It might seem weird to talk about raising the person you are in a relationship with. Most people would find this idea ridiculous. After all, you can’t raise someone who is an adult and is around your age, give or take a few years. You might be surprised to hear that you are in the wrong if you hold this belief. In fact, your partner might be very unhappy.
You can have the dynamic of a mentor and a mentee in a relationship. One person is the one who is more mature and tries to teach the other how to handle their lives better. And the other is quiet and listens to everything their partner tells them to do. Or maybe the dynamic is not as pronounced, and, truth be told, it usually isn’t.
What people usually do when they are trying to raise their partner is that they try to “fix them.” They are convinced that their partner won’t be able to get their life together without help. And who better to help them than the person in love with them? If you do that, it’s not because you are an inherently bad person. Surely you are just trying to help your partner out.
But, in a romantic relationship, no one should be raised. Of course, you can help your partner grow, but there’s a difference between trying to change them and molding them into something else. Not to mention that many people don’t even realize that they are trying to raise their partner. They just think that they are helping them out.
But, when that turns into you micromanaging their life, that’s a sign that things are going wrong. And this kind of relationship dynamic can quickly lead to unhappiness.
Why Do People Raise Their Partners?
A relationship requires a lot of work on both sides. If you and your partner don’t make efforts to work things out, you won’t stand the test of time. Sure, you can have a casual relationship that won’t require too much effort. But those types of relationships aren’t fulfilling. At most, they’re fun to distract you when you don’t have time to commit to something serious–like becoming unhappy.
But people ultimately yearn to find someone to share their life with. Some people will find it easier to be alone and even happier. Most of us just want to find someone to be there when we get home after a long workday. But there’s also a lot of pressure associated with finding the person with whom you can have the perfect relationship.
Plus, most people aren’t necessarily taught how to find the right person. Like it or not, the reality is that many couples don’t work out in the end. This means there aren’t many good role models from which kids can learn. If your parents don’t have a healthy relationship, you’ll struggle with learning how to find the right person, and you won’t know how to act properly.
Maintaining Stability to Avoid an Unhappy Relationship
Plus, there is a lot of uncertainty in this world. People have to struggle with it every day. Even the coziest job could be lost if things don’t work out in your favor. So, people want to have some stability in their relationships. You can understand why people might need to raise their partner.
When they do that, they can mold them into whatever fits their ideal of a perfect relationship. In a way, it can feel like there’s no risk of being unhappy when you’ve made sure that your is exactly the way you want them to be. Another big thing that pushes people to feel like they need to raise their partner is a lack of trust. This is often coupled with the belief that they are immature and need help navigating their life.
Most people convince themselves that they are micromanaging everything their partner does because they love them and want to ensure they are happy. But if that were the case, they would allow their partner to live their life freely. The truth is, some people just don’t trust their partner to be able to take care of even the simplest of responsibilities. This usually reflects that there is a deeper trust issue in that relationship.
Some people, admittedly very few, just want to control their partner and ensure they always know where they are and what they are doing. This also stems from a lack of trust. Lastly, people tend to raise their partners out of a misguided sense of responsibility. They need to “fix them” even if nothing needs fixing. But, as long as they shield them from any harm in the world, that’s not such a bad thing, right?
Why Does Raising Your Partner Cause an Unhappy Relationship?
People need to live their life freely and be allowed to make mistakes. This is the only way they can learn and create a life that will truly make them happy. So, even if someone has only the best intentions, if they raise their partners, they only do them a disservice.
1. It Creates a Power Imbalance
All relationships are built differently, requiring their unique dynamic to work properly. But no relationship built on a power dynamic has ever been successful. When someone holds more power than their partner, there’s always the risk that the less powerful person will get abused. This has been seen in all areas of society. For example, when a boss gets into a relationship with their employee, they hold all the cards.
They can fire the employee to enact revenge for something the employee did in the relationship. So, the threat of losing their job will make the less powerful partner accept all kinds of abuse from the more powerful one. And this is the case for all instances of power imbalance in a relationship.
This same thing can happen in a relationship where one partner raises the other. Again, because they take care of the other’s responsibilities, there’s a high risk that their partner will become dependent on them. Sometimes, this dependency can even become financial, which is when things get that much more complicated.
That means that, in time, some abuse will start to happen. For example, the more powerful partner could threaten to stop helping the other person out if they don’t comply with a particular behavior. For instance, if someone doesn’t even know how to cook because their partner always cooks for them, they will struggle to live independently. Knowing that they will accept almost any request of their partner because they don’t want to end up stranded without anyone to help them.
2. It Puts a Lot of Pressure on Both Partners
No matter what, the power imbalance will be there if you need to raise your partner. But that doesn’t mean you have to exploit it. And most people won’t take advantage of this and won’t outright abuse your partner. But that still doesn’t mean raising your partner will make you happy.
Even if you have the best intentions, this dynamic will only pressure you and your partner. Think of how most relationships between kids and their parents are. Usually, kids feel loads of pressure to make their parents proud, while the parents feel the need to offer their kids the best life possible. Ultimately, everyone involved is stressed and under loads of pressure.
This is a bit different because parents are legally responsible for the well-being of their kids. This means they should feel the need to offer their kids the best possible life. But this is not how the dynamic between two romantically involved people should be. When two people enter a romantic relationship, they should treat each other as equals and not put added pressure on themselves or their partner.
The minute this pressure starts building up, you will begin having many fights and constantly being unhappy with each other. Plus, you’ll always beat yourselves up when you feel like you’ve failed the other. If you don’t “parent” the other well, you’ll beat yourself up over it. On the other hand, if your partner feels like they don’t live up to your expectations, they will be unhappy with themselves.
3. It Creates Trust Issues
As mentioned, people need to parent their partners when they don’t trust them to carry out their responsibilities alone. But it also makes the partner feel they can’t trust the other to allow them the freedom they need. Plus, if you are the type of person who always needs to know where their partner is and what they are doing, it will make the other feel constrained and mistreated.
In relationships, people need their space and freedom. They don’t need to feel like the other is trying to change them. This will only make them feel like they are not accepted and can’t even be themselves around the person who is supposed to love them the most. Ultimately, this type of relationship will either end or last, but it will be filled with pain and unhappiness.
Final Thoughts on How Raising Your Partner Causes an Unhappy Relationship
In romantic relationships, people need to be able to learn, make mistakes and grow at their own pace. No adult needs to be told what to do and parented, especially not by their partner. While some people have genuine reasons to try to raise their partners, that doesn’t make it moral or beneficial to any party involved. On the contrary, it only causes unhappiness and issues.
When you parent someone you are romantically involved with, it just creates a power imbalance and a fundamentally unhappy relationship. This means there is a higher likelihood of the relationship becoming abusive or toxic. It also puts a lot of pressure on both people, turning what should be a fantastic connection into a burden. Lastly, it creates trust issues that can lead to you breaking up and ruining something that could have been beautiful.