By GalTime‘s Dating Expert Jennifer Oikle, PhD
With Mother’s Day around the corner, you’ve probably got mom on your mind. Sure, you’ve got a million things to thank her for.
But chances are– unless your mom and dad had a storybook romance, you also inherited a few not so lucky relationship habits from being your mother’s daughter. In fact, watching your parent’s relationship is the biggest way you learned how to relate to men, so it’s not surprising that you may have picked up some patterns that remind you of your mother.
The good news is– you don’t have to make the same man mistakes as mom. You can choose to learn from her instead. Below are the top five relationship habits you may have learned from your mother and how to chart a new, healthy, happy course for love.
Mom Mistake #1: Staying Too Long in a Painful Relationship
Many mothers stay in hurtful marriages “for the children.” If you watched your mom play this role, you may have learned that you too, should suffer, for the sake of love. Now, you may have a hard time leaving relationships that just aren’t right for you because you don’t want to hurt anyone.
To bust out of this rut, you’ll need to examine your definition of commitment. Commitment only works when it’s healthy for both partners involved. Once harm is being created in a relationship, you owe it to you both to move on and create a loving, harmonious environment to thrive in.
Mom Mistake #2: Denying Your Needs
You may have watched your mom so busy pleasing everyone else that it didn’t even seem she had any needs of her own! If so, you might find it hard to allow yourself to have a need or ask for help.
To curb this pattern, practice tuning into what you need first and speak it out loud to your partner. He can’t honor your needs, if he doesn’t know what they are. Also, you don’t have to do everything by yourself. Notice when you wish you had some help and ask for it.
Mom Mistake #3: Warring with the Opposite Sex
If your mom and dad constantly fought, you may have learned to associate love with pain. Now, you almost don’t know what to do if things are smooth sailing with your partner, so you’ll create tension and conflict to stay in your comfort zone.
Related: 5 Ways to Keep Your Fights Clean
To break this habit, notice when you begin to nag, complain, or start an argument with your beau. Was it when things were actually beginning to feel too good? Or did you have a legitimate concern? Pause the conversation to see what you really think, feel, and need. Then restart it, with a calm “I statement” that avoids any blame of your partner.
Mom Mistake #4: Giving Up Your Self
Many moms mistakenly become role models for giving up your right to have a life! By always putting their spouse and kids ahead of their own happiness, they can teach you that you too have to give up who you and what you love to have a romantic relationship.
Ironically, you have the most to offer a relationship when you are fulfilled from within. So, even when you are in a relationship, be sure to take time out for your best friendships, your favorite hobbies, even alone time (a bath and a nap anyone?) that rejuvenates you.
Mom Mistake #5: Constant Self Criticism
Was your home filled with criticism? Maybe mom and dad berated each other, put you down, or were hard on themselves. If nothing was ever good enough for your mother, you might find you are just as hard on yourself as your mother ever was.
Related: How to Handle a Bossy Partner
To move on, you’ll need to begin offering yourself the kind of mothering nurturance you wish your mom had given you. Notice how you think about yourself and agree to never say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t utter to your best friend.
By thanking your mother for all that she gave you that was good, and working on shifting anything you picked up that wasn’t healthy, you can honor your relationship with your mother and ensure that her mistakes turn into wisdom well learned