My Boyfriend Is Great But He Talks Baby Talk. What’s That All About?

childish boyfriend

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for a couple of months. I’m 50, he is 60. We both have Ph.D’s. We met from an online dating service. Initially I wasn’t sure I had any chemistry but decided to give the guy a shot. He is smart, funny, and had been thoughtful, giving me gifts, writing me notes, etc. Texts a lot, makes time for me on weekends and once during the week. About a few weeks in we were sitting on the bed watching TV, talking. He started talking baby talk to me. It was a high pitched, mushing words together, weird baby talk. I was shocked. He kept at it and I was completely turned off.

Since I had been so into him at the time it was not that I was looking for a reason to break things off. It just took me by complete surprise. He’s done it many times, only when we are alone, never in public…so far. It’s usually in the evening, maybe when he is more relaxed, I don’t know. But it’s definitely a turn off. After the third time I said to him in the nicest way possible, “Did you know you talk baby talk?” I just was not sure what to say to him! He said something like he didn’t realize it. I asked him if anyone else in his past had commented on it and he said no. (Hmmm, why am I so lucky to get this, I thought?). But he couldn’t have just started doing this with me. The fourth time I said it again and he tried to say that he was “just relaxed”.

Several things happened over the following 6 weeks that has made me wonder if he is really the one for me. Some passive aggressive behavior, some pouting when he doesn’t get his way. Some really immature behavior. He actually had an alcoholic parent and has some of those characteristics from growing up in that family. His brother is similarly emotionally stunted…Although I would not have said my boyfriend is emotionally stunted, I’m beginning to think that he is. Why does he do this? Is this common? I have heard adult women do this and it is creepy then, too. But this is a huge turn off and I feel like running home when he does it. Not sure why I haven’t….I have not yet said I don’t want him to do it. I’ve been thinking about how to approach him with this, or hoping it was just going to be a one or two time thing, but it looks like this is a part of his communication style. There is nothing else surrounding the baby talk…like he isn’t trying to ask for sex, or anything like that. I am just baffled by this and have never heard a grown man do this. Your thoughts????


My thoughts? You certainly asked the weirdest question of the month. So there’s that.

But since I’m here to help solve your dating problems, let’s tease this out and dissect your baby-talking guy from a few different angles, okay?

One thing’s for sure: you don’t want to bottle this up and build up resentment.

First of all, baby talk, in and of itself, should not be the reason to break up. I will concede that it’s unusual. I will concede that it’s annoying. But if he’s smart, funny, thoughtful, relationship-oriented, financially stable, and good in bed, then it would be hard to say, with a straight face, that you should dump him when he brings out the high-pitched voice a couple of times a month.

As such, baby talk — especially done privately — is no different than any other annoying quality that one might encounter in a partner. I pick the skin on the bottom of my feet when I read in bed. Disgusting, right? My wife hasn’t dumped me yet. My wife eats Oreos in front of the sink before brushing her teeth. Kinda peculiar, huh? And yet I predict we will make it to our next anniversary.

To be clear — I’m not defending the baby talk itself — I’m only trying to put this odd, but benign, action in its proper place. There are far greater sins in a relationship to consider, and there are always valid reasons to break up with someone — you just have to unpack them and separate them from the baby talk itself. The immaturity, the passive-aggressiveness you cited above — maybe the baby talk relates to it, maybe it doesn’t. But that’s why you date for 2+ years before you get married. You get to see a man, in full, without your love blinders on. Down the road, you can decide for yourself if his behavior is acceptable or unacceptable. To me, odd personal habits are usually acceptable, because they don’t involve how he treats you. Once he treats you poorly, or communication isn’t working for you, that’s another story.

You certainly asked the weirdest question of the month. So there’s that.

One thing’s for sure: you don’t want to bottle this up and build up resentment. You have to say something in a gentle way — because, chances are, no one has ever told him the truth about how grating this habit is. Let him know that you care about him, you’re enjoying yourself, and yet you find yourself getting unintentionally annoyed with him. Not because he’s a bad guy, but because baby talk is such a departure from how you normally communicate and because you’ve never met anyone else who does anything like that in your 50 years. You’re pleased that he feels relaxed around you, but you just want to understand this behavior more.

Come from a place of understanding and curiosity, rather than lecturing, and, at the very least, he’ll know how you feel about his unique vocal stylings.

Whether it stops — and whether it’s dealbreaker material – only one of those is within your control. Please come back and let us know what happens.

Everyone else, please weigh in on the baby-talker and let me know what the most unusual/annoying trait you’ve ever had in a partner.

