Tickle me no more!

A Reader:

“Can someone explain to me what is wrong with men? My fiance is currently not talking to me (childish) because he claims I speak to him like a child. Example: Telling him not to tickle me when I’m holding a baby. Or explaining he has to take his cough medicine as directed and not when he feels like it. Sometimes my 11 month old baby acts ten times more mature and aware of her surroundings than he does!”


He’s either going to complain that you’re babying him or he’s going to like that you’re babying him. Men are ruled by their egos and to play along you’ll have to either play along or put an end to play time. There is certainly a time and place for scolding (um, do you want me to drop our daughter?) and a time and place for kind reminders (sweetie, it’s time to take your next dose). However if he’s responding so immaturely to perfectly reasonable requests, then there is likely something deeper going on.

First, check the tone of your voice. I am often snappier than I intend to be and it has an affect on Raul. I have to be careful that I’m very clear in what I’m asking of him and that my tone matches my intent. (Often easier said than done!)

Next, call him out on his complaint. “What about what I just said or asked makes you feel like a child?”  Hear him out, however ridiculous it may sound and then take a deep breath. Once he’s had the opportunity to say his piece, you can kindly remind him that your response was a reaction to him- by not caring for himself or being considerate of you, you get frustrated with him. You are sorry if he feels demeaned, as that wasn’t your intent, but you’re also disappointed in his behavior by acting and responding so immaturely.

At this point, as long as you both are still conversing at normal conversation levels, this would be a good opportunity to make your expectations clear. “I will never be ok with you tickling me while I’m holding our daughter.” or “I’m concerned that you’ll get more sick or stay sick longer if you aren’t following the medication guidelines properly.)

Next you’ll want to remove yourself from these ‘bad guy’ situations. Set up his phone to pop a reminder to take his meds. Make a point to hug him when you’re not holding a kiddo. And if he’s being immature again, call him out on it (nicely!). If you have him helping you with a task, you’ll just have to accept that it might not get done the way you want it to. Assign him the tasks that you don’t mind if it’s not exactly as you would do it (ie. taking out the garbage vs folding clothes).

Lastly, if he still won’t grow up and cooperate, it’s time to fight fire with fire. Flip the tables on him. As soon as he gets all pissy, start crying at him for not listening to you and making your life harder. He’ll likely freak at the tears and say whatever he can to shut you up. Sob, “I’m trying so hard to__________ (insert action he was just complaining about) and you just come in here and mess it all up! Boohooohoo!”. They hate crying worse than nagging.

It takes time for a new-ish guy to learn how you like things done and it takes time for you to learn his strengths and weaknesses in supporting household chores. Patience and planning ahead will go a long way to keeping the peace.


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