Love Living, Quit Hating, Everyone Relating

She’s not your mother

In Relationships on September 15, 2010 at 10:00 am

written by Swag

Fellas. Do you treat your mom different from the way you treat other women? Do you treat your significant other the same way you treated your mom? Are you the type of guy to deem some woman wholesome and others uhhh…not so wholesome. Eh, well me too. Makes sense right? Everybody shouldn’t be wined and dined unless they are deserving of such a gesture. Some people you respect the same way you respect your mother. Your wife deserves the same treatment your mother deserves right? Ehhh, probably not. Honestly, it’s probably a bad idea to think of your significant other as another mother.

I just don’t know, but it bothers me to think my future wife would play the role of my mother. My girlfriend knows, I hate to be babied– and her trying to take care of me when I’m sick is like pulling teeth. That is  just one of my personal issues! The real question is: to what degree do we expect our significant others to relate to us as if they were our mothers?

Wife versus mother. The ideas should overlap– but not completely. We as men need to be sure of where to draw this line, least we abuse our significant others by expecting them to provide for us in the exact same manner that our mothers used to.

Crossover
Trust: We trust our mothers and our wives. Trust is a concept that combines vulnerability and security. If you expect to share anything with anyone then you have to trust they will keep it safe. I know, in my own mind, I take pride in being the protector, the vault, the safe place. But I have also realized I can’t play that role all the time and it’s a burden to play that role for myself. I trust both my mother and my significant other because they provide that security everyone so desperately craves (whether they know it or not).

Confrontation: Be they your mom or be they the love of your life, the women in your life will inevitably confront you with some grievance. I remember the days when my mom would yell my name from the bottom of the stairs. It didn’t matter if I was sleep, doing homework, or watching TV….instant adrenaline rush. My heartbeat would increase, waves of sweat would roll down my face, and my mind would cycle through the previous three days wondering what it could possibly be that I did wrong. My girlfriend, on the other hand, has a completely different approach and usually what I did wrong had a more emotional tint. When she confronts me, my heart sinks and I hope whatever I have done isn’t so bad that she believes I don’t respect or appreciate her. While at times I feel like I am on trial, I know that she always trys her hardest to understand the situation from my point of view.

Clearly Drawn Line
Trust: We trust these women at different times in our lives in different ways. Granted you will probably never stop trusting mom dukes but when was the last time you cried in front your mom. I may be pushing the limitations on this one and threatening the masculinity complex this country has, but I believe grown men know how and aren’t afraid to shed a tear once in a while. Believe me when I say there aren’t many other ways to be more vulnerable with your significant other than that. Allowing your wife or significant other the opportunity to be your emotional vault increases intimacy infinitely.

Confrontation: The difference here lies in how we react to confrontation. Imagine being a teenager or a child and your mom is yelling at you for something you have done. You are probably upset, armed crossed and ready to receive your punishment. Anything to get her to, dare we say it (sorry mom)…anything to get her to shut up. You can not act this way with your significant other. This is no parent-child transaction. I have learned that if you actually listen to your significant other and allow her to bear her grievance, there may never even be a punishment (this of course depends on whether you take what she says to heart). And please DO NOT think of her talking to you about what she feels you have done wrong as a form of punishment, that will only make you resent her emotions. Emotions that you may have caused. You have to be an adult and respect her as an adult.

As men, there is much we need from the women in our lives. Trust, security, empathy, and hard-line of discipline when necessary. My mom knew me inside and out because she raised me. The longer I know my girlfriend, the more she knows me because I choose to show her myself, inside and out. It’s very natural to desire the qualities of our mothers in our significant others. This, however, should not be mistaken for the relationship we share with each woman. A mother deserves a son who grows into a man. That man is who a wife or girlfriend deserves to be with.

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  1. I like your last line. It sounds like you’re not married yet; what’s the wait? 🙂

    • No particular reason. I love my girlfriend very much and we are on the same page with how we want our relationship to progress. All in due time I suppose….thanks for the love.

    • ncmdosotestioated September 27, 2011 Hahaha you are NOT horrible! We all have lives outside of blogging hahaha!

