship?
  • What should I do if my boyfriend refuses to change his behavior and prioritizes his mother over me?
  • How do I know if this is a deal-breaker for me in the relationship?
  • Am I being unreasonable by expecting my boyfriend to prioritize me over his mother?

Are you ready to dive in and learn more? If so, let’s go.

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Why is my boyfriend prioritizing his mother over me?

The most common reasons that your boyfriend may be prioritizing his mother over you are,

  1. Upbringing Influences
  2. A Deep Fear Of Disappointing His Mother
  3. Emotional Attachment
  4. A Lack Of Understanding In The Relationship

Let’s do what we always do and talk more in-depth about these reasons.

Cultural And Family Upbringing

Have you ever heard that cliché that “blood is thicker than water?”

It refers to the strength of familial ties above all other connections.

This belief can make it challenging for him to take your side when forced to choose between his mother and you. After all, he has his entire life invested with his mother.

Additionally, he may be raised with the idea that “mother knows best.”

It can be difficult for him to make decisions against his mother’s wishes because he may feel that her opinions and guidance are crucial to his happiness and success.

A Deep Fear Of Disappointing His Mother

Let’s assume he was raised with the notion “mother knows best.” He may have developed a strong sense of obligation to make his mother proud, so he’ll do everything he can to not disappoint her.

He has probably let his mother have authority over his life, which includes his relationship.

He may even go against you when his mother offers an opinion vastly different from yours.


He grew up thinking his mother’s opinion is always right, so he’ll view any perspective opposing hers as ‘wrong.’ NOT knowing he hurt you in the process.

Emotional attachment and loyalty to his mother

He may have formed a deep emotional connection with his mother, which has resulted in loyalty and love for her.

It could be because she is his anchor or a constant source of support and comfort for him throughout his life.

In fact, this is the very reason the Sphere of Influence is such a powerful concept,

Read this article if you want a more thorough explanation,

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How To Make Your Ex Think About You More

If you need to become more familiar, the sphere of influence is a collection of individuals your boyfriend surrounds themselves with. Usually, you can divide these up into 4 categories,

  1. Intimate relationships: Their opinions matter greatly to you
  2. Close relationships: Their opinions also matter a great deal
  3. Casual relationships: Their opinions aren’t as crucial, but we still take them into account
  4. Distant acquaintances: We don’t take their opinions into account much at all

His mother will be the closest to him in that graphic, amongst his intimate relationships.

A Lack Of Communication And Understanding In The Relationship

In this case, your boyfriend struggles to articulate his ideas and feelings to you.

As a result, he may look to his mother for counsel or support, which can be frustrating.

It’s also probable that your boyfriend believed you approved of his mother’s involvement in your relationship without addressing the matter.

This misunderstanding may result in sentiments of bitterness on both parties.

Now, the question is, what can you do about it?

How do I address this issue with my boyfriend without causing a rift in our relationship?

You must bring up the disconnect between your partner, you, and their mother.

But how?

According to Chris Seiter, founder of Ex Boyfriend Recovery Program,

“Timing matters A TON when you have this conversation with your partner. Please don’t bring it up in the middle of a fight. Instead, bring it up during a high point so they are more likely to respond positively.”

Conversations like this during an argument don’t end well, so pick the perfect time to discuss the matter.

Moreover, Chris goes on to say,

“Take special care not to raise your voice. Keep your tone even-keeled. You need to seem like you aren’t that bothered by it so you can inspire communication.”

One of the best resources I’ve been able to find on “tone of voice” can be found here,

When addressing the issue without causing a rift, here are a few key things that could help you.

First, employ tactical empathy.

Citing from The Decisions Lab,

Tactical empathy is understanding another person’s mindset and feelings and making them feel understood.

Before discussing the mother, you must clearly understand your partner’s side. You should bring up the situation with his mother only after you have done this.

Second, listen to his explanation.

After stating the issue to him, listen to what he’ll say. It can help you have an even more precise understanding of his perspective. Even if you disagree, allowing him to express himself is essential.

Third, set boundaries.

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You can establish boundaries about what you’re comfortable with and what you’re not regarding the issue, but remember what our founder Chris’ said, keep your tone even-keeled.

Stay tuned if you want to learn more about boundaries; I’ll explore it more in-depth later.

Fourth, find common ground.

