Do you enjoy pampering or spoiling your partner? Or do you love it when you nurture him? While having a nurturing side is a great quality to possess, you need to be careful you aren’t slowing morphing into a parent rather than a partner. Sometimes the desire to want to help your partner can overwhelm him and make him feel you are “mothering” or smothering him.
Sometimes it’s hard to see that you are becoming a parent to your partner. Being a parent to him can take on many forms. It can take physical form in terms of coddling or you can even become an emotional crutch for him. There isn’t just one form or partner parenting and you need to remember that when you look for signs. If you feel that you are indeed becoming a parent figure in your romantic relationship, here are some ways to avoid it.
Be supportive but don’t lecture or nag
Remember how when you were younger, how much you hated being lectured or nagged by your mother to do your chores? As a partner, you are supposed to give your suggestion and have him make his decision based on what you said and also his thoughts and feelings. It would be wise to not give unsolicited advice and wait for your partner to come to you. If you feel you can’t wait for him to do that, approach the topic, state your piece and leave it alone.
Do not enable his bad behavior
If you are chasing your partner and cleaning up all his messes and mistakes, you are parenting him. Remember that your partner is a grown person who can and should be able to make their own decisions and also fix their mistakes. You don’t have to come to save the day each time. Instead of enabling your partner, empower him to make the right choices instead. When you come cleaning up after his mistakes each time, it makes it harder for him to really understand his actions and how it ultimately affects the two of you as a couple.
Let’s say that you are indeed the parent in your relationship, don’t think you need to embrace this for the rest of your life. Communicate with your partner and tell him how you really feel. After expressing your thoughts and feelings about both of you should come up with boundaries to avoid these parenting situations in the future. This means not being his sole support system constantly or being fully responsible of his actions. It may take some time to get used to this and you may want to fall back into old habits, but for your relationship, try and stop yourself.
It can be hard to completely eliminate being the parent of the relationship, but it’s not impossible. Always remember that you cannot be everything to your partner and vice versa. The relationship will not be able to grow and flourish if either of you become a parenting partner.