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babying boyfriend

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I am definitely guilty of doing it sometimes: I baby my partner. I just can’t help it. I know him very well now, I know what his likes and dislikes are, I know how much certain situations can ruin our day, and I can’t help but try to avoid them. I know which things cause him anxiety and what things make him sad. It feels like part of my job to do what I can to make his day easy and his experiences pleasant. Don’t we all feel that way about the people we love? But, I am guilty of overdoing it sometimes. Why is this bad, you ask? Because you can actually wind up resenting your partner if you baby him too much, and the worst part is that he didn’t even ask for any of that. Besides, he is a grown man. Yes, certain things may cause him anxiety. He will get through it. Yes, there are people in your life who stress him out and make him angry. He will get over it. It’s good to take care of your partner, but you shouldn’t feel like you are the sole caretaker for both of you. So, do you baby your partner? Perhaps too much?

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Restaurants revolve around his sensitivities

There are certain foods he cannot eat due to allergies or just doesn’t eat because he doesn’t like them. Maybe there are restaurants you would like to go to, where he actually could find something to eat, but it might take a little bit of work. So, you just never ask to go there. You just avoid it entirely, even though it would actually make you happy to go. You just don’t want your partner stressed out and struggling to find something he can eat.

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Don’t set up this precedent

Now you’re setting up a precedent by which he never has to do a little extra work—even a little—so that you can enjoy something special. Meanwhile, you bend over backwards (you know you do) so he can enjoy things that make him happy. That should be a two-way street in which each of you make compromises, if it can make the other really happy. In other words, even if he hates seafood, he can take you to the seafood place and he can just order the steak.

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You warn people when something difficult happen

If your partner didn’t, for example, get the promotion he was going for and you were going to see friends that night who knew he was up for it, you call them and tell them what happened. You tell them not to bring it up. You try to control the conversation to avoid a topic that will upset him.

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He’ll have to confront it

Part of being an adult is having to admit your setbacks and failures, not only to yourself but to others. You can’t possibly protect this man from ever having to tell anyone what happened. His friends and family are invested and want to know. If he’s emotionally mature, he can tell them and it doesn’t have to ruin the night.

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You pretend you are okay when you are not

If your partner has been going through something difficult, and something actually quite difficult happens to you, too, you don’t tell your partner about it. You don’t want to pile on to what he has going on. And you continue to act as if he is the only one going through something difficult. You just assume you are strong enough to take on both of your issues, but that he is not.

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You can’t carry everybody’s burdens

If your partner really loves you, then even when he’s hurting, he can be there for you if you’re struggling with something else. In fact, it could be good for him to take his mind off of his struggles and be there for you.

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You never give constructive feedback

Your partner might ask for your input on something he is working on, and you do see a small flaw, but you tell him it is perfect. Perhaps he did not even ask for your feedback, but it is painfully obvious that he made a mistake. You still say nothing, because you don’t want to hurt his feelings.

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You aren’t helping

Ultimately, you’re hurting him more by not giving feedback, because now someone else will notice the mistake when it is perhaps too late to fix it. In fact, giving constructive criticism means you cared enough to think critically about something your partner is working on.

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You act as a human barrier

If you are going to a dinner party and you know there will be a guest that your partner does not like, you pull all sorts of tricks to manipulate the seating arrangement so your partner sits nowhere near the offensive person. In fact, you wind up sitting next to them and you don’t even like them. But you wanted to protect your partner.

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He needs to power through

He is a grown man. He can handle having dinner next to someone he doesn’t like. He should be able to be put in that situation and still find a way to make the best of the night and remain positive. He should be able to do that so that you can relax and enjoy your evening.

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You give him slack he would not give you

He has been very busy, and falling behind on his chores. He has clothes all over the floor and dirty dishes in the sink. You don’t say a word about it, because you don’t want to add to the stress in his life.

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That’s not fair

Look: the reality is that you have been just as busy and managed not to be so messy. And, when you do become messy, he says something about it to you. So, you can tell him he’s being a slob and that he needs to find a way to manage that, no matter what else is happening. You certainly do.

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You sit out your fun to console him

Maybe you have been looking forward to doing something fun with your friends for a long time. But then your partner has a terrible day, and you can tell he could use your comfort. So you stay home. He even insists you go be with your friends, but you feel bad leaving him, so you stay.

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He’ll survive a few hours

Again, he is an adult. He can survive some emotional ups and downs for a few hours without you. Furthermore, it is good for both of you if you go have fun. You will get the energy you need to be there for him when you get back.

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You hide bad news from him

Everyone is aware of some terrible news but you know your partner is preparing for something important. You don’t want the bad news to bring him down. You do the greatest acting job of your life, pretending everything is okay. You find ways to keep him off social media. You text everyone he knows asking them not to bring it up. It’s your full time job, protecting him from this.

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What about your grief?

It’s important that you have time and energy to process and grieve this news, too. But you rob yourself of that if you’re too busy protecting your partner from it. And he is bound to find out, eventually. So do yourself a favor and just break the news to him, so you can move onto your own healing.

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