Am I turning into his mom?

Dear Lisa,

My guy and I have been dating for a couple months now, and we spend most (90%) of the time together at my place. I’ve noticed that I buy certain foods and toiletries I myself don’t eat or use much just so that those items are here for him. I guess I’m trying to make him more comfortable in my space, and I enjoy doing these things for him.
I’m wondering if I am going too far? Where the line is in terms of being over-the-top in making space for him in my home? He leaves a toothbrush here, but I don’t have anything at his house, nor has he bought any of the things I like to have for his home. Is this “taking care of him” part of being feminine, or am I going too far into the mothering spectrum for a lover relationship?

–Mother much? ( ♀ Nanaimo)


 

Dear Mother much?,

Examining the way that you show love to your partner is an insightful practice! The reason being, that we often use the way we love the other person to show them how we like to be loved. That being said there could be a few things going on here:

  • He likes it, or at the very least is fine with it because you are ‘speaking’ his language. If he is the type that likes little thoughtful gifts (which probably means that he will notice what you’re doing and tell you he really likes what you chose, or that it’s there etc.) then you’re speaking his love language. If he doesn’t really notice, then you are probably speaking one of the more neutral languages for him, and while appreciated, doesn’t make a huge difference in the relationship.
  • The opposite is that you are speaking a language that offends him. Some people have an aversion to certain languages, this is common with the gift giving one. If he tells you not to do it, or that it’s too much, or not to trouble yourself, he might be saying that he is uncomfortable with the gifts, however insignificant a special type of food is. What’s worse, if you push it, your lover can start to feel smothered when you speak to him in a language that offends them, even if you do it out of love.
  • You are doing little things for him that you would love him to do for you. It’s time to check your motiavtion! You said you like to do this for him, which implies means that you don’t feel resentful about it if he doesn’t really notice, or doesn’t return the favor. What I’m hearing you say though, is that you’ve noticed that he doesn’t buy your special foods. I’d say there is a bit of a hidden contract here – I’ll do for you, in the hopes that you will do for me… and imagine how much more dangerous this point is when combined with option two?

So, no, I wouldn’t say you are mothering him exactly, as long as you are doing it to express your love and not to get him to love you. Bonus points if something you love to do for him coincides with his love language! If you are interested in knowing more about the ways that we like to be loved check out “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.

PS: I don’t recommend ever leaving anything at his place. If he buys something for you, like a toothbrush, then you know that he wants you to have one there. If you bring one and leave it, then you have no idea where you stand, and he wonders (worst case scenario, mind you) if you’re marking your territory.

– Lisa

 


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