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  1. 1

    The baby talk could be fun if you use it back to him and get his response. It may just be his way of being sweet.   Strangest behavior for me was someone I was dating started slowly leaving things at my home as if he was staking out a claim to his territory. We had been dating about 9 or ten months and had not begun to talk about living together, which is against my beliefs. I saw it as back handed control and after talking, he saw nothing wrong with it. We d u didn’t last much longer.


    1. 1.1

      Yearning to receive the kind of love he evidently did not get as he was growing up could be a possible reason for these outbursts. Granted, I did think of maybe you sounding more parental in your voice just to see his reaction but I hear BOTH fully grown, very “matured” sexes talking like babies – ie, in high-pitched voices – so, I realize what you are experiencing must be more creepy. I stick with my first observation. Maybe, if you give him extra kindness and treat him with respect, he will respond in like manner. This sounds like a mannerism he has had bottled up inside for many years. He trusts you, that is why he is “showing himself” to you. I think he needs an extra amount of TLC!

  2. 2

    In my 20’s I had a long relationship that devolved into a lot of baby talk by the end. For us, it was a way to feel close and loved while also avoiding   real conversations and facing up to our lack of true compatibility with each other. We also stopped having sex. At first I thought the baby talk was cute but eventually I realized that it was just a symptom of an immature relationship. There was actually a segment about this on the radio show “This American Life” years ago.   After that relationship I reserved baby talk for dogs only (not even for babies).  

    1. 2.1
      Anna L Schaefer

      There does seem to be a directly correlation between increased baby talk, decreased sex. I thought it was cute too, but now it does feel like we’re just avoiding being real with eachother. I miss the MAN in him.

  3. 3

    My brother does the baby talk thing but he usually just does it to my mom but he will do it in public to her,   like when we go for a walk at the beach. She tells him to stop but he doesn’t listen. This is a man over 45. I think it’s really immature and well I don’t get the point of it. My brother is emotionally immature and this baby talk thing I think is merely an extension of his immaturity. I think in the long run you will realize that your boyfriend is immature and you probably will dump him. I don’t think this is benign quirky behavior as Evan suggests. I think it’s symptomatic of his emotional immaturity. But only time will tell on that one. Again, it’s about being with a man whose flaws you can live with.

    1. 3.1

      You’re absolutely right i knew someone like that, and although the baby talk stopped there was still a need to be nurtured and mothered.

      1. 3.1.1
        Bernice K.

        I feel that when this guy I was dating started with the baby talk, that he was regressing.   It was extremely uncomfortable.   I want a man, not a baby.

        1. Anna L Schaefer

          YES. it feels like a trauma regression. it sort of scares me.

      2. 3.1.2
        C. Rodriguez

        Actually, i appreciate who my friend is, and he treats me well. But i do not like the baby talk at all. It is a turnoff. How can a man want a woman in intimacy, but then talk like a baby(occasionally)?

        I want a man in all aspects. That’s it…

  4. 4

    I always thought reverting to baby and child like behaviors was part & parcel of being in the throes of new love.   Even calling each other pet names that denote babyness are utilized such as “babe” “baby doll” “kitten” “my little girl”.    Newly in love people tend to giggle like high schoolers in the throws of a crush.   Sometimes new couples do child like things together like riding the carnival rides together, playing on a playground, skipping or running along hand in hand. Heck, some new couples even spoon feed each other food.    People newly in love even say things like “I feel like a kid again” or “I’m just like a school girl”.   Some men love to suckle at their woman’s breast like a babe, some   women like to call their men “Sweet Daddy” (or something similar).   And I don’t think I’m giving anyone any brand new information here when I say many women enjoy being playfully spanked as foreplay.   (Hence the popularity of “50 shade of Gray”) I even think “spooning” can harken back to the fetal position . . .
    I think it’s very telling that the original letter writer admits that she wasn’t initially sure if she was attracted to this guy but she decided to give him a shot.   She’s “convinced” herself that she was attracted to him because he was so into her and treated her well.   But in my experience, any time I had to talk myself into being attracted to someone, it was a very fragile attraction, that was just one or two quirks away from disintegrating.  
    I would LOVE to have a man cooing in my ear like a babbling baby, and even allowing me to be babied by having him cover my face with sweet little kisses.   I would LOVE to once again here a man call me his “Kitten” or “Baby Doll” or when he wanted to be the kid in a relationship “Sweet Mama”.   I would LOVE to have all that baby talk, giddy school girl feeling, mooshy-mooshy pet names, or a love tap on my caboose for being a naughty girl (or a good girl)   be part of my life again UNLESS . . .
    I just wasn’t that into him.   Then it would all creep me out.

    1. 4.1

      The second a man I’m dating calls me “my little girl” it’d be OVER. Makes my skin crawl just reading about a man saying it to a grown woman he’s dating.

