While we made fun of mama’s boys on the childhood playground, the phenomenon is far less amusing when it hits full-grown adults. Especially if you end up dating one. Mama boy syndrome is earmarked by an unhealthy, parasitic relationship between mother and son. Your first job is spotting it, and your second task is to take action.
How to Spot It
- She still buys his socks and underwear. (I had a guy like this…)
- She pays all his bills.
- He still brings his laundry to her house.
- He starts acting like a little boy whenever he’s in her presence.
- He admits he only asked you for a date after his mom pre-screened and gave approval.
- He calls his mom before picking out curtains, picking out shoes or picking your honeymoon location.
- He invites mom to your honeymoon location. During your honeymoon.
How to Stop It
If you can live with a man’s unhealthy attachment to his mother, then just go with the flow. But do keep in mind what happened to Norman Bates and check your attic often. If you’re the type that would rather be the main woman in your man’s life, check out suggestions from author Debra Mandel, Ph.D., as reported on Frisky and CNN.
See where the problem lies. If mama’s boy behavior is something they both seem to indulge in and enjoy, there’s hope for lessening the mutual dependence. If it appears your guy is mainly to blame, however, you may be dating lost a lost cause. Mandel says your guy is unlikely to change without help and, if your relationship continues, he’s likely to turn you into his mother.
Beware of confronting mama bear. Running to mama bear and telling her to chill out is not the wisest idea early in a relationship. Your guy may end up being forced to choose between you and her, and odds are against you.
If you’re in a longer-term relationship where she’s been consistently intrusive and disrespectful, a discussion may be in order. Keep it casual and non-threatening, perhaps explaining how she’s not losing her son but rather developing a new relationship with him that includes you. Good luck.
One more tip is to know there’s hope for mama’s boy rehabilitation. But it can happen only, and I mean only, if your guy is willing to change.