Meeting and getting to know your partner’s mom can be daunting. If you’re lucky, you’ll get on well and things will run smoothly. But life doesn’t always work out like that, and sometimes it can be really tricky to gauge whether she actually approves of you or not. Parental approval doesn’t seem to matter as much now as it did even 20 years ago, but most people still feel more comfortable when they have the support of their partner’s parents. It just makes everything that little bit easier.
It can be really stressful when you’re in the dark as to whether your partner’s mother genuinely likes you, or secretly despises you. Some moms are harder to decode than others, but thankfully, there are a number of fool-proof signs to help you figure it out. Moms who do approve tend to act in certain ways, and similarly, moms who don’t also give off little clues.
No matter how she feels, as long as you believe in your relationship with your partner, that’s all that matters. Having a mother-in-law who likes you definitely makes things easier, but missing out on that doesn’t have to mean the end of a relationship!
Keep reading to find out whether their mom is your fan, or doesn’t approve.
If your partner’s mom likes to ask you a lot of questions when she sees you, it could be a sign that she does approve of you. Asking questions shows interest in someone else’s life, so it shows she hasn’t completely written you off. Of course, you’ll want to make sure the questions aren’t purposely rude or meant to make you uncomfortable! But generally, it’s a good sign if she seems like she genuinely wants to get to know more about you. If she didn’t like you, she probably wouldn’t care enough to ask how things are going in your life.
One way to tell whether someone respects you or not is to notice their reactions when you talk to them. Are they actually listening to you and taking in what you’re saying, or simply nodding along to be polite? An attentive mom is one who cares about what you have to say and respects you enough to give you her full attention. You can tell whether someone is attentive or not based on how well they take in the things you tell them. A mom who forgets basically everything you say probably isn’t in love with you.
A sign that she does like you and approves of you being with her son or daughter is her allowing you to keep your own opinions. Even if they’re different from hers, she’ll respect them and acknowledge them if she likes you. She’ll listen to them and keep them in mind when the subject arises again in the future. Why? She’ll care about your feelings and won’t want to do anything to make you feel offended or hurt around her. A mom who doesn’t like you might hold your opinions against you, or argue with you if you disagree on a certain point.
It is always a promising sign when someone discusses the future with you or talks about their future with you in it. In this case, the mom would be talking about the future of your relationship with your partner. You can be sure that moms who don’t approve definitely don’t bring up the future around partners they don’t like unless it’s to explicitly forbid the relationship from moving forward. But if she does like you, she’ll talk as if you’re going to be around forever. She might mention grandkids, or her thoughts on a wedding, or other things that involve the future of your relationship.
Any parent with a shred of empathy understands that meeting them can be scary for their son or daughter’s partner. If she cares about your feelings and wants you to stick around, she’ll try and make you as comfortable as possible. She’ll joke with you, make you feel relaxed, praise you, and if you go to her house, welcome you and show generosity. On the other hand, if she’s purposely cold to you, it could be because she doesn’t approve. Some people take a while to warm up, but after a certain amount of time, she will show it if she does like you.
It’s usually a great sign when a mom introduces you as her son’s girlfriend. This shows that she’s accepted your relationship and embraces it to the point where she’s happy for the people in her life to know about it. She may even be proud that you’re dating her son! If she is, she’ll likely take you by the hand and introduce you to everyone she runs into. You’ll know that she probably doesn’t approve if she avoids introducing you to people she knows or doesn’t introduce you as his girlfriend. It’s not a great sign if she just gives them your name with no other details.
In the early days of social media, online support probably didn’t carry too much meaning. But now, we live in a world where pretty much everyone is online, and they’re on all the time, so a lack of support is definitely a statement. There’s a good chance she does like you if she’s always supporting you on social media by liking your posts, interacting with you and tagging you in different things. Bonus points if she posts a picture or two of you: this proves that she’s not embarrassed to be seen with you and is embracing your relationship.
This might not happen in the early days, but there should come a time when you communicate directly with the mom, without going through her son. This is a big and exciting step, because she’s making room for you in her life and not just as an extension of her son. You should definitely be happy if she calls you or texts you just to see how you’re going or to chat with you. It shows she’s interested in your life and in maintaining a healthy relationship with you. She wouldn’t be doing these things if she didn’t like you, or didn’t approve.
Affection is pretty straightforward. If someone is affectionate with you, you can be sure that they like you at least a little bit. Obviously being his mom she’s not going to be too affectionate, but you can tell by her body language whether she likes you as a person or not. A mom who does like you will hug you, sit close to you and basically act as a good friend would. This is all after some time, of course. It would be kind of weird for her to start showing affection from the second you meet!
