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don't bother to mother him

Many women instinctively play the role of nurturer in a relationship, but mothering your partner could backfire.

As human beings our first relationship is with our mothers. It is therefore understandable that what we experience and observe in this relationship will affect our other relationships.

In the case of women, our mothers are also our first gender role models. We see our mother as the nurturing caregiver and this becomes hard-wired into our brains. If she also played the role of mother to your father (as many women of previous generations did), that conditioning will be doubly effective. Equating mothering with love is then a small leap.

In the case of men, mothers often take such good care of them that they come to expect this from their partners: if she loves me, as my mother did, she would take care of me, as my mother did. Such men will take on the role of helpless child - and so the scene is set for a continuous mothering.

of course it's not 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 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.

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 sold of all-knowing mother, continually treating your partner as if he were less competent, he will eventually believe he is useless and loose his self-esteem, or he will end up rebelling against you.
Both are processes that can...

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