Hello, friends. My name’s Stephen LaConte, I’m a writer here at BuzzFeed, and according to my friends and family, I’m pretty darn good at giving advice.
So I’ve invited the world to message me on Instagram and Twitter (@StephenLC in both places) with your biggest problems — and I’m solving ’em right here on BuzzFeed, one DM at a time. Let’s get right to it.
Today we’ve got this woman whose boyfriend frequently cracks sexual jokes about, uh, his mom:
You’re definitely not crazy to be creeped out by this, but my advice on what to do about it depends on one important question: How does his mom react to these jokes?
If his mother seems at all uncomfortable with her son’s comments, then I think you should intervene on her behalf. Sit him down privately and let him know once and for all that his comments are inappropriate and they need to stop right now.
When you talk to him, reflect his creepy behavior back to him, and spell out any specific signs of his mom’s discomfort that you’re seeing: “When you made that joke about your mom’s body, she got super red in the face and left the room. You need to recognize how uncomfortable you’re making her, and stop it immediately.”
And if he still won’t stop after that? Well, a guy who repeatedly sexually harasses his own mother (and ignores multiple requests to stop) is not a man who respects women. Dump him.
Having said that, my advice for you changes if his mom is, well, amused by the jokes. The comments may seem creepy to you and me, but hey — it’s possible this is just their communication style. So let’s talk about what to do if this is simply a matter of a family with a really…out-there sense of humor.
If the mom clearly has no problem with her son’s comments — if she genuinely laughs at them or cracks R-rated jokes right back to him — I wouldn’t put yourself in the middle of it. There’s a pretty good chance that would backfire.
All families have different dynamics, and trying to change them as an outsider is, generally speaking, a losing game. It’s not likely to work, and it is likely to alienate you from them in the process. So if this is just the way his family operates and they’re all having fun with it, you might need to leave this one alone.
That doesn’t mean you have to put up with the jokes yourself, though. They make you uncomfortable, and it’s perfectly reasonable and fair to ask your boyfriend not to crack them in front of you. You’re allowed to have boundaries, even if his family doesn’t.
And if he ignores your request to keep a lid on these jokes when you’re around? Well, please refer to my previous advice about dumping him.
TL;DR: If the mom is uncomfortable with these jokes, please step up on her behalf and put an end to them. She could probably use your help! But if this is just a family with an open communication style and a crass sense of humor, the only boundaries you should be worried about are your own.
That’s all the advice I’m giving today, folks, but if you’ve got any words of wisdom for our DMer, please share them in the comments. I’ll be reading.
PS: Do YOU have a problem that you want fixed in front of thousands of internet strangers? DM me! I’m @StephenLC on Instagram and @StephenLC on Twitter. Just be sure to read the rules below first. See you in the DMs!