I want goo-goo eyes, not "goo-goo-ga-ga".
June 14, 2010 9:44 PM   Subscribe

When I met my boyfriend, he was dry and witty, but now that we're comfortable, he has started to cutsey-talk constantly, and I don't like it. I wonder if this babytalking softie is who he really is on the inside, and the dry jokes were just a social defense mechanism for the rest of the world. Obviously in a relationship you'd want your partner to be their true, vulnerable self; but what if you might actually like their tough, social front better? How to deal?

I'm a woman (late 20s) with a confident, age-appropriate personality, a fairly deep speaking voice, and a sense of humor that tends toward cerebral or sardonic rather than goofy. But as soon as I'm dating someone who I know loves me and thinks I'm cute, I automatically start talking like a kid (as though I had a head cold, rather than high and squeaky) and my sense of humor gets simpler, relying on cute voices and faces rather than clever words or concepts. This isn't a problem, since I can immediately stop it when the conversation or company warrants it, and everyone I've ever dated has said they liked it.

Back when my boyfriend and I were just friends, I adored his sense of humor, which is dry, clever, and witty. He made me laugh out loud all the time, I found his sense of humor smart and sexy, and for want of a better word, his jokes were "manly". But it turns out he's a secret babytalker. We've been together for a few months, and now that he's comfortable with me, his jokes and voice have become almost constantly "cute". Now he's even more babyish than me, and I don't like it. His new cutesy jokes are high-energy, so they beg for more attention and "playing along" than his dry wit did. They're loud and high-pitched, so they become irritating very quickly, and I don't find them all that funny even at the best of times. The barrage of cuteseyness is killing the sexy vibe; I preferred when his jokes reflected his smart ideas instead of his cuddly feelings. Now our conversations have become too simple. And he's noticed I don't laugh at his jokes as much any more, which hurts his feelings (I'm not trying to passive-aggressively withhold laughter; I just don't find this kind of humor funny!). I don't think he's noticed how drastically he's changed the type of jokes he makes, though. I actually know another person who dated him and she says she had the same experience of gradually getting annoyed at his sense of humor as it de-volved, which worried me since he's an awesome guy, and I don't want to get tired of him.

I wouldn't mind using less cute-talk myself, but my cute-talking isn't the real problem since he loves it when I do it- he says he really enjoys this soft, private side of me that nobody else sees in my tougher daily persona. What I want is for him to talk to me like a grown man again, and go back to the sardonic humor and analytical nature I fell for during our friendship; ie, back when he felt a bit uncomfortable around me and was playing it cool. Conundrum. A bit of cute-talking is OK, but right now it's in overdrive.

I know that my cute-talking is engendering his, so it's partly my "fault". I also know that his cute-talk is proof that he feels safe and loved with me, so in a way it's a beautiful gift, and I do understand and value that. I adore this guy and I really want him to enjoy that feeling of safety and softness when he's with me, so I don't want to hurt his feelings or make him self-conscious (which is why I haven't brought this up point-blank). But I miss being wowed by his smart jokes and I really want him to calm down on the cute and talk nerdy to me, like he used to. How?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (39 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
Show him this.
posted by phrontist at 9:54 PM on June 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why don't you tell him exactly what you just told us?
posted by jayder at 9:55 PM on June 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Um, have you tried telling him any of this?
posted by kylej at 9:55 PM on June 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


I miss being wowed by his smart jokes and I really want him to calm down on the cute and talk nerdy to me, like he used to.

Say that.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:55 PM on June 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually I would suspect the opposite - that the cutsie talk is a kind of defense mechanism. The closer you get to him, the more he feels a need to deflect and protect. Using the cutsie talk as a distraction, in other words.

But yeah, I'm with you. I once dated a guy who occasionally fell into baby talk. I had to tell him to knock that shit off. It's creepy.
posted by ErikaB at 10:24 PM on June 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm.

"I miss some of the intellectual conversations we used to have. Do you?" after you talk about it, tell him how adorable he is.

Try to frame it as being about what you want to hear, not what you don't want to hear.