  5. 5

    Yeah, it sounds like the baby talk is not really the issue here, but rather that you aren’t really into this guy.

    You state from the getgo that you were not sure there was any chemistry, and all the reasons   you gave for giving him a chance were purely intellectual rather than visceral.   He is smart (#1), funny, thoughtful and communicative.   No mention of handsome or sexy.   You have a PhD, and (like most women)   seem to be looking for a man like yourself but better.   Thus, the fact that he also has a PhD and is older than you is important and positive, from an intellectual standpoint.

    However, since there does not seem to be more here than intellectual attraction, when he lets his guard down and talks in baby talk to you, he no longer appears powerful and intellectual to you, and thus you are repulsed.

    From your perspective,   with the relative lack of chemistry you feel, his intelligence is all that draws you to him. THAT’S the problem.   The rest of your letter is just you looking for excuses to break up with him.

    Men, in general, dont date women they aren’t somewhat attracted to.   And, in General, one of the things they want to do with a woman once they get comfortable with her is to let their guard down and be emotional, which they can not be in public.   Sounds like baby talk is his way of doing this.

      If he can’t let down his guard with you without repulsing you, you are wrong for him.    If you are not viscerally attracted to him, he is wrong for you.

    1. 5.1

      You guys are seriously retarded trying to diagnose this. Its clear as clean air…..there are a lot of quirks one can overcome by looking within yourself first but this baby talk shit… if anyone is attracted to that talk then you must be a pedophile. Serious, I had a girl talk like that often and I told her there is a right place and a wrong place to be cute. I explained to her that I cannot get intimate with her and explained the reasons why…that I am not a pedophile. She didnt get it and turned it back on me as if I had the issue. I told her the many things that I can accept but to force myself to be intimate to someone who talks like a child would be seriously sick. Dump the psycho!

      1. 5.1.1

        You are crazy. Baby Talk is very anoying but hardly worthy of being called a sign of pedophilia. The woman isn’t a child idiot.

  6. 6

    My husband has a number of very annoying quirks, none of which were exibited to me before we got married. He burps and farts noisily and on purpose, the way they show it on stupid movies for teeangers and he thinks that is hillarious. I find this extremely immature/rude.
    Also, he bites me. The excuse for this: he claims my skin is so delicious that he can’t help biting me. I complained to a friend, and she thinks is’s cute and playful, but in fact it is not, it is extremely annoying and sometimes very painful.
    I think all his stupidities are in fact attention-seeking behaviors, plus he  knows I am captive, because he is a very good husband overall, and a great father (exept that I worry that the kids will pick up the farting and burping, but so far they are acting more mature than him :-).
    When I am not tired and not stressed out, I take it all laughingly, but sometime I am close to throwing him out… So, babytalk seems extremely innocent to me, and hardly a reason for breakup.   But, as other posters have said, if you are losing the attraction for him anyhow, and for broader reasons, it might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

  7. 7
    Karmic Equation

    I agree with Jeremy #5. To take it up a level you just need to ask yourself if his baby talking is something you can tolerate for the next 20-30 years. If yes, let it go and make peace with it. If not, you should break up now. It seems so superficial, but having been married and in quite a few LTRs, anything that annoys you now, will annoy you EXPONENTIALLY more in the long run. Because those annoyances ACCUMULATE over time, like dust bunnies. If you don’t get rid of them, they never get smaller. Only bigger.

    1. 7.1

      I’m OP and actually have a response to everyone! First thank you.   Jeremy you really helped me so much. I’m intellectualizing my dating online I now realize. I didn’t think I wanted a better version of me….yikes..but I do think my problem dating is getting real emotionally. And I’m choosing only smart, intellectual men to communicate with..being very picky on the educational backgrounds. Wow, I’m bypassing great men by doing that.   I think partly why I do this is I like being stimulated intellectually, but I think I feel safer with super smart men.   I know why but it’s not important to delve into right now. Jeremy’s comments hit home.
      There were a lot of issues around this RS. First, we emailed and spoke on phone for 6 weeks before meeting and I think that a false RS formed.   A fantasy RS. I remember thinking prior to meeting him that he may not be the guy I think he is.     

