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By Motherly
That’s okay! We all have to deal with this at some point. It’s a part of the teamwork that is a relationship.

It’s important to not only consider yourself Mommy/little. While it’s lovely that you’re mindful about some of his sensitivities, you shouldn’t be afraid of “not treating him like a child”. Despite what he may say or feel, he is an adult and can handle being an adult. You should be having regular, healthy conversations that intellectually meet both of your needs as adults. You’ll have to incorporate conversations about your current, past, and future relationship together too.

So, open up to your partner about how you’re feeling about what has occurred. You don’t have to go into the conversation so heavy, but lead with how you’ve been feeling and what you’ve been thinking. Once you’ve expressed your feelings then offer up some points of improvement for the relationship, like that you feel that this particular issue you’ve faced together is something that’s hurt you and that you need to heal, under the expectation that your partner will help you feel better. Remind him that you’re working as a team, and that he needs to be just as mindful of you as you are to him.

Sometimes just airing your feelings and seeing your partner take that seriously is helpful. Sometimes airing your feelings open up your gates of teamwork to find solutions to bettering your relationship. I can’t tell you what you need but I have a strong suspicion that just talking about this a lot with your partner will lead you to the answers.

I feel like saying, “You hurt me deeply, emotionally,” cannot be truly met with the idea of punishment. He didn’t steal a candy bar that he can just apologize about, get a weekend grounding from video games, and move on from. He needs to meet your emotional pain with his comforting abilities and prioritization of you. He needs to work on his end of strengthening the relationship too. You can’t just punish someone into that. Emotional pain is different. I think that’s really where a lot of feelings of confusion are for you. Withholding the gift is fine but it doesn’t truly help him understand what went wrong or help you heal in any way, does it?

You’re trying to sweep away your emotional pain in effort to not step on his sensitivities but that can’t really happen. You’ve been hurt and it needs to be emotionally met. You shouldn’t have to keep this all on your shoulders or suffer alone. You’re on a team! He’s great, right? Have faith in him that he’s a good teammate too.

Try just talking with him. Have some points you want to make but go into the conversation looking to have teamwork happen. Let him know you’ve been trying to resolve some of your hurt feelings but that you think you may just need to talk with him about it to try to figure out some stuff. Maybe the conversation will be uncomfortable at times but trust in yourself, your partner, and the relationship you’re building.

Punishment may not at all be what you’re looking to achieve. Talk about it. Many times if you need, until it feels like you are on the right track. Tell him that you still feel that this isn’t quite resolved. That you need him to listen to you, to talk with you, and to help you with whatever comes from the conversations. He isn’t a “bad guy” but he did do wrong, he did hurt you. You aren’t attacking him, you’re just looking to work with him. Let him know.

Lastly, you may suggest therapy for him if his past truly interferes so much that he becomes anxious about resentment or revenge. He needs to work on himself so that he can place trust in you and your relationship. He deserves the feelings of security and comfort, but that isn’t something you can give if he’s hanging onto past hurt that had nothing to do with you. A licensed therapist can help him manage those feelings.

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