It really, really hurts to find out that you've been annoying your significant other for a while. It hurts because you really were trying your best to please them and you failed. It's also really embarrassing when you look back and think "oh man she hated that". So try to make it about positive things that you'd like more of, instead of things he's been doing wrong.

You can also try a vacation, a huge change in scenery, a while without seeing each other, then try to "reset" things by not being cutesy at him. Or you can just try to stop being cutesy, period, and see if you're okay with it and it helps.

The manipulative route (which I do not suggest) is to start acting in a way that makes him nervous, so he reverts to his old calculating, designed-to-impress self.

This might not be changeable. I find that two people quickly become "a couple" and fall into patterns of interaction that can be hard to break. It's part of what makes being a couple comforting vs the stress of dating, but it can also suck when you react to each other badly or annoy each other.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:31 PM on June 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Man, remember when we met? I saw you from across the room at that party/class/whatever and I remember listening how to how articulate and intelligent you were, and when I talked to you you made me laugh; you can be so dry and sardonic and witty.

It was so hot when you'd talk nerdy to me. It's one of the reasons I fell for you.

I'm really happy in our relationship, and I'm glad we're so close and shmoopy for each other, but I feel like we only really talk in cutesy baby-talk. It's sweet, but we're both grown ass adults, and I miss kicking back with you and carrying on riveting conversations about life, the universe, and everything. I love all of you, your soft kittenmuffinsugarface underbelly and your rough exterior. I just want to be reminded of WHY I fell for you; that hella hilarious smart fella that caught my eye from across the room."

-flatter

-remind him that he is loved

-praise the conversation you like without coming out and saying the baby talk is driving you fucking bonkers

-imply you think it's hot when he talks nerdy and if he complies he might get to bang your nerdy brains out

-like any "oh no hard conversation to have with my loved one!" discussion, keep the tone light and breezy and conversational as you can so he doesn't lapse into emotion, overreacting, and being defensive.
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:44 PM on June 14, 2010 [15 favorites]


You're probably going to have to talk to him about this, and it might be hard not to hurt his feelings. Hopefully you have the foundation of a relationship that won't implode during a difficult conversation.

I guess you just have to weigh how irritating you find his baby-talk with the risk of hurting him and / or the relationship. I, personally, was in a relationship where the conversation degenerated to cutsey baby-talk entirely on his part. Talking about it just made things worse and the relationship eventually disintegrated.

My advice to you would echo your inclination to decrease your own cutsey-talk after you've explained to him that it's killing the sexy vibe. Best of luck.
posted by motsque at 10:58 PM on June 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, just tell him to stop the cutesy talk. Tell him it's not very attractive. You don't necessarily need to tell him you want more manly talk or intellectual talk; that kind of stuff comes naturally for manly/intellectual people when they aren't spewing cutesy talk.

That baby-talk stuff is pretty off-putting in general. I think that it tends to change the way you think, act and react. When you think of how an outsider would view your cutesy discussions, think of how it would look to them: immature and embarrassing, and for him, emasculating.

Once you point out to him that it's not attractive, and why it's not attractive, I'm pretty sure it will just click with him. It doesn't take a genius to realize that acting like a baby when you are in fact an adult in an adult relationship is kind of dumb. I don't think it'll be hard for him to quit it cold turkey.

If his feelings are hurt, it's because he's couched in that baby-talk mode. It's real easy for him to move past the hurt feelings once he starts manning up and forgetting about the baby-talk footnote in your relationship.

To illustrate, show him that scene at the beginning of The Godfather where Johnny Fontana starts crying to Vito Corleone, and Vito mocks him, slaps him, and commands him to "Act like a man!"
posted by jabberjaw at 11:06 PM on June 14, 2010


-flatter

-remind him that he is loved

-praise the conversation you like without coming out and saying the baby talk is driving you fucking bonkers


You see, I think this is a bad idea. This kind of stuff just feeds right back into his babytalk mentality in the first place by your additional babying of him. Just tell him straight up that the babytalk isn't workin' out for you.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:12 PM on June 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


A friend was recently telling me that she recently went through a "way too much baby talk!!" phase in her relationship. So, it's not totally uncommon, and you may be overthinking this.

