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Men and Their Mommies:How the Mother Son Relationship Can Contribute to Divorce

I think there are many, many men who don't know what kind of relationship to have with their mom once they get a girlfriend or get married. And a lot of times, the mother son relationship has a huge effect on the marriage, to the point of divorce in some cases.
09/09/2014 05:26pm ET | Updated November 9, 2014
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The mother son relationship is really complicated. I know this because I have an ex-husband, a dad, a brother and a son.

There is nothing more attractive to a woman than a man who adores his mom, treats her well, treats her with respect and goes out of his way to help her.

There is also nothing more unattractive to a woman than a man who can't stand up to his mother, who let's his mom control him, who fears his mother and who puts his mommy first (in front of his girlfriend or wife.)

I think there are many, many men who don't know what kind of relationship to have with their mom once they get a girlfriend or get married. And a lot of times, the mother son relationship has a huge effect on the marriage, to the point of divorce in some cases.

So much of the mother son relationship stems from childhood, and circumstances that might have happened. For example, maybe the guy's dad left when he was just a little boy, and he was all his mother had. Or maybe his father died, and the man has always felt sad for his mom and tried to compensate for his dad not being there. Maybe the guy's dad treated his mom like crap and the guy feels like he needs to pick up the slack.

While all of these scenarios are heartfelt and while I can understand a guy's need to treat his mother like gold, there are differences between healthy and unhealthy mother son relationships. Here are 3.

1. Obligation Versus Choice:

Unhealthy: The son always feels obligated to see his mom and put her first in front of his plans. In other words, he will drop anything if she calls because he feels some kind of guilt. This causes huge problems with his girlfriend/wife.

Healthy: The son WANTS to see his mother, and if she happens to call and ask to get together when he already has plans -- say a date, he tells her he will instead meet her for breakfast the next morning. When he meets her, he might bring her flowers or just give her a huge hug and say, "Mom, I know you already know this, but I really really love you a lot."

2. Fear Versus Honesty:

Unhealthy: The guy always fears that his mother will be angry with him or not speak to him if he disappoints her and doesn't do everything she asks. A wife or girlfriend will get frustrated by this and it will surely cause tension in their relationship.

Healthy: The guy doesn't fear the person who is supposed to love him unconditionally, and who understands that there is no son in history who didn't disappoint his mother at one time or another during a lifetime. Instead, if he has to say or do something he knows will upset his mother, he sucks it up and is honest about it because he knows his mother will eventually get over it.

3. Annoyance Versus Happiness:

Unhealthy: The guy who fears his mother tends to resent her (but won't even let himself realize that). That emotion then turns into annoyance with her, which then turns into his guilt for feeling annoyed by his own mother. Because of this annoyance, he will then become annoyed with his wife/girlfriend, completely unaware of it!

Healthy: A guy who has a great relationship with his mother gets joy out of seeing her EVERY time they get together. He cherishes the time, they laugh together, maybe reminisce and have heartfelt talks.

Here's the thing. I'm a mom, and when my son grows up, meets a woman, brings her home and marries her, I am really going to try to understand that he is madly in love with her, and that he will put her above me a lot of times. And that is how it should be! And any mother who doesn't see it that way is just plain selfish! Sure, it might be hard, and your feelings might get a little hurt at times, but that NORMAL!

The last thing I will say is something I always tell women. "How your man treats his mother is how he is going to treat you."

I will never forget being on a date with a guy who (I promise I'm not making this up) was referring to his mom as a "stupid idiot." I couldn't get out of the car fast enough when he dropped me off, and I never saw the guy again.

If a guy fears his mom and then resents her, he will do that to the person he marries, even subconsciously.

All men should treat their moms with kindness, respect and gratitude. That's a given. But he should do that because he WANTS to do that, not because the mom expects it. No mom is perfect, but men should do the best they can to try to have the best relationship they possibly can with their mom, AND to facilitate the best relationship between their mom and their girlfriend or wife.

THAT is how women feel about men and their mommies!

Jackie Pilossoph is the author of her blog, Divorced Girl Smiling, and the comedic divorce novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase. She also writes feature stories, along with the weekly dating and relationships column, "Love Essentially" for Sun-Times Media local publications. Pilossoph lives in Chicago. Oh, and she's divorced.