  2. Brilliant post. I tend to be more motherly myself (though I never want to have kids, ironic, that) and often wonder if my boyfriend views me as his intimate partner or as his mother. I’m younger than him by a few years, but I’m always happy to take care of him as I know he has no one else to, and because that’s part of how I express my love. It’s good to hear this issue from a male perspective.

    Thanks for the post, and congratulations on making Freshly Pressed.
    ~IshanaTM

    • Thanks, I didn’t expect to get pressed today.

      I would say you taking care of him is just a sign of support and as you say a manifestation of your love. The important issue is how he shows his appreciation. I know I have taken my mother for granted in the past. Probably because she has been there forever and I couldn’t envision it any other way. My girlfriend on the other hand knows me on a different frequency of intimacy. I can say, do, and feel things with her that don’t fit my relationship with my mom. Since I try not to take my partner for granted it actually makes me a better son. The same way my mom made me the man I am today…..I guess its all a cycle.

  3. I think that some look for motherly qualities in their wives not because they want ‘another mother’ for themselves, but rather because genetically we men instinctively look for women to make good mothers for our children. I am married and have a baby girl. I think it’s a huge turn on to see my wife take care of our child, but if that motherly-ness were ever to be directed towards me I would immediately be turned off. I think as men we need to feel respected as our form of validation, having someone ‘mother us’ couldn’t be more patronizing.

    • I do not yet have children nor am I married but I am absolutely in agreement on the patronizing effect. I think it may be a pride issue involved because I have a hard time letting myself be taken care of like a child. I am looking forward to the day when I can look at my wife as the mother of my kids the way you do yours.

      Congrats on the little one.

  4. Amen to that! Very well said!

  5. A very interesting read. quite easy to understand and entertaining too. 😀
    It’s refreshing to hear from a guy’s point of view on these matters 😀

  6. Great post! I really liked it. Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed! 😀

  7. Some men do look for women who have similarities to their mommas. Kinda creepy, but I guess it’s just natural. Enjoyed reading your post. 😉

    visit my blog too.. http://hollywoodremedy.wordpress.com/

    • Well, It’s not so creepy if you think that one day you will be the mother of someone’s children. If he believed his mom did a good job then in some form he is going to expect/hope for the same qualities in you. As long as he lets you mother his kids and not him, all should be well with the world or at least your relationship.

      Thanks for reading and I checked out your blog…looks good.

  8. Great Post — incredible even. What i adore most about it may be the fact that a man wrote it. Thank you so much. It gives me hope. I really feel like a lot of the men I run into are looking for another mother. Someone to take care of every little domestic thing for them but still not treat them like a child. Like that’s even possible.

    Anyway, thanks!

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalspins.com

  9. You are a fantastic writer, and a wonderful man. Your girlfriend is very lucky.

    Your ideas go both ways. Women look for characteristics of their fathers in their future husbands. It’s how we have always been.

    Keep up the great work!

    ❤ Milieu

    • Thank you for the compliment. I agree we all look for qualities that match our parents. I think it’s best to make sure we are looking for our future or current children rather than ourselves.

  10. This was a great read…thanks for sharing your feelings. A wife or girlfriend should never replace a mother, but complement them. There are ways that a mother can never be there for her son – and the reverse applies as well. I know that it must be a difficult transition for some men (and women) to make in order to not expect their significant other to be like the respective parent. Sometimes we’re fortunate that our partners exceed our expectations, but don’t overshadow the contributions of our parents. Congratulations on being FP’ed…great post!

  11. Great post – congrats on getting freshley pressed! Your article was a worth-while read and I completely agree with you, girlfriend/wives should not be treated as (or act like)their man’s mothers. There is a fine line between taking care of the man you love and treating him like a child. I think the respect goes both ways – some women get carried away when “taking care of their man”. Men are capable of livnig without a womans help – sometimes as women, we forget that.

  12. I have noticed how few male voices there are in the blogosphere…I have already subscribed to you and am looking forward to your updates…and yeah, the momma thing. You know, most people just go for what’s familliar out of habit.

    • Bryoneyh,
      My colleague would kill me if I took all the credit. There are two of us actually and we blog under
      Swag (me) and Sway, who is female

      Glad you like the post and feel free to shoot us a request if there is anything you would personally like to read about.