Since you're both prone to it, just start a conversation about how you'd like to do it less as a couple and how you find his serious voice sexy. Do not let on that you compared notes with his ex- on this! (Or anything, seriously.)
posted by salvia at 11:17 PM on June 14, 2010


The sooner you tell him to knock it off, the happier you will both be, and if that's just who he is, then you know you're not a good match after all.
posted by davejay at 11:35 PM on June 14, 2010


Being direct about it might work. You also might consider talking to him differently, in a way more like how you want him to talk. Lead by example.
posted by clockzero at 11:39 PM on June 14, 2010


Oh god no do not do that.

The worst thing is being in a relationship and finding out that not only won't your partner actually stand up for him- or herself, s/he will go to all your friends and complain instead.

Ugh, seriously, that would be instant breakup if someone pulled that crap on me.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:01 AM on June 15, 2010 [8 favorites]


I think showing him this is a very good idea, but even before you do you need to get your own needs clearer.

The whole great in bed, bad at breakfast thing is strong and it is very wide spread. And that isn't exactly what you're describing but it comes very, very close. It sounds like you're both letting bedroom behaviors spill over into RL, and it's not working. There isn't anything wrong with those games. I mean as kink goes, a bit of baby talk isn't going very far. But how far would you go with him, if it was a sometimes thing - and you took turns with roles, how would you feel? (and I hope you aren't unwilling to take turns.)

I don't want answers to that, because I don't care, but you should. And it looks to me like that's the core of the problem.

So three suggestions. 1> have a fight (and not about this). It might not really take an all out fight, I just said that, but something to get a part of the relationship back on an adult level. Renting an apartment, planing a trip, something like that. 2> spend more time around others where neither of you would feel comfortable with those roles you have built. 3> A fantasy weekend, about once a month, and maybe a defined amount of time when games can be played each night.

If we searched every relationship AskMe, how many more do you think there would be that came down to, "he's not cuddly anymore", rather than "I'm tired of his cuddly voice and humor"? Really - moderation in all things, but don't shut him off completely. Spoons and ga-ga can get old, but they can be fun for the right people.
posted by Some1 at 12:06 AM on June 15, 2010


"Please talk nerdy and sardonic like you used to," may be the best bet. At my job today, when my SO stopped in, the fellas in my new office started a joke that I finished. It was altogether inappropriate and rude, but very funny for all involved. My husband and I use "take that" and "so there" as flirty euphemisms for "I love you a lot." Just talk to your guy. I've been with mine for 7 years now and we had a cutesy phase to work through that got old pretty fast. I liked his obnoxious self just fine. Just let him know that the cutesy stuff is making you bonkers (except for those times when it's really cute and endearing... it can happen). Worked for us.
posted by lilywing13 at 12:16 AM on June 15, 2010


I'm a guy, I do this with girlfriends and it's my "real" voice or some aspect of my personality below my usual public face; I talk to myself in the same voice when I'm feeling helpless or hurt or confused or otherwise overwhelmed in some way that makes me feel regressive. (But usually subvocally or inaudibly and when there isn't anyone else listening.)

One girlfriend I had really hated it. So I toned it down around her, but it really kind of annoyed me because she was the sort of person who wanted to be very particular about the way I dressed and acted, and furthermore seemed to really value some sort of "macho" attitude she wanted me to affect which I thought was silly. But if the same request had been made in a more respectful and less controlling way I wouldn't have minded toning it down so much.
posted by XMLicious at 1:14 AM on June 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not to be contrary, but I vote loud and long against showing him this. I do agree with Some1^ that if you want to have a more adulty relationship, do more adulty things together.

For me the most telling fact in your question is that he became like this with an ex-girlfriend as well - so I'd guess that his current cutesieness isn't your fault. He might have found you appealing for this very reason, and that might also be the reason for his hurt feelings (you think it's cute when you do it, but you don't even smile when I do?). Like you said, your cute-talking isn't a problem because he loves it when you do it.

