Cruel Hearted Boyfriend

Submit your questions for Dear Hoopers here 

Dear Hoopers,
I’ve read and heard more than once, that the way people treat their parents says a lot about them. I’ve been in a relationship with this guy for 5 years and I’m not even going to lie, there’s been some pretty rough and traumatic moments but hey, here we are. He lives with his mother and he first took me to his house about 3 years ago. It all seemed okay, I must say but as the relationship continued and I kept visiting them, I realized it wasn’t. He is very rude to his mother, to the point of humiliating her in front of me. He calls her names and is overall disrespectful (saying things like how fat she is now, how she dresses terribly, how she can’t cook and so on). She battled cancer a couple years ago and apparently he used to be way worse towards her before she got sick, but is still pretty much an a**hole to this day. He doesn’t do anything to help her around the house. She does his laundry, cooks and cleans and can’t even do the dishes! He could at least clean his place after he’s done eating and of course, doesn’t help her financially either, she pays ALL the bills. He does have a steady job but spends every last dime on his dogs.

I’ve spoken to her on a very, very deep level and she’s told me some pretty dark stuff like, in a recent fight, he said “Do you want to know why I didn’t take care of you when you had cancer? Because I wanted you to f*cking die!” She has also stated she’s actually worried about what will happen to his son when she is no longer here, and how he is a terrible human being, but and I’m quoting her, “he is still my son.” She has even encouraged me to go and find a nicer guy for me because, and quoting her again, “you’re way too great for my son, he doesn’t appreciate the good in his life.” It’s also worth mentioning that his mom is a great person and did her best to raise him as a single parent.

He has also said and done some not so nice things to me. About my weight (I’m slim and happy with my body), about the things I like and do, about my personal choices. I’ve noticed I’ve even stopped myself from doing things I want to do unconsciously, such as getting more tattoos only because he strongly dislikes them. 5 years is quite some time and he has brought to the table the vague idea of us moving in together, but I’m not quite sure, especially because I’m not okay with the way he treats the woman who gave life to him. Oh, should’ve probably started my submission by saying that he is 26 years old (I’m 24). Thanks.
-Cruel Hearted Boyfriend

Dear Cruel Hearted,
Everything you have said about your boyfriend does indeed sound terrible. I have to assume that there is something that you like about him? Perhaps you are in such a bad spot in this relationship that you are only able to focus on the negative things. I’m not really sure why you have stayed with him this long or bother to remain in this relationship. The spiteful and poisonous things that his mother alleges him to have said to her are unforgivable. You have even heard his vile commentary toward her and toward yourself with your own ears. This would have crossed a hard red line for me.

The relationship between he and his mother is an interesting one. She sounds resigned to taking care of him and propping him up through life as he verbally abuses her on a day to day basis. Perhaps she feels as though she deserves this punishment for some reason. She has the ability to set boundaries with him around her home, her money, and her emotional health, but she has not. This is not how healthy relationships work.

The spiteful and poisonous things that his mother alleges him to have said to her are unforgivable.

-Dr. Ryan

This dynamic has allowed festering contempt to grow within him. Until he is able to dig deep into these unhealthy tendencies, he will be embittered and resentful toward himself and others. Growing out of these tendencies will take painful boundary setting by those around him before he truly does the work necessary to change. Until this time, he will feel emboldened to continue his abuse of others with impunity. You have some difficult decisions to make but know what is coming if you continue to stay in the relationship.
-Dr. Ryan

Dear Cruel Hearted,
What is it about this man that keeps you with him? I’m trying to find some redeemable qualities here, but you fail to mention one. You’ve stopped partaking in activities that give you satisfaction and been victim to his negativity and verbal harassment. He contributes nothing to his current living situation, seems enabled by living at home and lacks responsibility for day to day actions like picking up for himself.  Do you think this is going to change if you choose to move in together?

The words that he has spoken to his mother are more than overtly rude; they are abusive and hurtful. Don’t fool yourself into believing that his lack of respect towards his mother is isolated to her. Maybe he isn’t verbally abusive on a daily basis, but those abusive words hurt for a long time. Also, his lack of responsibility or ability to clean up for himself is disrespectful. It seems that he likes to take, but not give. Is that the kind of relationship you see yourself in?

Don’t fool yourself into believing that his lack of respect towards his mother is isolated to her.


I would do yourself a favor and make yourself a good ‘ole fashion list of pros and cons for this guy. The con list seems like it may be weighty from how you have described him. If you find yourself struggling to find personality qualities and values that you like about him, I would rethink the relationship. Maybe you should listen his mother’s words of wisdom.