Mentioning his ex in front of you on purpose is never a promising sign. Everybody knows that ‘ex’ talk is awkward, and can make both people in the relationship feel super uncomfortable. If his mom constantly brings up his ex (not just once or twice by accident, but all the time, and not so subtly) you can be pretty sure that she’s not a huge fan of yours. Either she is trying to make you feel awkward, or she doesn’t care enough about your feelings to stop herself from saying things around you that would be hard to swallow.
On the other hand, a mom who accepts you just as you are and never compares you to the ones that have come before definitely has your best interests at heart. You can almost be sure that she likes you if she never compares you to anyone else, and praises the things that make you unique. Nobody likes to be compared to others unless you’re being compared to Beyoncé. A mom who likes you will respect that and appreciate you for who you are. If she does mention the ex in passing, it probably won’t be intentional.
This sign you won’t see first-hand, but if it does happen, you will eventually hear it from others. Just like with anybody else, you’ll know his mom likes you if she speaks highly of you behind your back. If she likes you, she’ll probably brag to her friends about you, and she’ll never gossip or say a bad word about you. You’ll get a sense of how she talks about you when you’re not there by the way her friends and family react to you when they meet you. If she’s been bragging, they’ll probably be excited to meet you.
As you get to know people, it’s common for them to start asking for little favors from you. This shows that they’re building trust in you, since friends are there for each other and do favors for each other. It could be a sign that his mom hasn’t warmed to you yet if she never asks you for help with anything ever. Obviously, it’s not a good sign if she tries to make you her personal assistant either, but by asking for small favors, like watching a pet or picking up the mail when she goes away, she’s showing that she’s slowly building up trust in you.
Moms and boundaries have kind of a rocky history. If she likes you, she’ll respect your boundaries as much as a mom can be expected to! This means she won’t force you to do things you don’t want to do or that make you uncomfortable. When you put your foot down with something, she’ll respect it. Of course, a lot of moms don’t understand when they’ve crossed the line, but you’ll be able to tell the difference between a mom who is just trying to be helpful, and one who blatantly has no respect for your feelings.
When a mom likes you, she’ll want to try and keep you in her son’s life. Without being too pushy, she’ll probably try and make plans to see you again every time you part. She’ll either set a date for the two of you to catch up or say she’ll text you to organize another visit. If it’s the first time you’ve met her and she likes you, she might even invite you back. A mom who doesn’t approve, on the other hand, will try to be rid of you as quickly as possible and won’t mention making plans to catch up again.
This one is pretty easy to work out! Clearly, leaving you out of her family events is kind of a big statement. If she does this, she may as well walk right up to your face and tell you she doesn’t like you. It can be anything from having parties and events without inviting you, to telling her son not to bring you to other family get-togethers. If his mom did like you, she’d be proud to include you in the family and invite you to all events. She’d also be concerned about hurting your feelings by leaving you out.
A mom who likes you will definitely be interested in spending time with you alone. Of course, this is one of those things that tends to happen later in the relationship, so don’t panic if she doesn’t want to hang out with you straight away. Eventually, though, it’s pretty normal for her to want to catch up for coffee or brunch just with you, without her son. A mom who doesn’t like you, on the other hand, might tolerate you when she has to see you, but won’t make room for you in her life outside of that.
Getting to know your family is the next step in a healthy relationship. It’s a good sign if his mom wants to become closer to your mom, or your family or friends, because again it shows that she wants to be part of your life. In other words, she’s happy that you’re with her son and likes you a lot. It would be a less promising sign if she was reluctant to meet your family until she absolutely had to. That’s more the behavior of someone who’s hoping the relationship fizzles out on its own before it gets serious.
It’s a very exciting sign when his mom starts taking your side over his in arguments. By doing this, she’s showing that she values you as her son’s partner and doesn’t want him to mess it up by chasing you away. Of course, she should side with whoever she thinks is actually right (or keep out of it altogether), but by siding with you, it reinforces that she does like you enough to agree with your point over her son’s. If she likes you, she’ll want you both to stop fighting as soon as possible.
At the end of the day, you should be able to get a feeling for whether or not she does like you based on her overall attitude toward you, which encompasses many of the above factors. Do you get a good vibe or a bad vibe? Is she warm or cold? Some people have naturally more reserved personalities, but you’ll still be able to tell with a gut feeling whether she does like you and is just a little aloof, or seriously does not approve of you being with her son. And either way, as long as the two of you are happy together, it doesn’t really matter.