      • Oh yeah, I saw that as I looked at the site more…you two have a great team going…thanks for the invitation; I definitely will. And yea, I think you’re right about the lack of male voices in certain arenas…there are plenty of male voices in sports and other topics I’m not really interested, but not as many telling us (women)(honestly) what’s in their heads regarding us

    • Bryoneyh,

      To your point about the lack of male voices. I think it may have something to do with how we (males) are raised to keep our emotions private and under control. There is something very vulnerable about putting your life out there for the world to see (regardless of whether you are actually talking about yourself).

      Other than that, it’s probably less a lack of male voices and more a lack of male voices in certan arenas like relationships and such.

    • nooitdomestscated September 14, 2011 I don’t measure the cinnamon … I just do a couple of dashes, and that’s just for one big mug for me!

  13. My husband said that, the day that we got married, his mother retired. Haha…

  14. Great post! it’s nice to hear these things from the man’s perspective. I have been married for nearly 13 years now. I tell my husband there are times I get frustrated b/c I feel like I sound like his mother, which I know he does not want me to be. And there have been times that I have voiced my concerns over situations that seem to put him on the defensive. I really try hard to not do that. i want him to know my feelings and thoughts, especially when it’s something important. One time earlier this year, I expressed my feelings and he got upset and I simply told him that I just wanted him to know what I was thinking and feeling and that I didnt’ expect him to be able to read my mind any better than I can read his. I left him alone with those thoughts and he later came to me and said that basically what i’d done was give him a wake up call, but not in a bad way. Keep up the good writing!

    • Sometimes, we (I mean men) get a bit defensive because when are wrong in life, it usually means we are going to be punished. There is probably some consequence for our actions and we defend so that we can avert that punishment. I would say the best way to have any conversation involving a statement of feelings is to try and make sure he doesn’t feel like you are attacking him (not that you are responsible for this either). I know some people who bring laundry lists of items with them in order to confront their significant others but that shouldn’t be necessary if you know your partner respects your well-being and opinions.

    • September 30, 2011 Yum looks diieclous! I will have to try this out!Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me recently posted..

    • September 19, 2011 Crockpot meals are the best! Minimal work + dnieclouseiss = Perfect meal!Tracy @ Tracy’s Treats recently posted..

  15. I really enjoyed hearing a guy’s perspective on this issue. I have been dating a guy for a few years now (no ring yet…) and often times I feel like I am his replacement for his mom. This sounds weird, but he was babied growing up and his mom has done everything for him (and still does sometimes)so I get the feeling that’s what he expects my role to be. I do not want to be his mother, I want him to be a grown man! I love taking care of him, but still…

    • You definitely seem to love the guy, which means you may be due for a relationship checkup. Its never too late to start practicing the habits of love: http://loveh8relate.com/2010/08/19/the-habits-of-love/

      I’m sure he loves you and appreciates your supportive nature but decide on what you require from him in return for your loving nature and allow him time to grow into that role (with encouragement of course).

  16. What an interesting topic! You laid it out so nicely. Thank you!

    I definitely take care of both my men (husband and toddler), but it does present itself in different ways. Although, there have been a few times when I’ve noticed myself talking to my husband like he’s my toddler (oops – not a good idea!!).

    Thanks again for the great post, and congrats of being FP!

  17. Very good Oostende and makes excellent points! In any relationship it is important to set the rules and boundaries to whatever makes you comfortable….

    • I call that setting precedence in your relationship. It should start early and should continue throughout the entire relationship.

  18. On the other hand there are women who like to dominate their husband and enjoy his dependency, aren’t there? Not to mention it was mostly mothers who raised these late to be dependent men.

    • @EvilCyber
      Quite true. There are definitely familial origins to the expectation that your significant other is a replacement mother.

      On your other point: In psychology there is a term called enabler which is the person who “enables” their loved one’ irresponsible behavior. The whole ordeal is an intersection of perspectives and addressing every point of view requires more words can be expressed in one post. I’ll make sure to highlight some of your points in future posts.

      Thanks for the feedback.