      Because if this “attachment” while talking for so long it interfered with reality. I wasn’t attracted to him physically when we met but because of the intellectual connection I was attracted at a different level. But soon after, within the first weeks his emotional issues were huge red flag. I thought I was being open by giving it a chance but I should have backed out when the first night we finally met he told me he loved me. And the 2nd weekend he told me to quit my job and move in. WHA??????   Once he got
      comfortable he started with what I mentioned in my original Post…..passive aggressive behaviors, control, talks where he’d sit me down and tell me he was “disappointed” in me for something benign like changing my mind about the day I wanted to move my   business. So I’d have to agree that although baby talk might seem cute to some I think it was a symptom of emotional issues that became more numerous each weekend we saw each other. One final thing he said to me that was very mean and I ended it.  
      I made a huge mistake talking for 6 weeks before meeting (I don’t know why that happened…he lived an hour and a half away but still).   
      I think at some level I forced myself to be attracted to him or rather to overlook my real feelings.   And I’ve learned something by these responses too which is worth it’s weight in gold.   I thought I was letting my guard down and being emotionally available but I was and still am intellectualizing in my RS   instead of being real. Wow. I thought I had been vulnerable and open and I was at some level. But I might have some work to do!

      1. 7.1.1

        Thanks for the clarification.   Lots of red flags in your story – it’s good that you are identifying them.

        I learned the hard way (same as you) not to communicate for very long prior to the first meeting.   Doing so creates a false sense of attraction and familiarity where none may exist in reality.   I used to have a rule to not communicate online or by phone more than a few times before meeting In person.

        Best of luck to you in your future relationships, hopefully with men who are both intelligent but also attractive to your tastes.  

  8. 8

    Did I write this? I couldn’t wait to read this as I have the same issue. Started out the same as well. Great friends, he is attractive and a great guy, however, perhaps the spark was missing for me, but thought that hey, it often can grow into more meaning than just that, right?   He has a daughter, and when he started speaking to me that way one night in bed, it freaked me the heck out and completely turned off. Maybe if I didn’t hear the same voice being used to his little one, but not so sure.   I often do wonder if its an indicator of more of that “not quite that into this person” as I should be. Still under a year and I am giving all a shot. But I tend to think, something more significant is lacking perhaps than just that. I agree with Jeremy.   Oh and the baby talk doesn’t happen anymore, thank goodness.

    1. 8.1

      Would you mind sharing HOW you managed you stop the baby talk?

  9. 9

    I think there are different kinds of annoying habits/traits and they differ in how they affect our attraction to our partner and/or the relationship. I’d say that any habit/trait that makes our attraction plummet or that makes us lose respect would need to be discussed and addressed, at the risk of becoming a deal-breaker if no progress can be made.  
    I have no idea how baby talk would affect my level of attraction but intentionally and repeatedly farting/burbing loudly would definitely lead to some serious discussions (Kiki, I’m impressed by your patience : ). Less annoying habits such as the ones Evan describes about him and his wife should not really affect attraction or the relationship. They’re just quirks.
    The most annoying habit I’ve had to deal with a guy was his constant throat clearing/sniffling. Constant! I asked him about it (allergies? illness?) and he made some excuses about growing up in a polluted area and made it clear that he would not try to resolve it. Interestingly while the issue itself was not necessarily a deal-breaker (and did not affect my attraction to him), his defensiveness and refusal to address the issue (plus plenty of other problems : ) certainly were.  
    My husband has got some quirks, but nothing that affects my attraction to him. I’d be talking to him if something would affect the way I see him or respect him, and I would encourage him to do the same because I strongly believe that we must do our best to remain as attractive and lovable as possible at least with the things that are under our control.

    1. 9.1

      Fusee and Kiki, with respect, I think you are   only telling half the story.

      IMHO there is a world of difference between what you wrote and what the OP wrote.   It is one thing to be with someone who has annoying/irritating habits.   Welcome to real life.   As long as there is some baseline attraction and the relationship is positive, those faults should be ignored, not berated (more on this in a minute).   It is quite another story to not be attracted to the person and to use their annoying habits as excuses to break up, which is what the OP was doing.   In her case, it wasn’t that the habit of baby talk was turning her off of a perfectly good relationship, but rather it was simply demonstrating to her that she was never attracted in the first place.

      With regards to your experiences with the burpers, farters, and throat clearers, as I wrote above I believe you are missing half the story.   Tell me which is more annoying – which is more unreasonable – a man who constantly clears his throat, or a woman who constantly berates/criticizes him for it?   A man who farts in his own house, or a woman who threatens to kick him out of his house for it?

      For every annoying habit that our spouses have, we have our own – and we are much less likely to recognize our own.   Women tend to complain that men have some annoying habits.   Men tend to complain that women have the annoying habit of….complaining!  

      We we take our partners with all their flaws and faults.   It’s not up to us to change them or berate them.   I therefore disagree with the premise that we should inform our partners of their habits which annoy us.   Do we really want to hear about our own habits?   How readily will we change?   If our bad habit is complaining, how readily will we stop?   The key is acceptance, as long as attraction is there and the relationship is otherwise good.  

