It’s understandable. Our moms form our earliest impressions about women, femininity and love. No wonder we’re drawn to partners who remind us of them. But if you’re among the masses of men (or women) who find themselves on the verge of “marrying mom” (or even just serial dating her!), it’s time to ask yourself some questions. For starters, is your relationship with your mother a healthy one?
The Basis for Loving
Whether you were super close with your mom, or you longed for a relationship that just wasn’t there, your connection with your mom was your first and most important teaching tool in matters of love. If she was doting, you learned to show love by giving. If she was withholding, you believed you had to work for love. If she was withdrawn, perhaps you tried to draw her out. If she was communicative, you were taught to express emotions. If she wasn’t, you learned to withhold.
You get the idea. Moms influence us in ways we don’t even realize until much, much later. And even then, some of us remain clueless.
Recreating the Relationship
Considering the aforementioned (never mind that you physically came from her in most cases), it’s no wonder that this primal pairing has an influence over romance. Whether we realize it or not, in love we’re often trying for a do-over with mom (if we feel we did her wrong, for example), actively seeking her opposite (say, if we felt abused or neglected), or we hold our mom in such high esteem that we want our mates to mirror her in every way (mama’s boy anyone?!). The trouble is, a caring romantic relationship isn’t a maternal one, it’s a pairing of equally responsible adults. So even if you’re aiming for someone who is nothing like your mother, you’re letting past problems reign over the present. You can’t change your childhood, nor can you relive it. What you can do is learn from it.
Breaking Free of the Bond
By repeating the patterns of our childhood, we’re holding ourselves in a state of arrested development wherein we never grow enough to attract the right kind of partner. If you’re recreating a destructive relationship, trying to draw love from unavailable women, or holding out for someone who finally fills your mom’s considerable shoes, stop for a second and ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish. If you didn’t enjoy your mother the first time around, what makes you think her qualities could make you happy now? If you’re avoiding your mom’s qualities at all costs, why are you still attracting her? Or if you’re not (and you’re getting the opposites you ask for), why are you still unhappy?
Whatever the answer, when it comes to dating with relation to our maternal relationships, there is one universal truth, regardless of the situation. Your perfect match may have some of the qualities of your mother, but she is NOT your mother. Therefore, it’s imperative that you treat her as her own person, with her own motivations – the woman in your life as opposed to the woman who gave you life.
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