The Other Woman Making Him Smile
Whether she’s charming or cringe-inducing, your man’s mother plays a serious role in your relationship with him. Knowing exactly how is valuable intel...
His Mommy Made Him Feel Good
And chances are, he wants a girl who treats him the way she did growing up. “The relationship with his mother is the archetype of what makes him feel nourished and loved,” says clinical psychologist Les Parrott, Ph.D., co-author of Questions Couples Ask, “and unconsciously, that relationship has shaped what he’s attracted to now.” If she expressed love by constantly telling him how special he is and praising him all the time, then he’s probably the kind of person who needs verbal reassurance that you’re into him. If she showed affection by showering him with kisses and hugs, then you can tell him you love him till you’re blue in the face, but he may not feel secure unless you’re physically affectionate too.
But It Wasn’t Perfect
Even if a guy has an amazingly close relationship with his mom now, years of living under the same roof could have made him overly sensitive about specific behaviours that hurt him when he was little. “The memories are so powerful, that something you do in the present can easily trigger those negative feelings from the past and make him overreact to certain things you do,” says Karen Sherman, Ph.D., author of Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It, And Make It Last.
If his mother rarely went to his cricket games, he might be grumpy if you forget to ask him how his meeting went, because it seems to him that you’re not interested in his life. Or if she criticised him for dressing like a slob, he might get snappy with you if you so much as raise your eyebrows at that beloved tee he’s had forever.
Her Disapproval isn’t the Kiss of Death
Most guys with judge-y moms know that she’ll never be satisfied by anyone he brings home, no matter how awesome the girl is. So if you’re picking up snide vibes from his creator, that doesn’t mean your future with him is doomed. The key to figuring out if this is going to be an issue? “His reaction”, says William Doherty, Ph.D., professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota.
If he tries to reassure you by putting her attitude in context (“She’s like this with everyone at first, but I’m sure she’ll love you once she gets to know you better”), it’s a good thing, because it shows that he takes your feelings seriously and isn’t trying to minimise the situation. But if he
Got Mom Issues? Tip: you can’t control her, but you can set limits on how she affects you. Draw boundaries, and tread the fine line between ignoring her and asserting yourself.
dismisses her behaviour as no big deal (“What? She’s not mean to you at all!”) beware: he may never stand up for you with her.
But Still, Play Nice
Regardless of how you feel about his mom, his relationship with her was the first he ever had with a woman, and the most important. He values her opinion like no other. That means even if you think she’s being totally unreasonable about something (like insisting you guys visit every weekend), bad-mouthing her and urging your BF to go against her wishes is never a good idea. He’ll automatically jump to her defence, and he might resent you for putting him in that position. So instead of blurting out, “She’s being way too demanding,” spin your opinion positively: “I’d love to have some weekends for just the two of us.” When he’s not in defensive mode, he’ll be more inclined to see your point and make the right choice.
The final staredown begins...
‘I promise you, those glasses look ridiculous worn indoors...’