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Mommy Issues in Men: 9 Signs Your Man Has One and How to Help Him

Last updated on October 4, 2022 by Florence Adepoju

It's not uncommon for younger guys to be attached to their parents. In fact, some people have been tagged "mama's boy" because of their close bond with their moms. However, it's not a bad thing to have a healthy relationship with your mother. The bond between the mother and her kid helps to shape the child. It provides a stable foundation for a normal childhood experience. 

However, as they say, "too much of everything is bad." This can be true with the mother-son bond as well. Instead of providing the said stable experience, sometimes it can cause harm to the child's upbringing. As a result, the damage can extend to adult relationships.

Apart from the mother-son bond, another reason for mommy issues in adults is a troubled childhood. If a kid has a toxic relationship with his mom, it’s likely that he will develop mommy issues. The abuse or toxicity can have a huge impact on their adult life. 

If your man has been tagged a mommy's boy, there's something you can do about it. The first step to solving a problem is identifying it. For this reason, we will look at common signs of mommy issues in men and what to do about them. We will also discuss how these issues in males affect relationships and what you can do if you're dating a mommy's boy.

Mommy Issues in Men and How To Deal With Them

You won't hear health experts using the term "mommy issues" because it is not a medical condition. It, however, does not make it less concerning. In fact, it has been a widely talked about issue in movies, music, books, and social media. 

It's a topic that has been on the lips of married people for decades. So what does it mean to have mommy issues?

We can define it as when a man has a complicated relationship or adult attachment1 to his mother. As we mentioned earlier, these Attachment issues are formed from a dysfunctional childhood3.

Signs Of Mommy Issues

Before working on solving mommy issues in men, you should identify the patterns. If he exhibits some of the patterns we'll mention below; he might have mommy issues.

1. He has been called mommy’s boy.

If there's been more than one occasion where people called him a mommy's boy, it is probably true. Especially if his close friends and family make these remarks. People will call him mommy's boy if they notice that he can hardly decide without his mother’s input. 

It's possible that his mom runs almost every aspect of his life. If he constantly seeks validation or turns to his mother when making decisions, consider it a red flag. Most people don't use the term mommy's boy frivolously, and these attachment issues can affect other relationships. 

2. He compares you with his mother.

If his standard of measurement of women is based on the qualities of his mother, it's a red flag. Women are different, not only in appearance but also in character. He shouldn't expect every woman to be like his mother. Doing so is putting unnecessary pressure on a significant other to be like someone else. 

It is essentially impossible for any woman to fill the shoes of someone's mother. A man with mommy issues may have a hard time acknowledging that, which becomes a problem. 

Couples arguing

3. He can’t trust easily.

Another sign of a mommy's boy is a lack of trust. Men with dysfunctional relationships with their mothers can exhibit a lack of trust if they were detached from their mom during childhood or had an absent mother. 

An abandoned child can sometimes hold a grudge against women, and it won't be easy to get them to open up. He might also be overly critical. A mommy's boy will always display jealousy and neediness and may be over-possessive2.

4. He doesn’t appreciate a woman’s worth.

Due to the emotional unavailability of the mom and other issues like abuse and excessive control, a mommy’s boy might be dismissive of women.

The negative emotions of this toxicity from their mother figure will cause the child to see women differently. And this will also affect their romantic relationships as adults. They may develop anger problems and even lash out at women. 

5. He feels entitled.

One of the apparent signs of men with mom issues is entitlement. When a man has a very close bond with his mother, he’s used to getting everything he demands from her. Moreover, as a child, a mommy's boy won't find it difficult to get away with things

Their moms usually pamper them, so they develop egos and become self-centered. This upbringing comes out in their relationships. They expect their partner to do everything for them. And it’s likely that they'll go to their mom for help when there is a problem in the relationship. 

It will cause friction between the mother and the wife. As mommy's boys sometimes feel entitled to get help and assistance at their command, it’s easy to never take responsibility for anything.

6. He has low self-esteem.

At times, mommy issues can result in low self-esteem. Children who grew up in homes where their mothers didn’t give emotional support have these issues. It is not just an assumption, as studies have proved time and again. 

