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I'm sorry if this question is a frequently asked thing, but I just really don't know where to go or who I can even approach to ask about this, so I'm going to post this here. Sorry if it's a bit messy.

I've been dating someone for a little over a year now, and it was apparent that after the first few months she revealed that she's into ddlg. I'd like to preface this by saying that I'm extremely open to anything and I believe that a lot of things are normal and people have their own reasons for it, even if it doesn't appeal much to me. She asked me if it was okay for me to be her daddy, and I accepted cause I wanted to try it (note that I've had zero experience of ddlg and I've really only read about it a handful of times), and so, for the next few months, I proceeded to be her daddy. I actually quite enjoyed it for the first 3 straight months of that, but eventually I started to feel a bit.. empty? I don't really know, but what I've come to realise is that I often hide my own problems from her just for the sake of being her daddy, and I began to feel less happier about it, at least I think that's why I felt less happier than the first month of daddying her.

I asked for a break after a bit of an argument and eventually we came to a compromise. Fairly recently, I also came to discover that she age regresses as a form of coping with her stresses and frustrations. Knowing that, I just eventually felt even more guilty for asking for a break as I was her only caregiver in her little space as far as I know. The story at this point probably sounds unorganized and disheveled, but I just needed some answers for the sake of my girlfriend and myself as well.

In the span of a few months, I've been feeling even more saddened and just, empty, I suppose? I feel guilty for not adequately being her caregiver and often find myself getting frustrated over the simplest of things that happened in our relationship. I know she is a little, and I do want to facilitate her, but at the same time, it wasn't the kind of relationship I expected, mostly because I'm gravely inexperienced with DDLG, let alone little space and being a caregiver, and I just feel like I don't necessarily want to always be a caregiver for her. Whenever I become her caregiver, I just keep feeling a lot more detached with myself. It was as if I felt that she only loved me or seeked for me just for my caregiver persona, but I fully know that's not the case, it's just.. I can't shake that feeling off of myself and I eventually feel a bit tired from being a caregiver.

I just want to know whether I'm wrong for being so inadequate and quickly tired and burnt out from this, or should I just deal with it and power through it? I don't want her to seek out for another caregiver, as I'm a bit insecure and fear that she might develop feelings for her caregiver (and yes, I know being a little is a non-sexual thing, I'm just paranoid due to some past experiences), but at the same time, I don't feel like I can facilitate her in her little space as much as she would've wanted me to, and I don't want to end up being so tired or frustrated that I'd lash out at her, that's the last thing I'd want to do.

I'm just really confused and frustrated on how to deal with it, and I admit that I've been feeling a bit depressed about it recently as I really don't want to mess up or destroy this relationship.
I've tried talking to her a couple of times before, but I haven't really properly talked about this to her, cause I feel like both of us aren't mentally prepared to face it yet, especially considering that we're still currently studying in uni and don't want to compromise each other's performance. I'd properly talk to her about it once I'm ready, as I feel like I'm still emotionally unstable to sit down and have a long talk without accidentally yelling or getting angry
I feel an important part of your detachment here is that there’s an underlying feeling that you have to not need anything as your partner’s Caregiver. You will have to work on overcoming that. Caregivers are not superheroes. You should feel safe being vulnerable at times with your partner without feeling that you’ve failed her in some way.

Caregivers need outlets too. Caregivers need to feel safe being themselves too. Caregivers need to feel loved and cared about too. Caregivers need too.

You aren’t doing anything bad or wrong by letting your partner know about your own stress, concerns, worries, or problems. By keeping all of this bottled up it’s like you’re not even yourself in a relationship that takes a lot of personal commitment. How can you confidently commit when you’re hiding a very real part of yourself away? You are suffering in a way that isn’t fair.

Littles are not excessively fragile where we must walk on eggshells to maintain their happiness. Even biological, chronological children are exposed to their parents less-than-happy emotions and thoughts at times, and psychologically we’ve learned that this is very healthy in teaching the child not only how to managed these feelings themselves but reassuring them that they aren’t expected to never feel these things. If a child can handle unhappiness, and even grow from that, then your little absolutely can too, and your little should be able to appreciate you being open and honest in being human with them.

So, there’s a bit you’ll want to talk about with your partner. I feel like you may be feeling a bit of Caregiver burnout so you may want to go over that with them as well as expressing the need to be human with them. You may also want to encourage your partner to seek out a decent therapist, as using regression to “cope” is not necessarily a safe, reliable way to manage one’s psychological needs.

A part of being in a relationship is being able to confide in your partner and share your struggles too. You do deserve that, and I’m sure your partner will agree. Sit down and go over some of your feeling with them and read a few resources together. Learn together. Grow together. All of this doesn’t have to come out at once, but sharing information is a good starting point to opening up these crucial dialogues as partners in a relationship.
I suppose you're right on the caregivers aren't superheroes thing.. it's probably because I've never been one or even thought of being one, but I always felt like I needed to supress myself from talking about my own problems while I'm being her caregiver, but even knowing that I should be comfortable in doing so, there's just that part of me that still feels like that. I guess I just feel like that's what she's expecting from me? As she occassionally expresses unhappiness during the first time I tried to talk to her about my problems, so that's probably what's triggering this reaction? I'm not entirely sure about that.

I have also considered of asking them to try to go to a psychologist, as I feel like her regression severely limits her ability to function normally (not wanting to go to a supermarket despite not having food, buying medicine when she's sick, etc.), but I always feared she wouldn't take lightly to the suggestion, or even meet a therapist by herself if she does agree to it. I'm completely fine with her regression, but I'm just a little bit concerned, and I didn't know how to deal with that either.

Thank you for the suggestions and advice.. I'm trying to process it all myself first before I can try to talk with her about it. I just feel like I'm not at all a good caregiver. Is it normal to take a couple of months off of caregiving because of caregiver burnout, or is that just a sign of something else?
Hi there! So, there's not really anything else I can say that admin hasn't already said. Admin is one of the best with advice. :heart:
But you need need NEED to talk to her about it. It's easy to look at this and go "oh, I'm having a caregiver/little problem." But to me, the dynamic isn't the core problem, it's just the relationship. Even though she's a little, she's still an adult in an adult relationship. Relationships require communication. There's no getting around it. Just because you have agreed to be her caregiver doesn't mean that she can ignore your needs. If she refuses to talk because "she's a little and doesn't want to" then you are not in a fair or loving relationship. I'm pretty sure everyone here would agree that being little doesn't mean you don't have to communicate. It sounds like both of you need to get clear on the expectations of the relationship. It sounds like you want a real relationship, and maybe she doesn't and she just wants someone to take care of her. I can't say for certain, as I can only go off what I've read here. But figure out what YOU want from this, what are YOUR desires for this relationship. And once you figure that out, talk to her and find out what hers are. If she won't talk, then I would seriously consider rethinking the relationship, because you just can't have a healthy relationship without lots of communication. And if you have to rethink, it's totally ok. It's so much better for BOTH of you to be in a relationship that benefits BOTH parties.
I wish you all the luck in the world and I hope everything turns out well, in whatever way that may be. :heart: :hugs:
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