Once upon a time there was a damsel in distress crying for help at the top of a tower. Down below was a fierce and fiery dragon. Away on a not-too-distant hill was a knight in shining armor on a white horse. As the damsel cried to the knight saying, “Please save me!” the knight looked at the dragon and then at the damsel. Then again he looked at the dragon and at the damsel. Abruptly the knight started to suck his thumb and cried out loud saying, “Mommy, Mommy, I’m scared!” The damsel could not believe her eyes. She quickly assessed her options and came to the conclusion that the knight was not going to save her. Immediately, like a bolt of lightning, she jumped out of the window dropping down below and almost breaking her legs. She then ran to the knight and pulled his sword out of its sheath. Filled with determination and fervor she drew near to the fierce dragon and whopped the head off. Quickly she made her way to the knight, jumped on his horse in front of him and galloped at fast speed into the sun to pursue her adventures.
I remember once sitting and drinking coffee at a fast food when suddenly several screaming children barged through the doors running towards the Kid’s meal toy display. Soon after that the dad walked in and quickly sat down. He appeared to not care about how his children were terrorizing the store clients. Lastly, an exhausted mother walked in. She started to take orders and delivering the food back and forth between the counter and the placid husband and energetic children.
What’s wrong with this picture?
If it weren’t for the fact that it is illegal, I was tempted to go to the husband and slap the man silly telling him to get off his duff, control the kids, and serve that tired woman. Instead he acts like one of the self-absorbed children.
How would you imagine this woman feels? My experience in counseling many couples with these characteristics in their relationship has taught me several important points.
Here are some clues on how you can know if you are in a relationship with a man stuck in his childhood.
1. Men who are boys create resentment in their partners.
Do you feel resentful toward your partner? You are realizing that you did not sign up to be his mother. Now you are sensing that you don’t respect him. Perhaps he made you think he was your knight. Now you notice that you are more mature than he is. He is selfish like a child. He probably put on an act to get you. You are seeing the real person now.
2. Men who are boys never learned how to be a grown-up.
These men have developmental deficits. Check to see whether your partner developed a sense of increasing responsibility and was accountable for his actions when growing up. Did he have free reign? Did he have healthy structure and accountability in his childhood? It is important for boys to learn progressively that they need to carry their own load and that there are other persons around them with legitimate needs. He is not the center of the Universe.
3. Men who are boys are forcing their woman to be masculine.
When a woman feels as if she has been emotionally abandoned by her man and has to take on his responsibilities she detaches from her “softness” and internal beauty to become a survivor. She has to turn into a man fighting beasts in her life to survive and to save her family. When a woman does this switch, she can often turn ugly, angry, and insensitive… something she hates to be…and something that she is not.
Many women have fallen in love with a man only to be disappointed that they are in a relationship with a boy.
Like in the original white knight story, women want to be swept off their feet in rapturous love. They dream of having that knight save her from her dragons and carry her off and away into some adventure. Some men are little boys right from the beginning while others regress once the relationship is advanced. Many women, desperate to be loved, will take a man and pamper him (like a mother) hoping that he will become that knight that will save her and love her.
Advice to Women
If you are in a relationship with man who is a boy it could be because you either want to be his mother or you are naïve. If you want to be his mother then knock yourself out and get ready for major disappointment and possible heartbreak. If you have been naïve, kindly say goodbye to the guy and RUN FOR THE HILLS! Make sure the next relationship is one with a man and not a boy!
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Oct 2009
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
López De Victoria, S. (2009). Babyman… Is This Your Guy?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/10/03/babyman%e2%80%a6-is-this-your-guy/