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“Blow for me.”….Matthew McConaughey replies with a look of disbelief and embarrassment as his co-star Kate Hudson, aka Andie Anderson, holds up a tissue to his nose in front of all his buddies.

“Come on, noone likes a Mr. Sniffles!” Hudson exclaims as McConaughey obediently blows his nose for her, despite his audience of poker buddies staring at him.

Most of us are familiar with this popular scene from the infamous chick flick “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days”, and we laugh as it seems so bizarre that a girl put her boyfriend through that humiliation. The truth of the matter is that we all fall victims to, or are guilty ourselves of committing this overbearing behavior . Whether it’s telling our significant other who they can or cannot hang out with or wiping off their face when they’re done with a meal, how do you know when you’ve crossed the line of being a protective, caring companion and entered into an overbearing, parenting type role? Here are a few tips to ensure that he doesn’t accidentally call you mom instead of your actual name.

Ask, Don’t tell

“Will you take out the trash babe?” sounds a whole lot different then, “How about you get off the couch and take out the damn trash!” If you’re nagging him and getting on his ass about doing something, he’s going to be a lot less apt to do it. Ask him nicely… at least a few times. If he doesn’t do it, then you can jump down his throat. No, but really..

Leave the Baby Talk at Home

Calling him little pet names in front of his buddies will not only embarrass him, but he’ll forever be called “schnookems” or “love bunny” by them as well. So even when he does something super cute while you’re with a group of people, resist the urge to call him sugar buns and save it till later.

Pay Attention to His Reaction

Reminding him to confirm an appointment or wiping up his face after eating a messy meal may be your way of showing how much you care, but you may be stepping on his toes.. and his pride. He may enjoy you taking care of him, as many men do, but he may also be searching for independence that you’re not allowing him to experience. If you do these things and he doesn’t seem to mind or encourages you to engage in these caretaking behaviors, you’re probably not crossing the line. If he seems perturbed or irritated and rolls his eyes or sighs when you do these things, then perhaps you’re overstepping your boundaries.

Communication is key

In any case, make sure the two of you are communicating. He may be afraid to bring up the issue because he doesn’t want to hurt your feelings, so you should initiate it. Ask if it bothers him when you try taking care of him or helping him out. Use a non-threatening approach so that he doesn’t feel pressured and can be honest with you. Some women can’t help but let their mothering role take over, you just need to make sure that it doesn’t smother your main role– the girlfriend role.

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