Maybe he told you as soon as you started dating or maybe you did not realize it until you received the fakest-mom-smile ever. Either way, that relationship nightmare has come true–his mom hates you. Stay calm, we are here to help. Follow these simple tips, and with time she may come around.
This is the most essential piece to this uncomfortable puzzle–figuring out why she does not like you. Take a glance at your social media profile and think through some stereotypes when it comes to dating in college. If you come to the conclusion that she may think you are a bad influence due to your party habits or major choice (sigh–not all theatre majors are looking for their MRS degrees OKAY???)–there is hope.
Next time you are around your man’s mom, chat about your latest job interview, internship search or impressive class selection. Throw in that you two love to study together and how excited you are for that distinguished lecturer to speak in your 8a.m. class. Select outfits from the most conservative side of your closet and stay away from items and topics that might set her off–leggings, ripped denim, dark makeup, etc. And while you are at it, take down those keg-stand social media pictures–if you think they might raise a potential future in-law’s eyebrows, they will not do you any favors professionally either.
There is a possible second answer to the question of why his mother does not approve–it’s not you but your role. Step back and look at you bae’s relationship with his mother. Did he use to go to the movies every Friday with her and now he’s spending that time with you? Did she really like his last girlfriend? Maybe his last relationship ended poorly, and she is afraid he is going to get hurt again. Either way, these reasons are not personal. The best you can do in this case is use your charm to make her like you for you and show her how compatible you and her son are.
Step 2–Get Him On Board
This can be tricky but with him on your side, your chances of winning mom over are exponentially higher. Ease into the conversation with some simple phrases to get the ball rolling like “I don’t think your mom likes me very much” and see how he reacts. Listen to his response and do not get defensive. Whatever you do–do not attack her. She is his mother and he loves her. You would not stand for anyone speaking badly of your mother and neither will he. Stay calm and respectful but be clear about your feelings. He knows his mother much better than you do–maybe she takes awhile to warm up to anyone he brings home. If he also caught wind of her lack of approval, get his take on why this may be the case.
Once you have established the reason (likely similar to your conclusion from step 1) you can move forward with a plan. Make him your spy and advocate. Let him know that next time he and his mom are talking he should discuss how you helped him study for his final (which he got an A on) or took him on a great nature hike. He should already be talking you up to his parents but now he can directly combat her negative notions about you instead of accidentally fueling them.
If you are worried she thinks you are snatching him away from her, suggest you switch your date nights so they can keep their mother/son movie time. Encourage your bae to spend plenty of time with his mom or call her often–and for bonus points make sure he drops that you reminded him to pick up the phone.
Step 3–Smile Pretty!
Whatever the reason for her dislike, dazzle her with your impeccable manners, appropriate humor and clear ability to make her son happy. Talk up her son and show how much you care about him. Focus on specific traits she could have taught him or be especially proud of–how good he is at tennis or how clean he keeps his apartment.
Be an absolute delight. Always have a smile on your face and thank her graciously for having you in her lovely home. If possible, get other members of the family on your side. Know dad’s favorite football team and how they did in the last game. Ask little sister how she is going to do her hair for prom. Bring a treat for the dog. With more of the family on your side, there is a better chance someone will provide the rebuttal of “I thought she was nice!” the next time his mom complains about you.
Offer to set the table when you are over for dinner and help clear the table and do the dishes without being asked. Figure out her interests and find a way to connect. Ask your boyfriend about his mother’s hobbies beforehand and do a little bit of research so you can carry a conversation. Ask her lots of questions and prove you genuinely want to get to know her. Remember you for sure have one thing in common–you both care about him. If you are struggling to get the chatter rolling, ask questions about his childhood and get him involved.
No matter how rocky things get–do not let her know she is getting to you. Respond to every slight with absolute politeness and grace. However, if things get truly disrespectful, you are allowed to back out of visits and dinners. You do not deserve insults and abuse from anyone–even your partner’s mother.
Keep your man in the loop. He should be ready to prove that you two are a couple and she needs to respect you.