The most important thing you need to know about mama’s boys is that most of them are not attached to their mother’s apron strings!
You see, mama’s boys are not that way because their mothers smothered them. Men grow up to be mama’s boys because they missed out on an invitation from their fathers to enter the father’s sphere of influence in their teenage years. Now, having missed that invitation, the relationship with the mother is quite complex. Some do make mom the most important woman in their lives. Others grew up power struggling with their moms, turning into macho men and even bullies as a result of their confusion over their role in their mother’s and their father’s lives. How a man relates to both parents directly affects his relationship with his woman.
Another type of mama’s boy looks like the perfect man who is capable of being there for his wife and children. Except that he tends to smother his wife and kids! Even another type comes across as an insecure teenager, even when he’s in his forties or fifties, needing his woman to reaffirm his masculinity at every turn.
So, how do you handle an adult mama’s boy, no matter which type you are in a relationship with? Here are nine action steps that can make a difference.
9 Steps For Dealing With An Adult Mama’s Boy
1. Refrain from acting like his mother. This means treating him like a grown man who can take care of the details of his life without you intruding there. This is probably the most important piece of advice. It is also the one you can do the most with because it has to do with controlling your own behavior in order to create positive change outside yourself.
2. Stay out of the middle between him and either parent. Mama’s boys attract women who are willing to go to bat for them, let him handle those relationships.
3. Call forth his masculine greatness. When he takes action meant to provide for you, protect you, impress you, or turn you on – acknowledge it glowingly!
4. Don’t nag. Learn how to express your needs and desires as you would with a peer. Nagging demeans both the giver and receiver. And it aggravates the mama’s boy quality that aggravates you!
5. Recognize that you are part of the problem. He was attracted to you in the first place because of your “mothering” energy. Even if you think you are the opposite of his mother, does he hope you will “mother” him the way she never could?
6. Expect him to be your equal, your lover, your man. The expectation will determine your own behavior as well as call forth the best in him.
7. If he speaks to you in a needy tone, respond as if he didn’t. Don’t feed the little boy energy. Don’t respond in a tone that corrects his neediness. Simply respond neutrally or with a positive tone that ignores his implied need.
8. Remember that there are times when each of you needs to be able to be the weaker one in the relationship, depending on the other to be the strong shoulder. This isn’t about the mama’s boy struggle, it’s about depending on each other.
9. Remember, too, that for adults, sex is play. It’s where we get to revisit the childhood joy of just full out enjoying ourselves. As long as it isn’t a turn off, let each other’s inner child come out to play some when it comes to sex.
Understanding Mama’s Boys
Sitting down a mama’s boy to have a discussion about his personality and how it doesn’t work for you is the most ineffective way of handling the situation. It puts you in the role of mama to his little boy who just can’t get it quite right.
As a mama’s boy, his patterns of behavior and speech are not only deeply ingrained, he got stuck there as a kid because he loved his parents and tried to be who they needed him to be. No one realized they were messing with his future romantic happiness. He doesn’t need to be treated like a victim! He needs to be treated like a man.
I said the most important piece of advice was to refrain from acting like his mother. The second most important piece of advice is that you are a part of the problem. He was attracted to you for a reason. The loving and nurturing energy you carry is delightful for everyone, dangerous for the two of you. However, this is good news because you can do something about it without overtly trying to control or dominate him.
Pay attention to the variety of ways you pour mothering energy over him and determine which expressions of that are healthy and which get you into trouble. Then stop the ones that get you into trouble! For instance, if around the house he has a habit of calling out to you when he wants you; with you leaving whatever it is you’re doing to go to him to find out what he wants, stop it! Little boys can’t be bothered to get up and go find mom, they call her to them. A pleasant, “I can’t hear you!” hollered back at him will result in his getting up to find you.
Or if he wants you to get him a beer, try a pleasant, “I’m not coming that way anytime soon.” The assumption you make is that he is a grown man who can take care of himself. It reduces the power struggles that aggravate the mama’s boy stuff and makes your life together sweeter.
I’ve seen too much advice out there telling you to dump him. These guys are too large in number and their hearts are too big to give up on. Give these nine actions steps a chance – you’re both worth it!