  19. I recently divorced my husband because he was labouring under the misapprehension that once we were married I would take the place of his Mother in tending his every need and whim. Needless to say our marriage did not last long. He told me he saw the relationship his parents had as the ideal – but luckily for his Mother she didn’t work, unlike me! It’s comforting to know that there are actually some sane men out there still!

    • @Vicki

      If I may ask candidly. Was this expectation voiced before you two were married and if so how willing were you, at the time, to tolerate the idea of playing that role?

      My mother was a housewife for a long time (20+ years) but decided to go back and get a couple degrees and pursue a career. That didn’t sit right with my father at all and he felt almost betrayed because so much was being changed without his signoff. For some it’s just a lack of adaptation and an expectation that stems from core beliefs and long-standing habits.

      I wish you the best of luck and I know going forward you will know exactly what to look for in terms of compatibility. That’s a step in the right direction.

      • No problem with asking. No, it wasn’t voiced prior to our marriage. I think he just expected that that’s how it would be once we were married. Hell of a shock to me!

        He’s the youngest of six kids and had always been a bit of a Mummy’s boy, but I had no idea how much it would change once we were married! I actually said to him just before we split up that I felt like the single mother of a baby (our son was 9 months old) and a teenage boy! His Mother perpetuated this by always involving herself in our family decision-making (and he always allowed her to over-rule me and undermine / ridicule me in front of other family members which caused its own problems) but then perhaps I was also labouring under a misapprehension that once we were married we’d become more of an independent family unit of our own without his parents’ involvement in our major decisions.

        Here’s one the ladies among us will enjoy. 2 days after I was released from hospital following a 3 day labour and a further 3 days in because I was so exhausted and unwell from various complications having given birth to our son, his Mother came to me and said J has told me he doesn’t have any t-shirts because you haven’t done any ironing! You need to keep on top of it! I was gobsmacked. Needless to say she took his t-shirts home with her and ironed them for him!

      • Wow Miss K,

        That is really crazy. I’m sorry you had to go through that! The plus is that I’m sure that experience has you well equipped to steer clear of anyone that seems to act anywhere close to how your ex was, which in turn is good because you won’t have to deal with that in future relationships.

  20. […] She’s not your mother. She’s your wife–a blogger’s view on […]

  21. Congrats Swag on the Freshly Pressed!!! Excellent post (as usual)! And thanks to everyone who subscribed/read today..you guys are great:-) Let us know if there’s any topics you’d like to read about in the future!

  22. No offense, but I’d love to read a rewrite of this post after you’ve been married 10 or 20 years and have kids. There will be no change of being babied–my head could be severed at the neck and my wife would tell me to quit my bellyaching, but God forbid that one of our kids gets a scrape. And I’m not so sure my wife is always trying to understand me and my viewpoint when we have confrontation, just like I’m not always trying to understand. Good issues, though.

    • @Jamie,

      Touche my friend. It’s just one take but I am definitely hoping to set a little precedence now.

      “–my head could be severed at the neck and my wife would tell me to quit my bellyaching, but God forbid that one of our kids gets a scrape” – classic

  23. Great post.

    I wonder what to do if your wife/girlfriend (along with her mom and elder sister) start bitching about your mother, despite the fact that your mother takes a lot of shit from them just to see you happy and going good with them.

    I have been very lucky to have such a mother.

    And I decided to kick out the bitches from my life who made my mother roll tears in her eyes almost everyday. Although, I did that after almost 2 years of tolerating them.. its better late than be sorry later.

  24. Love this post! I think it’s a much needed read for men and women. I hate when a partner tries to, or even without meaning to, acts like a parent.
    I am so unbelievably happy in my relationship because my boyfriend and I are completely equal. We take care of each other when we are sick or unhappy, encourage each other, and we both pick up the cheque equally. He treats me with respect and is a gentleman. I am quite a feminist, but I despise the way some women have twisted the feminist concept into feeling just superior, and blame all men, for all of their own personal shortcomings.
    I love it when my boyfriend takes me on a date, makes me coffee, etc… but almost as often, I get to the door first and open it for him. I like to take care of him… but he always returns my kindness.
    Thanks for your intelligent musings on this 🙂 Pleasure to read.

