This has been driving me nuts for years, and maybe one (or more) of y'all could help me solve this problem, which only just now has caused a mini mental breakdown. Recently, my boyfriend and I have been talking about having people over at his place for dinner, because, honestly, he has more space to host in his townhouse than I do in my house out in the (relatively speaking) sticks. I've also been wanting my parents to meet him. My father doesn't pay house calls anymore (except to my cousin and my remaining blood paternal uncle, but even then, that's rare), so boyfriend and I met him at a local buffet. That went great, and him and the boy could not stop talking about old video games. However, National Chain Buffet won't cut it for my mother, whose tastes are, for lack of a better word, more refined. That said, she generally doesn't say no to the offer of a home-cooked meal, even if it's slop. I was heading to the bathroom earlier, and on my way, this conversation happened. Me: Hey, would you be at all interested in coming over [boyfriend's name's] place[, where I've been spending increasingly more time] for dinner one night? Her: (disapproving face) I would rather that we clean up this house a bit. You always find a way of avoiding it. Me: ...all you had to say was no. Her: I didn't say I wouldn't, I just said that I would -rather- do that. Me: (on the verge of tears) ...never mind. I'm mild Sperg, so sometimes communication issues do come up; we've talked a few of them out (e.g. she knows not to pile on things for me to do, and instead have me focus on one task at a time; also, she's getting better with the "here's all the things you didn't do, let me re-emphasize how disappointed I am in you for not doing those things but completely disregard anything you did manage to accomplish"), but this is one that she still doesn't understand how much it hurts and/or messes with my wiring. I try to explain to her, and she'll just dodge the matter again, saying "Well, XYZ -does- need to get done." Difficulty Factors: My mother, in addition to providing my housing and a lot of my means of living, is also my employer, so my words must be delicate; I don't fear any employment repercussions from any potential confrontation, but I'd rather not take that gamble.