I live with my fifty-five-year-old widowed mother. I am thirty, and I have supported the household for the past five years because my mother has been ill… so she can’t work.

Four months ago I met my girlfriend… and we want to live together, but my girlfriend doesn’t want to have anything to do with my mother because my mother has cats and she would interfere in our lives. I want my mother to have all that she needs, but I want to have my own home. My girlfriend will accept one cat, but not three. My mother will never leave her cats, so under those circumstances my girlfriend says she won’t live with her.

Now I have a new job in a new city. I will take my mother and her cats to live with me, and I think that if my girlfriend loves me, she will follow me, though I believe she won’t (she has already threatened as much)….

Will my mother always be against me having my own family? She threatened to sue me if I left her…. Am I a bad son to think that she is selfish and that I should leave her and pay for her to live alone? Will I have to live alone as a bachelor all my life? I think that my mother has become a heavy load to carry…. When she found out that I was going to leave her, she even attacked me physically.

Dear Friend,

We congratulate you for honoring your mother and for wanting to take care of her. You have been a good son. However, we also understand your desire to have a family of your own.

You wonder if your mother will always be against you having your own family. Her threats to sue you and her physical attack on you are both actions that demonstrate that she may be unreasonable in what she expects from you. She appears to be fearful that you will choose to live with and provide for a girlfriend instead of continuing to live with and provide for her, as you have done until now.

You are wise to understand that your mother and your girlfriend cannot live in the same house no matter how many cats are involved. Your girlfriend has correctly perceived that your mother would make your girlfriend’s life miserable.

We are afraid that you may be so desperate to settle your future that you are willing to skip some necessary steps. A four-month relationship is not long enough to know whether you should pursue a future with this girlfriend. Living together seems like a quick and easy way to explore your feelings for one another, but cohabitation without marriage actually makes it more difficult to know how you feel about one another. When God ordained marriage between a man and a woman, He did it because marriage is the way to find unity and real happiness.(1)

We recommend that you marry a woman before living with her. At the time of your marriage, it may be necessary to pay for your mother to live apart from you. She will not be happy about it, but she will eventually adjust.

We wish you the best,

1 Ge 2:24