Dating Dos
From Mom

In honor of Mother’s Day, I asked some real-live men to share the relationship advice passed on to them by their own mothers. So, the next time you look at your guy and wonder, “Didn’t your mother ever teach you....?” know that chances are, she did. They just didn’t listen at the time.

Mother and teen son

"Treat each girl like she’s your first relationship."

After Mario and his high school girlfriend broke up, he felt he could never trust another girl again. He was distraught. Then, his mom stepped in and taught him that with every breakup, though we gain a new set of preconceptions, we must learn to keep those prejudices at bay when we begin a new relationship. Mario says it was another way for her to impart the lesson: "Don’t refuse to think."

"Don’t have a girlfriend. Have several!"

As a teen, Andy’s mom encouraged him to avoid a serious relationship and he kept this advice close to his heart all his life. Dating with this in mind took the pressure off and he was able to learn more about himself as well as identify the qualities he valued in a romantic partnership. Though this may have been what he calls "the mature approach," he says that dating without a long-term commitment in mind often caused hurt feelings in his early relationships. He admits that this may have made him seem detached, but he learned that it really helped him find the right match. He says, "This normalized in my mid-20s and now I’ve married the finest girl in the land!"

"It’s never too late to change course."

At first, Erik felt that his mom’s love lessons were cliche. "She stepped forward with the inevitable platitudes -- ‘it’ll be okay,’ ‘you’ll find someone that’s a better fit, ‘being alone isn’t so bad.’" However, over time he realized that his mom has always been able to comfort him with a common theme, "Her advice never demanded that I change, but rather that I be patient... that no matter the extent of the current wreckage, I’m on the right track."

Erik trusts his mom because he considers his parents a successful model for a relationship (they’ve been together nearly 50 years!). Through the years, she continually reminds him that change -- the uncertainty, the fears, the anger, the success -- is the essence of life.

More dating

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What your relationship with your family says about you
How to cast your boyfriend

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Comments on "What moms tell their sons about love"

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Bryn May 11, 2012 | 11:07 AM

I think it's really neat to see sons actually take their mom's advice, and see the benefits of it! I think that is a rare case, but this advice is important. You can't close yourself off to the next relationship because you've been hurt before, or because of either of your pasts.

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