Why is my partner acting like a parent? 

If your partner acts like a parent, it might lead you to feel resentment towards your partner. The reason for this being that when someone acts like a parent, then they are obviously going to be treating you like a child. This can be disrespectful on many levels, it can also start causing you to move away from your partner. 

In this article we would be understanding why this maybe happening, how to resolve this situation and what are the signs that it’s time to address the situation at hand. 

Here are the topics that we will be discussing:

  • Why is my partner acting like a parent? 
  • When are the signs that it needs attention? 
  • How do we resolve this?

Why is my partner acting like a parent? 

Your partner might be acting like a parent due to the following reasons: 

  • They are controlling
  • They don’t think you can handle responsibility
  • They aren’t able to let go 
  • They have anxiety issues 

They are controlling

Your partner might have a controlling nature and this in turn can have a number of reasons. People who tend to be controlling also tend to be independent. They might have the need to protect and look after themselves. 

It usually is something you’d see as a trait in only children. These partners tend to be more set in their ways. This means they like things being done a certain way. They often have a system in place as well. 

Along with this they might be used to doing things on their own. They tend to be super-independent and believe that it’s better if they do all the work themselves. 

These partners who are controlling and super independent find it better when they can only blame themselves for circumstances or situations. It can be comforting for them to know that they have some part of their life in control. 

In such situations, it can actually be equally stressful for them to be the parent. If they’ve been a parent all their lives, they probably don’t know how else to be. How to share and be a team, how to divide responsibilities. This can be stressful for your partner so it’s important to be empathetic when you address the issue. 

They don’t think you can handle responsibility

Have you given your partner reason to believe this? You’ve probably left a lot of the tasks undone, or you’ve been slacking in the relationship and it’s really showing. 

It’s can be difficult to change, but it’s important to share the things that require responsibility. This is a two way process, your partner would have to learn how to stop being a parent and you’d equally have to meet them halfway as well. 

You can start by initiating a conversation about this issue. You could speak about the imbalance it has caused and how you think it could be resolved. Talk about the role you could take, how you could move forward from this point. Try to have a conversation instead of arguing. 

They aren’t able to let go

They probably are having a tough time adapting to a relationship. If they’re used to being the parent in most of their relationships, be it with friends, family or otherwise. 

If they’ve especially been in a toxic relationship, this could be a sign that they’re only trying to stay one step ahead. They’re trying to control the relationship as much as they can just in case they end up getting hurt again. 

This way when your partner is in control of the relationship it helps them save themselves from the same situations they’ve been in. They probably believe that it’s better to be guarded and in control rather than to let go and trust the relationship.

In such a situation it is important that they address this , or accept it on their own. They need to introspect and see if this is the real case, and if it is they need to communicate what they’d like to do about it. 

It can be difficult for them to look back at the past. Especially if it’s caused them a lot of pain, or even traumatized them. So it’s important to be sensitive and empathetic about this when you’re talking to your partner. 

They have anxiety issues

Anxiety is typically something you feel when you think you’re losing control. You feel like nothing is in your hands and you’re not able to get a hold of things. 

This is when you tend to spiral, and you overthink every situation. Anxiety is also an unexplainable fear for something that isn’t obvious, it isn’t physically present. 

Anxiety can be triggered without your consciousness. But we all have such triggers we could encounter in our lives. If your partner has anxiety then there is a chance that they tend to go for control. 

This helps them know the situation they’re in and helps them stay prepared at all times. 

What are the signs that it needs to be addressed?

One of the signs that the situation is getting out of hand and it needs your attention is when intimacy begins to fade. 

The first thing to leave the relationship will be sexual intimacy. Because automatically if your partner is acting like a parent you aren’t going to feel like being intimate with them. The reasons being that when your partner acts like a parent, it can be disrespectful. 

You probably feel like you’re not getting the respect that you deserve and this can be hurtful for you. 

Another sign is when you begin to feel the need to do something just to avoid listening to your partner nagging. Your entire relationship cannot be based on the fact that your partner will nag you. 

There needs to be a willingness to be a part in the relationship and actively participate, but if you’re doing this just because you’re fearful then that’s a problem. 

How do we resolve this? 

The first things that you can do and have to do to resolve this situation is, accept the problem. Both you and your partner need to accept your roles with eachother. 

If your partner is being the parent then they should acknowledge this. The idea being that both of you have given each other the room to be a parent, or a child, and that’s why the issue exists now.

Both of you would have to take responsibility for this. 

Once this is done everything else happens in a step by step manner. You can start off by showing your participation in the relationship. As your partner to involve you in the  decision making process. If they want to do something a certain way, ask them to give you the opportunity to express what you’d like to do. 

There needs to be an equal role that both partners play in a relationship, otherwise it will drain out one or the other in due course of time. 


If your partner has been acting like a parent it can be difficult to grow in the relationship. You probably feel stuck and disrespected. In such a situation it is important to effectively communicate with your partner. Let them know how you feel and open up the ground to actively speak and engage in solutions. This is going to take effort from both. 

FAQs- my partner acts like a parent 

What is toxic parenting? 

Toxic parenting is when parents act in a way that causes their children to feel guilt, fear or a sense of obligation. 

Why does my partner treat me like a child? 

If your partner has been treating you like a child it’s mostly because you shown your partner that you are okay with being treated in this manner. 

What is it called when your spouse treats you like a child?  

When your spouse treats you like a child, it’s literally called parenting. This is common in many relationships but that does not mean that it’s healthy. 

When your partner doesn’t treat you as an equal? 

When your partner doesn’t treat you as equal it’s a big red flag and it’s incredibly toxic. This shows the way they are going to treat you in the relationship. 

What is a controlling husband? 

A controlling husband is one who is emotionally abusive to you and tends to affect your mental health to a large extent. 




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