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Why Do I Feel More Like His Mom and Not His Girlfriend?

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Layne is an active freelance writer. She enjoys staying up-to-date on trends, media, and emerging topics.

10 Signs Your His Mother and Not His Lover

10 Signs Your His Mother and Not His Lover

10 Signs You're More Like His Mom (Than His Girlfriend)

When a relationship first starts out, you both are on your best behavior. You will try to look your best, dress your best, act your best, and might even clean up your apartment and cook that one fancy meal you know for your at-home date night with your crush.

Maybe things go well and the love really blossoms. Soon enough, you make the decision to move in together 1-2 years later, and before you know it, you two have gotten comfortable. At one point, you start to realize that you're the only one cleaning up, washing dishes, doing laundry, getting the groceries, and remembering to pay the bills.

Wake up call: this is the fastest route to relationship death (being your boyfriend's mother and not his lover). While you might want to point the finger at you boyfriend—how he was raised (what was his mom thinking!?) and his motivation as a human being in general—the issue might actually be with you and what you've allowed to happen in your relationship dynamic. Learn how to identify the signs that you're playing "mom" and let's talk about how you can end this dynamic fast so that your relationship isn't the next thing to go.

You're his lover, not his mother.

— words to live by

If you pay all the bills and he refuses to work, stop.

If you pay all the bills and he refuses to work, stop.

1. You Pay the Bills

Times are tough, and while not everyone has financial freedom and the days of men being the sole provider and bread-winner are no more, you should definitely think about the details of your relationship to consider whether or not your independent financial contributions and dynamic is fair. Is your boyfriend pursuing higher education? If he is, maybe it makes sense that you are paying the bills. Are you two dealing with fallout from 2020 and one of you without a job? If you are the one holding on tight for your financial life, maybe you have to be the person supporting the two of you.

Beware: If it simply comes down to the fact that your guy doesn't want to work and isn't actively looking for work (he'd rather stay at home on the couch doing who knows what), then you might want to rethink who is really benefitting from this relationship. Financial issues are the number one reason for divorce in the United States, so really, really think this one through.

Start by asking him to split the bills or help out where he can. If you make more than him, consider calculating your monthly expenses and adjusting his portion of the monthly expenses against cost of living vs. salaries or annual or monthly income. You can make it fair: If he earns half of what you make, perhaps he pays for 1/3 of the rent. If he can't offer financial help, maybe he can help with the chores that take time away from you have time to yourself (affording you some time off) because you're too busy working, right?

2. You Do All of the Cooking and Grocery Shopping

If you truly love to cook, you can skip to issue number 3. Cooking can be a true pleasure for some people and may not be seen as a negative, but if you see cooking as more of a chore and a stressor, and you find yourself to be the only one doing it for the two of you, you are giving way too much of yourself. There's the unfair stigma that a woman should be cooking (I grew up with the opposite dynamic in my household and I sure love a man who can cook!). This is not news: women don't have to cook for you. Sorry guys.

Well, maybe it's a little more complicated and your guy simply isn't good at cooking and you're the better cook. If this is true of your relationship, have him help out by being in charge of grocery shopping. It's an equal trade-off. Maybe have him pick up your favorite food to-go every fourth night of the week. A little help goes a long way!

If you do his laundry, stop.

If you do his laundry, stop.

3. You Are the Only One Doing Laundry

This is an easy trap to fall into. If you are a tidy person that likes to stick to a schedule, doing laundry feels like an absolute must (at least once a week!). It's even easier to just go for it if you have a washer and dryer in your place. If you don't have a washer and dryer in your place and you are doing your boyfriend's laundry, bless your heart, but wow, please stop now. If your significant other can't get it together to wash their clean clothes in their adult life, they are unlikely to help with simple things that come later down the road. Stop now and let them learn a little independence.

4. You Forgive His Immaturity

Every adult still exhibits immature behavior once in a while. It takes years to perfect maturity, and even then, people have their triggers and weaknesses. However, if you find yourself ego-stroking or calming him down every time something goes wrong (issues with his friends, his work, things not going according to his liking), you might be babysitting an adult-child. Adults don't throw temper tantrums, they find ways to communicate their issues with words. That's not to say that adults are unable to express their emotions or that they don't act poorly at times (they do) . . . and fighting is totally normal in any healthy relationship (so long as it's not toxic or does not involve forms of abuse).

If you are there to pacify your boyfriend's every emotional outburst or meltdown, it's time to stop babysitting. His issues are not yours to carry. Help him connect with his friends or suggest he find a counselor to work with through his problems; don't subject yourself to overwhelming emotional fatigue.

Read More From Pairedlife

If you control his calendar, stop. Let him miss appointments and learn.

If you control his calendar, stop. Let him miss appointments and learn.

5. You Are in Charge of His Calendar

If you are the person who is in charge of things like DMV appointments, doctor's appointments, remembering to pay car registration, remembering to pay off credit card bills, reminding him of his testing schedule for school, or even something as simple as "Hey, it's your mom's birthday, what did you get her?" you are probably acting as a stand-in secretary or mom to your boyfriend.

