My mom is my best friend. That is, a best friend whom I unabashedly copy and try to the best of my ability to emulate. I remember as early as second grade, I would gleeful hear people say that I acted just like her when I gave school presentations, and that my teachers and fellow students knew exactly whose mom she was when she walked into other kids' classrooms because we looked so much alike. She has been my guide in all the important things in life like school and optimizing dessert and following my dreams, so it makes sense that my mother is the one I turn to for love advice.
It helps that she and my dad have always had such a strong relationship that a lot of what I learned from her never really had to be said out loud; Years of watching their dynamic have given me a sense for what I want out of love. But regardless of your parents' relationship or circumstances, moms will always give you the best love advice, not only because they are more experienced in life than we are but because they are the people who always, genuinely want the best for you, and will tell you the truth—even if it's hard to hear. The advice that moms have on love is tried and true. Here are the things you should always listen to:
Don't Expect To Change People
To some degree, we all have to learn this in our own way to really believe it, but I remember my mom telling us this even when we were pretty young. While people are capable of changing, they have to be the ones to initiate and desire that change themselves. Moms know from experience that going into a relationship knowing that there is a behavior you can't live with and expecting it to change is a recipe for disappointment.
You Have To Be A Team
My mom has always been a determined and confident person, so it is unlikely that she would ever let herself be less than someone's equal in a relationship anyway—and she always made sure that we held ourselves in that esteem, too. She taught us not to take a backseat in a relationship, that the dynamic should always be like a team where you are supportive of each other and on an equal playing field.
Nobody Is Perfect, Not Even You
Relationships hinge on how people treat each other, and sometimes we need someone else's perspective to understand that we aren't doing a good job of it. In my first relationship, my mom had to be the one to tell me that I could occasionally be too demanding of the guy I was dating, to the point where sometimes I just plain wasn't nice. It was hard to hear, but it was true, and nobody else was going to tell me like she would.
You Can Judge Someone By How They Treat Strangers
Especially servers and cashiers. A few words of conversation with strangers, particularly in stressful situations, can reveal a lot about a person that you might never hear from them yourself.
Or By How They Treat Their Family
My mom always taught us that family comes first, no matter what. Now one of the first things I notice about someone is how they talk about their own families, and whether or not they are good at staying in touch. Every family has its dramas and occasionally there are some rifts that can't be healed, but even watching how someone handles those rifts measures a lot about their character.
It's The Little Things That Count
My mom says it's not about grand gestures, but the little day-to-day things that are the glue in a relationship. It's about figuring out where your partner needs help or something that they might have forgotten, even if it's as simple as getting the oil changed in their car or remembering to get their favorite snack at the grocery store. Those are the little personal things that mean more in the long run, and remind your partner that you are supportive of them and vice versa.
Communication Really Is Everything
I don't think I have ever said a single thing to my mom that wasn't repeated to my dad, or vice versa. I remember friends being a little shocked when I mentioned this, but I just grew up that way and never really thought about it. My parents don't keep secrets from each other—period. They tell each other everything and as a result, they are always on the same page, both in what is going on in their lives and their kids' lives, and that's a huge part of why I have always seen their relationship as a team dynamic.
Love Shouldn't Be Hard
My mom said the difference with boyfriends from her past and her relationship with my dad is that she didn't have to struggle or "make things work." They have a mutual trust and understanding that didn't require any bumpy roads or fights that I've seen get glamorized in pop culture as "passionate" or a necessary part of love. Every couple will have their ups and downs, and occasional disagreements are unavoidable, but my mom always told us—and showed us, with her own marriage—that they shouldn't define a relationship.
Not just in terms of whether or not someone is "good enough" for you, but in terms of whether you are a good enough fit. I don't know whether or not this is a product of my upbringing, but I don't believe in soulmates. I believe that there are many people in this world whom I could love and be happy with forever. But if you are dissatisfied in a relationship, even if it's with a perfectly good person, that's not going to change. Don't settle for less than your happiness.