      1. 9.1.1

        Jeremy, my comment was not a response to the Letter Writer’s question, but a sharing of my thoughts on the topic of those “annoying habits”.
        I agree with you that we must accept our partners; flaws, annoying habits and all! If we can’t accept them, we move on before making a life commitment, ideally understanding that the more “annoying habits” we call “deal-breakers” the smallest the dating pool becomes…
        On the flip side, in a marriage (not a short-term dating relationship like the one the Letter Writer talks about) I believe that both partners have a responsability at doing their best at remaining attractive to the other, and easy to love and accept on a day to day basis. Some things are out of our control such as aging, accidents, and how certain life events will affect us, but other than that plenty of things are under our control to keep the flame burning and the love flowing. Basically I expect my husband to accept me, and to not pester me for each little annoying habit I may have, but I would gladly listen to his feedback if a new habit was affecting his attraction or respect to me because I want to make it as easy as possible for him to find me attractive. There for sure are habits I could develop that would make it very difficult for him to continue to find me attractive/easy to love, and I’d bet that intentional regular loud burping/farting would become one (I should ask, right now our “normal” farting is just fine : ). I would definitely prefer knowing about what would be starting to destroy our relationship and having a chance to address it. Of course I chose a reasonable husband who does not criticize me for the fun of it.
        So I’m not talking about little quirks, but about the development of new conterproductive habits that would be eroding the health of the relationship. It’s not about chronic complaining, it’s about nurturing the marriage. Sure, some people are so defensive that they can’t hear any kind of negative feedback, or so passive that they can’t ask kindly to address a problematic issue. I’m not one of these, nor is my husband. It does not mean that we keep pointing out one another’s “annoying habits” : )

      2. 9.1.2

        First of all, I am very surpised that your diagnosis of Morgan’s case was correct, but so it was, so congratulations. I did not pick up the general lack of attraction as a big problem there, and I would not expect them to break up.   But then again, I have been married way too long (13 years already) and my vision is probably tented by the marriaged glasses.
        I would like to offer you my turn to your opinion about just accepting our partners part and parcel and never complaining, and may be you would just consider the broader implications.   The only reason I put up with the farting and burping is because, as I said, we are married, have children, have a joint life. If he had been doing this while we were dating, our relationship would have ended, simply because this is such a huge turn-off, and I would not want to have sex with a clown.   I   like to be romanced, and deliberate burbing and farting are two of the most anti-romantic things than come to my mind.  
        As for complaining, I do not complain. I just walk out on him when he does that, go to another room, or shut myself out one way of another. May be this is his strategy when he wants to be left alone? It it is, it really works.
        I got a little bit triggered about your comment about him doing the farting and burping in HIS house. The house is not his, it is ours. He does not do this with his parents, at their house, which is in fact his and not mine. He keeps the special privilidge of sharing the nastiest of smells and sounds with me (and our kids occasionally), no one else is allowed this sacred experience. I say – why does he not share it with the world? LOL.
        So yes,   I practice acceptance, and patience.   I am very good at it.  But also, I have only one life, and I would like to spend it pleasantly.   While we are raising the kids together, he has an extra buffer of patince from me (the kids are training me in patience every day, and I am growing stronger!!!), but there is a limit to my angelic side, and he is truly testing it.

        1. Jay

          Kiki, I feel for you. I would struggle in your situation too as I’m not a fan of these kinds of habits as comedy/showing off. A thought came to me as I read your posts. There’s something almost macho or territorial about your husband’s behaviour in these instances (You say he’s a great partner at other times and I’m sure this is is true). I wonder if at these times he’s trying to be somehow dominant even if it is in a strange way, he actually enjoys your response (however unemotional, he still sees you walking out).I’m not suggesting any remedy here. I have no idea. Just   that your man seems to like staking his claim on the whole atmosphere around him when he does this.  

