My mother is a wise woman. Life has taught her many lessons. Some of the lessons she learned the hard way resulted in a lot of anguish and heartache and still, despite the blows that life has thrown her way she has flourished and moved forward continuing to find joy in her journey. As a mother you don’t want your children to go through the things that you went through. You want their life to be better. You share with them your story in hopes that their story won’t turn out the same way. You hope that they can learn from your mistakes. However, you know that the reality is that they most often will have to learn from their own. And while you have the best intentions sometimes life turns out to be a better teacher than you.
I didn’t listen to my mother. I was a teenager. I was also naïve, attention seeking, and I wanted to fix him. Little did I know that my desire to fix others was because I had felt broken. And, little did I know that my relationship choices would result in me needing help from the one person I refused to listen to.
After leaving a relationship that took me from my teen years into adulthood I realized the value in my mother’s words. I realized the wisdom that she possessed and that while she may not always be right, her words were worthy of my listening ears. As an adult and mother her feedback became important to me and it was her feedback that I sought and at times her advice prompted my actions (sometimes).
A report released by ChrstianMingle and JDate on the State of Dating in America highlights the impact mother’s have over the relationships of their children. While it may not be something that people are forthcoming about, according to the findings more than half of single men and women reported that their mother had the “greatest influence on whom they dated.” What is especially interesting about this is the fact that men seem to be more influenced by their mothers than women. For women their friends tend to have a stronger influence.
In thinking back to my own experiences as well as the experience of people who have shared their’s with me, most often us girls tend to do the opposite of what our mothers say. They tell us to run from a guy and somehow we find ourselves running toward him. We tell them they have it all wrong and that he’s just misunderstood. And eventually, in many cases, we find ourselves later saying, I should have listened to my mother. Of course, this is not unanimous when it comes to women and dating but it happens. Nevertheless, despite mother’s opinion ranking relatively high mom is not the first person we seek insight from, and instead, it is our friends.
As for the men, why is their mother’s influence so prevalent in their dating life? According to Rachel Sussman, a New York based marriage and family therapist and clinical social worker, “A mother’s approval of a partner is often essential. Men often compare other women to their mother, and mom provides an opinion they can trust.”
While this particular report focuses on Christian and Jewish singles, a mother’s role in her child’s life can transcend religious backgrounds. For those of you that are married or dating did you seek your mother’s opinion when it came to your love life? If so what was your reason for doing so? For more on these findings read the State of Dating in America.
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