13 Relationship Tips From Real Moms That Actually Hold Up

Photographed by Winnie Au.
Now that you're grown, you've probably learned that your mom's ceaseless nagging about your love life was just advice in disguise. This realization that your mom actually does know what she's talking about can be almost as terrifying as noticing that you're turning into your mom.
Some moms spout such poetic relationship advice that you could embroider it on a pillow. Other moms lead by example. And most moms low-key drop the best nuggets of wisdom when you're not paying attention — on purpose. Moms love knowing that they were right, but we often don't take the time to thank them or tell them that. So, we asked the R29 community to share the best relationship advice their mom ever gave them that still holds up today.
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1 of 13

Always use a condom.

"Straightforward, sex-positive, timeless wisdom. She says this and, 'Men suck.'"

- Racquel
2 of 13

Let yourself be seen.

"The biggest thing she's always told me is that the relationship that ends up being right for you long-term will allow you to feel completely 'seen' by the other person.

"And that, above all, value yourself. If you feel like you need to hide or apologize for even an ounce of who you are, it's not worth your time... She taught me self-respect and that I had to be a fully-formed, unapologetic human before I could open myself up to the right partner."

– Alyssa
3 of 13

Stop being crazy.

"This advice works, if only I would follow it."

– Zoie
4 of 13

Reactions to small problems matter.

"A person's reaction to small problems is the biggest reflection of who they are. If someone runs from a suggestion or a critique or a small argument, how will they hold up or be there for you when they are truly tested? She was right about one of my exes the whole time (dammit, mom!)."

– Madeline
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5 of 13

Men are like a pair of jeans.

"Men are like a pair of jeans. You've got to try on a good few until you find a pair that make you feel fabulous. But, as soon as they make you feel bad, it's time for a trade in. Although I like to think that I don't rely on my significant other to make be feel good about myself, I am in a relationship now that makes me feel like I can be my best self. I think that's what she meant."

– Lauren
6 of 13

Make sure they make you laugh.

"Make sure they can make you laugh, because sometimes at the end of the day that's all you'll have. So far, I think this works! But I guess we'll see once I'm old and gray if I'm laughing or not."

– Christina
7 of 13

Something is not always better than nothing.

"My mom once told me, 'Something is not always better than nothing.' This was when I had fallen for this guy who wouldn't commit to long distance with me, but who I still cared about and was willing to drop everything for. She could see how I was hurting, and explained that sometimes being on your own is better. This works 100%, and each time I meet someone who doesn't want exactly what I do, I remember that I'm probably better off on my own because something is not always better than nothing."

– Becca
8 of 13

It won't be hard to find someone who likes you; you have to find someone who appreciates you.

"She used to tell me this when I was younger all the time, and it's still true as an adult."

– Allie
9 of 13

A woman holds the cards.

"They can't play games unless you deal them the cards yourself."

– Maura
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10 of 13

Honesty always.

"She taught me that lying is never the right decision, and it's better to just be upfront and honest. If you're in a tricky situation, just deliver the information in the right way. She's also big on keeping your word. Like, if you committed to something, you really should follow through, and always lead with compassion."

– Cody
11 of 13

Hot gets cold.

"Anytime I told her, 'Yeah, but they're cute' about someone, she would say this."

– Sloane
12 of 13

Do they make your vagina tickle?

"There are definitely some more PG ones, but she has always said this."

– Jane
13 of 13

If you hang out with plumbers, you'll marry a plumber.

"Technically, my grandma said this. It seems like really shallow advice at first, but I think it can also mean that you should surround yourself with the type of people you want to be around if you want to attract more people like that."

– Rose
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