When you and your girlfriend are together, sparks fly. But if you're worried that sparks will fly between your girlfriend and your mom — and not the good type of sparks — don't despair! Introducing a romantic partner to your family can feel stressful, especially if your partner and your mother don't get along right away. Thankfully, a few general communication and relationship strategies can help you smooth the way between the two most important females in your life.
Spend Time Together
"It turns out that familiarity breeds affection," reports Gretchen Rubin for "Psychology Today" magazine. If things are a bit chilly between your mom and your girlfriend when they first meet, that may be a totally natural first reaction. "The more often you see another person, the more intelligent and attractive you tend to find that person," says Rubin. Try setting up activities, such as dinners, walks in the park and other group excursions, that give your girlfriend and your mom a chance to interact repeatedly. Making it a group thing also reduces the social pressure that would otherwise be present if you arranged one-on-one activities for them. Over time, the two may start to view each other as friends — or at least not as enemies!
Don't Take Sides
If your girlfriend and your mom disagree on something, try not to take sides. This is especially true if the two aren't getting along because your mom doesn't like your girlfriend's character, values or other personality traits, or if your girlfriend doesn't like these things about your mother. Reacting defensive to your mom may make it appear that there's actually something true in her worries or accusations, and may make your mom like your girlfriend even less. If your family privately criticizes something about girlfriend, try to respond in a way that says you know your parents love you and want the best for you, but that you disagree with them.
Try to Find Empathy
Often when a parent doesn't like a child's romantic partner, there's an underlying issue. Try to find out if there's something deeper that your mom is worried about. For example, perhaps your mom is worried that your romantic partner will replace her, or that your girlfriend's different religious values may alienate you from your childhood culture. If you can identify an underlying issue, alleviating those deeper concerns can help your parents open up to your girlfriend being in your life.
Help the Two Find Common Ground
Even people from seemingly opposite backgrounds or cultures can have similar interests, passions or beliefs. Finding common ground between your mother and your girlfriend will help them to forge a relationship bond, no matter how shallow and basic it may be at first. Using this basic relationship connection, your girlfriend and mom can build a foundation for a stronger, more amicable relationship. Since you know the two well, try to discover what elements connect them, and find a way to mention this common ground during a conversation.