A man who’s close to his mom is great! It shows that he respects women, understands us to be three-dimensional human beings, and recognizes that we can be strong when necessary! (Which is basically always.)
However, there’s a difference between a man who’s close to and loves his mother and a man who is a momma’s boy. For example, the former will call his mom from time to time with updates on his life. The latter will call his mom up for help on choosing a tie for a day at work. The former will have learned how to wash the dishes properly. The latter will be confused about what a dishwasher does, exactly.
It can place a huge strain on a relationship when you feel as if you’re not only playing second fiddle to another woman but also that your guy is hopelessly dependent on someone else – the woman who raised him!
There are a lot of issues at play when it comes to the reason behind a momma’s boy’s behavior (and the mom herself), but how do you identify one before you get in too deep? These 20 signs will serve as your guiding red flags for any potential men still clutching their mom’s apron strings–and let you know how you deal with it–if you stick around long enough to witness it!
20 He Sees Her Every Week
We’re all for having a solid relationship with your mom–after all, she did bring you into this world or at least gave you enough food, shelter, and love that you owe your existence to her.
However, a dude who operates his schedule around seeing his mom every week is someone who might have a woman other than you as the number one in his life.
Spending time with Mom is great, but if he has to see her, without fail, every week, maybe he should be looking into a weekly therapy session that a few hours with his beloved mother.
19 He Values Her Opinion Over Yours
In a partnership, you guys should be on the same team. Big life decisions or even smaller choices, like where to go for dinner, should be handled together. However, it seems that no matter what you say or suggest, he’ll always choose his mom’s opinion over yours. Naturally, this can be extremely frustrating and insulting for you, because why even bother to ask you in the first place if he’s going to ignore your advice? Letting him know how you feel is the first step towards dealing with it, but be careful–whatever you say will undoubtedly reach her ears, too!
18 He Lives At Home (Still)
In this economy, with the inflated cost of just about everything and salaries and wages that have done nothing to match it, there are loads of millennials who are still stuck under their parents’ roofs. We’ve all experienced the instability that comes from losing a stable job or dealing with student debt or living in an area where the rent prices are astronomical.
But this becomes a bigger issue when a guy has all the trappings of being an independent man and yet, he still chooses to stay with mommy dearest.
If he has zero plans to move out or take your relationship to the next level, think on it hard, because this could be a deal-breaker.
17 He Talks To Her Every Day
A man who’s close with his mother enough to talk to her regularly is sweet. Keeping her in the loop about his life is a nice way of maintaining a healthy relationship. Those boundaries become significantly blurred, however, when he talks to her every. Single. Day. Not only is your SO glued to his phone talking to and texting his mama, but he’s got a Snapchat streak going with her too, and she just so happens to be his BFF on other apps as well! Depending on his mom for social interaction is a red flag, and you should pay close attention to how often he spends talking to her (and what they gab about).
16 He Compares You To Her
“That’s not the way my mom does it.”
“Have you ever tried my mom’s mashed potatoes? They’re awesome!”
“Actually, try this way. My mom taught me that.”
Endless comparisons to his mother would rub even the most patient woman the wrong way, so we have to give you props if you’ve been able to grit your teeth and bear it!
He may not think he’s doing anything wrong by comparing the two most important women in his life, but it sets things up for an unfair competition because, let’s face it, you’ll never win this one! Allow her to demonstrate what she does the next time to placate them both (and then do your own thing).
15 He Runs Every Decision By Her
Consulting your parents for advice is a normal thing to do. After all, they’ve likely dealt with it already, so why not get their insight? This becomes an issue, however, when he can’t make any decision–like ordering an appetizer at a restaurant–without talking to her first. Rather than try to flex some independent muscles, your man has deferred any and all life choices to her, which could have a major impact on your relationship and future together. Try and encourage him to think through possible outcomes on his own before he grabs his phone to call up mummy.
14 He Always Takes Her Side
How frustrating it must be to have a man who will always take his mother’s side, no matter what the issue is. Chances are, he’ll lay the guilt that he’s feeling squarely on your shoulders with lines like, “Come on, she’s my mother. What do you expect me to do?”
His mother has made him feel like he should be understanding and accepting of everything she does because she gave him that gift he can’t return: life.
Once it starts to interfere with your relationship, though, you need to be straight with him and tell him that he needs to stand up for the other woman that he loves.
13 He Becomes A Child Around Her
Does your dude suddenly need for his meat to be cut at the dinner table when you go visit your mother-in-law? Does he automatically regress to a childlike state once you cross the threshold? A man who becomes a child when he’s around his mother is responding to her need to nurture him, even though he’s an adult who has been able to take care of himself for quite some time (at least to a point). A mama’s boy likes to be babied and coddled, but if it irritates you, try limiting the amount of times you tag along to her place (for your own sanity).
12 He Tells Her All About His Personal Life
Letting your parents know about what’s going on with you in terms of your career, friendships, and relationships is great. It provides an invaluable bonding experience, but there comes a point when it gets to be TMI.
Unfortunately for you, your dude doesn’t keep anything private when it comes to his mom!
Telling his mother about everything going on between you two (including intimate details) is an invasion of your privacy, and you need to tell him that. Letting him know that you don’t feel comfortable with him divulging everything is a matter of respect. If he doesn’t get that, then you don’t need him.
11 He Can’t Stand Up To Her
His mother is the kind of overbearing, domineering, and threatening presence that get the Hollywood treatment in terms of utter ridiculousness. She has always had a set plan for her beloved boy, and God forbid if he ever deviates from that structure. Even if he doesn’t want to do what she asks of him, he will acquiesce, because when it comes to spines, his disappears the moment she’s around.
