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How to Tell When You're Dating a Man Child


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Men can be real babies sometimes but a "man child" is a different breed all its own.

We've all heard the term "Mama's Boy." However, over the past few years there's been a newcomer on the scene when it comes to the subject of men and their behavior: the "Man Child." While this term isn't brand new, not a lot of women may realize the signs that they're dating one.

Being fully aware of how this type of man operates, the signs to be on the lookout for and how to deal could be super beneficial to a relationship and help save many a woman from tearing her hair out trying to figure out what she's gotten herself into.

Before you can determine whether or not you have a man child on your hands, it is important to know what separates a man child from a mama's boy. In a nutshell, a man child is a grown man who still has tendencies to act like, well...a child. This can include the things he's most interested in, throwing a tantrum when things don't go his way, etc.

Unlike the mama's boy, the man child often turns to his significant other as his mother figure of sorts instead of relying solely on his actual mother to solve his problems and keep him content. On the surface, having a man revolving around his significant other rather than his mother might seem like a good thing but if left unchecked, the behavior that comes with this persona can quickly drive even the most calm and rational woman crazy.

Not all men with a man child mentality act exactly alike and their behavior will vary greatly based on their personal interests and lifestyle but below are the most common signs displayed by a man child that their women will definitely want to take note of.

Frequently Needs Guidance to Accomplish the Basics

It's one thing to be lazy from time to time but it's another to constantly require motivation and nudging in the right direction to get things done. The man child can be independent and fully capable of doing stuff on his own but more often than not, nothing will really get accomplished until some kind of action is taken by his partner to push him along. This could include things like running errands, taking care of projects around the home, house cleaning and staying on top of certain commitments and/or appointments.

If it seems like the only time your man remembers to do something is if you tell or remind him about it, it's a likely sign that he's a man child who needs constant direction, motivation and guidance to bring him back to the real world.

Relies on Lies & Aversion When It Isn't Necessary

No one likes confrontation but if your guy can't even own up to something simple as not replacing the empty carton of milk without telling a white lie, getting defensive or somehow making it your fault, you've got one of the most classic signs of a man child on your hands. They don't want to get in trouble and instead of just telling the truth, which would very likely bring the issue to a quick resolution, their only "out" is to avoid the problem altogether and hope it'll go away on its own.

When backed into a corner, they'll still hold out and instead come up with a lie of some sort--and usually not even a good one. Nothing is more frustrating than dealing with a grown man who seemingly wants to make things more difficult than it really has to be, especially for small things that really are quite stupid to have to lie about.

You End Up Doing What They Could Easily Do for Themselves

As partners, we often go into automatic "den mother mode," especially when it comes to keeping the household and living spaces clean and organized. The man child hates to clean or if he does clean, it has to be on his own terms but for most, it's the former. For example, the average adult man child has no problem leaving his dirty underwear on the bathroom floor when getting into the shower and won't even think twice about stepping over it when he's getting out. So how does it find its proper place in the hamper? Because his partner picks the underwear up and puts it there.

If you have a natural tendency to put things away, you might think you're doing a good thing but in reality, it's a form of enabling. As long as you insist on cleaning and righting things, your man child will gladly accommodate and won't think to do or say anything that could change that. Just short of hiring a cleaning company, chances are your man child won't see anything worth fixing unless you end up making a huge stink about it (and even then, it's not likely to change things).

They Use Their Favorite Vice to Escape Real World Problems

One of the most popular pastimes/vices for a man child are his video games. Whether it's on a traditional gaming system or online, this activity is one your man child can get lost in for hours on end. Although it's cool if you also partake in playing, he wouldn't notice either way if you were there or not--they're THAT into it. While there's nothing wrong with video games, the man child relies on it in a way that's often seen as unhealthy or "escapist" in nature. 

Is he tired of you nagging about spending more quality time together? His solution: play video games. Is he stressed out about work and finances? This solution: play more video games. It doesn't matter what the issue is, the only way to make things right in his mind is to indulge in his favorite vice until he feels normal again. It isn't uncommon for people to find things to lose themselves in as a way to destress but oftentimes this indulgence ends up replacing what is really needed: conversation, communication and a reality check.

They've Accidentally Called You "Mom" During an Argument

Dating a man child is going to eventually lead to a frustrating argument (or several) and it isn't out of the ordinary for a man child to slip and call his significant other "Mom," "Mama" or whatever other term he uses to address his mother. Even though he's not really a mama's boy, as his partner you are assuming a role of someone he answers to, so it only makes sense in his mind that during a disagreement, the experience brings him back to his younger days of exchanging words with his mom.

If he calls you "Mom" without realizing it after the fact, you have a bona fide man child.

How to Deal

Have your worst fears been confirmed? Before going into panic mode, it is important to step back and think about how serious the relationship is. If you're in love and ready to take the relationship into the long-term, you're going to have to first come to grips with the reality that his behavior isn't going to miraculously change overnight.

You've gotta be ready to commit to the challenge of not "changing" but instead "modifying" his man child approach to life. It won't be easy and it will take time but with continued effort and a LOT of communication, it is entirely possible to live with a man child who knows when to be a man and when it's okay to bring out his inner kid.

Not quite serious with your guy yet? Then you'll need to ask yourself if it's worth the time and effort required to be in a relationship with someone with this mindset. Be honest with yourself. If you know you get frazzled easily, are all about responsibility, accountability and dependability, you might be better off seeking a man who already possesses a clear understanding of what those traits mean and who currently lives their life according to those things.

Does this mean a man child is incapable of possessing those qualities? Certainly not but it does mean having to put in work to bring those qualities out of him. Women with no patience or a low level of tolerance wouldn't do so well in such situations and would be better off moving on.

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