Whenever I call my mom, the conversation ultimately turns to dating — not because she pries, but because she's been happily married for nearly 30 years and I figure she knows what she's talking about when it comes to relationships. I want her perspective. She reminds me that the little details I get so hung up on (He's an inch too tall/short to kiss comfortably! He bikes everywhere and it's August and he's so sweaty!) matter literally zero percent in the long run. And she points out actually important issues that I might not think about otherwise. Knowing how to ask your mom for dating advice is key.
If your mom is ultra-practical like Kris Jenner, that's going to lead to a different conversation than what you'd have with a free-spirited mom like Lorelai Gilmore. Every mom/daughter situation is unique and requires a tailored approach.
But in general, there are ways to make the most of your discussion with mom. I talked to Dr. Gary Brown, a Los Angeles-based therapist who specializes in individual, family, and marriage counseling, about how to approach the convo, ensure it goes smoothly, and finally explain once and for all that Tinder is more than just "that sex app."
Make Sure You Can Safely Talk To Her About Your Dating Life
If you know your mom is homophobic or transphobic, you don't need to put yourself in a dangerous spot.
"Ask yourself, 'Who do I feel safer sharing my inner world with?'" Dr. Brown suggests.
And if you feel like your mom isn't the right person to talk to, there are other people you can turn to — your dad, another relative, friends, or a therapist. There's no shame in needing to turn elsewhere.
Approach The Conversation With Respect
"Don't be accusatory, don't be judgmental, don't be defensive," Dr. Brown says.
Discussions about dating can be ultra-personal — it's like putting a conversation about love, sex, personal values, and family into a blender.
So even if you know your mom has a history of hating the people you date, it's a bad move to start the convo off by bringing that up. Stay positive, and she will, too.
Remember That Dating Has Changed
Back in her day, hooking up meant meeting up, and Tinder was a kind of firewood. But that doesn't mean your mom isn't qualified to weigh in modern dating. The details might have changed — swap the drive-in movie theater for Netflix and chill — but the basics are still the same, and her advice is probably pretty timeless.
"Acknowledge that things are different now, and engage your parent in conversation by asking, 'Is there something that I can learn from your generation?'" Dr. Brown says. "Then you can say, 'Let me tell you what's happening in my generation so you can understand."
In other words, your mom might not understand the specific frustration of your Bumble conversation fizzling out after just a few messages. But she probably is familiar with the pain of waiting by the phone for someone to call — and she might be able to tell you what to do.
You Don't Always Need To Agree
You might not see eye-to-eye on everything, and that's OK. But it can feel awkward, uncomfortable, or even downright rude to tell your mom that — especially when it comes to hot-button issues like where your partner sleeps when you go home for the holidays.
It's fine to hold your ground, Dr. Brown says, as long as you do it with respect.
Try saying something like, "We're both adults here, and we're not going to agree on everything. I respectfully disagree with you, but I still love you."
You got this, girl.
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