I was once in a similar situation. I fell in love with a guy for his hilarious sense of humor, his courage, and his manly (but not at all threatening) hotness. Amazing conversations, great sex, everything worked. But when we got really close - as in living together for a while - he began sharing "the other side" of himself with me. The one that was unsure of itself, the moody side, nowhere near as funny and not nearly as manly strong. :)

There were days when I found him frustrating, wishy-washy, hard to indulge. I too wondered about the 'true self'... who was he really? The funny, strong man I'd fallen in love with, or the one who clearly loved me but didn't turn me on (as much)? How could I know? And how could I talk about what was bugging me about his behavior without attacking who he was?

I couldn't. I felt that I had no right to. I had no right to tell him to be a certain way just because that was most appealing to me. Who he was being, from moment to moment, was what I had access to - that's what he wanted to share with me, and all I had the right to do was decide if I wanted to stay with him - all of him, as it was.

Humor and strength are great, but they're hard work, they're organic, they depend on many factors and you can't force them. I strongly advise you against bringing this up in any way that's hurtful to your boyfriend. And if you find a way to talk about it without hurting him, please me-mail me to let me know how you managed.

Because ultimately I was (and still might be, except I'm single) like you - I hate being dishonest about how I feel about someone, and I've always been very into feeling good in a relationship because my logic has been: what's the point otherwise?

The funny thing is that we didn't break up because I stopped loving him. (I still very much do, and miss having him in my life.) I just got sick of romantic love. I think it's (or in it, I am) cruel, judgmental and for something that two people choose together, it's depressingly selfish. Maybe it takes age to realize that there's more to a relationship than feeling good all the time - but that's a pretty bleak prospect too, at least right now.

So yeah, we broke up 'cause I was sick of judging and being judged all the time, even if it was just "how into this person am I today?". How funny is he, or how beautiful, or how worthy of spending another minute with. I wasn't doing that actively, I hated it, but it happened, it was how I was reacting to him and the prospect of being with him. Because I think romantic monogamy comes as a whole package deal for most of us and its most unsettling aspect is "our future" (as opposed to my future) - which will always be there as long as you're together.

So - this doesn't really answer your "how" question. All I can do is commiserate with you about the fact that people change, and are complicated, and so often in a romantic relationship, no longer worthwhile.

It sucks. But IMHO it doesn't justify a personal attack. Maybe the best you can do is not send him off into singlehood (if / when you do) even less ready to be cutesie vulnerable with someone else, upfront.
posted by mondaygreens at 1:20 AM on June 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


But as soon as I'm dating someone who I know loves me and thinks I'm cute, I automatically start talking like a kid (as though I had a head cold, rather than high and squeaky) and my sense of humor gets simpler, relying on cute voices and faces rather than clever words or concepts. (...) I know that my cute-talking is engendering his, so it's partly my "fault".

Maybe he's mirroring you. You know what to do: stop your own baby talk, talk nerdy to him and see what happens.

mondaygreens:
Humor and strength are great, but they're hard work, they're organic, they depend on many factors and you can't force them. I strongly advise you against bringing this up in any way that's hurtful to your boyfriend.

Agree with that.
posted by iviken at 2:21 AM on June 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


ErikaB: Actually I would suspect the opposite - that the cutsie talk is a kind of defense mechanism
Exactly that. It follows that if you laugh less he'll talk even more cutely. (And perhaps what iviken says)

No, don't show him this and certainly don't play it through your friends. Just reduce your story to the basics and kindly talk to him.

[Invent a manly voice game too. That can be fun. Like, on cue, use your deep voice: "You are not cute, you are grrrown up and witty." Or whatever, I mean, I don't know you guys, obviously.]
posted by Namlit at 2:25 AM on June 15, 2010


I think you need to suck it up and tell him, nicely, to chill out on the baby talk.

