David Arquette has been very forthcoming about one of the reasons he and Courteney Cox have separated: She's tired of being his mother.
This isn't an uncommon occurrence. Caretaking comes naturally to many women but it becomes a marital issue when it gets in the way of your husband growing up, 7 or 15 years after you've met.
Here's how it starts:
- You're dating your husband-to-be. He's always late. He's always losing things (shoes, briefcases, shoes). It's endearing to a point in an absent minded professor kind of way. Plus his mother is always doing things for him like his laundry and paying his bills.
- Then you get engaged. But not before he goes to the wrong restaurant that night and sits at the bar drinking bourbon for an hour before he realizes that you're not going to show up. Then gets your call asking where he is. But the proposal is sweet and the ring is beautiful. There's hope.
- You give him a detailed list of instructions for your wedding day because you know (or think that you know) that he'll screw it up otherwise. As it is, he leaves his jacket at home and has to wear your brother's. Which is 2 sizes too big for him. That's why he looks like David Byrne in all of the wedding pictures.
- Seven years later you have two kids, a dog, a house in the suburbs and you're still making lists for your husband. He's still perpetually late, is allergic to responsibility, and thinks nothing of going out after work with his buds. And forgetting to tell you in advance.
You need to step back and ask yourself these questions:
- Do you see your husband as a capable adult?
- Is he responsible for himself? Does he accept any responsibility for his family?
- Can he complete simple tasks on his own without you making him a honey-do list and following up multiple times? (I typed hiney-do at first. He needs a note telling him to do that too.)
If you answered no to these questions, then your marriage may be suffering from Courteney Cox Mothering Syndrome.
And you don't want to continue being his mother because:
- He can't have sex with his mother.
- Though you may not see it, his self-respect is being chipped away.
- Completing tasks does not equate to how much he loves you.
- You assuming his responsibilities is not nurturing. It's stifling. And encourages him to remain "helpless."
So how do you change your relationship?
Well, it will be easier to change your expectations than change your husband. Sure, you can have the grow-up already talks with him as much as you want. But if he doesn't respond to these conversations, or months of therapy, then it's your choice of whether or not you want to be married to a man-child. Or if you can live with his hi-jinks.
Some men never grow up.
Do you know any man-children?
Image via Gracious Home