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18 Alarming Signs Your Partner Has Peter Pan Complex

by Sonya Schwartz

Are you dating someone that you wish would just grow up a little bit? Perhaps you want the relationship to progress to the next level but it seems that you’re the one pushing things forward? Or could it be that you think that your partner constantly acts like a man-child?

You could be dealing with an individual that has Peter Pan complex. We most likely all know someone that has Peter Pan syndrome, and unfortunately, it’s normally the most initially attractive men. These people will live a carefree life, they’ll travel, party, spend money like it’s water and ultimately be lots of fun to be around

However, the novelty of being with someone that has no intention of growing up quickly wears off, and problems start to occur within the relationship. So, if you’re struggling with your partner’s laidback attitude and childlike lifestyle, this article is here to help you figure out if they suffer from Peter Pan syndrome.

What Is The Peter Pan Complex?

A well-known and well-loved book and Disney character Peter Pan is a boy that lives in Neverland, a place where children never age and grow up. Prominent psychologist Daniel Kiely was the first to use the term ‘Peter Pan syndrome’ when trying to analyze and explain why some men are held back from emotionally developing as other adults do. 

The term is now commonly used to identify people that act like children, avoid adult life, and can’t understand adult concepts. The syndrome can be prevalent in both men and women but occurs mainly in men. 

What Causes Peter Pan Syndrome?

There has been extensive research done into what causes the inability of some people to fully mature and emotionally develop into adults, with various conclusions. People can develop this type of complex for many reasons. Some of which are:

  • They have been subject to overly protective parents that never let them be independent.
  • They weren’t disciplined as children, meaning they feel like they can act however they like and don’t regard rules or think about responsibility.
  • They have experienced childhood trauma and not worked through it, instead, they are stuck feeling insecure and childlike.
  • They have always been in relationships where their partner does everything for them, not allowing them to take on responsibilities.

Now we’ve taken a look at what the syndrome is and what causes it, hopefully, your understanding will have deepened and you’ve thought about whether anything mentioned resonates with your partner. Let’s take a look at the signs of someone that has the syndrome to help you in figuring it out.

18 Signs Of Peter Pan Syndrome

1. He Doesn’t Care About Stable Finances.

What’s something that children have no clue about and aren’t concerned with? Finances. Someone with Peter Pan syndrome will not care about their finances. They will most likely have unpaid bills, large amounts of debt and a horrific credit score, because let’s be honest, there’s nothing more adult about keeping track of your money and being sensible about it. 

2. He Expects You To Pay.

As mentioned above, a Peter Pan man doesn’t care about his own finances and therefore he definitely won’t care about yours. He will expect you to pay for everything from the household bills to date night cheques. He doesn’t understand the adult world and therefore won’t be able to grasp the concept that couples share expenses or responsibilities.

3. He Can’t Cook.

You might think that this one applies to a lot of men, but this isn’t about how much of an awful chef someone is, but more about the fact someone that has a Peter Pan complex will never learn to cook because they expect someone else to provide them with good food. Children expect their parents to give them food at certain times in the day, without any thought for the cooking process or the price of food - a Peter Pan man is no different.

4. He Parties A Lot. 

A man with Peter Pan syndrome will be a party boy always wanting to go out and have fun with no regard for the money he’s spending, the amount of alcohol he’s drinking, or the time he is wasting. Of course, we all love to party, but a Peter Pan man parties differently and can act however he wants to because he has no adult responsibilities or duties to fulfill when he wakes up the next day.

5. He Doesn’t Want And Can’t Hold Down A Stable Job.

Someone with Peter Pan syndrome will never be a successful employee and they will never have a stable job because quite simply they don’t want to have one. This kind of guy is more concerned with having fun and living a carefree life to worry about where his next cent is coming from. He certainly won’t have the time to think about getting a job or working towards a career, because it doesn’t fit with his plan of doing exactly what he wants when he wants. In addition, career options are very limited for him due to a lack of life skills.

6. He Doesn’t Commit.

Commitment doesn’t fit into the life of a guy that has Peter Pan syndrome, and that’s committing to anything as small as a gym membership to as big as a monogamous relationship. This kind of man never wants to commit to anything because it ties them down too much to one single thing when all they want to care about is making themself happy and having an adventure. It’ll be extremely hard to get this kind of man to commit to you, even if you believe they care about you.

7. He Has No Intention Of Being A Good Parent.

Men that have Peter Pan syndrome never have the intention of being a good parent, because they still regard themselves as a child that needs to be looked after. Always adventurous and carefree, these types of men will happily have unprotected sex leading to the birth of a child, but they will never be able to commit to being a good parent. If you have a child with a Peter Pan man, it can be incredibly difficult to make sure they’re involved in your child’s life whether you’re together or not.

8. He Doesn’t Look To The Future.

Children live in the moment and enjoy whatever they’re doing at that minute, with no worry or hope for their future. As a Peter Pan man is like this, you’ll never hear them speak about the future. If you try to bring up the future of the relationship, they will shut it down and move onto something else. For them, there’s no joy in thinking about what will happen and working towards a goal, instead, they enjoy the present with a carefree attitude.

9. He Frequently Talks To His Parents, Especially His Mother.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a man regularly speaking to his parents, in fact, it’s heartwarming and attractive when a man cares about his family and wants to be involved. However, a man with Peter Pan syndrome will speak to his parents all the time, especially if they have always done everything for him and been overprotective. He will be a real ‘mommy’s boy’ and need to feel praise from his parents constantly. His parents will act how he wants them too doing everything for him, as well as making all of his decisions. 

10. He Expects You To Take On All Of The Household Responsibilities.

People with Peter Pan syndrome expect everything to be done for them, including household chores. If he has actually left his childhood home (which is unlikely) he will still expect to be treated as if he was living at home, having everything done for him. He will expect you to take on the role of the housekeeper and cleaner, as well as everything else and the thought to help you with chores will never cross his mind.

