Are you the third wheel in your own relationship?
Have you ever dated a guy and for the most part, things are good? He’s smart, funny, and attractive. He hits most of your major “must haves” however; there is one thing that bothers the hell out of you … his mother!
Does it seem like she's always around, sticking her nose into your relationship? She's needy and constantly calls him no matter how minor or severe the crisis of the day. She comes over unannounced, cooks cleans and does his laundry. She may throw few verbal jabs your way and may even be guilty of manipulating situations to her advantage.
You're starting feel like you're constantly competing for his affection when it comes to her. The situation might make you feel a little left out of your own relationship and at times, you may even consider telling him and his mother to get lost!
If this sounds familiar, chances are you are dating a momma’s boy.
This is a common and very tricky situation to get caught in. You may keep telling yourself that he can change and honestly, he can. What you have to realize is that you have little to no power to make him change. He needs to want it himself.
Let me start by saying that there is nothing wrong with being a momma’s boy. I will be the first one to admit that yes, I have a strong bond with both of my parents but the connection that I have with my Mom is very different from the one I have with my Dad. Although she has advised me on more than one occasion, she has always remained objective.
In my experience, I have noticed that the "bad" momma’s boys typically come from single-parent households. This includes where the mother was the sole provider or households where the parents were together, but the father was emotionally estranged, or maybe even died when the son was still in his developmental stages. To help cope with the situation, the mother has pampered and coddled the son and somewhere in her brain, she has transferred the relationship that she had or wanted to have with the father to her baby boy.
According to psychologist Debra Mandel in her book Dump That Chump, this creates an unhealthy attachment between mother and son making it a mutually dependent and often parasitic relationship.
Eventually someone needs to cut the cord.
Unfortunately as a lover or partner, you have little to no power in this situation. The momma’s boy is in charge of his own salvation, assuming that he wants things to change.
Here are 4 tips you can use if you are dealing with a momma’s boy and want to get your relationship on track:
1. You have to tell him how you feel.
Men are not mind readers and often do not realize that what they are doing is damaging the relationship.
Get your point across, but do it in a respectful and calm manner. Be careful to choose your words wisely as this is a very sensitive situation and you don’t want to seem like you are giving him an ultimatum to choose. I guarantee if you show anger and start throwing around nasty comments, he will rebel and you will lose him.
2. Set boundaries.
Encourage him into setting some boundaries and see if he makes an effort. Make sure those boundaries are clear and concise. Be realistic and fair but do not compromise your needs. Don’t expect things to change overnight as this is a process. I would even go as far as to involve a psychotherapist as a mediator to help facilitate the changes. (You should set some of you own boundaries as well.)
3. Don’t take it upon yourself to speak to the mother.
Respect the fact that this is a personal issue that he and his mother need to resolve. If boundaries are part of the plan, your guy needs to communicate it to his mother. No exceptions.
4. Prepare to move on.
You definitely want to prepare yourself mentally as this isn't an easy battle. Keep in mind, some momma’s boys are perfectly fine knowing that at the end of the day, they can always run home to mommy. You need to prepare to let him go and move on if things do not change.
Be fair but do not settle for less than you deserve. Don’t nag him and don’t make empty threats expecting things to change on its’ own. Empower yourself to decide that if things do not change, then you will leave. There are plenty of good momma’s boys out there, with fewer issues, who will give you the love and respect that you are looking for.
Besides being a YourTango Dating Expert, J. Cameron Gantt is the Head Dating Coach at Insti(Gay)tor, a Chicago-based GLBT matchmaking agency. Need advice? Contact him directly via YourTango or visit Insti(Gay)tor for more info.