8 Love Mistakes Moms Unknowingly Pass On

If Mom gave you relationship advice that she clearly needed to apply to her own love life while you were growing up, you’re not alone. Here, one expert transforms mixed messages into valuable love lessons.

By LaDawn Black

om sometimes got it wrong! I know it’s a huge shocker, but the truth is, when I look back at my own upbringing and think about a lot of the stories that my listeners share with me, there are loads of love lessons that mom showed us through her actions that were far more lasting and destructive than any bit of savvy advice she could actually say out loud.
People have a tendency to both tell and show their real selves to us.
Below are eight love mistakes to avoid repeating in your own relationships (and suggestions for fixing the ones that seem a little too familiar already!).

Love Mistake #1: Turning a blind eye to the obvious
How many of you lived in a house where — sometime around your teen years, probably — you started to think that your mom was delusional? She simply did not seem to “see” certain things. Sometimes these were big things, like cheating, or little things — like the fact that dad was really messy; these issues seemed to just continuously slide by her without comment. She probably thought that refusing to acknowledge these problems meant that she was retaining a peaceful home or avoiding unnecessary drama.
Solution: Keep your eyes open; relationship issues are rarely a surprise. People have a tendency to both tell and show their real selves to us — we just have to be willing to recognize it.

Love Mistake #2: Nagging instead of communicating effectively
Moms love to tell their daughters to be calm, listen and try to reach a compromise in love. The truth is that many of us grew up in homes with “Grade-A Naggers.” In other words, mothers that were never, ever direct about what was really bugging them and who never calmly explained to the men in their lives what they actually needed. Maybe mom felt as though that, by repeating things a hundred times a day at various pitches and volumes, one day her man would somehow finally just get it.
Solution: Be clear about what you want. Men like to know the “whys” of a situation and how making a change may improve things in the relationship. Make sure you are being effective when you communicate with each other.

Love Mistake #3: Trying to “fix” people
“Stay away from men who need fixing!” Mom has probably told you this more than a few times over the years. However, lots of daughters have spent time watching mom try to give dad a makeover, get a long-term boyfriend to commit, or date the same type of men over and over… with dismal results. Sure, she might tell you not to date a fixer-upper — but trying to fix the man in her life seemed like a part-time job for many mothers.
Solution: Avoid relationships that you know are going to be too challenging from the very beginning. If you cannot deal with his kids, ex, career, hygiene, family or living situation, then don’t get involved with him.

Love Mistake #4: Believing marriage is all about the kids
Don’t you love all the romantic expectations and great adventures that moms inadvertently sell their daughters? Stuff like: “One day, you will meet that man that will complete you.” Well, the reality is that a lot of moms did have this experience… but it was with their children, not their husbands. Kids can easily become the center of any relationship, and romantic overtures and hot sex become afterthoughts once they enter the picture.
Solution: Of course we all love our kids, but don’t forget the reason you have them in the first place: there was a great guy who came into your life. Make time on a daily basis for just the two of you. Every day, try to remember how you got here, even in little ways.

Love Mistake #5: Thinking that being a seductress is overrated
“Keep yourself up,” your mom would say. Now, this is the same mom that was still rocking a hairdo from 10 years ago and making fun of the “tarted” up moms at
Never take a voyeuristic approach to your love life.
your events — and who refused any and all attempts you’d make to dress her or do her make-up differently. And if you asked dad what he thought was sexy, well… let’s just say that at times you probably weren’t even sure if he and mom still spoke to each other at all.
Solution: Maintain your sex appeal — first for yourself, and then for your lover. Ask him what he thinks of some of the most talked-about celebs out there, and don’t be afraid to transform yourself for a fantasy night where he gets to play with “Lola,” “Natasha” or “Peaches.”

Love Mistake #6: Making a man the focus of your entire life
“Go to college, have fun, get a great job, live on your own — and if Mr. Right finally comes along, remember all that you were before him. Do not make any man your life!” And at the same time she told you this, your mom probably also started so many conversations by saying, “Dad thought…” that you questioned whether she actually thought anything on her own anymore.
Solution: There is absolutely nothing wrong with diving into a relationship with a great guy, but you must always remember — no matter how deep things get between the two of you — that he fell in love with how wonderful you are as an individual. If you simply box yourself into the role of being that man’s caretaker or cheerleader and nothing more, then there’s far less of you for him to love.

Love Mistake #7: Waiting for problems to “disappear”
“At the first sign that he has issues, get out of there!” Mom tells you this, imploring you to never, ever be afraid to jump ship when things gets a bit dicey. Yet, you saw her cling on to the side of the boat for so long in her own love life, never being brave enough to just let go. She just hung in there, hoping things would change.
Solution: We all have boundaries — some things we are willing to work through and other things that are definite deal-breakers. Keep sight of your own personal boundaries and know that waiting a person out does not guarantee that change is eventually going to happen.

Love Mistake #8: Staying in an unfulfilling relationship
Mom probably told you to keep the lines of communication open with your lover in order to guarantee success. “Settling” was an evil word; after all, you deserved the best! As much as she may have yelled this from the mountaintops, some mothers seemed willing to take just about anything in their relationships in order to keep those relationships going. Often, they seemed to settle for love lives that were less than what they deserved because it took too much energy and time to make things different.
Solution: Never take a voyeuristic approach to your love life. Be willing to put in work. Great love doesn’t just happen; it takes two people willing to make adjustments when it’s necessary so that you both are satisfied.

LaDawn Black is a relationship expert, radio personality and the author of Let’s Get It On: 15 Hot Tips and Tricks to Spice Up Your Sex Life. Learn more at
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