No one wants to be referred to as a mommy’s boy in adulthood.
Mommy issues in men can cause significant issues in adult relationships, as their lack of secure attachment style leads to strained relationships with all romantic partners. While there is no problem with having a good relationship with your mother, there should be healthy boundaries in place to ensure this doesn’t affect your love life down the line.
If you’re worried you’re dating a man with mommy issues, or that you’re dealing with them yourself, don’t panic. We have rounded up all the key signs and solutions when it comes to mommy issues in men.
Studies show that relationships between mothers and children are typically the strongest ties within families, so it makes sense that they have such a lasting impact.
If a guy has mommy issues, it means that he struggles with mother-child attachment issues from his childhood. These struggles go on to affect all of his adult relationships, where the guy may try and recreate his idealized dynamic with his mother.
“When our primary attachment figures are not available to us, we often will seek out relationships throughout our lives to get those needs met,” says Moraya Seeger DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist and In-House Expert at Paired.
“Some of those relationships might be healthy, others might be motivated by those unmet needs in unhealthy and unsustainable ways.”
Similar to daddy issues, mommy issues may arise from varying mother-child relationships. For example, if a mother has a complicated relationship with her son in early childhood, it can lead to an insecure attachment style in her ‘mommy’s boy’ down the line.
These unresolved issues corrupt future relationships with his romantic partner with clinginess, low self-esteem, and other symptoms of childhood trauma coming back to haunt your relationship. So, if you find yourself dating a mama’s boy, it’s pretty tough to sustain a healthy relationship.
Mother issues are rooted in early childhood whereby an unhealthy relationship with one’s mother affects all relationships going forward. While some people cite Sigmund Freud’s controversial Oedipus Complex theory, mommy issues are more often connected with attachment theory.
According to attachment theory, our earliest relationships have the greatest impact on our lives, affecting our personalities, our ability to trust, and most importantly, our ability to form long-lasting relationships.
Therefore, if your relationship with your mother figure was warped in childhood, this will naturally transition into your adult life. For example, your mom tried her absolute best for you, but due to her overprotective parenting style, resulted in an anxious attachment style. Or, if your mother failed to provide you with the kind of emotional support you needed, this could lead to an avoidant attachment style.
These insecure attachment styles can cause havoc in your personal relationships, as men struggle with a lack of trust and low self-worth. This over-reliance on their mother in adulthood makes it difficult for other women to get a look in and can make romantic relationships very strained.
If you’re dating someone with mommy issues, it usually won’t be long before some signs start to show.
While most people only spot mommy issues in men who are super close with their mothers, these long-lasting issues can also appear in guys who are estranged from their moms. At both ends of the spectrum, toxic relationships with their mother can make it very difficult to date them without being exposed to the tricky side effects.
Brace yourself, we’ve rounded up some of the most common signs of mommy issues in men for everyone to be aware of.
As these signs show, mommy issues can have a huge impact on relationships. If you’re dating a self-identified mommy’s boy, or are struggling to cope with your partner’s relationship with his mother — it can be very taxing on a relationship.
After all, you’re not this guy’s mother, and this behavior usually only serves to push people away. At the end of the day, you can never compete with the ideal his mother has set forth.
Not only that, but mommy issues lead to a range of side effects such as excessive critique, anger issues, betrayal of trust, and more. As if learning how to deal with your in-laws wasn’t difficult enough!
“Intimacy in relationships depends on trust, mutual respect, and a desire to be together. When one partner defaults to someone else for comfort and advice as a priority over their partner, it can leave the other partner questioning their purpose and meaning in their love life,” says Seeger DeGeare.
“It can block a relationship from evolving with one person reaching outside of the relationship. Keep in mind that there is deep value in getting support from the community around you and people outside of the relationship. So often, relationships feel like they should depend only on themselves to figure out their relationship. So finding this balance can call on you to have healthy boundaries and good communication between all parties.”
Even though some people like to make jokes about mommy issues, they should be dealt with compassion and patience.
Just like those who struggle with insecure attachment styles, they may need additional support from their partner — and if healthy boundaries are in place, this is okay!
In order to deal with mommy issues effectively, we’d recommend seeking help from a mental health professional or licensed therapist. Individual or couples therapy can help you get to the root of the problem and give you the tools you need to deal with these issues effectively.