No one likes to be controlled, least of all in their personal lives. While most adults admit that they cannot do much about things like traffic snarls or a short-tempered boss, others like romantic choices and dating partners should be beyond interference. And yet a mother is someone who almost always has your best interests in heart. Besides the fact that for two decades of your life, she has been looking out for you makes it difficult to banish her away on the sidelines of your existence. However if your mother’s controlling behavior is proving to be intolerable and she seems to be doing everything possible to direct your dating, here are a few things to consider.
Firstly you need to give your mother some leeway. She is simply playing the only role she knows – that of taking care of you; while you see this as interference she doesn't see it as being, bossy or treating you like a child, she sees it as doing what all good moms do, nurture, love, encourage and give advice whether needed or not.
Then again try to understand that she may be missing your company. Perhaps your mom and you used to spend all your free time together before you began to have an active social life of your own. So it is natural that she feels a little jealous of your dating life especially if she is widowed or divorced herself and does not have many friends of her own. So ensure that you spare some time in your schedule to hang out with your mom every now and then and this will reassure her that your dates are not a threat to your mother-daughter relationship and she can let go of the need to control. Suggest to her that you have a girls’ night out or go shopping one Saturday afternoon with her. Ask your mother if she would like to play tennis with you or show you how to prepare her famous Bolognaise sauce – maybe she just needs something to do and someone to give all of that bottled up wisdom to. Encourage her to take up a hobby – there is sure to be something she likes to do in her spare time. There are so many ways she can use her wisdom and experiences without hanging on to your life. Maybe she can volunteer at the hospital or do arts and crafts at the senior citizen complex - anything that she would make her feel happy needed.
Then again if your mom has missed out on something in her life like a college education perhaps, it is likely that she doesn’t want you making the same ‘mistake’ and thus is controlling your personal life or more specifically pushing your dates away. If so, then the best way to put her mind at ease is to show that you know what you are doing with your life. Take your responsibilities seriously and work to upgrade your skills. Take decisions in your professional and personal life which indicate a maturity and common sense and she will be more open to trusting your judgment in your personal life.
Don’t confide everything
While it is natural for a daughter to share emotions with people close to her, avoid making your mom party to every little detail of your dating life. You may feel that you need to vent your exasperation at your partner to a sympathetic ear but then she may not be aware of other positive traits of your partner like you do and which in fact go to make up the person he is. In times of stress, it is natural for people to focus only on the negative attributes of a partner or highlight the tiffs you have in your relationship. If you do this all too often with your mom, she will get the impression that you are in a less than happy relationship and you deserve something better.
Be honest with yourself
When parents see something in your relationship that they don’t like you need to listen to what they have to say. You may not agree with them after you hear their point of view but it is important that you hear them out. One of the most common signs that a woman is leading a potentially unhealthy personal life is when the people nearest to her like her mother finds something off with it. So ask yourself honestly whether your mom’s discomfort with your dating has any reasonable ground – is it possible that you are time and again drawn to the wrong kind of guys, who maybe cheat on you, manipulate you, force you to take up unhealthy habits or even abuse you?.
Also ask yourself whether you really enjoy going out with the men you do or are you doing it to merely rile your mother. If you are motivated by rebellion the simplest and right thing to do is take a break from dating. It isn't fair for you to use somebody else to get back at your parents. With a sabbatical from dating you will be able to focus on the real issue of why you feel the need to resort to such drastic rebellion in the first place.
Then again maybe even though you are not dating the bad boys, perhaps you are not dating for the right reasons either – and your mom wants you to put a stop to this. This could be relevant if you are you dating a certain type of guys because of pressure from friends or in the name of popularity. If your feelings are based on your reputation rather than your heart you are being unfair to the persons you're dating and your parents. Take a step back and ask yourself if the relationship is really worth all the drama it is causing. Chances are good the answer will be no and your problem will solve itself.
Sometimes neither you nor your mother may be wrong – if your dating life is somewhat unconventional or subscribes to a lifestyle that she is unfamiliar with, she may try to manipulate you in dating the kind of guys she thinks is suitable. Here keep in mind that she only wants to see you happy; she doesn’t want to see you struggling or making decisions that will complicate your life. Her reaction is wrong but it is based on her love for you and her desire to see you get the best out of life. Understand that she has your best interests at heart and keep the lines of communication open.
However objections based on racism, classism, religious bias or homophobia are not acceptable. While your mom may have the best of intentions with these types of objections you need to hold your ground and not give in to this kind of bigotry. Suggest that in this case you should agree to disagree. She probably won’t like this but then she doesn’t have to. Create boundaries between your family and dating life so that the negative influence of one does not spoil the other. When your mother starts discussing your dates, politely but firmly point out that such topics are off-limits. Focus on what you and your mom enjoy doing between yourselves and steer the conversation away from matters you are uncomfortable with.
Finally be confident about yourself and your choices. Knowing who you are and what your choices s mean to you should show off in your actions; you don’t need to convince your mom about how nice your dates are and how satisfied you are with your personal life. People inevitably respect individuals who believe in themselves versus those come off as defensive or worse wallow in self-pity. Once you radiate confidence in your own life, eventually your mother will be persuaded to treat your personal life with consideration and your choices with respect.