  10. 10
    I am joining in the discussion about “annoying habits” and this is not really related to the OP’s letter.     This is one of the marriage websites that I was surfing when I was trying the impossible task of saving my irrepairable marriage.  
    After reading the above mentioned article, I stopped going to that site.   I did think it had some good articles, but I thought the wife in this scenario was being VERY unreasonable, and I think the advice given was very unreasonable.   Personally, I think the wife should have just learned to live with it.   I can imagine how awful a spouse would feel if they were put through that.
    We ALL have annoying habits.   I guess there will always be people who think it is up to the spouse to stop their annoying habits, and some who think it is up to each spouse to graciously accept the other’s annoying habits, and accept that you have yours.   And then there are some who think that their spouse should accept all of their annoying habits (or think they don’t have any)   but that the spouse should change their annoying habits.
    Also, I think “new” annoying habits might be what happens when a couple starts to get familiar with each other, comfortable, and that new love buzz starts to die down.   Not that I think people are intentionally deceptive during courtship, but people consciously and unconsciously are on their best behavior during this phase.   People stand straighter, voice pitch changes, grooming is impeccable, house is kept neater.   All those love chemicals floating in your brain give you more energy, put a spring in your step,   and make you less anxious.   No one can keep that up forever.   Brain chemistry eventually goes back to a more normal state. Also, as the relationship grows, you are spending more time together, so someone may be able to go a few hours a few times a week without drumming their fingers or pulling on their ears or whatever, especially if they are actively engaged in an activity as new couples often are.   After a few months, when dating turns into relating and more time is spent just being home together, well . . .
    I think it’s important to distinguish between what is an annoying habit and what is a violation of your rights.   My ex had annoying habits like snapping his fingers while concentrating, muttering to himself, constantly sorting his sports gear, (that clicking and clacking sound drove me nuts, but he found it “soothing”)    and eating in bed, VERY NOISILY.   He didn’t know until we were divorcing that some of these things bugged me, (well the slurping licorice in bed thing, I think he figured out when my facial expression gave it away)   The muttering to himself thing didn’t really bother me, because I mutter to myself too, but when he started screaming at me for doing that, I told him that was something we BOTH did, and he denied it.   (I really think   he did it without realizing)
    HOWEVER, he did have an ANNOYING habit of discarding my belongings without my consent.   I did talk to him about that several times, because that is violating my rights.   It was like talking to a brick wall, I just got this blank stare back from him, like he really had no clue why it bothered him.    
    Now getting back to the OP’s guy and his baby talk.   I think that was his way of showing affection.   If someone’s way of showing affection comes off as an “annoying habit” then that is a pretty big problem.   It could be a sign that you really aren’t into them,   (I chalked it up to that in the OP, because she started off her letter stating that she wasn’t sure she was attracted), but some people DO find some forms affection unsettling.   (some people are ticklish in some places, or need their space when they sleep, so really don’t want to be with a “cuddly sleeper”) In the case of two people REALLY being into each other, but some particular form of affection is ticklish, painful, or otherwise unpleasant, that has to handled very delicately.  

    1. 10.1

      Sparkling Emerald, thanks for posting this. It’s a great exemple of a completely unrealistic and unreasonable expectation, especially when the husband is already making an effort to appease his wife. I also completely disagree with the terrible advice given. Validating and encouraging a partner to control the other by suggesting to “train” their spouse as if they were a circus animal will definitely not make their marriage stronger. This wife’s OCD/controlling issues need to be worked on with a therapist in my opinion. The only part I agree with is the concept of “love bank” and the necessity in a marriage of being mindful of remaining as attractive to our partner and as easy to love as possible, within reason.

      1. 10.1.1

        Yes, I was really blown away by that advice, and just HOPE it is a fake column.   Can you imagine not being able to stir sugar in your coffee or eat crunchy food because your spouse can not tolerate any sounds at all during a meal ?     Did you notice how the advice giver didn’t ask the wife if she would be willing to accomodate her husband in training herself out any habits she thought SHE might have that annoy HIM ?
        And yes, I think the wife needs to see a therapist rather than treat her hubby like a dog who has to heel to her unreasonable demands.     (If this is even a true letter to a true advice giver)  
        And I feel sorry for that baby.   Babies and kids are pretty noisy eaters, and are pretty much noisy all the time.   I wonder if she’s trying to “train” the baby not to make slurping sounds while nursing or drinking from a bottle.
        I saw a special on TV about people who have a supposed “disorder” that makes them very sensitive to sounds.   Not sure if I buy that’s it’s a real disorder or just someone being a control freak.   They showed a family where the mother supposedly had this disorder, and the entire household had to walk on eggshells and eat in a separate room.   Whether this is a real “disorder” or not, I think since it is HER problem, she should have a sound proof room that she retreats to when the normal household noises get to be too much for her delicate sensitivities, instead of making all the other members of the family bend over backwards to accomodate her.

        1. MJ

          It’s a bit concerning that sparkling emerald would question the validity of any one person’s disability. Many neuro issues cause these problems, especially overly sensitive vision, smell, and auditory.   I suppose those I suffer aren’t real, interesting when I suffered the TBI that is causing seizures, that should be subject to your validity concerns as well? Please think before you comment, or al the least do research because your embarrassing yourself.

      2. 10.1.2

        >>> If you are like most women, you will be able to make a fairly long list of annoying habits … make a list of all the things he does that annoy you. … You may have as many as 25 annoying habits on your list when you are done. One woman I counseled made up a list of over 500. <<<
        Ha Ha! That unreadable and ridiculous article is surely satirical?

  11. 11

    Ugh. My ex-husband did that from the beginning of our relationship. I thought it was some what sweet at first, but I realized that he resorts to baby talk because he can’t speak up like a grown adult when he needs to.  