But in fairness, and to promote the kind of interactions you want, you should probably chill out on it, too. People are really good at echoing and imitating others (notice how one person crosses their arms, and then so does the person they are talking to?). So if you want him to sound like an adult, making sure that you sound like an adult would be a smart first step.
posted by Forktine at 2:26 AM on June 15, 2010


I'm a woman (late 20s) with a confident, age-appropriate personality, a fairly deep speaking voice, and a sense of humor that tends toward cerebral or sardonic rather than goofy. But as soon as I'm dating someone who I know loves me and thinks I'm cute, I automatically start talking like a kid (as though I had a head cold, rather than high and squeaky) and my sense of humor gets simpler, relying on cute voices and faces rather than clever words or concepts. This isn't a problem, since I can immediately stop it when the conversation or company warrants it, and everyone I've ever dated has said they liked it.

He's probably just emulating you.
posted by delmoi at 2:50 AM on June 15, 2010


(I'm not trying to passive-aggressively withhold laughter; I just don't find this kind of humor funny!).

Yes, you are and yes, you dobecause as soon as [you are] dating someone who [you] know loves [you] and thinks [you're] cute, [you] automatically start talking like a kid (as though [you] had a head cold, rather than high and squeaky) and [your] sense of humor gets simpler, relying on cute voices and faces rather than clever words or concepts.

You've also stated," I wouldn't mind using less cute-talk myself, but my cute-talking isn't the real problem since he loves it when I do it- he says he really enjoys this soft, private side of me that nobody else sees in my tougher daily persona."

All I'm saying, you're gearing up for a petty argument if it comes out that it's okay for you to talk in particular way but not okay for him, too. He's probably talking this way because you do, and he probably thinks you enjoy being talked to that way because you do it around him and he likes it.

Knock it off yourself and he probably will, too. Don't frame it as, "It's only okay when I do it because you like it, but it's not okay for you to do it because I don't like it." I mean, if you really don't find it funny, then don't do it yourself. Otherwise you're sending mixed messages and that's just not cool.
posted by zizzle at 2:57 AM on June 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have read that people talk baby-talk, or child-talk, when insecure about revealing themselves to their partner, or when broaching particularly difficult conversations, as a sort of mechanism to remind the other that "I am vulnerable, like a child, and need to be handled gently." Through observation, I have found this to be generally the case. It also does seem that as couples get more confident as a couple, they outgrow the baby talk.

With that as my understanding of relationship baby talk, what your question reads like to me is, "It's ADORABLE when I'm vulnerable, but HE needs to cut it the fuck out. I like my men strong and stoic; only I get to have a soft underbelly." You get to have your soft, private side loved; he gets rejected for showing you his. That kinda sucks.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:26 AM on June 15, 2010 [14 favorites]


Phrase it as something you're trying to reduce in your own expression, rather than telling him what to do. "Hey, honey? I've noticed I'm dropping into babytalk and really simple conversation lately, and it's more than I am comfortable with. Could you let me know when I'm talking that way and I don't go back to my normal voice/topic within a couple of minutes?"

Fix what's yours. If he wants to change, he will, but you're only responsible for you.
posted by catlet at 5:42 AM on June 15, 2010



Maybe he's mirroring you.
I agree with this.

Everyone is different in every relationship. It's almost as if the relationship itself has its own personality. It's unpredictable, even knowing the two participants in the relationship, what the personality of the relationship will be like. For some reason, two dry, witty, sardonic, cerebral people have combined here and created a relationship personality that speaks babytalk.

I tend to be about 70% witty and 30% extremely silly, and I dated for years a boy who had a somewhat similar ratio. And our relationship devolved into a stage for a twin language mostly composed of monosyllabic nonsense words. I think many people get sillier when they are more intimate with someone, but this was extreme. I both minded it and didn't mind it--I missed having a relationship that had a more cerebral element, but I also knew that this relationship couldn't be one that had it. But maybe it could have if I had tried. So I think it is possible to change the personality of a relationship...I've never done it, but in theory, it might be possible.
posted by millipede at 6:17 AM on June 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


All I'm saying, you're gearing up for a petty argument if it comes out that it's okay for you to talk in particular way but not okay for him, too. He's probably talking this way because you do, and he probably thinks you enjoy being talked to that way because you do it around him and he likes it.

