5 Signs A Man Has Mommy Issues

They will eventually affect your relationship with him.

man in red suit sitting on a bench outside OneInchPunch / Shutterstock

A guy with signs of mommy issues can be very difficult to be in a relationship with and you'll want to enter into one with your eyes wide open.

Mommy issues creep up in our adulthood and stem from what the mother-child dynamic looked like. If your mother abandoned, abused, or neglected you, your mommy issues will present differently than someone whose mother was overly protective or covered up their every mistake.


While the term is usually reserved for men, women also have mommy issues. Men generally avoid commitment, date women similar to their mothers, and constantly seek validation in unhealthy ways. On the other hand, women with mommy issues experience depression and anxiety and struggle with the way they see themselves.

Unfortunately, knowing if a guy you like has mommy issues can happen when it’s too late because you often don’t meet your partner’s mother until you're all in.

RELATED: 6 Things You Can Learn From How A Man Treats His Mother


Luckily, there are ways to tell if a guy you like has mommy issues before you even get close to meeting her. That way, if you see the signs, you can decide whether to pursue this relationship or if it’s time to move on.

Here are 5 signs of mommy issues in the guy you're seeing.

1. He says their relationship is "complicated."

The best part of a new relationship is getting to know everything about someone and part of getting to know someone is to ask about their family. If you ever ask about someone’s mother and their answer is that "it's complicated," consider putting this developing relationship on pause.

Think about it. How often do you refer to a healthy relationship as "complicated"? Isn’t a complicated relationship one that usually has challenges? Isn’t a complicated relationship something that you might stay in because you have to or because you hope things will change?

A man shouldn’t have a complicated relationship with his mother. Sure, all mother/son dynamics are different but what you want is someone who speaks of his mother with kindness, love, and respect, the way you would want to hear that person talk about you.


RELATED: 4 Ways His Mom Strangely Affects Your Marriage

2. He makes her his top priority.

You haven’t seen your person interact with his mother so you might not necessarily know whether this is a thing or not but if you listen carefully, you might hear indications that he puts her first.

Has your guy told you stories about how goes to his mother’s for lunch every Sunday and how that drove his exes nuts? Has he told you how, when he was in college, he went home during spring break because he didn’t want his mother to be alone?

Does he drop whatever he's doing when she calls? Does he do things for her that his father won’t?

You might be thinking about how wonderful this guy must be that he's so good to his mother. I mean, that’s what we all want — a guy who's good to his mother.


But look carefully. There's a difference between being "good to his mother’" and someone who always puts his mother’s needs above his own.

And, if this guy is willing to put his mother’s needs above his own, how likely is it, do you think, that he will change a lifetime of priorities and put your needs first? Not very likely, I'm guessing.

Signs a man has mommy issues

3. He jumps from girl to girl.

One of my exes had serious mommy issues and I didn’t see it for a long time. I should have, though, the first time he told me about his dating history.


From the age of 16 to 50, my ex had never been without a relationship. And, without exception, each relationship overlapped the next. He had never once been faithful in his whole life!

So why is this a sign that the guy you like has mommy issues? Because a guy with mommy issues doesn’t have built-in respect for women because of his relationship with his mother.

A man who has a healthy relationship with his mother has been shown how to love and respect a woman and get the same in return. A man with mommy issues might struggle with how to be in a healthy relationship and so, when the going gets tough, they run.

RELATED: 15 Delayed Red Flags That Show Up After You're Already Invested In A Toxic Relationship


4. He's not himself around her.

Another huge red flag that I had around my ex who had mommy issues was that, when he was with her, he was different.

It was a full year into our relationship before I met her but I spent many a Sunday evening listening to them talk on the phone.

At first, I thought that his calling her every Sunday at 6 pm was charming but, after a time, I realized that I found it annoying. And not because it ate into our Sunday nights together but because, when he talked to her, he wasn’t himself.

I remember him laughing in a way that sounded not at all like him, a laugh that seemed almost forced. I remember him lying to her about what was going on in his life, even the small things that made no difference.


I remember him telling her he loved her at the end of the call in this weird, lilting way, using a tone that was so different from the way he talked to anyone else.

In retrospect, all of those things should have been huge red flags for me. Not only did they indicate that he had mommy issues but, after many years together, when our relationship was challenging, he started to act that way toward me.

And when he did that, it was the beginning of the end of our relationship.

So, take note. Is your guy the same person around his mother as he is around others in his life? Pay attention.



5. He's emotionally unavailable and/or needy.

This sign is usually much harder to spot because it tends to sneak up on you but if your guy is emotionally unavailable and/or needy, then it’s very likely that he has mommy issues.


A client of mine has a partner who she loves but who doesn’t make her feel loved. Even when they practiced the Five Love Languages and he gave her what she wanted — words of affirmation — she didn’t feel loved.

Over the years, this wore her down and made her feel unlovable.

In retrospect, what she learned was that it wasn’t about her — it was about him. His relationship with his mother was so complicated and so co-dependent that, to save himself, he shut himself off emotionally.

Sure, he could be there for you — or his mother — and take out the garbage, but to open himself up to sharing his emotions made him vulnerable to being hurt. So, he locked his emotions away in a tiny box in his heart, never to open it again.


At the same time, my client’s partner was needy. He needed to have her around, he wanted to hear that she loved him, and he would get jealous when she did things with her friends.

This, of course, drove her crazy, especially because she felt like he didn’t give her what she needed.

Why was he so needy? Because he had a huge hole to fill, left there by his mother, and he was desperate for her to fill it.


Unfortunately, the combination of being emotionally unavailable and needy eventually drove my client away. She just couldn’t be with someone who needed so much and gave so little.

So, if your guy is emotionally unavailable and/or needy, it could definitely be a sign that he has mommy issues and that you might want to get out sooner than later!

Recognizing that a guy you like has mommy issues can be hard to do but it's essential that you try.

Everyone wants that happily-ever-after relationship but a guy who has mommy issues will struggle to be in one without accepting that they have those issues and getting help for them.

With my ex, I was determined not to be the woman his mother was but, over time, I actually became like her in the eyes of my ex. Why? Because, I believe, in many ways, he made our relationship like his with his mother’s and he couldn’t have both and survive.


So, I left him and he no longer has me but he still has his mother!

RELATED: 8 Long-Lasting Effects Of Having Narcissistic Parents

Mitzi Bockmann is a certified life and relationship coach. She has over 10 years of experience in helping people find happiness in life and love.