My wife brings pets and kids to bed
Dear Dr Nekia,
What do you think about pets and children sleeping in the bed with couples? My wife thinks that our bed is the family community shelter where everyone is welcome to come sleep with us. She allows our two dogs and our seven year old son to sleep in the bed with us. Needless to say, I end up sleeping on one edge of the bed and her on the other, but she doesn't seem to mind it much. In fact, when I mention it to her, she brushes me off and tells me that everything is fine. She says that it does not affect her sleep, but it really does have an effect on mine. Besides, I think that our son is far too old to be sleeping with us, and it would be nice to hold my wife.
Dear Family Bed,
You must have a very large bed. Nevertheless, what you are describing seems to be a normal occurrence in many households. And as with your situation, more often than not, it is the women and wives who leave an open invitation for children and pets to sleep in bed with them. This is especially true if pets are viewed as being children or members of the family, because when you begin to view them in this way, psychologically their animal nature is replaced with personality, which gives them human characteristics to their owners.
When humans begin to view animals and objects as if they too are human, they tend to project their human perspective and understanding onto that animal or object, which leads to empathy and bonding based on what they see to be human characteristics within that animal or object. This is why it is so very easy for people to think of their pets as being children, and why they will readily defend, care for, relate to, and nurture them as if they were indeed human. So regardless of the uncleanliness factor or the interruption in the interpersonal human-to-human bonding of family members that comes from allowing pets to eat and sleep in very proximity to them, some pet owners can not help themselves and find it difficult to, or simply do not want to, set boundaries between themselves and their pets.
In essence, your bed has become their bed as well. They have been trained to identify your bed as being their resting place. And because dogs are pack animals, they find it to be very normal that they should lay down with human pack members. As for your son, he too has been conditioned to use your bed as a place for rest and comfort. Children tend to feel very secure sleeping in between mommy and daddy. They are cocooned or cradled between two warm bodies which is a great substitute environment for the womb, especially if the pair are the child's biological parents.
I could go deeper into explanation, but suffice to say that the comfort and security of the child along with his mother's need or instinct to nurture and mother is what has your son sleeping in between you and your wife. And just as babies are distressfully forced out of the protective warmth of the womb, so will the process be of weaning your son out of your bed. Expect for the tears to flow and for the ordeal to be laboursome for the mother and traumatic for your son. Nevertheless, this process must be done for the healthy development of the child, and the healthy maintenance of your relationship.
Your son needs to find security in himself in order to be able go find independence and trust in the world. He will not thrive or reach his full potential without it. As well, your relationship with your wife will not be all that it can be if you are not being allowed to connect to one another within the marital bed. The marriage bed is traditionally seen as being private and sacred. This is because the very intimate act of sex takes place there, and also because during sleep is when we are most vulnerable. This restful and vulnerable time is when our individual physical bodies recuperate, and when our awake thinking mind gets out of the way to allow us to reconnect with our life partner. In this way couples become physically, psychologically, and emotionally rejuvenated by simply allowing their bodies to touch during sleep. Therefore, introducing pets and children to your bed not only hinders sex, but also interrupts the very important bonding that takes place during moments of rest.
It is a proven fact that couples who engage in sleep that involves skin-to-skin contact benefit from increased physical health, mental stability, and overall happiness in their relationships as well as in life.
Dear Dr Nekia,
I am dating a man who is a typical mama's boy. I love him but I can't take how he relies on his mom so much. He is a grown man who hasn't had many serious relationships, and why should he have to if he has mommy to take care of him? Although he lives on his own, she cooks, cleans, does his laundry, and helps him solve his problems.
I am not saying that that's all a woman is good for to a man or that women should do these things in their relationships, but if mommy is making things so comfortable, what need, other than sex, does he have to connect with another female? She even tells him that no other woman will love him and take care of him like she can, and I really think that he believes it too. He thinks that I am just jealous but it is more than that. She is allowed to overstep boundaries and override decisions and input that I have that involves him and ultimately our relationship and future together. How can we really grow as a couple if mommy is in the middle?
He Needs To Be Weaned
Dear He Needs To Be Weaned,
It most certainly does sound like your guy needs to separate himself a lot more from his mother. In fact, a man is not grown per say until he has developed the backbone and independence to stand alone as an adult male.
This does not mean that a grown man should not receive support from his mother, but that he should not be so comfortable with or reliant upon his mother taking care of his daily needs.
When an adult male relies upon his mother so much, he not only will find it difficult to find a suitable woman companion but will also find it difficult to fully mature into manhood. It is very emasculating to a man to be tucked up under mommy's wings, and as you have said, the comfort of their relationship will be what most likely prevents him from truly valuing any romantic relationship with a woman that he might have.
This is because such security that is found in a parent-child relationship reaches far into having effects on every aspect of life.
When one is too comfortable in a relationship with their parents, they fail to thrive because they lack the motivation that comes from needing to branch out into the world. This also happens when parents support their child in other ways such as financially.
Parents need to nurture and support their children while they are young, but as they grow, parents need to learn how to withdraw and allow their children to spread their own wings go take flight. Some mothers can find this difficult, especially when they have a fear of letting go or being left alone. Their own insecurities and need to remain intimately attached to their sons is what can cause them to say things like “no other woman will love you like I will”. Sadly, these males take on this belief as their reality and as a result, tend to sabotage every potential relationship that they have unless their mother so happens to approve and encourage it.
You will recognise the fellas who fall into this category because they will compare women to their mothers, expect women to do for them what their mothers do, turn to their mothers for relationship approval and advice, and allow their mothers to impose her opinions on to the relationship. There is nothing wrong with seeking validation or guidance from a parent, we all need that sometimes no matter how old we get. But the opinions or will of our parents should never override that of our own or our chosen partners.
As adults, we must find our own way and develop our own will while creating our own destinies for our relationships.
Sadly, fussing with him will only turn him against you and strengthen the validation that mommy knows best. And until he sees the need for change, you will either have to conform to his world that is dominated by his mother, or find yourself a more suitable partner.