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My partner who is 10 years older treats me like a child! It ruins my day!

Tagged as: Age differences, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (19 March 2008) 10 Answers - (Newest, 17 September 2010)
A female France age 36-40, anonymous writes:

My boyfriend and I have lived together for a year. Everything is usually fine because my bf is very caring and we love each other. But, one thing really bothers me and it often makes me upset. He is 10 years older than me and it is true that he is much more responsible and adult than I am, but I find him always telling me how to do things, scolding me for eating too much peanuts, or just anything he doesn't think I should have done.

He tells me I'm a child often and I realize this hurts me. I've spoke to him about this but as he insists he is right that he is obliged to tell me these things. But, he really turns me off when he tells me how to do everything... I'm sensitive and I turn inwards and take things personally.

He is a perfectionist. But, it becomes a crises when we are unable to talk about it for two days because we're both busy with work. My mood becomes down and I'm just bothered that he does this. Everything will be fine and then he will get stressed about how I'm doing something incorrectly.... it ruins my day. I don't want someone telling me how to do everything or especially how to eat. In the beginning of the relationship, this wasn't a problem. He is very set in his ways so talking doesn't help much. Is this a big issue or not?

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A male reader, rolfen Lebanon +, writes (17 September 2010):

rolfen agony auntYou need to be more confident about yourself. "it is true that he is much more responsible and adult than I am". 10 years do not mean much, really. You can be more mature then him even with that age difference.

Maybe this lack of confidence is getting on his nerves, and he is taunting you about it until you get fed up and finally defend yourself instead of having this defeatist attitude.

In any case good luck.

Signed: Stranger for the internet.

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A male reader, LazyGuy Netherlands +, writes (19 March 2008):

LazyGuy agony auntYou should be able to make your own mistakes? Is he your dad?

That is a line of a child to a parent, not between lovers.

I am really confused by this one.

Let me give an example from my own experience years ago. Girlfriend of friend ends up borrowing my car. Petrol she fills it up with diesel, he gets really pissed off at her and yells at her. She explodes and screams he is controlling her and making her feel stupid and like she can do nothing right.

Well DUH! she just cost him, because he offcourse had to pay for repairs, a small fortune (2-3000 euro's) for them as the moron had kept on driving even when the engine was sputtering. If your mistakes end up costing him then he has every right to attempt to prevent them in the first place. If he paid for the bike, then you need to lock it. What are you, 12 yr olds? Who pays the bill if it gets stolen?

On the other hand, drinking a bottle of wine, buying strawberries. What the? Did you open super rare wine? Had strawberries flown in from morocco? What is the big deal?

You should do what you want? Again, this goes for small things like buying stawberries out of season, it does not go for major things. Single people have freedom, couples do not. Can he do what he wants. Go to a hooker, have a vasectomy, go away for a weekend without saying, dress up in womens clothing?

I am now more certain then before, you two are not compatible with each other. He is too controlling for your personality.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 March 2008):

Hunny you are right you need to make your own mistakes in life, Thats the only way we learn TAKE CARE WITH LOVE MANDY XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 March 2008):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thank you for the responses, but I should add that usually when he scolds me, yes of course he's right. BUT.. sometimes I admit I like to do things wrong. I don't mind living a little out of the rules, like opening a bottle of wine when I'm alone one evening, or buying strawberries out of season.. or sometimes yes I eat a little too much peanuts or even a little extra chocolate..I'm rather a health nut like he is, but not an extremist. Also, for example, I really hate getting the mail and locking my bike in the backyard (its in the backyard afterall..) Anyway, the problem for me is that he is often right.. and I do need to grow up and be more responsible with things. I am trying, but I still should like to make my own mistakes you know? He has many good qualities and is hardly a loser.. I wouldn't be with him still if it was so. If when we talk I say that he wants to control me, he only says that I can do what I want, but he has an opinion about them.. and also that it moves us farther apart. It's hard to break off a relationship with someone for this reason, you see? Anyway, the problem will not go away, and I should do what I want.. and listen to him at the same time. I should hope he gets over himself eventually.. and realizes it only turns me off when he is always nagging me..

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A male reader, Stroller United Kingdom +, writes (19 March 2008):

Stroller agony auntI wish I could add to these comments, but really my post is just a "me, too" in agreement with the other replies.

"Emotionally abusing you" may sound like strong words, but this is clearly controlling behaviour. I used to know a girl who was with a guy 10 or 15 years older - and don't get me wrong, I'm 35 myself and love younger girls - and dumped him because he kept leaning over to do up the seatbelt for her when they got in the car. Eeeeeew! So there's a big bit of me that's wondering how you lasted so long with this guy.

What's concerning is that he dismisses it when you try & tell him how this makes you feel. A loving partner listens, you asshole! Maybe he'd nag a girlfriend of his own age too, and we should just call a spade a spade and his behaviour nagging. But the important thing is how you feel about it, and it sounds to me like you've reached the stage of an ultimatum - you have to choose whether you want to stay in this kind of relationship with him forever, or whether he wants to change his attitude.

I think it's very possible that if he turns himself around a little bit - if he realises how he makes you feel with this behaviour - then you can continue to have a full and loving relationship with him for many years to come. But it's up to him to take look at things, turn this relationship around (a little bit) and make the big difference. It's up to you only to make him see that that's his choice - and the alternative.

