Women love a guy who loves his mom, but a lot of men don’t understand the difference between having a healthy mother-son relationship and being a straight-up mama’s boy. If you’re not sure if your relationship with your mom is healthy, ask yourself if you have these qualities that would mean you’ve crossed the line into mama’s boy territory:
- A mama’s boy relies on his mom to take care of him. A lot of moms enjoy helping out their adult children to some extent, whether by cooking their favorite meals or giving them a bit of extra money for their birthday. And if a guy loves his mom, that’s generally not an issue. But a mama’s boy needs his mom to do these little favors for him; if she doesn’t do his laundry, it doesn’t get done.
- A mama’s boy involves his mother in every major life decision. Even the most grown-up grownups may still value input from their parents, but there’s a difference between occasionally asking for your mother’s opinion and being unable to make a choice without your mother’s help. A mama’s boy goes beyond appreciating his mom’s wisdom; he relies on it to get through every minor and major life milestone.
- A mama’s boy prioritizes his mom over every other relationship in his life. As we grow older, the relationship dynamics in our lives change. This is normal and healthy, and a guy who loves his mom knows that just because he’s dedicating more time and energy to his partner, children, and friends doesn’t mean he cares for his mother any less. A mama’s boy, on the other hand, will continue to make his mother the number-one person in his life, even if it’s to the detriment of his wife and children.
- A mama’s boy expects his romantic partners to take care of him, too. A man who loves his mother can appreciate all the help his mom has given him, using her kindness and love to become an independent, confident adult. A lot of mama’s boys, however, never learn to let go of the dynamic between mother and child, and they’ll seek it out even in their romantic relationships. They’ll expect their girlfriends to cook, clean, and care for them without doing the same in return and then wonder why all their relationships meet an early end.
- A mama’s boy uses his mom as his main source of emotional support. Mothers really do know best a lot of the time, so of course it makes sense that in times of trouble, a man who loves his mom will turn to her for sympathy and advice. But he’ll also look to his friends, significant other, and even a counselor for help sorting through his emotional troubles. A mama’s boy will ignore other sources of support, instead choosing to rely completely on his mother to feel better.
- A mama’s boy can’t set healthy boundaries with his mother. Sometimes tough love is necessary, even with the people we love most. If his mom does or says something he doesn’t agree with, a guy who has a healthy relationship with her will put his foot down when needed. A mama’s boy believes his mom is always right, though, and that can lead to trouble if she tries to overstep her boundaries in her role as a mother, mother-in-law, or grandmother.
- A mama’s boy lives with his mom for his sake, not hers. As our parents age, some of us may move back home to take care of them in their twilight years. But a mama’s boy never quite sheds his role as the dependent in his relationship with his mom. If he moves back in with her, it’s far less likely that it’s to take care of her, and more so she can continue to take care of him.
- A mama’s boy needs to talk to his mom every day. There are lots of independent guys out there who call their mothers every day out of the goodness of their heart, but if for whatever reason they can’t, it’s not the end of the world. — unless they’re secretly mama’s boys, that is. Mama’s boys rely on communication with their mother as a form of support, and if they don’t get it, it can throw their whole day off. Their sense of independence is lacking, and that daily phone call can make a huge difference in how they handle all the challenges life throws at them.
- A mama’s boy benefits more from his mom than she does from him. This is really what the difference comes down to. Just like any healthy relationship, the dynamic between mother and son should be mutually beneficial, and she should get just as much fulfillment out of their relationship as he does. When the man in question is a mama’s boy, though, that balance gets thrown off. He’ll get all the care and support that children (but probably not adults) should get from a parent, while she continues giving and giving until she physically can’t anymore.