  12. 12

    You both are Ph.D.s?   I’m going to guess that it might be quirk related to being very mildly autistic (Asperger-y).    A lot of highly intelligent, well-educated people have some autistic traits and these qualities can actually contribute to success in academia.   On the other hand, they can also cause interpersonal blind spots and a lack of social awareness.   In general, if it’s really mild and you love the guy, try to make it work by educating him.   My experience with people with mild autistic traits is that they are very sincere, trustworthy individuals.   Their thin social filter means that they are usually straightforward and almost incapable of duplicity.  

    If that doesn’t sound like your guy, I’m going to side with Erin and guess that his baby talk is some kind of coping mechanism that he has developed to voice or express thoughts or feelings that he would otherwise feel uncomfortable expressing normally.   If this sounds right, you could still challenge him about it, though he might be a lot more sensitive about it if he has relied upon it for a long time.  

    1. 12.1

      Sarahrahrah! I stumbled back onto this today and wanted to see if there were other responses to my letter. I’m OP by the way.

      Now that I’ve broken it off, I have looked back over it to try to learn some things about myself. I’m still online dating…unsuccessfully…although I did go off for 3 months after I broke up with him.

      No, he is not autistic nor does he have Aspergers, although that was a good differential diagnosis! He had major emotional issues that had never been looked at. The middle son of a severely alcoholic father and an idealized distant mother, he had many of the characteristics of an adult child of an alcoholic.  

      I only was with him about 6 weeks…and as he became more comfortable or maybe he thought I was all in or something, his behavior drastically changed. I alluded to the passive aggressive behavior I started seeing, but things got worse each week. He was really controlling. He had weird ideas about love and marriage…he actually was trying to get me back and said something to the effect that his ‘lifespan’ in a relationship was 3 years…the feeling of lust he said he would have would be the only time he could marry…that he would have to get married within that first 3 years of dating (and his feelings of lust and attraction) or marriage would never happen. I about fell over. I told him that was actually the opposite of what I believe, and that dating needed to happen for quite a while in order to find out who the person really is. But this is a 60 year old man who has never been married. And has only had 2- 3 yr relationships that he called “long term”.  
      The baby talk was creepy. Not sweet. Even if I had been super attracted to him physically, I doubt the baby talk would have gone over well because of the way he did it. It was not directed toward me as in “Hey baby” but it was just him talking in baby talk about a tv show that was on, or something like that. I still do not know what it was all about for him. And it was not the final deal breaker for me. What was the deal breaker was when he called me a slut! Not in any context either. Just one night when I was telling a funny story about a guy I went to dinner with who made me pay for half of it and the total was 30$. I just said I never went out again with that guy and that the guy wanted me to come over to “cuddle” the next night! I thought it was a funny story really and as I said, never saw that guy after the dinner. So, the ph.d I was dating said to me, “You are such a slut”. I asked him what? And he said it again. And was stoney faced, looking at me. It was not a joke, not something funny. It was mean spirited and completely out of any context. Now, I’ve never been called a slut. Not even by my ex! And although slut can be funny when calling friends it as a joke (I don’t really love the term so I don’t use it myself but I can see when it might be funny), this was not what he was doing.  

      So, the guy was absolutely wrong for me and I learned that I had fallen for his intellectual side and his well written emails. He just didn’t follow through, personality wise, in person. He said mean things about his mother, friends, his brothers. He held major resentments towards people and he had no insight whatsoever to his behavior or his feelings.  

      I still don’t understand the baby talk. I guess just a symptom of his emotional intelligence. Who knows. I’m much happier not going out at all then to be with him. And I’ve looked at myself as to why I spent as much time with his as I did. I saw the red flags the first weekend. But, writing for 6 weeks first made it so I was engaged in the so called relationship to the point I overlooked the bad right up front! Lessons learned!

      1. 12.1.1

        wow. men need to a) wear pants and b) pick up the check. they are welcome to refuse, and they are also welcome to attain a lower caliber woman for themselves.

        and the slur-chucking?

        out. of. control. so sorry that happened to you.

      2. 12.1.2
        Bernice K.

        I think you were hoping for the best, that’s all.   You tried to make the best of things, but his baby talk was a huge warning sign clue.


        You did the right thing, you tried, but you can’t fix something that is wrong with someone else.   And I agree, I would rather be alone than with some weirdo type person.

  13. 13

    “baby talk ” may be a way to protect himself from something that is perceived as unpleasant or “wrong ” .   A way to cover feelings and intentions

  14. 14

    If there are habits that are too annoying I suggest you accept them or leave him.   Life is too short to waste energy on something you would rather not tolerate. You either accept a man as he is or you don’t so walk away.   You need to know what you want and don’t want.   Don’t play with his heart.   Keep looking for what you will tolarate.