I don't know if that's the case. If he's just mirroring her, there's no reason he couldn't stop. Or respond to her baby talking by acting more "Manly" or even manly in an ironic, over the top sort of way to her being childish.

If she frames it as a quirk, like and as a compliment, "I love it when you're all manly. I know I act childish sometimes but I prefer if you respond by acting adult and in control, rather then acting like I act" then he might change his behavior. He's obviously capable of controlling it since he didn't start until they got deeper into the relationship.
posted by delmoi at 7:03 AM on June 15, 2010


I kind of had this. More "silliness" than "baby-talk", but we were both doing it and it drove me a little crazy, while he didn't seem to mind. I suppose I could've asked him to stop while I continued, but that would have been hard. People respond the way they're being talked to, especially in a close relationship!

When I talked to him about it, I couched it as a change I wanted both of us to make, and it became a joke whenever one of us got over-the-top silly that we would stop and sit and look at each other grimly and silently. We managed to cut down on the silliness somewhat, but it didn't go away - which was fine, I liked it, just not all the time.

Figure out how much babytalk you can deal with. Do you want to cut it down to half? A third? You probably can't do much better than that with all the effort in the world. It seems like babytalking is part of who he is.
posted by shaun uh at 7:25 AM on June 15, 2010


I don't know if that's the case. If he's just mirroring her, there's no reason he couldn't stop. Or respond to her baby talking by acting more "Manly" or even manly in an ironic, over the top sort of way to her being childish.

well... I know I'm influenced by the way a partner plays or talks - maybe if you told him to stop he could, but it would still be weird, make it almost role-playish where you were the baby and he was the teacher or something... If I'm with someone who talks cutesy, I tend to slip in that direction - whereas I am not usually the one to begin it. But to me at least, it seems strange to have that be a one-sided deal. If you start babytalking, you are inviting it, too.

If you want it to stop, I would stop doing it. If you specifically want to continue acting like the child, but having him act like the adult, I think you have to be explicit, because that seems like a special case.
posted by mdn at 9:09 AM on June 15, 2010


I agree with both theories: that he's mirroring you, and that this is all about vulnerability. From a practical behaviour perspective, depending on the person and where you are in your relationship it's good to deal with this in the same way you might deal with not wanting to fart in front of each other so much: have a light discussion about cutting down on your farting, and then you cut down on your farting to serve as an example in the hope that your partner follows suit. Only problem with this scenario is that it means no more baby talk from you, no matter how much he likes it.

I personally find baby talk experiences evolve in relationships when you reach that uncomfortable phase when you really really like the person but you're moving from having a lot to talk about, to less to talk about. It's disconcerting to feel like you have nothing to discuss, so reverting to baby talk is a way of working through fears and trying to 'synch up' as you're starting to feel out of synch. It's uncomfortable to watch your chemistry shifting, but it happens so I agree it's a way of protecting your vulnerability. If you can stick it out and not be freaked out by it and you both just figure out other ways to be vulnerable in front of each other - I wager the babytalk will decrease.
posted by jennyhead at 9:12 AM on June 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I agree with those who said that he's probably at least somewhat mirroring you. With my significant other--and even with friends--I've found that I subconsciously start to mirror their speech patterns. Even more so if I like their humor or their rhythms. And he's admitted that he really likes this side of you, so there's no reason to think that he's not trying to encourage it.

Think of it this way: he thinks that you act this way as a way of showing your vulnerable, soft, fun, true self--as a show of intimacy. Now he's doing the same thing, because he feels safe and honest around you. What if this is who he is, or an important part of him? What if you've only seen it now because now he knows that he can show it to you, that he's safe to do so? After all, you're safe to show your childish side to him, right?

I have to say, though, that it's a hell of a double standard to expect men to be hard and tough and manly all the time. And it's really kind of unfair, if you think that it's okay to act like a widdle girl, but not for him to be a bit of a kid around you, too.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:52 AM on June 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


You get to have your soft, private side loved; he gets rejected for showing you his. That kinda sucks.

