Know Your Role: Are You Mothering Your Man?

He says, “I’m sick of her always trying to boss me around with all that endless nagging. I’m not her son. I’m her man!” She says, “I’m tired of saying the same thing to him over and over. Will he ever get a clue”? The roles of spouse/live-in-lover have turned into a Mommy-Son relationship. It’s certainly not the life dreams are made of.

If you are a working woman who also takes care of household duties, more than likely you are physically and mentally exhausted when you get home from work. The last thing you want to do is housework, and babysitting tasks for your husband and kids, but someone has to do it. You pay the bills, wash the clothes, plan outings, schedule doctor’s visits, and shop, just to name a few things. It is a wonder you are still standing. You are breathing, but clearly comatose.

You get home and your significant other has neglected to take out the trash or call the repairman/superintendent for household repairs. To make matters worse his work clothes lay in the spot where he took them off. Your man is settled into his favorite piece of furniture in front of the TV. Usually, he barely looks in your direction when you walk through the door. Occasionally, you receive the impassionate peck kiss. However, he quickly turns his head and attention away from you, leaving little time for you to return the gesture.

There are unfinished tasks staring you in the face. Do you remind him of the things he neglected to do? If so, does he reply with, “In a minute the game is on”? After ten minutes of silently seething, do you take out the trash, followed by putting his work clothes in the hamper? You regretfully resign yourself to use your lunch hour to contact the repairman. Hopefully, you will not have to schedule time off from work. You pray the repairman has weekend hours available.

Next you prepare dinner, while making sure the kids have done their homework. Lastly, it is time to get clothes and lunches ready for tomorrow. Phew! It seems a Super Woman’s work is never done! You receive little to no help from your mate throughout this process. Yet he seems oblivious to the work you are doing, as if you were a machine on auto-pilot.

Now the man, who all but ignored you, is getting ready for bed. Of course he still has “needs”. Hubby is giving you those bedroom eyes, but you are feeling beyond tired. You are aggravated and sexually turned off, because let’s face it: sometimes your man acts like a teenager. At this point, you are annoyed and close to disgusted. You don’t feel sexy and your attraction to your man went south the moment you came home to the mess. He is far from sexy and all this bickering has made you feel older than your age.

Your love making is as eventful as a T-ball game and your mind is elsewhere. Your partner can feel your lack of passion and overall disinterest. He acts as if it is his right to demand access to your body, with disregard for your mind and spirit. You lie awake in bed asking yourself how things got this bad. Lying next to you is your man who is pretending to be sleep in order to avoid the intimacy both of you are craving.

Recently, your man began regular lunch dates with Lisa from his job who has promised him all the fun he can handle in the sack, minus the accountability and responsibility of a genuine adult relationship. She is a teen male’s dream. To make matters worse, the Phys Ed teacher/assistant coach who is “extra” helpful with getting your child’s sports equipment in and out of your minivan is looking dangerously handsome in his recreation clothes. Not to mention the not so subtle compliments he throws your way. After all, he has the traits you are craving, thoughtfulness, consideration and usefulness.

You are in quite the dilemma. Is your marriage/relationship slowly drifting off of a steep cliff? Let’s rewind. When you met your man, you had separate lives, but you promised to share the load and combine into one. In the beginning, you both did all the special little things: fun outings, quiet time at home, whispering sweet nothings, communicating what you appreciate about each other, and sharing hopes and dreams. There were small “just because” gifts and spontaneous laughter filled the air. That good feeling you got when you came home to each other is as stale as a microwave bag of popcorn that sat opened all day.

Take an honest look. Is this the person you want to spend your life with? Coming home to your man feeling unsatisfied and unloved, going through the motions is no field day. Be clear there are things that you did to put yourself in this position. If you want this relationship to work, you need to be as honest as possible. Running a bulleted Microsoft PowerPoint presentation titled “The Stuff I Hate About You” won’t do. Pray or meditate on a scripture or saying, whatever you do to clear your mind of junk and seek direction. You will need a level-head.

Communicate that there is some distance between you and ask if he noticed. If he agrees and wants to remedy the problem, ask for suggestions. This discussion does not have to be formal. However, it cannot be discussed while watching TV, before, during or after making love, or when sleepy. This is about the success of your future and overall happiness. Get serious or quit while you are ahead. Give this conversation your full attention. Here comes the hard part. If he pretends that everything is fine, you need to accept that he is comfortable with your dysfunctional relationship.

Try telling him what makes you tick and what makes you sick. Name some things you would like him to change? Name some habits you are willing to give up. If it boils your blood when he leaves a mess for you to clean every day, say it. Show him the triggers that cause bland food, the silent treatment and lackluster bedroom romps. However, now listen because this is crucial. Do not forget the good stuff. Compliments and encouragement go a long way.

Be prepared to hear some things that you do not want to hear. Keep the facial expressions and overdone gestures to a minimum. This talk will not be wrapped in a bow. More than likely it will not flow like champagne at an album release party. Be patient. Listen to what he is saying, if he has never been secretive or a pathological liar, do not be quick to disbelieve or dismiss his complaints. I will bet he can name as many things missing from your relationship as you can.

Are you surprised that he hates that you do everything for him? Does there appear to be hurt or anger in his tone? Treating him like a teenager has given him free reign to behave selfishly. It has also allowed him to act on impulse and desire with disregard for you and the household. No wonder he acts out by giving you the silent treatment like an unhappy 14 year old male. You ought to be surprised he is still keeping within curfew limits.

The blame game regarding who did what first is not going to work this time. What is done is done. The next move is on you. Both of you must recognize that it is ok to get what you want. The key lies in understanding that a bit of consideration and compromise will ease the pressure. There is no quick fix towards daily pleasure. But, like anything else, if it is worth having it is worth the work.

It is time to reconnect. Rediscover the things that made you first take notice of each other; celebrate those things. Start with activities: date nights, home cooked meals or favorite restaurants, or shared interests. Live Music at a jazz club or a bans at the local lounge. Try a recreational activity together, i.e. (basketball, jogging, exercise in the park, gardening, or a barbecue-for-two).

Discuss the mundane things that affect your day-to-day life. Talk about your work day or the kid’s school project. Try your best to avoid one word answers and dissertations. Be detailed, but concise. Keep your relationship fresh. Spice up your sex life. Do you care to know what pleasures each other? Are you willing to try new things within reason? Planned time together can lead to more spur-of-the-moment time together.

The next time he cleans the dishes and they’re not spotless, do not commence with berating. As long as he performed his task with care, be appreciative. When he did the laundry he forgot to use fabric softener, so what? Thank him and show him how to do it or ask him if his clothes feel the same this wash. Never complete the task for him, unless he asks you to. This emasculates him and makes him decide not to help out next time.

Put forth the effort to rebuild. Be prepared for hard work ahead. Things will not change overnight. You are partners, the complement of each other. Remember, your role is wife/lover to your man, NOT mother.

Keisha McLean has always had a passion for words and writing. Her love for God, community, music and youth can be attributed to the women in her upbringing. She enjoys singing and listening to a broad variety of music. Keisha admits she spends a bit too much time on social media networks and blogging. However, she stays grounded by facilitating life skills workshops for teenagers. You can find Keisha on Twitter as @KJayTruth or on her blog

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