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My boyfriend has a feminine voice, and I don't know if I can take ...
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My boyfriend has a feminine voice, and I don't know if I can take it anymore...

Thank you for making yourself available for relationship advice, I really need it! I'm going to go straight to it. I'm a 28 year-old woman in a relationship with a 30 year-old man, and we've been in this relationship for a year and a half. My issues are within two areas: 1) my boyfriend's voice becomes soft, breathy (feminine) when he's being sentimental/intimate, and 2) he talks to me like he's 6 years old!! Example, imagine Marlyn Monroe's way of communicating; she's very high pitched, breathy, and exudes femininity....that's what HE sounds like when we're being intimate, or when he's expressing himself. Now, my boyfriend doesn't have the classic "manly, ripply" voice that other men do, but when he's talking normally I wouldn't say he sounds feminine. But, when we're together it's such a turn off for him to sound so feminine! I've tried to communicate that to him as nice as I can, and tell him that it turns me off...but I'm not so sure that's something he can change?? What do you think? His parents got divorced when he was 5, and his Mom raised him...I'm wondering if he's like that because he never had a male influence to learn from?? Also, with the "little kid talk" he does, that also turns me off. He refers to his penis as "his private" and refers to my vagina as "my special secret place." I literally can't take it. He'll talk like that even in regular conversation too, not just in reference to sexuality! For example, I brought home toilet paper and he said, "Thanks for grabbing the poopie paper." I've tried to express to him that he needs to grow up, and that that kind of verbage is an overall turn off!

What do I do?? I love him to death, and don't know what to do!! I've tried to talk to him about his voice and word choices but he always reverts back to it! What's worse, is I'm not the only one that notices! My friends and family notice his voice and word usage and think he sounds like a pansy! Any good advice on any of these issues!? Thank you!!
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765715_tn?1235402261
Hi Curious,

Yes, I'd go a bit further, not in substance but in followup to the conversations you've had.

I'd make it clearer and clearer to him that the issue may look minor to him, but it is huge and real and ongoing to you, and that it threatens the relationship. It may take him some time to "get it." Second, I'd say "ok, if if you're not attached to speaking like that, and it holds no significance, then absolutely don't do it." If he does, that means there really is some force of an issue for him, and it indeed needs to be understood better, and you'll need to say that. If he doesn't, great, but he might feel the internal pressure of feelings/words being stopped. So it still might be a good thing to understand what this out of phase behavior means, and where it comes from. It's always a good thing to understand ourselves better. It makes us powerful!

I hope he takes this issue seriously. It would be a shame to see it wreck what would very likely be a great pairing between two otherwise solid, relationship-wise people.

I'd consider sharing this note as well. Keep the problem open and above-board between you.

Cordially,

Dr. P.
3 Comments
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765715_tn?1235402261
Dear Curious,

Many people, when in a serious, genuinely intimate relationship, slip into “pet names” and even childish behavior, whether or not in the course of lovemaking. It’s the way of early childhood, the time of most intense closeness. However, I understand your man is over the top in this, and that it feels “yucky.” Fair enough.

The reason he does this may well have to do with the divorce, and/or lack of a dad around. Such such an event is traumatic under the best circumstance. Our response  is sometimes to feel emotionally “stopped” (or in shrink language “fixated”) at the time the event happened. So to him his “un-manly” ways seem normal. After all, some of him may still be 5 years old. The breathiness may well be his experience of his mother talking to him - we’re all part us, and part the people we were close to!

By the way, he’s far from unique in this. Most of us, even without trauma, are spread all over the developmental map!

While it’s nothing to be ashamed of, I understand how annoying it is to you. Rather than yelling at him to grow up, perhaps it makes sense to approach him with the idea that he has a blind spot in this area, and that while he comes by it totally honestly, it is nevertheless bad for your relationship, and will get worse, not better, over time (trust me, it will!). Tell him that you know he’s coming from “the kid part” and that HE might want to ask why this is, why is the kid dominant at the intimate times, who’s really talking to whom in the inner dialogue. Do not try to simply jawbone or convince him out of it. He needs to understand it. You might also want to share the info about other peoples’ experience of him (pansy).

A succeeding approach would be to share this email exchange between the two of us. Open it up. It’s just being human, but in a troubling way. It’s a universal issue; he’s not being singled out as defective or dorky, but unfinished.  Again, we all have these kid parts, and the more we recognize and understand them, the better off we are in a host of ways.

Finally, if he’d like, I’d be happy to talk to him on the phone (no charge)  and explain all this in more breadth, as one guy to another. Just call, any time. Get the numbers through my web site, smartrelationshipdecisions.com. Believe me, as a formerly “developmentally all over the place” person, I know how it works and what it takes to make things better.

Unless he’s totally shut down around this issue, better it can be!

Sincerely,

Dr. P.  
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Thank you so much for your reply. We just got done talking about things, and I opened up your response and let him read it...and I also let him read my letter to you. He says that he's not a pansy, feminine, or weak and that he doesn't want to portray that to me (or anyone else). Just last night we went to Disneyland together and he starts singing in this really high-pitched girlie voice and it just made me shut down. I didn't even want to hang out with him because I get THAT turned off by it. I didn't want to be affectionate, I didn't want to talk to him, I didn't want to do anything with him! He doesn't do it all the time (and when he's normal I LOVE it), but when it happens I just want to run in the EXACT OPPOSITE direction he's in because I absolutely cannot stand it. Now, we had a huge talk about it (again) last night. I told him that I'm wanting a mature, adult relationship and that he might want to explore himself and find out why it is that he finds comfort and ease in behaving/communicating like that. I feel literally somewhat depressed about it because I know that other friends/family don't have to express these concerns to their men...and I'm sad that I do. If he didn't do the girlie voice thing, our relationship would be fine. That's honestly the ONLY thing that brings me down! He said that he's going to be more mindful of that so that it doesn't happen again, and that he's not attached to speaking like that and that it holds no significance to him. Do you have anymore helpful advice for him and also for me? What can I do to gain patience with this matter, I hate shutting down on him when this happens but I honestly feel like I can't help it. It falls just short of grossing me out and making me almost slightly depressed. I just want to be with a full blown MAN! Any advice that you'd like to give in addition to me, I'd love to hear it. I want this relationship to work and thrive,  but I know how I feel about this...and I know that it'll cause nothing but problems if this issue cannot be resolved soon. Thank you, Doc!
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