11 Cringe-Worthy Signs You’re Mothering Your Man

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woman putting makeup on a man

Simply put, he can’t think of you as an enchanting sexual goddess that fills his dreams if you remind him of his mom.

Usually women don’t even realize they’re doing it, but as a once-great relationship wears on, it becomes painfully obvious that the woman has gone from sexy love magnet to treating her guy like he’s 5.

To him, mothering represents a total loss of respect. If you’re subtly treating him like a child, this doesn’t demonstrate that you value his contributions or have respect for him. It sets up an unbalanced, emasculating vibe in the relationship.

Naturally powerful, strong women sometimes fall into this trap and unfortunately it’s all too common. I’ll admit that I have to work on some of the things on this list myself.

Sometimes it’s easy to mistake mothering for nurturing. The intention is good, but the execution is poor. Nurturing and mothering in a love relationship are two different things. Nurturing is working together to solve problems. Nurturing treats the other person like an equal and inspires both to become better. Mothering takes nurturing to the extreme and represents a controlling, “I know best” attitude.

Here are eleven signs that you’re mothering him and tips on how to stop.

1. You nag.

Nagging demonstrates clearly that you don’t expect him to remember or follow through on his word. Being “nagged to death” is a common reason for breakups.

If you feel like you can’t get anything done if you don’t constantly nag him, it’s time to sit down together and have a discussion about your feelings regarding shared responsibilities.

2. He no longer bothers to challenge you.

If he disagrees with something you said, he has stopped telling you about it. He just “goes along to get along” because he has started to feel like the consequences of disagreeing just aren’t worth it. He might even pay lip service to “agreeing” with you while emotionally checking out.

3. He seems very indecisive.

He used to make plans for you two and assert himself. Suddenly he’s asking your opinion on everything and you feel like you’re holding the controls to the relationship.

This dynamic occurs after a woman sets up a pattern where she second-guesses his decisions regularly. It’s not that he’s suddenly been struck by the inability to make a decision, it’s that he realizes that you’re not likely to be happy with what he chooses so he’ll hold off on choosing anything to avoid an argument.

4. You’re doing everything for him.

He seems happy to let you cook, clean, do laundry, make plans and generally look after him. He’s stopped picking up after himself and you can sense that he expects certain things to be done for him, even if he doesn’t actually mention it.

It’s important to mention that this doesn’t necessarily mean he’s gotten lazy; it’s sometimes that you have taken over and have made him feel like his contributions aren’t valued if they aren’t done “your way.”

5. Long days (stretching to nights) at the office.

If he gets more pride from work than being with you, he’ll naturally gravitate toward situations that make him feel good about himself.

If he’s in a job that simply demands long hours, remember that it’s more important to pay attention to changes in his routine rather than assuming there is a problem when nothing has changed.

6. You make jokes about having an extra kid.

This is highly emasculating. I cringe whenever someone makes a joke like this at a man’s expense. On the surface it seems light-hearted, but the real message is that you don’t respect his ability to take care of himself and you. Ouch.

7. He has stopped doing little things for you.

Often men who are being mothered stop doing surprise things that delight their women for fear that it will somehow be wrong or go unappreciated. It feels pointless to do the little things because they’ve gotten negative reinforcement in the past.

8. You provide lots of unsolicited advice.

Providing unsolicited advice about anything that he hasn’t specifically asked your opinion on comes off as intrusive, and the underlying message is that you think he can’t handle it by himself. Just like dear old Mom.

9. You’re controlling.

If you’re monitoring his clothes, spending, diet or anything else he’s doing, this is hugely emasculating and will drive him away. Often this starts off small but grows into more and more control as the time wears on. The underlying message when you try to manage him in this way is that you don’t respect his decisions.

The only person you can change is yourself. The next time you feel like commenting on mundane details that you think he’s “doing wrong,” bite your tongue. Ask yourself if it really matters how he folds shirts or whether he buys a coffee on the way to work. Keep in mind that there are a thousand different ways to do something that aren’t life threatening. Just because he does something differently than you do doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

10. You get in the way of his friends and hobbies.

If you’re making schedules for the two of you and managing everything down to the second, this is another sign that you’re mothering him. By not letting him follow his passions, you’re creating a situation where you make yourself the gateway through which his happiness passes. You wouldn’t want him to get in the way of you and your hobbies, would you? Neither does he.

We all need the opportunity to decompress and have a life outside of our partners. If you’re coming at him from all sides, he doesn’t get the chance to nurture his inner being and replenish his reserves. He doesn’t have time to miss you either.

11. You assume he won’t “get it right.”

Whatever “it” is, before you even ask him to complete a task, you’re already thinking of ways that he won’t do it right. Then, unsolicited advice and suggestions follow. Back off and trust that he’s an adult who can figure out things on his own.

Remember that people gravitate toward others who make them feel good. If you aren’t making someone feel good, capable and respected, you’re going down a tough road.

MORE: 17 Ways Women Emasculate Their Men Without Even Realizing It

About Elizabeth Stone

Elizabeth Stone is the founder of Attract The One.

Her popular program Ex Attraction Formula, has helped hundreds of women reunite with their men. She is thrilled to have helped so many people reignite the spark in their relationships.

Tirelessly focused on helping people improve their love lives, her work has been featured on EHarmony Blog, YourTango, Thought Catalog, Mogul, Fox News Magazine, Ravishly, Femalista, Popsugar, Read Unwritten, Medium and many more.

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