I never had a boyfriend before my Mom passed away — I was pretty inexperienced going into my sophomore year of college. Mom and I dished about cute guys from movies and TV, but we never really had the opportunity to sit down and talk about love. Her loss affected me in many ways (and it still does all these years later — it gets easier, but it never seems fair), but one of the saddest things is that I knew that she’d never get to hear about the trials and tribulations of my love life and help guide me through them. Here are some other ways love changes without your mom:
- You never get the lecture about the “bad boy.” There’s one in every girl’s life — that guy who you just wouldn’t bring home to Mom and Dad. If your Mom passed away around the time when mine did, you might have dated such a guy in high school, but there’s a good chance your mom didn’t even give you the lecture then since high school boys are rarely serious. In turn, I ended up falling for a bunch of guys who didn’t even feel comfortable calling me their girlfriend. You know the type — the “You’re great, but I’m not looking for a commitment!” dudes. I wasted so much time that my mom could have saved me from.
- You never hear about her own dating adventures. A lot of young women model their own relationships with the one they’ve witnessed since birth. Since my mom and mad were a rock-solid couple, I never knew what their dating life was like. In fact, I was under the impression that they only dated each other (which was not the case, as it turns out). I would have loved to hear the stories of my mom’s failed relationships prior to finding love, since I think it would have made me feel a little less “broken” whenever one of my pursuits failed to thrive. The real-life examples would have made it all a lot easier.
- When getting serious with someone, you immediately wonder if Mom would approve. Having a steady boyfriend not meet your mom is pretty tragic. It’s a missing piece of the puzzle, and her lack of approval is something you definitely notice — even if you never would’ve even thought of getting approval before. And if the relationship gets serious, you can’t even believe that everything he knows about you is post-Mom.
- When your heart breaks, you feel more alone than ever. After your mom passes away, you miss her every day, but the feeling intensifies whenever your heart breaks (which hopefully isn’t too often). You want her comfort, you want her advice, and you want nothing more than for her to tell you everything will be okay. Your friends can tell you the guy was an ass, but hearing that same comfort from your mom is just so much better.
- You’ll always question whether your guy is good enough. Girlfriends will tell you if he’s attractive or does something sweet. Your mom will tell you if he has a kind soul. There’s a big difference, and sometimes you can’t see it when you’re in the situation yourself. That’s why you need her objective (well, kind of objective — your mom can never forget you’re her daughter) opinion to help balance you out.
- You’ll be way more critical of your guy’s relationship with his family. After knowing how it feels to lose someone so important, you just can’t tolerate a guy who takes his family for granted. Back in the day, this is a trait that might have been swept under the rug (especially if you’re young or haven’t seen him actually interact with his folks all that much) but the older you get, the more important it really is. If he treats his mom poorly, your tolerance of him will decrease. He just doesn’t know what he’s taking for granted.
- You might question your own choices. While technically an “adult” at the ripe ol’ age of 19 when my mom passed, I felt like a sad 10-year-old when it all went down. People respond to death and tragedy in weird ways. While perfectly capable of making the right decision about everything from boys to breakfast choice, I doubted everything. I just longed for the parental go-ahead that I could no longer have — I wanted my mommy, damn it.
- Dating actually takes a halt. When people find out that you’ve lost a parent, they often act in one of two ways — either they get overly clingy and want to be there for you constantly, or they shy away and stop talking to you since they just don’t know what to say. After news got out about my mom, I almost felt like a leper. My friend group cut in half and solid relationships crumbled based solely on the fact that nobody knew how to respond to the situation. It sounds weird, but others have backed this strange claim up. Since so much is happening socially, you’re almost afraid to date — it’s like you lose track of what makes a good person.
- You’re afraid of freaking anyone out. You don’t want to be seen as a pity case, or “the sad girl who lost her mom.” Not only are you trying to figure out your friendships, but you’re trying to serve as your own PR person. “Everything’s okay!” you’ll say a billion times, even though everything is certainly not. The thing with grieving is that it comes out at weird times. You could be in class and randomly think of a memory and want to burst into tears — in front of everyone, including your crush. It’s so normal, but it seems so wrong to do.
- Your wedding will be happy, but the loss will be noticeable. This is a big downer, so I apologize for ending with this one. I got married four years ago to someone who is excellent, and while the wedding was glorious, I still… missed my mom. I knew she’d have loved to see it. She would have loved to see all of my big moments but didn’t get the chance. While people will tell you that she’s there watching over you regardless of your preference of religion, it doesn’t really help heal the big hurt. The man you marry will realize that while you can both plan the perfect day, there’ll always be something missing.
If you recently lost your mom and are looking for support, here’s a great resource: Motherless Daughters