The Single Most Important Thing to Find Out About a Guy?

Should you find out about a certain crucial relationship as soon as possible?


Yesterday, a Reader's Digest story (posted by Your Tango) caught my eye, because it was all Freudian like that. Called "Why We Love Who We Love," it was about how men are attracted to women like their mothers.

As the writer, Dr. Joyce Brothers, puts it:

Our mother's characteristics leave an indelible impression, and we are forever after attracted to people with her facial features, body type, personality, even sense of humor. If our mother was warm and giving, as adults we tend to be attracted to people who are warm and giving. If our mother was strong and even-tempered, we are going to be attracted to a fair-minded strength in our mates. The mother has an additional influence on her sons: she not only gives them clues to what they will find attractive in a mate, but also affects how they feel about women in general. So if she is warm and nice, her sons are going to think that's the way women are. They will likely grow up warm and responsive lovers and also be cooperative around the house. Conversely, a mother who has a depressive personality, and is sometimes friendly but then suddenly turns cold and rejecting, may raise a man who ... has been so scared about love from his mother [that] he is afraid of commitment and may pull away from a girlfriend for this reason.

Now, this whole thing about guys falling for women like their mothers is nothing new. Just ask Ian Frazier, who parodies it in his hilarious humor piece Dating Your MomIt begins:

In today's fast-moving, transient, rootless society, where people met and make love and part without ever really touching, the relationship every guy already has with his own mother is too valuable to ignore. Here is a grown, experienced loving woman — one you do not have to go to a party or a singles bar to meet, one you do not have to go to great lengths to know. There are hundreds of times hen you and your mother are thrown together naturally ... just the two of you, alone. All you need is a little presence of mind to take advantage of those situations.

But the story from yesterday made me think:

Hey, should we all find out as much as possible about dudes' relationships with their moms as soon as possible, in any dating situation?

(That shouldn't be very hard to do, by the way. In most cases, you simply ask — and remain interested — and ask another question, and another — and you'll learn plenty. Most people like to talk about themselves, and about their relationships with their parents.)

Now, I'm not saying the background on a guy's relationship with his mother will be helpful because it will mean you can


your behavior to be like the woman who gave birth to him. But here are three reasons why it might be useful:

-It might help give you a sense of whether the two of you will be compatible long-term.

-It might help you anticipate — and prepare for — him pulling away when things start to get serious, which he is more likely to do if he had a depressive or distant mother, particularly if you're warm.

-It also might help you make sense of it all if you've had a sudden breakup.

What do you people think? Ladies, have you had experiences with men that made you say, "Well, it's all because of his mother"? And men, do you blame (or thank) your mothers for your current relationship woes (or happiness)?

I am still slightly wounded from a recent little fling, and I've wondered more than once if the depressive mother of the person in question might help to explain why he pulled away so suddenly.