I once met a lady who was widowed at age 64. As she lamented her loss, two things she said stood out for me.
Her husband had never let her take out the trash. To me that’s adorable. She was married for 42 years.
The second thing she said made me wonder how much of this was love and how much of it was control. The widow had never filled gas in her car while she was married.
At 64, she was a lost child in a huge house having to take the trash out for the first time and at a gas station asking a stranger to help her fill gas. She struggled, like a 15-year-old, to do things for the first time.
And this isn’t just an isolated story.
When the "caring" you receive from a loved one makes you feel like you're a child, it’s because you regress when you're with your partner.
The bad thing about feeling like a child in a relationship is you had no control back when you actually were a child. And you have none in the present day, either.
The good thing about feeling like a child in a relationship is you felt protected and cared for back in the day, and you get to experience that again in adulthood.
Like everything else in a relationship, every good has a bad to it and every bad has a good to it. That’s how the universe keeps its balance.
And when you feel like a child in adulthood, something is out of balance.
What does it mean when you feel like a child in a relationship?
The good about feeling like a child in a relationship is you have no responsibilities. You get to have all the fun. You're taken care of but you have no choice. And, this is the bad part.
Maybe you feel like a child because your partner reminds you of a parent either you adore or you abhor.
This could be a codependent relationship, where you need to feel like a child in a relationship, and are cared for. You have someone to go to and this gives your relationship a purpose.
You do what you're expected or asked to do and your partner does what your parent did or did not.
The other side of the story is that you are a strong independent adult doing the right thing in your life and moving on. However, this makes your partner feel insecure. Now, their words and actions stir up pain the way your parents might have.
Your partner is not evil. They learned how to be, act and speak when they were young, when their subconscious was impressionable.
Also, when a child grows up in a household with excessive abuse, they promise themselves that they will never be their parent, or feel like a victim with no options — but turn out to be like their parent, after all.
What does it mean when you're feeling bad in a relationship?
When your partner has turned into your parent and takes care of everything for you, it might seem good for a while but then it’s not. Slowly, you realize you must lean on your partner since they take care of all your needs.
You can’t imagine a life when your partner is not around. Will you have to relearn how to tie your shoe strings, and take the garbage out? How much of being a child in a relationship is healthy and when is it not?
Why do you start feeling bad in a relationship?
At times a partner could say something as casual as "Why don’t you take your shower now?" Or "Just finish up your dinner"
In their mind, it's a harmless request but you feel that your partner is trying to control you and tell you what to do and how to do it, in your home, and you have no say in it.
When you get a stool to reach for something high, they might rush to you and grab the item for you. Initially, this seems cute or tender, but that’s a subconscious way of them saying "There are things you can’t do and you need me to get things done" of which they are unaware.
Some women do everything for their men inside the house because that’s their way of saying "I love you" or justifying "division of labor" until one day, she falls sick or is gone and the man feels like a hapless child in his own home.
When your partner does everything for you, it might feel good in the beginning until it works against you and no one is to blame.
And, then some things feel bad right after the honeymoon phase of the relationship is over.
Your honeymoon can be a seduction.
You ask the other to hang up first. Even when you don’t say it, your partner can guess what you want. It’s a reality that honeymooners go through.
The chemistry may be physical but as a spirit, too, you feel like one. You wait on each other and it feels better than anything you ever had, even the honeymoon you enjoyed in your previous relationship.
You are totally seduced: heart, head, and hands. Nothing can ever get better and you are certain your life is coasting. It just so happens, that when life feels like coasting, you are going downhill and you don’t even know it.
Why and how does the honeymoon phase end?
Everything ends and so does your honeymoon. You begin to notice how what seemed so appealing earlier doesn’t anymore. You might have reached a plateau in your relationship or could be headed towards trauma.
Everything that felt cute begins to irritate you. You feel the other doesn’t do much or does with a hook.
They turn into Santa Claus and keep track of when you were naughty and whatever could be nice is no big deal because you are supposed to do that like every good kid.
Forging marriage equality
It’s never too late to have another honeymoon. And, this time, you're wiser. When your partner tries to do something for you, remember every relationship is a two-way street and so you do something equally important to them.
You are no longer coochy-cooing teenagers, or like someone once said, "Young love, foolish love." Be the adult and take the reigns of your relationship into your hand. You know what’s important to your partner and if you don’t, ask!
Don’t take their goodness or charity for granted. Because it’ll come around and hit you hard when you least expect it.
If your partner does something for you, then step up and suggest that it would be fun if you did it together. Make it a together project than the proverbial “division of labor”.
And, finally, if something they do takes you back to something about your childhood that did not make you happy then and nor does it excite you now, then speak up.
Say something in a way that they hear you and understand it in a way you want to be understood.
Communication (not money and not sex) is the crux of any relationship, that either makes it or breaks it. Communication is with only one purpose — to connect. Let it be the right connection.
Keya Murthy, M.S., works as a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Spiritual Life Coach, and Energy Medicine Practitioner at the Ventura Healing Center. She’s also a #1 International Bestselling Author on Amazon and has authored eleven books, of which her latest book is The Book On Happiness: How To Have Peace And Stability As A Working Mom.