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A female reader, Midge United Kingdom +, writes (19 March 2008):

Midge agony auntWell my boyfriend is almost 10 years older than me and I have had the very same issue. We have been together almost 10 years now and I have learnt to deal with issue.

He too tells me when I am making a mistake or how things should be done. However, if he tells me that I should do it this way because its a mistake doing it like that, then I tell him, "Thanks for telling me dear, but its my mistake to make!" and I continue to do it my way. If at the end it is wrong, I accept it and correct it. I do not let him dictate to me how things should be done. I am younger than him and as such need to learn from my mistakes. Tell him that you are not going to be able to grow up until he lets you. He is not your dad but supposed to be your lover and friend.

You just need to find the correct way of telling him without hurting his feelings, but at the same time, telling him how you feel. You need to be able to make your own mistakes in order to learn. What happens if things dont work out between you and you move on to another relationship? You will constantly be sitting there going, "when is he gonna tell me how to do it?"

I love my boyfriend but I have to make my own mistakes. Its part and parcel of growing up and being an adult! How else will you learn?

I know you say you find it difficult to talk to him because of work etc, but you need to find time to do it. Dont let this fester as I can tell you from personal experience it wont get better. Dont let him make you feel like he rules your life. As you say, you feel like you are living back home with your dad again and it should feel anything but like that!

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A female reader, Laura1318 Malaysia +, writes (19 March 2008):

Laura1318 agony auntHe thinks he is doing a world of good to you by bringing you up his way.

He thinks his ways are right and your ways are immature.

He is unaware that he is mentally and emotionally abusing you.

You have to be assertive and tell him your limits and boundaries and earned his respects.

You may need to stand up to him and tell him how you feel.

If you do not get the right response from him , then you need to get stronger actions.

Go on strike and if still not effective, then tell him you are leaving your marriage.

This will come as a shock to him and can shake him up and make him realized what a fool he has been.

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A male reader, Boonridge McPhalify United Kingdom +, writes (19 March 2008):

Boonridge McPhalify agony auntso he doesnt listen to you, tries to control you, wont accept your opinions, tells you you are a child and generally annoys you and makes you feel unhappy.

why are you with this loser?

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A male reader, LazyGuy Netherlands +, writes (19 March 2008):

LazyGuy agony auntHe is telling you what to eat, you mean like practically every wife who tries to get her husband to watch his diet? Treating her husband like a kid OR caring? Are peanuts bad for you?

A caring relationship with a person means you take care of this person, this can easily take the form of a senior instructing a junior, a parent instructing a child.

If a partner cooks a meal and asks the other person to come to the table, is this a parent feeding a child? "Dinner is at six", how many women say this to their family, both partner and kids?

Standard parental advice to kids is, "if you want to be treated like an adult, act like one". Calling you a child seems out of line to me, but is it the tiniest bit deserved? Many a woman complains that they have 3 kids when they only gave birth to two. If I spend all day playing with a new toy my wife bought me I have no right to be upset if she brings me some milk and cookies.

Be honest about your relation, do you act like an adult? Don't fault him for treating you as a kid when you are one. If you draw on the walls with cryon you deserve to be send to your room without dessert.

You don't really give any examples of what you do that he scolds you for. Is it "deserved"?

The two of you could simply be in-compatible. He expects a woman your age to behave in a certain way and is upset you don't and tries to chance that. Futile because you are the way you are, but should you be with a man who wants a woman you are not?

He may be a control freak trying to life together with "who cares" personality, that is always going to be trouble.

But there is this to consider. What is the alternative, a man who doesn't give a shit what you do?

Write down what he says, item by item, then ask yourselve. Is he right, or does he have a right or is he simply trying to protect you when telling you something OR is he trying to control you.

For instance, telling your partner to watch their diet for health reasons. This is good and shows caring.

Telling a partner to stop playing computer games (when you play them in moderation) is bad, trying to control the others life.

Tell a partner to not go out at night alone could easily just show concern for their safety. Telling them not to wear a short skirt, is bordering on being too controlling again.

You describe him as a perfectionist but don't describe youself at all. Why not?

Opposites attract, but it will be a bumpy ride.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 March 2008):

Hi Hunny

I agree with Annalisa tell him hunny he is not your father but your partner, My fiance is 20yrs younger than me, I wouldnt dream of telling him he is a child or how to eat and telling him he does things wrong, He is his own person just as you are your own person. And no one has a right to tell you this, its no bodys right at all Im sorry but I dont belive anyone has the right to tell someone how to act and what to do, Your not that young hunny, When I say that I mean your not 16 and even if you were then you have to grow and learn..At your age I had 2 children myself so I understand why you get upset...Id be major pissed off to say the least...PEANUTS!!!!!Whats wrong with him and why cant you eat as many as you want and throw the peanuts in the air and dance around them!!!!!!Hunny dont let him put you down, Tell him he has no right to tell you what to do, That it makes you very stressed and you want to feel safe and happy in your relationship not sressed and walking on egg shells im sending you a self esteem link just incase you need a lift hunny....

Read this hunny there is a mountain of info on this site if you feel stressed or down you take care of you hunny WITH LOTS OF LOVE AND PRAYERS MANDY XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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