  25. Message ! The last line is oh so true. Males who don’t appreciate their girlfriends, are often spoiled. They are used to someone playing the “mama” role and haven’t that learned that a Man no longer needs that role; Instead, a Woman to support, love, and appreciate him. NOT baby him.

  26. Now this to me is worth repeating and pondering…”A mother deserves a son who grows into a man. That man is who a wife or girlfriend deserves to be with.”…An excelent conclusion!

  27. Very good perspective. And if you really want to analyze a situation, what about a daughter’s relationship with her father vs. her husband/boyfriend!
    Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!

  28. Very wise and refreshing to get a male’s perspective. Great post, thanks!! 🙂

  29. I am new to this site/blog and you are the first blog I have read and was very impressed! One quick note….women are nuturers and men are gathers. We are so very different in many ways and yet so very much the same in other ways. We can not help but be nurturers by nature. I am a mother of 4 amazing young men and I do know that they have chosen women in their lives that are somewhat like me and also somewhat not like me. I have tried to be a mother/nurturer to my sons but also respect that they need to also do/think things out for themselves. Sometimes stepping back as a mother allows them to find themselves and their masculinity. It is a balancing act but there are some women out there that do go overboard with the nurturing and that is just something you need to find out/see for yourselves and communication is the key. Thanks!

  30. I’ve always thought it was a bad idea to consider your wife/girlfriend as your mother and in some ways, it can be misinterpreted as dare I say “lack of maturity” in some cases. I think keeping the two fairly separate is the definitely the best policy.

  31. The one thing I learned from my brutally nasty divorce? Never marry a man who thinks too highly of his mother. He needs to be able to see her faults. People who look for parental substitutes are just asking for problems. Unless of course they find someone who wants to fill that role. If so, godspeed.

  32. Great post! It is so true, a romantic relationship should be treated as such. A girlfriend/wife and a mother are two completely different roles and men need to understand that to have a successful relationship. I like this blog, good work!
    check out my blog at jenniferwalton.wordpress.com!

  33. This was wonderfully articulated – now hopefully those that should be reading will read! It is frustrating to still see so many men (and sometimes women) who haven’t cut the apron strings yet. As a mom – I wouldn’t want my children to continue living as children when they become adults. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    – Emily

  34. […] en un Hombre. Precisamente, ese Hombre es con el que una esposa o una novia merecen estar.” (escrito por del Swag, traducido por […]

  35. Great Post! Well said, I definitely agree specially the last part of your post, about mom’s deserving good son’s and wife’s deserving a good man.

  36. I like your post. I’ve translated into Spanish

  37. Not all women have the nurturing instinct. Not all women enjoy it or even know how to take care of even a blood relative during times of a bad flu or severe cold…the way the iconic mother does.

    Just as a wife shouldn’t be expected to provide parental care to her spouse, a husband should know when to accept that kind of help if offered by his spouse.

    You can’t always “want my mommy!” in times of duress, but you can “want my wife!” if you have one.

  38. […] Static Posted on September 16, 2010 by dyskinesia From Freshly Pressed, a beautifully written post on the relationships men have with the women in their lives, from a man – the kind of thing not seen enough on the internet:  She’s not your mother […]

  39. Great Post! I really enjoyed reading this. This made me reevaluate me and my son’s relationship.

    • I’m always glad to inspire a little introspection and reflection.

    • @ Ms. Living, I think that’s excellent! I don’t know how many mothers think about the affects of how the way they raise their children affecting their children’s future significant others…everything that happens in one’s childhood can play a role in how they turn out to be as adults.
      Thanks for reading!

  40. […] She’s not your mother written by Swag Fellas. Do you treat your mom different from the way you treat other women? Do you treat your […] […]

  41. Great article. There is a lot of truth in this. As a man you do not want your girlfriend to be the same as your mother but perhaps present to you some of the same good qualities that she has.

  42. […] en un Hombre. Precisamente, ese Hombre es con el que una esposa o una novia merecen estar.” (escrito por del Swag, traducido por […]

  43. motherly love plays both parts nd should respect that

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