Hi! My bf is about 10 years older than I am, and my gf is 2 years older. I’ve been thinking a lot and I think that subconsciously I’m trying to make them feel like I am their child. I act childishly with them and am happiest when they’re taking care of me. They don’t seem to have noticed yet but I’m personally quite disturbed by my behaviour, and I was wondering if you had advice on how to stop and if maybe that’s something recurrent in this kind of relationship…? Thank you!

This is an interesting question. I think many of us have fallen accidentally into a pattern of behavior that we’re not proud of, because it was positively reinforced at some point. Sometimes, the answer is as simple as mustering up some self control, staying aware of how you’re acting, and trying to cut off certain needy or immature behaviors when you notice them. 

If you’re really worried about this, you could talk to them - say that you feel like often you’re in the being-taken-care-of role, and you’re worried that it’s unhealthy. They may say they never really noticed, or that they like that dynamic, or that it bothers them and they want to help signal you to stop. But if you think calling attention to this might do more harm than good, I think it’s fair to try changing this behavior on your own before involving them.

You may also consider seeing a therapist about this, not because it’s inherently disordered to act like this, but because it’s so disturbing to you. You may find out that your desire to feel taken care of by older figures comes from somewhere else in your life, and they can help you find ways to get that need met without acting in a way that makes you uncomfortable.