Every day we feature the beloved “Strawberry Letter” franchise that is so popular on “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” heard nationwide. Send in your letters and Shirley Strawberry will dish out the necessary advice. Today’s topic: Momma’s Boy or Just Dysfunctional Dear Steve & Shirley, I’ve never been one to ask for help but I need it now and don’t know who to turn to. I’ve been dating a man who still lives at home with his parents and a sibling. He will be turning 49, has no children and attends church on a regular basis. He is a part-owner of his family’s business and works long hard hours servicing hospitals, colleges, supermarkets and residential buildings. His hobbies are music (he plays bass & guitar in a band) and collecting guitars, cars and comic books. He is college educated with a degree in Engineering and has a library stocked with books on computers, traveling, music and religion. I’m 45, divorced single mom with a college degree. I met my boyfriend via introduction though his father (my job was on his route and as the administrator at the college I would have to sign off on business). For the past 15 months that I’ve been in this relationship. This man has been thoughtful (pull out my chair, opens doors, puts on my coat), generous (pays for dinner, buys me jewelry, gifts, washes my car). In turn, I have been understanding (I traveled to come to his house, hang out with his mom and dad) comforting and supportive (attending shows, listening to issues, attending family functions) generous (giving gifts on b/day, Xmas, sending cards and picking up an occasional tab or two). Well, at the last family function (New Years day) a close family friend made some disparaging comments about me at the gathering. It was downright uncomfortable. I’m American and my boyfriend is American but his family is of West Indian descent. I’m tall (5 feet 9 and look pretty good and blessed to have great genes). The setting on New Years was a dinner celebration and the hosts/family friend’s husband was all in my face, all in my conversation and would have laid me out on the table and sopped me up with a biscuit if he could!!!! This man did not even care that my boyfriend and his wife were there, just plain disrespectful. I finally couldn’t take all of the energy (from the wife/hosts throwing shots and comments as I understand the language and the husband’s unwanted attention) so I decided to end the occasion early. After a heated discussion with my boyfriend (I was doing all the talking), I told him that I needed privacy and we needed to build a relationship on our own outside of the family. I put my foot down and told my boyfriend that he would have to start coming to my house, learning about me and what I’m about and working on a relationship independent of the attention of his immediate and distant family. As a grown woman, I think I deserve this. For the past 12 weeks he’s been coming to my house sporadically. He says he understands that as grown adults we should have our privacy, but he seems to be struggling with his family dynamics. He tells me his father asks for me all the time, the brother asks why I don’t come over anymore and his mother is throwing shade. My boyfriend had the nerve to ask me if my boycotting his home had more to do with me not liking his family (which is not true and I’ve proven that with my actions and words) or is it just that I need my own space and privacy. Should I throw in the towel? Have I created a monster? The family dynamic is just plain weird. Am I dating him or him and the whole family? Help me please. To submit your own letter to Strawberry Letter, click here. For more information on Steve Harvey Comedy tour dates, click here. For more Strawberry Letters at ESSENCE.com, click here.
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