I'd like to second this interpretations of things.

I think you should talk to him about it directly, bluntly and tell him to start acting the way he did when you had some respect for him, and to stop being a "babytalking softie" and show him your question here and all the replies to it. I guarantee he will stop acting vulnerable with you at all once he sees how thoroughly you reject it. He will also see you clearly, maybe for the first time, and realize how he should have been treating you all along.
posted by ServSci at 9:56 AM on June 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have tried, "Why are you talking to me like a baby? I don't sleep with babies, so that is not going to make me want to sleep with you." That usually works.
posted by srah at 10:19 AM on June 15, 2010


As with everything else, there's a This American Life segment about a couple who tries to stop babytalk. They try to figure out why they do it, and it's pretty enlightening.

There's also a Sex and the City episode on this: Baby, Talk is Cheap. Excellent illustration of how it kills the woman's libido.

Listen to the TAL segment together if you want to have a mutual "let's cut this out" moment. Watch the Sex and the City episode together if you want him to get the message without you having to say a word.
posted by Knowyournuts at 10:36 AM on June 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, I totally do this now. I blame my wife. I think you need to stop talking like a baby for him to follow suit.
posted by chunking express at 10:39 AM on June 15, 2010


And it's really kind of unfair, if you think that it's okay to act like a widdle girl, but not for him to be a bit of a kid around you, too.

Seconding this, hard.
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:03 AM on June 15, 2010


I don't know, man. Love isn't necessarily symmetrical or fair. The stuff that turns me on about my partners isn't the same stuff that turns me on about them.

Sucking it up for a sense of fairness sounds like a good way to just still hate and resent it and add a soup├žon of guilt for good measure.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:21 PM on June 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


The stuff that turns me on about my partners isn't the same stuff that turns me on about them.

Heh, I mean it isn't the same stuff that turns them on about me. Like, I don't have that much facial hair.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:23 PM on June 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Talk about overthinking a plate of beans. The armchair psychoanalysis of either the poster or her boyfriend is unhelpful, and could be completely way off.

Fairness has nothing to do with this (until it has something to do with this). Not every aspect of every relationship has to have 1:1 parity. That's how couples start doing that whole "it's not fair if you do this, so I get to do this" and "if you buy this, then I get to buy that" nonsense. Do we know our guy will pull the "hey you babytalk, so I can too" card? I'm betting on no. There is a dynamic in relationships that might warrant allowing one person to babytalk and not the other. Of all of the things that require "fairness" in a relationship, co-equal babytalking is not one of them. But if he does pull that card, deal with it then.

Early in my relationship, I used to babytalk. Little did I know how much it annoyed my partner until she told me. It went along the lines of "why do you babytalk so much?" Me: "I don't know." Her: "It's hard for me to find you very sexy when you babytalk." Me: "You don't like it?" Her: "It doesn't make you attractive at all. The opposite of attractive."

It might have occurred to me to bring up the fact that she babytalked on occasion, but it didn't bother me that she did it at all, so there was no point in being petty over a perceived "fairness" issue.

But there's more: I discovered after I quit the babytalk cold turkey, our relationship got even better. No more of the stupid inane child-like baby wah-wah conversations wasted our time. We discuss the serious topics, funny topics, immature topics, topics about our future, about our pasts, our likes, our dislikes, all with reckless adult abandon. Over 10 years, we have never run out of good conversation.

A colleague of mine thinks I'm a foodie. When he sees that I give into a fast-food craving and pick up something like a Subway sandwich, he'll shake his head at me and call it "wasted calories." "You could be eating so much better food than that. There is so much delicious food out there that you haven't even tried yet, and you're wasting this meal on a Subway sandwich."

Don't waste any more of your conversations. It's okay to talk about inane topics, but never in an inane manner. Think of how much delicious, gourmet conversation you could be having instead.
posted by jabberjaw at 9:55 PM on June 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


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