By nature, women are caretakers and nurturers. Many of us enjoy the feeling of being needed and taking care of others. Mothers, wives, and girlfriends looking to create the best life for loved ones. Making the tribe happy gives us a sense of purpose. But what happens when we do the same for our men – husbands, boyfriends, and mates to the point of becoming a pseudo mom?
Sometimes, we inadvertently teach and coddle grown men in relationships, as if we are raising our boys, often enabling them. They become dependent instead of self-sufficient partners providing the support needed financially and emotionally. Are you familiar with this type of man? How do you stop yourself from doing the things that encourage the behavior?
It has been my experience that we create a monster. Condoning behavior we don’t like sends mixed messages to the offender. By quietly accepting unfavorable behavior, we are telling people it’s ok to act in that manner. Have you heard, people will do what you allow them to do? Fact.
I’m a culprit, as many of you believing it will get better. It’s common to alert others of your dismay but not necessarily reinforce for fear of hurting or losing a loved one. The biggest lesson learned when it comes to this issue? If you don’t ask – you don’t get. Besides a mature relationship is give and take. You cannot expect change that is not warranted, specifically when there is a certain level of comfort that stems from the belief everything is fine as is, in a situation. Human beings are creatures of habit.
There are measures you can take to discourage unwanted behavior. The first steps require you to first check your own actions. Are you doing too much while your partner is barely putting in the effort? Chores may need to be divided to reflect an equal partnership. Household responsibilities including financial ones can be split, particularly if both individuals work outside the home. We don’t have to practice old-fashioned gender roles. It’s completely acceptable to ask for help. There is no rule that says you must do all the cooking, cleaning and parenting alone. I know a number of men willing to pitch in but they won’t know that you need help unless you ask.
The other essential piece outside of communicating your desires is to stand your ground. This in no way means you should be confrontational or mean spirited. My experience has been that as you become more aware of your needs, organically you begin to feel more assertive, increasing the desire to regain power back. Use your voice.
I had to dig deep to figure out what it was I wanted in my relationships. The work doesn’t stop because as I continue to evolve so do my needs. However, there are some basic non-negotiables I won’t give up. These lay the ground work for a strong foundation.
We must hold on to our own identity as a woman, doing so leaves no time to raise a man. An adult male should know what his responsibilities are as a partner. You can provide support and guidance to help him be the best man possible but personal growth is a journey he must walk alone, as you will too. The hope is that at the end of the fork you two will rejoin stronger and whole together.
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