After establishing your boundaries, concentrate on areas where you agree and try to find a solution that works for both of you. It could enhance your bond and foster trust, especially in discussing the issue.

Lastly, seek outside support.

Talking to a trusted friend or seeking professional therapy might be beneficial in gaining perspective and discovering different approaches to the problem. Furthermore, it can help you equally reflect on the aspects of your relationship that you would like to improve, change, or even eliminate.

The key to resolving conflicts in a relationship is to communicate while remaining respectful of each other’s feelings and needs.

What should I do if my boyfriend refuses to change his behavior and prioritizes his mother over me?

I was stumped on this one.

So, when I turned this article in for the editorial standards check that Ex Boyfriend Recovery put in place, I made a note to ask Chris what he thought.

Here was what he basically said,

You have two choices.

“You can stay in the relationship and make peace with it.”

It means accepting that his mother will always be a significant part of his life. You’ll find a way to prioritize your needs and interests outside of the relationship, similar to the “go-with-the-flow” approach.

“Or you can set a boundary and have there be a consequence. Usually, this consequence is you pulling back in the relationship or spending time on other things instead of him.”

This means you’ll work through the issue and find a compromise for both of you. It involves stating what behavior you are unwilling to accept and what the consequences will be if he continues to prioritize his mother over you.

For example, you may mention that you need more quality time together and that if he continues to cancel plans to spend time with his mother, you will need to step back or focus on your life.

The funny thing is that most people know this is what a secure person would do in a relationship.

But they have a really hard to sticking to the boundary.

How do I know if his prioritization of his mother is a deal breaker in the relationship?

Certain aspects of a relationship can be deal-breakers for some people. These are critical problems that must not be disregarded or ignored.

Once again, citing from Chris (poor Chris, I asked him for a lot of quotes on this article.)

He said,

“It depends on how toxic this co-dependency between him and his mother is. There is such a thing as a healthy reliance on a parent. So, what you’re looking for is how healthy that connection is.”

Here are some common examples of unhealthy parental/child relationships.

  • Emotional abuse. This includes belittling, insulting, or ridiculing children or using emotional manipulation to control them.
  • Physical abuse. This includes hitting, spanking, or other forms of physical punishment.
  • Controlling behavior. This includes trying to control every aspect of a child’s life, such as their choice of friends, hobbies, or career path.
  • Inconsistent or unpredictable behavior. This includes being overly critical and then switching to being excessively affectionate, leaving the child feeling confused and unsure of what to expect.
  • Blaming or shaming. This includes blaming the child for problems in the family or shaming them for their behavior or appearance.
  • Overly demanding or high expectations. This includes expecting a child to meet unrealistic standards or goals or pushing them to achieve in ways that are not healthy or sustainable.
  • Refusal to acknowledge or apologize for their mistakes. Toxic parents may refuse to take responsibility for their behavior or may try to blame others for their mistakes.

It might be a deal breaker if you believe this behavior from his mother is undesirable and contradicts your core principles. However, it may be okay if you can tolerate it.

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Remembering that every relationship is unique is critical, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

ONLY YOU can determine what is a deal-breaker in your relationship.

Am I being unreasonable by expecting my boyfriend to prioritize me over his mother?

Context is VERY important here.

  1. Is he blowing off dates with you to go out with his mother?
  2. Is he ignoring you to be with his mother?
  3. Is he ALWAYS taking her side if there’s a conflict?

If he is doing these to you, that’s not a healthy dynamic, so discussing your concerns with him is better.

These are red flags.

But if he has a legitimate and good reason for prioritizing being with his mother, then you’re probably overreacting. If your partner is merely close to his mother and loves spending time with her, this is not always a bad thing. It is possible to prioritize several individuals in one’s life while maintaining healthy connections with all of them.


There are four main reasons that your partner may be prioritizing time with their mother over you,

  1. cultural and family upbringing
  2. a deep fear of disappointing his mother
  3. emotional attachment and loyalty to his mother
  4. a need for more communication and understanding in the relationship.

Additionally, it’s important to keep tone and timing in mind when addressing the issue with your boyfriend without causing a rift in the relationship.

It’s also important to listen to your boyfriend’s explanation and set boundaries that you’re comfortable with regarding the issue.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what you’re willing to tolerate in your relationship and what you need to be happy.

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