If you find your natural motherly instincts and traits taking over in your relationship, please be advised, you could be heading for disaster. To a certain extent ‘motherly love’ would be acceptable as most men still want to be taken care of in that regard. And let’s face there are some guys would prefer their partners to play a mother/lover role to be compatible. Regardless of his expectations you are his partner, lover and friend not mother.
What’s problem with Motherly Love?
Again is never a complete no-no to have elements of mothering in your relationships with other adults. Friends, family and your partner will need a supportive and nurturing response to their life dilemmas from time to time.
But the impulse to mother can cause problems if it is your automatic, unconscious response, and nowhere more so than in your love relationship.
Some sure signs of mothering
- Doing things for him that he should be doing himself, such as finding his wallet.
- Reminding him of things that he should remember himself: ‘Don’t forget your squash date.’
- Scolding him: ‘And where do you think you are going, dressed like that?’
- Making excuses for him to family and friends when he behaves badly or treats you in an unacceptable way. If you take on the role of all-knowing mother, continually treating your partner as if he were less competent, he will eventually believe he is useless and lose his self-esteem, or he will end up rebelling against you. Both are processes that can destroy a relationship. So what can you do to exit the loop?
Smothering the mothering
- Accept that you are partly responsible for the way things are. Ask yourself what you are getting out of a relationship that functions more like one between a parent and child than one between two responsible adults.
- Could it be that you feel a greater sense of control and power when you are in the mommy seat? Is it your own quest for perfection that turns your partner into a blundering child? Does playing the role of all-knowing mother make you feel indispensable?
- These are tough questions; however, you will not be able to remodel your relationship if you don’t understand your own inner motivations.
Small changes, big changes – Try these strategies for a relationship that is truly grown-up.
Stop doing things for him. Don’t pick up his dirty clothes. When he suddenly has nothing to wear, he will get the message. If he forgets to pay an account and finds himself embarrassed, he will get the message. If he forgets that important business meeting … Get the message?
Adult relationships don’t use threats – if you don’t do this, then I will (or won’t) do that. Not even children fall for this one, why would he?