When parents fail to be present in their child’s life and activities, it affects the child's mental health. The little things matter for a kid, like school plays, a walk in the park, shopping together, and looking through their drawings and art projects. When a kid misses these experiences with parent figures, they lose trust in their abilities.

7. He is detached from relationships.

If previous partners have told him that he is emotionally unavailable, it’s possible that a childhood issue caused it. It’s natural for children to be closely and constantly attached to their moms at a younger age. However, not all kids get to have this experience. 

If he is in a group that never experienced secure attachment early on in life, it could explain the mommy issues. No wonder he finds it challenging to commit to a partner or people generally.

8. He acts clingy and needy.

Clinginess and neediness are not the most positive qualities in relationships. Men struggling with mommy issues find it hard to be alone. So they’ll cling to their friends, romantic partners, and mothers. Mature relationships require lots of respect for personal space, and this type of attitude can be problematic. 

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The reason why men with mommy issues become clingy is that they are dependent. And sometimes, dependence can stem from abandonment and neglect during early childhood. 

9. He gives his mom the big news first.

When anything spectacular happens in his life, and he can’t wait to break the news to his mom first, he is likely a mommy’s boy. So, it’s not surprising that his mom will be the first to know of a big promotion from work, rather than his partner. This, coupled with other patterns mentioned above, is a clear sign he has an unhealthy attachment to his mom.

Man on a call on his phone

How Do Mommy Issues Affect Personal Relationships?

Some women are more perceptive and quick to identify the signs of a mommy's boy. However, it becomes a problem for others who do not see the telltale signs. 

Before we discuss how to help men with mommy issues, let's explore the signs they exhibit towards their partner. It is undisputed that this dysfunctional bond will have a huge impact on their romantic relationships.

He’s always calling his mother.

We’ve mentioned earlier that close friends and family would easily identify a mommy's boy. You'll see the signs if you're in a relationship with someone with mommy issues. 

Mommy Issues in men go two ways, either they are too reliant on their mother or detest their mother. One easy way to tell if you are with a man like this is that his mother will be a priority. It's not that he won't consider you important; it’s just that he'll most likely always make his mom the No.1 priority. 

There's uncomfortable closeness.

Even though you are in a romantic relationship with your partner,  it feels like he is emotionally cheating on you. Men with mommy issues will display uncomfortable closeness towards their moms. It can make his partner feel not good enough in taking care of his needs. 

You'll notice your boyfriend or husband is treated like a kid instead of an adult. There have also been instances where women feel they have a rival and feel jealous.

Your partner resents his mother.

While these signs are synonymous with a partner with a close bond with his mom, what of the opposite? If your partner resents his mother, he'll be hesitant to make her part of his life. 

He'll keep you and your children out of her reach and won't want to bring up any conversations about her.

How to Handle Men with Mommy Issues

Now that you know the signs to look out for, what can you do about it? You don’t have to break up your relationship or ask for a divorce because of mommy issues. Instead, you can turn things around to help your partner. 

Here are things you can do when dating a man with mommy issues:

Couple talking

Don’t be an enabler.

If your partner is exhibiting any of such signs or is dealing with mommy issues, don’t enable him. What we mean is that romantic partners should not encourage this behavior by taking on roles as mother figures. 

It won’t help matters; besides, it’s weird taking on such a role with someone you’re intimate with.

Spell out the boundaries.

You can't manage adult attachment or keep silent. If your boyfriend/husband's mom is not giving you space, you need to set boundaries. You can do this by having a conversation with your partner, agreeing on boundaries, and communicating them with his mother.

At the same time, consider setting boundaries with your partner also. This will improve your relationship while protecting your peace. 

Be an understanding partner.

Above everything else, you should strive to be a good partner for your significant other. While it's important to take control of this situation, you shouldn't push his mom away. It's not easy for men to overcome mommy issues; so, while they deal with it, try to be there for your man and support him. 

You can educate yourself on the subject to be more informed. Try to be a good listener and see things from his perspective to understand why he acts a certain way.

