A relationship with an Italian and a relationship with an American are the farthest from one another. Of course, some attributes remain the same; if calls and texts are through the roof, you can be sure he will run the other direction. For other attributes, however, there are astounding differences.

 

excited middle aged mother looking at her giftPhoto Credit: Unadonna

 

One of the biggest differences begins with the family. In America, mothers see their children off to college and come to expect minimal visits thereafter. Once high school ends, boys in America usually begin their life path, which rarely includes proximity to family. Certainly, holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving mean a few days back at home, but independence is taken seriously by American guys!

In Italy, sudden separation from family rarely happens. My sister’s former boyfriend, for instance, could not understand why she wanted to leave her family and start building their lives together. At the tender age of 27, he was content living under his parents’ roof, where he was fed and taken care of, and his money went toward his own desires rather than toward rent. Indeed, my brother is not an exception.

Remember Failure to Launch, a movie where parents hire Sarah Jessica Parker to convince 35-year-old Matthew McConaughey to move out? Chances of this ever happening are low in Italy; in fact, the average Italian mother, prefers keeping her children close, doing their laundry and keeping them full.

 

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Photo Credit: Pianeta Donna

 

This is why you must be careful when an Italian guy introduces you to his parents. It’s obvious that a good impression to possible future in-laws is as important in Rome as it is in New York but, while seeing an American’s mother is a special occasion every now and then, spending time with an Italian man could mean seeing his family just as often.

In the eyes of an Italian’s mother, you are either a second daughter or an unpleasant girlfriend who’s looking to steal the son away. Expect anything to happen when you run into an Italian guy’s family, from the sweet parents who welcome you with open arms to the jealous mothers looking for imperfections. No matter what situation you find yourself in, here’s my advice to you to get along with the parents:

1. Smile and be yourself.

2. Do not please the parents at your expense.

3. Never compete with his family for his love. His family has their place in his heart, you have yours. Starting a war is useless.

4. If the mother is not kind to you, at least get her involves in her son’s life.

5. If you cannot stand his parents, never mention it to your partner. Be supportive!

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