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How to Deal With Moms Who Don't Like Their Daughters' Boyfriends

by Freddie Silver, studioD

Few moms and daughters see eye-to-eye on all important matters; many more seem to engage in constant conflict. If the source of the disagreements is the daughter's boyfriend, the disputes can be particularly painful. Some of the time, mom might be right, and the boyfriend really is trouble. However, if mom rejects every boyfriend, regardless of the situation, there are probably some psychological issues to resolve before everyone can live happily ever after.

Understand the motivation behind mom's feelings. There might be some psychological reasons for her dislike that have little to do with the boyfriend. Seeing her point of view might make it easier to get along with her, even if you can't change her mind. Some moms have difficulty seeing their daughters grow up, causing them to reject every and any love interest that comes along.

Be patient, kind and considerate even if mom doesn't seem to deserve it. She might be suffering from emotional problems that make her jealous of her own daughter. Or perhaps she thinks her daughter is so terrific that no boyfriend could ever be worthy of her daughter's time or interest.

Keep an open mind and listen to the criticism mom has. If you are the daughter, this will be difficult. Try to understand why she doesn't like your boyfriend. Make an effort to be objective. Is it possible she sees negative traits you're blinded to? Ask a close, trusted friend if she agrees with your mom. Tim Fawcett, Ph.D., from Bristol University, conducted research published in the journal "Evolution and Human Behavior" that suggests parents expect their daughters to find men who can suitably provide for their needs. So, if your mom believes your boyfriend can't support you, she'll be predisposed to dislike him no matter what other stellar qualities he might possess.

Decide how you'll respond to your mom. Even when she seems unwilling to see your point of view, try to connect with her in a loving manner. She might not change her mind about your boyfriend, but strive to maintain a healthy relationship with her.

Be polite and respectful at all times, especially if you are the boyfriend. You might feel your girlfriend's mom is being unfair to you and hasn't taken the time to get to know you, but be patient. Her reasons for not liking you might have nothing to do with you personally. For example, if she believes her daughter is too young to date, there might not be anything you can do to change her mind. Remain calm and respect limitations she has set for her daughter.

Be patient. According to a HuffingtonPost.com article, "How Do I Disapprove of My Daughter's Friend or Boyfriend Without Being an Invasive Mom?" mother-daughter conflicts, especially as they relate to boyfriends, take time to heal. Although, once the healing begins, the relationships can often become closer. "A lot of times, it seems that going through difficult patches like this can actually bring you and your daughter closer together; it just takes time, love and patience," writes author Elizabeth Berkley, in the HuffPost article.

Explain to mom that young women need to make their own own choices -- and mistakes. Ask mom to take a step back and let go. Depending upon the age of her daughter, she might back off a little and let the relationship run its course. If you are the daughter, speak honestly with your mom about your feelings for your boyfriend. Let her know if you not prepared to give him up. Of course, if you are younger than 18, she might not be willing to let the relationship run its course at all.

Provide constructive advice to the mom if you are her friend, especially if you've met the boyfriend and believe he's not so bad. Psychologist Marlo Archer, Ph.D., suggests on her website, drmarlo.com, that some young girls replay situations experienced in their own families or childhoods. For example, if mom married a man who is a strong decision-maker, the daughter might be attracted to controlling boyfriends. Similarly, if mom has always overlooked people's faults, the daughter might have difficulty spotting or evaluating negative characteristics in a love interest. Help mom gain control of her own weaknesses, and she'll be better equipped to help her daughter.

Remind mom that there's likely to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Most well-adjusted young women seek their mom's approval. Advise mom that if she bides her time and continues to show loving support, her daughter will likely recognize the boyfriend's shortcomings that have caused concern.


  • If mom disapproves of every boyfriend her daughter has, family counseling might be appropriate to help the daughter make better choices or to help mom accept her daughter's independence.

About the Author

Freddie Silver started writing newsletters for the Toronto District School Board in 1997. Her areas of expertise include staff management and professional development. She holds a master's degree in psychology from the University of Toronto and is currently pursuing her PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, focusing on emotions and professional relationships.

Photo Credits

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