11. He’s Narcissistic. 

Those that have Peter Pan syndrome are incredibly narcissistic to the point where unless it affects them and they care about it, they don’t want to know about it. It’s incredibly difficult to be in a relationship with someone like this, because they never think about you or your needs, only their own. You will feel like you’re constantly being let down if you’re in a relationship with someone like this as they truly only think about themselves.

12. He Gets Angry About Adult Concepts.

If you or anyone tries to tell someone with Peter Pan syndrome to take up some adult responsibilities, they will get incredibly angry. Their life revolves around them and doing exactly what makes them happy, not around filing taxes, cleaning the house, or being a good parent, so if confronted about any adult responsibilities, it will cause a fight. People with Peter Pan syndrome genuinely don’t understand why others care so much about adult life and so they try to avoid it and when confronted, they rebel against it

13. He Reads Comic Books And Watches Children’s TV Programs.

Due to the fact people with Peter Pan syndrome are emotionally immature and are stuck in the mindset of a child, they also normally watch programs suitable for children, read comic books and play video games. Not only is it incredibly unattractive if your man is constantly sat in front of a cartoon or playing on a games console, but it’s also difficult because you can’t enjoy watching anyone more emotionally mature together. 

If your partner does have Peter Pan syndrome, he’ll never want to go to settle down on an evening and watch a documentary together, instead, he’ll be sat flicking through a comic book and expecting you to make dinner as if he’s a teenager. 

14. He Dresses Like A Teenager.

There comes a point in everyone’s life where they decide to ditch the baggy T-shirts with their favorite cartoon character on and swap it for something more demure and age-appropriate. However, someone that has Peter Pan syndrome will never throw away these clothes because that’s all they will wear. They will dress as they did as a teenager because their style emulates their emotional progression - never changing.

15. He Drinks And Does Drugs.

Most people that have Peter Pan syndrome will enjoy drinking a lot and getting high. A man with Peter Pan syndrome will normally drink or get high when he’s not out on an adventure or doing something he finds exciting. Getting drunk or high are escape methods for these people because they don’t want to have to deal with adult responsibilities. They won’t care about the amount of money they’re spending on alcohol and drugs and could even spend other people’s money on getting their kick, including their partners’.  However, it is important to say that if the personality of your partner doesn’t resonate with any of the points in this article apart from this one, it could be that they have an alcohol or drug addiction. 

16. He Surrounds Himself With Other People That Also Have Peter Pan Syndrome.

It’s no secret that we all surround ourselves with people that share our interests, have similar lifestyles, or who we aspire to be like. The people around us reflect who we are. There’s no exception to this with people that have Peter Pan syndrome - they surround themselves with others that are the same. More than anyone else, people like this need to be surrounded with similar minds so that they can live a life of adventure with people that are childlike too. So, if you are trying to work out whether your partner has Peter Pan syndrome or not, one of the ways you might be able to tell is by looking at his friends. 

17. He Has Never Lived Alone.

Due to the fact that someone with Peter Pan syndrome can’t take on the responsibilities of adult life and needs to constantly be looked after, they don’t live alone. If these kinds of people lived alone they would then have to deal with adult responsibilities themselves, which they’re unable to do. So, most people with this complex live in their childhood homes until they find someone else that can cater to their needs as well. Obviously, you might already be living with your partner. Did he live with his parents before he moved in with you, and do you know find yourself filling the ‘mother’ role in his life? If so, then you could have a man with a Peter Pan syndrome on your case.

18. He Doesn’t Feel Your Emotions.

Due to the fact that people with Peter Pan syndrome are narcissistic and childlike, they will not be able to take on your emotions or sense how you are feeling like partners can in more normal relationships. People with Peter Pan syndrome have very little care for others, and so your emotional needs may never fully be met by someone like this.

FAQs

What Causes Peter Pan Syndrome?

At the top of the article, you can take a look at the causes of Peter Pan syndrome in more detail, but overall, Peter Pan syndrome is typically caused by events in childhood or the lifestyle the individual had as a child, such as overly protective parents, no parental discipline and traumatic events. 

What Is Wendy Syndrome?

As Wendy is with Peter Pan in the book and film, she is the overly caring woman that wants to be appreciated and loved. Daniel Kiely who came up with the concept of Peter Pan syndrome also came up with Wendy syndrome. Wendy syndrome is one person in the relationship who wants to be appreciated so much that they end up taking the mother role rather than the partner role, therefore doing everything for their partner (normally a Peter Pan man).

What Is Peter Pan Personality?

Someone that has a Peter Pan personality is normally selfish, childlike, carefree, and reckless. They live for adventure and freedom and always need someone to rely on and take care of them.

Is Peter Pan A Narcissist?

Peter Pan is definitely narcissistic, but can’t be defined as a narcissist. Although people that have Peter Pan syndrome might act as a narcissist would, they don’t normally show all of the other characters of narcissistic personality disorder. If you are concerned that your partner might have a narcissistic personality disorder, take a look at another article on our site here.

What Mental Disorder Makes You Act Like A Child?

Although Peter Pan syndrome is not considered a mental disorder, it’s probably what you’re thinking of. Otherwise, there are no mental disorders that make you act like a child, instead, various disabilities can make people come across like they are children although they’re fully formed adults.

In Conclusion

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand more about what Peter Pan syndrome is, what causes someone to have this type of complex, and what the signs of someone with the syndrome are. It can be extremely difficult to be in a relationship with someone with this syndrome, but you need to remember that they are not your responsibility. 

Did you like this article or do you want to discuss it further? Let us know in the comments and share!

Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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