Does the thought of receiving romantic advice from Mom make you fall right back into a defensive sulking pose that’s more commonly reserved for teenagers? Though mother may know best, when it comes to asking her for advice, we’re far more likely to heed the counsel of friends and blow off our mothers’ suggestions as antiquated or lacking real-world understanding, says Kate Reardon, author of Your Mother Was Right: All the Great Advice You Tried to Forget. “If only we could see our mothers as individuals — as the cool, accomplished, experienced women they are, then we could finally benefit from their wisdom,” Reardon adds.
For those of us who haven’t yet reached that state of acceptance, Reardon gathered the best love advice others have received from their mothers and compiled it all into her book. Now, we can all happily heed some of their advice just in time for Mother’s Day — without the baggage of our own resentment, bitterness, foot-stamping tantrums, tears or the slamming of doors. Below, find some of the best nuggets of mom-knowledge and guidance Reardon discovered — apply as needed!
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How to know if a man likes you
“One word: effort. Does he make an effort to be with you or to talk to you? If so, then he’s into you,” says one mother. In this era of cell phones, Skype, instant-messaging and email, if a guy says he doesn’t have the time to simply communicate or arrange a time to meet with you in person, he’s definitely not into you — at least, not according to mom.
How to stop a boyfriend from criticizing you, your family and your friends
“The perfect way to make sure he stops criticizing everything about you is to dump him!” one mom asserts. Makes sense, no? A clean break is sure to shut anyone up — not to mention, it’ll get you better positioned to meet your actual Mr. Right.
How to deal with your boyfriend eyeing other women
“Distract him by making non-sexual observations about the woman he is eyeing,” suggests one mom. “Try saying things like, ‘That woman has really pretty hair’ or ‘great jacket,’ etc. That tells him you’ve noticed that he’s looking and brings the attention back to you without being snippy.”
How to ask the friend you’ve been canoodling with for something more serious Friends with benefits, you say? “You aren’t friends,” asserts one mother. “Friends don’t sleep together; friends go out for coffee, chill out, etc. They don’t have sex! Back away from him and don’t make contact. Wait for him to contact you, and that will give you the opportunity to tell him what you want out of the relationship. If he doesn’t want that and only wants the convenience of sleeping with you with no emotional ties, let him go. You are worth far more than that. Only sleep with someone who is committed to you, and don’t give yourself away without good reason.”
How to get over an ex
“Treat yourself like a recovering addict — you are addicted to this man and you need to wean yourself off him,” one mom advises. “You can only take things one day at a time. Say to yourself, ‘For today, I will not contact him.’”
How to keep a post-baby partnership happy
One mom recommends making it a priority to make time to talk to each other: “Take time over dinner at a table, face-to-face, and ask how he is, how he is finding the new routine, and remain interested in his work and what he does all day. Though it might be the last thing on your mind, your love life is vitally important, too. At this stage, spontaneity doesn’t come naturally, so, without telling him, add it to the routine you are probably doggedly following. As awful as it sounds, it does make it easier to schedule it in! Even better: Do something special for him on a week night when he’s least expecting it.”
How to know when he is playing you instead of dating you
What’s the surest way to weed out a potential player? Suggest going out on a proper date, insists one mom. “If he just says something like, ‘I’d rather come to your place to watch a movie or something,’ feel free to interpret that as ‘I have no intention of spending any money on you, having my friends see me with you, or listening to you any more than I have to — I just want to have sex with you.’”
When DC-based journalist Chelsea Kaplan isn’t helping you solve your relationship problems, she’s making jewelry. Check it out atwww.chelseabellejewelry.com.