3 Ways To Cope When You Realize You’ve Married Someone Who’s Just Like Your Parents

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Marriage Advice To Improve Communication Skills When Spouse Is Like Your Mom Or Dad

Marriage is a wonderful new beginning for a couple but when one spouse ends up turning into the other's mother, relationships can suffer. 

You might have been married for a while and you were happy and content. But, one day, you suddenly realized that your partner drives you crazy because they are acting just like your mother. (I’m going to use "mother" but "father" is just as relevant.)

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Throughout your married life, your husband picks at you when you do things, just like your mother used to do. Or, he finds it difficult to express his emotions, just like she does.

It drives you crazy because you feel yourself responding to him, just the way you did to your mother as a child. And, you may respond this way without realizing it.

You feel bound up in old ways of doing things, as though you’ve fallen back into a space that you didn’t ever want to be in again.

Why on earth do you want to live each and every day feeling unhappy in a relationship, as you did in your childhood?

In a romantic love space, their behavior seems acceptable.

We tend to live in a fantasy world when we are in the "romance" of our new relationship. You might have noticed that you're shying away from a different relationship because it felt scary and not familiar. There’s a reason for that.

We tend to find a relationship that feels familiar because, in our world, it feels safe. The person does things that we feel comfortable with. They respond in ways that we are very used to, from our childhood.

Of course, when you are being wined and dined, and learning what you like from a sexual perspective, life is rosy.

You’re both in this dance of love space. They seem to be your perfect partner. There are so many things about them you love, anything that you don’t like seems to be hidden.

We do often live in this space with rose colored glasses on. Often for quite some time after our relationship begins. Deep down their behavior is familiar. We feel warm and safe around them.

But, life changes when you get married. Everything gets serious when you decide to live together or tie the knot.

Once you’ve moved in together, real life then begins.

For a little while, the romance is still there and gradually you notice their behavior that grates on you. The things they say and do that have you feeling like you’re back in front of your mother being told off or when you feel like you can’t do anything right around her.

These "familiar moments" get more and more frequent the more time you’re together and soon life, your life, feels unbearable.

You didn’t get married to be thrust back into life with your mother. There’s that split-second thought of, "Why did I marry this person?"

The answer is, you married them because it felt safe. It felt familiar and it was what you needed, at that time. How then can you live inside this life and be happy?

What’s important here is exploring ways you can live your life whilst still in this sort of relationship.

So, if your spouse is acting exactly like your mother, there are 3 things you need to do.

1. Learn to recognize your wants and express them

As a child, I thought I wasn't allowed to have "wants", and wasn't allowed to have them or express them.

If you're like me, then this carries over into your relationship. You feel unable to get in touch with your wants, let alone speak them out loud. Doing this leads to dissension and feelings of being run over, ruled, controlled. You're unable to be yourself.

Well, when you’re like this, you aren’t being your true strong self. The self that knows what she wants, deep down inside.

So, it’s time to shift that thinking, realize that you can have wants, and express them.

Start with small things, like asking for the sound to be turned down on the TV or for a cup of coffee. The more you practice this, the easier it gets.

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2. Take time out to be by yourself

Do you notice how a lot of what you do and where you go is based on his wants? This is another one of those subtle things that have happened and it’s not valuable to you or your relationship.

In a good marriage, you need to know how to take time out for you. What sort of things do you like to do, that you’ve stopped doing? Maybe it might be that you wanted to go to the movies and he doesn’t want to, so you don’t go.

Turn that around and decide that if you want to go, you go. He doesn’t need to be with you. Doing this is likely to feel strange at first. And, again, the more you do it, the happier you are likely to find yourself.

Go for those early morning walks. Or better yet, both in the morning and evening, if it’s what makes you happy.

3. Do what it takes to express how you are feeling

When we’re living in this sort of a relationship, we are very likely to have shut down our feelings, especially if we had a Mother who wasn’t comfortable with us expressing ourselves.

This is not about crying 24 hours a day. It is about saying you’re angry when you feel angry. Expressing your disappointment, when you feel it. Being hurt and telling him that you’re hurt.

Crazy as it seems, you expressing your feelings has nothing whatsoever to do with him. He may think it does and that’s his issue to deal with.

You, on the other hand, are allowed to have and express your emotions, freely, so do it!

So, stop and put into practice these three simple pieces of marriage advice and you’ll feel more able to live your life, even though it feels like you’re married to your mother. 

You might just find a hidden side of yourself that you hadn’t realized was hidden inside you. Let her out!

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Karen Cherrett is a Relationship and Life Coach who supports women to find deeper and happier relationships with themselves and those around them. Follow Karen on Twitter or visit her website for more articles on