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