I Was His Girlfriend, So Why Was He Treating Me Like His Mother?

My first long-term boyfriend and I had a great relationship for awhile but it quickly turned into a nightmare. There were a lot of reasons it ultimately didn’t work out, the main one being that we moved in together too soon and I became more like his mother than his actual girlfriend. WTF?

We were 23, not 13. Sure, we might have still been young, but we were old enough to know our own minds and make our own decisions. Not my ex-boyfriend, though—he needed his hand holding through every situation. Sure, we can all use help every now and then, but he couldn’t even decide on what to have for dinner without me there to guide him and validate everything he did. It was draining AF.

WE WEREN’T AT COLLEGE ANYMORE. We’d both been living independently, away from our parents, for a good few years by the time we got together. Admittedly, in college, it’s relatively easy to become a slob—you’re renting student houses that you don’t really care about, you’re out on the town every night partying, and you’re likely to have parents who are funding this laid-back, carefree student lifestyle. We went from this to renting our own place fairly quickly. I managed to grow up and start taking better care of my surroundings but unfortunately, my boyfriend didn’t. I had to pick up after him and constantly nag him about cleaning up after himself.

He was used to his mom doing everything for him. I think he’d gotten used to having that safety blanket around him, and it was hard for him to reverse his role of being the one that always had to be looked after. As a woman, you want to show your boyfriend that you’re a strong, independent lady who doesn’t need a guy, but you secretly also want to be looked after in some ways. Unfortunately, this was never going to happen with my ex. Not only did he not want to do anything for me, he wanted me to do it EVERYTHING for him!

He had zero motivation to accomplish anything. I’m a lady with drive and ambition, therefore it was surprising to me to discover that my boyfriend kinda didn’t have that. He was happy to cruise along in the same job he hated, not exploring other opportunities, and I didn’t want that for him. I was like his mother in this sense, for sure; I always encouraged him to achieve his dream but he could never find the interest or energy to even try.

HE WAS TOO LAID-BACK ABOUT CERTAIN THINGS. Being laid-back can be a good trait, but not when you simply don’t care about anything ever. I found that I became extra uptight for the both of us! I felt like we were an old married couple at 23, even though we’d only been together two years at that point. All I wanted was a partner-in-crime, someone who was my equal and didn’t take advantage of my generous nature.

HE WAS HAPPY TO LEAVE EVERYTHING TO ME. I was the responsible grown-up who maintained the apartment; he was the child who came in from work and just played video games while I cooked his dinner. Uh, what? It wasn’t just the housework, it was planning and organization too. If I wanted to go somewhere, I had to arrange it all. He was happy to come along to date nights, it’s just that I had to decide when and where. Super romantic, right?

I HAD TO TAKE CHARGE WITH THE RELATIONSHIP. I had to take the lead with the housework, sure, but I also had to take the lead with the relationship in general, otherwise, we would never do anything or go anywhere! While I definitely have a lot of strong opinions and consider myself a leader, having a partner who’s completely passive and didn’t pull his weight led me to feel more resentful than anything else.

THE ROMANCE DISAPPEARED. After a while, my bitterness and resentment about everything I had to do and put up with in the relationship meant that the spark fizzled out pretty quickly. I honestly felt that his video games got more attention than me and something had to change—in other words, I had to leave him.

IT WAS MY FAULT TOO. I don’t completely blame him for how our relationship disintegrated. I was largely at fault too. I let him carry on in a way I wasn’t happy with for a long time before speaking up. When I eventually did speak up, it was too late. The spark had already gone. I should have been more open and honest with him about how I was feeling at the time I was feeling it. What can I say? I felt like I became a mother in life 10 years earlier than expected! I ended up babysitting my boyfriend on a daily basis, which is essentially why it didn’t end well. It’s not all bad, though—I learned that I’ll never put myself in a position like that again, that’s for sure.

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