dearmargaretDear Margaret: I’ve been with my boyfriend for 7 months. We enjoy the same leisure time activities, he’s supportive of my career, and conversation flows easily between us. However, I’m beginning to notice a troubling trend in our interaction when we go out with friends and colleagues. It’s hard to explain, but he’s seems to take on the persona of a father figure. It’s possible that he’s always done this and I’m only now just noticing, but I find it extremely annoying. Of course, when he does this, it automatically casts me in the role of a toddler. I find it difficult to call him on it because I don’t want to start an argument in front of people. How can I handle this and save face?
Cast as a Child
Dear Cast as a Child: Whose face are you trying to save? Are you worried if you say something you will cast him in the role of a toddler? As uncomfortable as it may seem, the only way to discourage his condescending attitude towards you is to speak up when it happens. It’s possible he doesn’t know how he’s coming across. There is no need to respond in a vindictive manner, which could come off as childish in itself. You might start your response with, “I know you don’t mean to make it sound as if I don’t comprehend, (or I’m not knowledgeable, or I don’t have a grasp on this topic), but I…” and then reiterate the value of your position in the discussion. Making you feel less than an adult is crossing a boundary, and in order to have a healthy relationship, let him know where the line is. When you are again together in private, let him know how you feel.

Click Here to write to Dear Margaret.  Margaret Snow is a Life Coach in Ithaca, NY.