You might have dated partners who are close to their families before. They're in attendance at every family event, large or small, they make sure to at least drop in at weekly family dinners, and they genuinely enjoy talking to and making regular plans with their siblings or parents. In certain cases, they might even toe the line between just being close with their family and being something closer to dependent on members of their family. If a guy does these things, he's a momma's boy, which, if you're in a relationship with him, you might want to know because it probably will affect the relationship that you have with him — and her — as well.
"I tell partners to address it as early as possible to avoid investing too much into a relationship that isn’t going to work," Dr. Dion Metzger, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist, tells Romper by email. "As a mother/son relationship can be a sensitive subject, I advise partners to approach the topic delicately. Instead of giving an ultimatum of 'her or me,' just communicate feeling less valued in the relationship and ask if it’s something that can be worked on. If he says no, wish him the best and part ways."
If it's something that he feels he can work on, there are a couple of ways to go about it. Either he can attempt to be more mindful of his relationship with his mother and your feelings about it or, potentially, meeting with a therapist might be helpful.
"Therapy can help people see this pattern in their relationship, and then learn ways to break this cycle and interact in a healthier way with each other," Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, LPC, RPT, a licensed marriage and family therapist tells Romper in an email exchange.
If the man in your life exhibits signs that he might be a momma's boy, it's likely time for a serious conversation.
1. He Needs To Get His Mom's Approval
"It can mean he has has trouble thinking for himself and making decisions on his own, based on what he truly wants," McBain says. Sure, asking for the input of people close to you when you're truly conflicted can be quite helpful, but, if they need to consult Mom before making nearly any decision, that's probably a sign that he relies on her a bit too much.
2. He Brings Her Up All The Time
Does he bring his mom up in conversation all the time, even when it's just a casual, run-of-the-mill conversation? That could be another sign that he's a momma's boy, Metzger says. She's clearly a huge figure in his life if he's talking about her all the time. Though the idea that she's an important part of his life, of course, isn't a bad thing and is completely understandable, if she's always a topic of conversation, that might not be so great for your relationship long-term.
3. He's Always Talking To Her
Just like he's always talking about her, he's also always talking to her. This might go along with his need to consult her on any decisions before he completely makes them. "One possible giveaway is frequency of contact," Dr. Wyatt Fisher, a licensed psychologist and couples counselor, tells Romper by email. "If contact is excessive then he may be a [momma's] boy." He needs her opinion on everything and can't go long without talking to her.
4. He Compares You With Her
Comparing you with, say, an ex can potentially (and understandably) cause problems in your relationship, but comparing you with his mother probably isn't much easier for you to take. Metzger says that this is another sign that he's a momma's boy. "This can lead to a partner always feeling like they’re playing second fiddle," she explains. And you don't want to feel like you're somehow falling short.
5. She Frequently Just Shows Up
If his mom drops by occasionally without giving the two of you any notice, it might not bother you all that much or it might feel like something you can totally tolerate, but if these instances get more frequent, it might mean that there aren't super well-established boundaries between mother and son. Frequent spontaneous visits from Mom could be a sign that he's a momma's boy, as Bolde noted.
6. He Puts Her First
Fisher also notes that if a man puts his mother ahead of his partner, that's another very clear sign that he's likely a momma's boy. Of course, that would be difficult to handle, not because you don't want your partner to value his relationship with his mother, but also because it could raise some questions in your mind about how he views your relationship. No one likes to feel like they're second-best.
7. He Seems Like A Kid Whenever She's Around
Metzger says that if your partner "appears childlike" when he's with his mother, that's another potential sign that he's a momma's boy. If he's like an adult away from her and like a kid whenever she's around, that might be something of which to take notice.
His being a momma's boy can have a serious impact on your relationship. "Eventually, it becomes a roadblock to the relationship growing stronger," Metzger explains. If you pick up on some of these signs in your own relationship, it might be worth broaching the subject.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.