In truth, you probably get a little disgusted by your guy when he can’t stand up to his mom, but in practice, you should encourage him to be his own person, because it’s his life he’s living, not hers.
10 He Couldn’t Survive On His Own
He doesn’t know how to do laundry, cook a meal, or fix a clogged sink. Loading a dishwasher is rocket science to him and he can’t recall the last time he actually drove himself anywhere, because his mom usually insists on being his chauffeur.
Like reverting to a childlike state, your guy hasn’t even attempted to learn any of these skills because his mother swoops in and does them for him!
You don’t want to be put in the awkward position of both mother and lover (ew), and so you’ll have to insist that he figure this stuff out himself. (But let’s be real, he probably won’t.)
9 He’s Spoiled
He could get anything he needs from his mom, and he knows it. Extra cash, a free ride, a home-cooked meal–whatever he wants, he gets. He actively extorts his mom for whatever he wants or needs, and takes advantage of the fact that she lets him. Maybe she’s a pushover, maybe he’s very convincing. He might not even pay his own phone bill (he definitely piggybacks on the fam’s Netflix account), but you don’t want to ask. This guy isn’t the type who sees any reason or need to pull it together, because he gets everything he already wants without any of the work!
8 He Expects You To Be Like Her
His mother is the gold standard to which he holds up all other women. She not only raised him and loved him but she makes the best something, knows exactly how he likes his clothes folded, always makes sure her home is spotless.
She is a god among women, but that means that you won’t even measure up for him.
It can start small, with criticisms of your cooking and cleaning, and move onto larger issues, like career and children. You’re not his mother and he shouldn’t expect you to be, and while you can tell him you appreciate her attributes, you’re your own person, and he can like it or leave it.
7 She Shows Up Unannounced
It’s date night and, surprise, surprise, his mother shows up! You don’t know how she got a key to your place or how she learned what restaurant you were at, but there she is, acting like you’re the strange one for being weirded out by her unexpected arrival.
If your guy is comfortable letting his mom into every aspect of his life, including the personal stuff, it’s a red flag that he’s a momma’s boy. She has taken such liberties with her relationship with her son–and, now, with you–that she sees herself as the third party to your couple. You have to let him know ASAP that some times are meant for just the two of you.
6 You Can Never Please Her
Maybe you’ve tried to indulge your man and get on his mom’s good side. You’ve joined her in the kitchen to help with cooking, you’ve worn outfits to the family gathering that she would approve of–except she doesn’t. No matter what you do, you can never please her, because you’re the interloper who is attempting to steal her sweet boy away from her.
This isn’t your man’s fault (although a warning would have been nice), and is instead the result of an overbearing mother.
You need to take a deep breath and realize that you’re dating him, not her, and if she doesn’t like you, you can only do your best.
5 He Indulges In Mom PDA
A sweet hug to a devoted mama? Super cute. A kiss on the cheek? Totally okay. But things start to get a little weird when your man starts macking on his mom–like, very weird. Indulging in mom PDA like kissing on the lips as a grown-up feels icky. Maybe it’s a family thing to be that overtly affectionate, but you can’t deny the twisting feeling in your gut that makes you want to gag whenever he does it. This is the stereotype of a mama’s boy–a man who is literally in love with his mother, and kisses her and you in much the same manner.
4 Her Approval Is Everything
He took a job he hates to make her proud; you had a gigantic wedding when you both would have preferred and more intimate and casual affair; he wanted to rush having children because she wanted to be a grandmother; he majored in something he had no interest in to win her approval. Every step he takes is with the intent to make her proud, even if he sacrifices himself along the way.
Wanting to win the approval of your parents is normal, but it can quickly become toxic behavior when you set aside your own personal values to make them happy.
Encouraging him to follow his heart is the way to go, because he’ll have to live with his decisions longer than she will.
3 He Goes On Vacation With Her
Vacationing with the fam is total normal, even if it’s not always a great time. Taking a vacation with his mother where his dad, siblings, and you are forbidden to join? Yeah, that’s definitely going to raise some eyebrows.
Heading out on a cruise with just his mom in tow is pretty weird and definitely a signifier of a momma’s boy. What grown man without any issues chooses to spend a week alone with his mother on a tropical vacation? Exactly–no one. Banning anyone else from joining is equally weird, especially since a lot of vacations are tailored to couples and, well, you’re the one half of the couple that wasn’t invited!
2 He Idolizes Her
Maybe your mom has always made you proud to be her kid or perhaps she’s inspired you to do certain things in your own life. Moms are great, and the fact that your dude looks up to hers is pretty awesome also. That being said, this can become an issue when he moves from admiring her to idolizing her.
“Idolizing” implies that she can do no wrong, and once that level of perfection is attributed to her, you will never measure up or come between them.
Seeing his mother as the pinnacle of excellence means that any criticism you levy against her will instead be another reason for him to leave you, rather than leave (or at least distance himself from) her.
1 She’s His Number One
Relationships are made up of team members and, as a team, you guys should always have each other’s back. Things become a little murkier when his mom takes precedence over you, your relationship, and your future together as a couple or even as a family, because she is always, always his number one.
If your man has only had his mom to rely on since day one, it can be tough to loosen those apron strings, but you need to let him know that, while you don’t want to create a rift between them, you need to have some room in his heart, too. A man who puts his mom ahead of everyone and everything else may think he’s doing her a favor, but he’s really hurting himself.