  15. 15

    I think baby talk is annoying. My husband does this and its not cool. I thought I married a man. I don’t like it and he won’t stop.sorry I think it’s wrong.

  16. 16

    I, went through the almost exact thing with this man , I disagree. there has 2 b mental problems some where, And I to got turned Off , And When it’s a fact start baby talking , strange, just leads to other strange things that start / and will happen. Trust if you get turned off by , this , in my case it just got worse. I ended up not wanting the Guy at all.
    Trying to talking to a Adult man about baby talking… how can anyone really talk to someone about something..that ? He did not do it in the beginning…? Mine didn’t ../ I stayed turned off.

    1. 16.1
      Bernice K.

      I agree, there has to be some type of mental health issue involved.   This guy I just broke up with kind of fakes a country accent, he is a simple man, but when we started to kiss, he started with the baby talk.

      I realized that he is very basic, almost primitive.   He was concerned about himself only, like a two year old.   I did not spend a great deal of time with him, but when he started with the whiny, high pitched baby talk, and he would put his head down like he was embarrassed, like a dog that pees on the rug? that’s when I   knew, this guy was a little off.

      I did not waste too much time with him. I was totally turned off.   Now, if he won the lottery and came back, it would not be enough.   He could never have enough money for me to be with him.


  17. 17

    I think what the OP meant by “baby talk” is being interpreted as something other than what this guy was doing. There’s the baby talk some couples do or adults do with babies or pets that may annoy a partner and then there’s baby talk where an adult becomes like a toddler.

    When the OP said she felt like running and found this a major turn off everyone assumed her feelings stemmed from something else and not that the baby talk was an actual sign of a problem itself.

    I can attest to knowing a man where the first sign of “trouble” was baby talk!!!

    It was sooo strange, he actually becomes like an infant or toddler and it freaked me out. He would start acting completely like a toddler (like OP explained, just talking about whatever) and yet when his phone would ring he’d answer as an adult. Hmmm, it’s really hard to explain because it’s so unusual, it is not like regular baby talk. It’s like they completely regress, it’s pathological, stems from emotional disturbance, you’d know it if you saw it because it would be bizarre. It’s creepy really. I’ve only heard/seen this once in this guy and I’ve seen plenty of adults do the baby talk thing.

    So glad OP got out and sorry things got worse before that happened. I’m not dating this guy but he’s sort of latched on to me and I’ve finally accepted I can’t deal with knowing him. I’ve tried to bring up a couple of minor things but he sort of laughs them off then says something passive agressive later, I think it can only get worse…

    1. 17.1
      Bernice K.

      I broke up the   next day. I waited till he was out of my home, and it was the next day and I emailed him and said we were so different, that it just wouldn’t work.

      I broke up with him the next day.

    2. 17.2
      Anna L Schaefer

      I have this experience too. I adore this guy and who he is when he’s actually embodying his masculine self. but he has this infant version, that he regresses into on a daily basis (around 4pm, after he gets home from work) that is so disturbing and actually creepy. not to mention an TREMENDOUS turn off. I feel like I want to snap fingers or beg him to snap out of it. I thought it was just me.

  18. 18

    My daughter is 21 and talks baby talk to her boyfriend. Drives me crazy that it is all the time.   And it is only this boyfriend.

  19. 19

    It’s a symptom of borderline personality disorder x

  20. 20

    My husband has talked baby talk for 13 years. Not just when he wants intimacy, either. I now suspect he is cheating. He’s irresponsible, controlling, materialistic. A narcissit. I’ve read all the books. The baby talk is covering for something. I know he feels he did not get enough attention as a kid, and considered himself a bad seed. He has verbally abused me, shouts, has frozen me out for weeks on end with the silent treatment. Anything he does for me serves a purpose for him. Life with him has been on and off hell. I think he does have many issues…bi- polar, ocd, he is on meds for adhd-ugh. I could date a 20 year old and get equal maturity. I think the baby talk a lot is a bad sign, unless it is only before sex. I am learning everyday just how insecure and messed up my spouse is.  

    1. 20.1

      Some people are misdiagnosed bi polar when they in fact have borderline personality disorder. Some also have both disorders. I see it this way, I’ve known some people with bi polar that are emotionally immature but not all have been. Every person I’ve met with borderline personality disorder is profoundly emotionally immature. I have met a couple of people that have been diagnosed as bi polar that are more insightful, self aware (when not experiencing mania) and considerate of others than most other people I’ve known. Lack of self awareness is a symptom of manic episodes but a perpetual state for personality disorders. I feel bad for bi polar only people, I think a lot of people don’t know the nasty relationship behavior is a borderline thing ;(

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