Wife treats husband like a child

All Woman

Dear Counsellor,

I subconsciously grouped my husband with my children years ago. He doesn't understand why, but I am like his mother in so many ways. How do I change this?

In relationships there are different configurations as it relates to the roles partners play. In some relationships a parent-child association exist, while in others a child-child or parent-parent connection occur. What is ideal is an adult-adult association where both partners respect and honour each other.

In your case it appears that a parent-child configuration does exist where you are playing the role of parent and your husband playing the role of child. When that happens you speak down to your partner and as you said, you group him with the children, which must be intimidating for him.

Although you may feel that your partner does not project himself as an adult, you have to recognise and appreciate that he is an adult and should be treated likewise. As much as you are persuaded that his childish behaviour elicits a parental response from you, he is the father of your children and must be accorded that status regardless of how you feel about him.

You should show him respect by virtue of his parental position and encourage him to step up to his role and responsibility as a parent and adult. There could be psychological reasons why he regresses to childlike behaviour that would require psychological intervention.

Try to remove him from the grouping with the children and replace him in his rightful place as husband and father and the sooner you do that the better the relationship will be. If you continue on the path you are presently on, it could only be a matter of time before he finds someone who will treat him like an adult and not a child, according him the respect he deserves as a grown man.

You might also start looking outside for a “real” man who can match your adult role. Eventually you both will resent each other, and the relationship will take a nosedive. It would also certainly affect the sexual interaction as it may appear to you as an incestuous relationship.

It is recommended that you both seek counselling as soon as possible as there is definitely a need for individual psychotherapy and marriage therapy.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com. Check his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.

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