It's really time you let him fail first so that he learns how to do things himself. If he can't remember to do the simple things most adult humans are responsible for (on the most superficial level), you are going to be stuck caring for him for a lifetime. Let him fail. He will learn. Don't always try to bail him out. If his driver license expires, that's on him. If he misses his appointment, let him reschedule. Stop doing it for him! If he sleeps through his alarm through work and loses his job, better now than three kids later, right? Figure out who you are patterning up with before settling down for good.

6. He Needs Your Help (or So He Says)

You might be into running errands because you see yourself as a couple and a unit, but if you are the the only one in charge of getting stuff done for your household, you need to stop already. Say he dropped something off at the dry cleaner (don't pick it up). If he needs to get his car tires changed (give him a ride but don't do it for him). If he needs to get a thank-you card for a colleague (he can pick it out). If he needs to schedule a hair cut, make him do it.

Similar to being in charge of his calendar, your boyfriend should show that he is responsible. If he can't demonstrate this, think about who you are setting yourself up to marry (if you plan to get married, that is). You might be stuck taking care of him for life. You weren't put on this planet to be responsible for another human being (aside from any kids you choose to parent) . . . an adult male wasn't included on the list.

If you have to show him how to do everything, stop and let him use Google.

If you have to show him how to do everything, stop and let him use Google.

7. You Have to Show Him How to Do Things

Nagging is one thing—you might nag him to close the fridge, not put grease down the sink, lock the doors, etc., but if you literally have to show your boyfriend how to do everything, you might be setting yourself up for a long, painful road of giving and never receiving.

You would expect that your boyfriend lived a little and learned some valuable skills throughout life, but if you find that you have to show him how to set up even the most basic of things, this might be an indication that he was very dependent on his parents growing up. This comes in the form of everything from not being able to pay his own phone bill to not knowing how to cook a frozen dinner in the oven . . . be afraid, be very afraid. If you do try to help initially, maybe he learns fast. If he pretends to be helpless to get you to help him 24/7, it's time to run out the door.

Small gestures matter.

Small gestures matter.

8. You Excuse His Behavior

Excusing your boyfriend's lousy behavior is very motherly of you, but it's not very respectable. You should expect your partner to show you the same respect that you put into a relationship. If your boyfriend acts disrespectfully towards you, know that this is never going to change. You cannot teach respect.

If you have family members, friends, and people in your life who are calling this out in front of you and you are making excuses for your boyfriend, just know that you did it to yourself. You should not excuse lousy behavior. Do not excuse behavior like being drunk in public, forgetting major events (that mean a lot to you), or treating you with disrespect. There's simply no excuse for these types of things and you deserve better.

Hobbying does not equal adulting.

Hobbying does not equal adulting.

9. He Doesn't Reciprocate

Nothing says it more than a relationship that lacks reciprocation. Many of the above-mentioned issues might be excusable if you two are equally dysfunctional (no offense), but if this isn't true and you are the only giver in the relationship, you are going to exhaust yourself.

Some indications of this is always being the one to indulge in gift-giving and receiving nothing in return. This is not to say that gifts have to be monetary. Maybe a gift can be a moment, a gesture, etc. (especially if you two are budgeting!), but if it's just you giving all the time and being the only one who is thoughtful in your efforts, take it as a sign that he maybe doesn't see you romantically and sees you more as his mother (he wants to be cared for). Maybe it's time you find someone who puts you first.

10. He's Still a Boy (Peter Pan Personality)

There is a drastic difference between someone who acts like an adult and someone who is stuck in the Peter Pan mentality—they'll never grow up! If your boyfriend is all about fun times, toys, parties, irresponsibility, and dodging authority (in all the wrong ways), he might be stuck on never growing up.

There's nothing wrong with being youthful, that's different, but if he cannot commit to even the most basic of adult commitments (any functioning adult), then he might be an adult stuck in a boy's mind. That is, he will not be able to meet you on your level. If you suspect this, it's time you have a real talk. You cannot change people, they need to have to want to change themselves.

You Accept the Love You Think You Deserve

You Accept the Love You Think You Deserve

Think About It: You Accept the Love You Think You Deserve

Just remember this: You are in control of your future and you make the choice when it comes to the type of relationship you want and the treatment you deserve. If you are willing to settle, then don't blame your boyfriend for their shortcomings. If you can see these signs clearly and are accepting of them, then accept what is.

If you truly love your partner and want to help them and they are willing to grow with you, great (they sound like a good person that might just need some guideance!). However, if you've experienced disrespect or you simply realize you deserve better, it's time to break it off. The kind of relationship you are in often reflects your feelings about self worth, so make sure you make your relationships worthwhile! Choose wisely.

© 2020 Laynie H


Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on November 16, 2020:

Thanks for your thoughts, Dora. I think balance is key here!

Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on November 16, 2020:

Thanks for reading Brenda and thanks for your points here! Glad to hear you have healthy boundaries now it sounds.

dashingscorpio from Chicago on October 23, 2020:

@Takako and @Brenda you make excellent points.

The truth is more often than not these men Never Asked the woman to take on the "mom" role"!

Believe it or not there are lots of women who will (take it upon themselves) to start doing things around the house or putting things the way (they) like them with the (hope) their man will appreciate their efforts and maybe decide to pitch in himself.

From (his point of view) he's not using her or taking advantage of her because he never asked her do any of these things.

When two people's lifestyles are incompatible it's probably best to move on rather than hoping one person will adopt the other's lifestyle. People don't change unless (they) are unhappy.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on October 21, 2020:

Your article makes alot of good points.

I learned this the hard can give too much to a man.

Before long you are just there...he expects things to be this way.

Stop!! Don't cater to your matter what.

It's one thing if he is ill or you are...then things are a bit different.

But the fastest way to be taken for granted is to do everything for them.

Leave his clothes piled on the floor...ask him to help cook dinner or go out and leave him on his own.

Great points in this one.

Liked the read.

Takako Komori from Yokohama, Japan on October 21, 2020:

@Dora Weithers, that is a good point!

I described my sister and her ex husband`s situation, but according to my mother, my sister kept waiting for years for her ex to "change". And when he didn`t change, she decided to give him another chance. This process was repeated until she came to the conclusion that her ex was NOT going to change. As you correctly point out, he didn`t change because he didn`t want to.

I don`t see why she didn`t notice this all along, because this pretty much applies to anyone. Hence your quote.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 21, 2020:

Sad situation, but you give the "mom" much to think about, including ". She has a decision to make, including "You cannot change people, they need to have to want to change themselves.".

Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on October 20, 2020:

Hi Takako, thank you for reading this article. I'm glad you find it useful and relatable. I also agree with dashingscorpio, it's likely that the "mother figure" in the relationship allows it to happen or as you identified, has high exceptions (or regular expectations) but also likes control. Your sister sounds very intelligent and accomplished. It's amazing that she coped for so long (10 years) and was able to take care of everything. She must've been exhausted and relieved when the relationship was over. I can see how having a child pushed it over the edge. Ultimately, we do accept what we think we deserve. I'm glad she realized she deserved better. This is for her ex too, he might've found someone more suitable for his lifestyle or maybe he is still alone . . . but happy (?). Women receive the double-standard oof being both accomplished and running the household. It's a dated expectation, and I'm happy to see change and equal participation in domestic duties.

Takako Komori from Yokohama, Japan on October 20, 2020:

This was a very insightful article, thank you! The characteristics of the relationship you describe have a lot in common with my sister and her ex-husband. She was acting like an older sister or almost a mother to her ex husband who was in and out of jobs in the almost ten years they were married. He was dependent on my sister`s income, and did little to help out with the daily chores. When their son arrived, their relationship got worse since he continued to be unsupportive, even while my sister was writing her doctoral dissertation!

@dashingscorpio What you say was quite eye-opening. All along, I kept hearing what a horrible person my sister`s ex was, but come to think of it, my sister was allowing him to behave this way. She probably did believe she can do household chores better than her ex, perhaps she made him do it in the beginning and it didn`t look right in her eyes, I don`t know, but as you say, she did eventually end up doing most of the chores and being the breadwinner all along! Eventually, she couldn`t take it anymore and decided to leave him.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 18, 2020:

Very interesting article, thanks.

dashingscorpio from Chicago on October 18, 2020:

Whenever a woman finds herself behaving like her boyfriend's mother it's usually because (she) believes SHE is better at doing whatever it is that needs to be taking care of.

Maybe he doesn't do something "her way" which make his way the "wrong way". She may not trust him to do the laundry, she doesn't like the way he folds the towels, stacks the dishes in the dishwasher, or he sees nothing wrong with paying his bills late.

Odds are he has been living this way all along and once (she) moved in with him {she expected to him to change}.

Note: Most people don't change unless (they) are unhappy.

Suddenly she adopts the philosophy of "If you want something (done right) you have it do it yourself."

As time goes on she begins to resent the fact she's doing almost everything and blames him for not contributing.

However the reality is SHE didn't like how he was living or the way HE was doing things. Odds are if she left him he wouldn't curl up in a ball and die in a corner.

He'd just go back to living life HIS old way.

Most likely her boyfriend NEVER asked her to do all the laundry, pay the bills, clean up the house, and other things she's doing.

She assumed those duties because SHE didn't like how HE lived!

Life is too short to be trying to change water into wine.

The goal is to find someone who (already is) what you want.

If two people have different lifestyle practices they're probably not right for one another as far as a long-term relationship goes.

There are only two ways to experience joy and peace of mind in relationships. We either get what we want or we learn to be happy with what we have. Accept them (as is) or move on.

No one is "stuck" with anyone. Suffering is optional.

"If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem." - Richard Bach

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