Don’t be judgemental.

When women meet men with mommy issues, they are quick to bolt. Popular culture teaches women to ditch the relationship and mock their romantic partners. But you should realize that mommy issues in men are not intentional. It is an Oedipus complex, which is just an effect of his early childhood experience. 

There's not much control your partner has regarding his upbringing. Still, it is a trait that can cause toxicity in adult relationships, if not treated maturely. 

Get Professional Help

While it's okay to give your partner the love and emotional assistance they need, you are not a professional. Perhaps the best way to get a lasting solution for mommy issues in men would be to see a therapist. 

Remember that mommy issues aren't entirely his fault; the fair share of the problem is foundational. However, taking responsibility is up to him as he works on his unresolved issues and relationship. This will help him develop a meaningful and rewarding relationship when he overcomes the impediment.

Therapists have all the skills, tools, and experience to handle these types of problems. Above all, this will help your partner heal from childhood trauma, and that, in its turn, will benefit more than just your own relationship. 

Ideally, the outcome would be breaking the unhealthy relationship pattern with the mom, seeing his self-worth, and becoming independent. And last but not least, a therapist will also help him develop a healthier way to relate with loved ones without forming unhealthy attachments.

FAQs

How does a boy with mommy issues act?

A boy with such behavior can either be clingy to his mom or resent her. The mommy issues could arise from an unhealthy bond between a mother and a son. It can also arise from abandonment issues.

What are the signs of mommy issues?

The signs of mommy issues include a strong need for affection and reassurance, trust issues, seeking maternal validation, commitment issues, lack of affection and dismissive behavior, extreme overbearing, anger issues, and feeling entitled and demanding.

How do you comfort someone with mommy issues?

Provide essential emotional support, patient reassurance, and be understanding toward a person dealing with mommy issues. This will help increase trust. 

Avoid mentioning their moms or raising their names during conversations as well as enabling this behavior. Give your romantic partner enough time to develop trust, and you can encourage them to seek professional help.

What do mommy issues lead to?

Mommy Issues have led to strained relationships, commitment issues in men, and trust issues. Men dealing with this problem become emotionally detached in their romantic relationships. As a result, they begin to show a fearful avoidant attachment style.

How do you cure mommy issues?

It takes hard work and commitment to heal from mommy issues. You can identify unhealthy patterns and seek help from a professional. Unhealthy attachments require patience and healing before you’re able to build a more secure connection.

In Conclusion 

While mommy issues in men can lead to strained relationships, you can do a lot of things to help and support your partner. 

With this detailed guide, you can learn ways to be a good partner for someone with an unhealthy attachment to their mom and get your relationship back on track.

Do you feel like all you think about is him, but he only thinks about himself?
This doesn't mean he doesn't like you. You have to understand how he is wired. Once you do, you'll find there is a subtle thing you can say that to him that will drastically change how he shows his emotions towards you.

Take this quick quiz that looks at whether he actually likes you or not!

Sources:

  1. Chris, F (2018): Adult Attachment Theory and Research: A Brief Overview: http://labs.psychology.illinois.edu/~rcfraley/attachment.htm
  2. Allison R (N/D) 10 Ways To Stop Being Possessive Every Couple Needs To Know: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/10-ways-stop-being-possessive-every-couple-needs-know.html
  3. Sharon, M (2020), Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families, Unworthiness, and Shame: https://psychcentral.com/blog/imperfect/2020/03/adult-children-of-dysfunctional-families-unworthiness-and-shame
  4. Elizabeth K, (2022), Do I have mommy issues? As a therapist: https://www.talkspace.com/blog/mommy-issues/
  5. UWC (2022), What causes mummy issues in men: psychology, meaning and signs: https://www.unitedwecare.com/what-causes-mommy-issues-in-men-psychology-meaning-signs/
Florence Adepoju
I am a trained teacher, psychologist, writer, and stay-at-home mom. I am passionate about children, girl children, and the female gender. My interests include volunteering, caring for the elderly, watching movies, and cooking. I currently stay in Lubbock, Texas, with my family and dog, Ayden.

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