The phrase, "If momma 'aint happy, nobody's happy," holds true for your most circumstances, including your relationship with your boyfriend and his family. If his mom doesn't approve of you, it makes it difficult to be with the man of your dreams. Strained relationships with in-laws creates added strain in your own relationship, according to Diane Barth of Psychology Today, so be sure to stay in his mom's good graces if you want a chance at snagging your man for years to come.
Treat her son with respect. You don't need to make him king of the household, but you do need to prove to her that you truly care about her son. Actions speak louder than words, so just saying, "I love you" isn't enough to leave her feeling confident in her son's choice of women. Instead, let her see you affectionately interact with him. Help him with a chore the next time you are at her house for a family dinner.
Take care of her son when she isn't around. Do you share around the house and show her that you view the relationship as an equal partnership and that you don't expect him to do everything for you. She'll appreciate the effort you make on a daily basis to help her son cook and clean. More importantly, be there for her son emotionally. While she may appreciate the fact you keep her son happy by baking your famous chocolate chip cookies, being a good emotional partner is worth its weight in gold to her.
Build a relationship with her outside of your boyfriend. Show her that you are interested in getting to know her as a person and invite her out to dinner or over for a glass of wine. Spend the time telling her a little about yourself and allow her to do the same. Avoid intrusive questions, but do use the time to speak to one another on a more intimate level than in a room filled with lots of other family members.
Write her a simple note thanking her for dinner or the time spent at her home. With emails and texts as a common form of communication, a handwritten note goes a long way in today's society. Take a few moments to write out a short card or letter thanking her for inviting you and your boyfriend over for Thanksgiving dinner. She'll be impressed with the time and effort you took to acknowledge the work she put into the meal.
Consider giving her a small gift for a holiday or special occasion. If done correctly, she won't view it as a bribe, but as a respectful gesture. Bring flowers or a bottle of wine to her house when you go for dinner or present her with balloons on her birthday. Ask your boyfriend for suggestions if you are unsure what to purchase.