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How to Deal With a Boyfriend Who Is a Mama's Boy

by Erica Loop

There's another woman in your boyfriend's life, and he isn't cheating on you. She calls, texts and he runs to her with any -- and every -- problem. She's his mom, and he's made it clear that he needs her just as much now as he did when he was a tiny tot. While having a close relationship with a parent is typically far from a problem, an over-reliance on his mother may signal that he needs to grow up and act like a more mature man. Not dealing with this issue now can cause future conflicts about finances, marriage or even having your own children.

Look inward and ask yourself if you can handle his dependence on his mother, suggests clinical psychologist Seth Myers on the website Psychology Today. Even if you can help him to break away from an overly-dependent bond with mom, he may still have lingering issues. If there's a possibility that he will always be a mama's boy, decide now whether you can handle having a relationship that also involves his mom or if you need to walk away.

Encourage him to set priorities. Remind him that he's an adult now and ask him if he wants to spend the rest of his life hanging out with mom or if he's ready for a real relationship. Your guy needs to decide if he can put you first or if his mother will always remain his number one, according to clinical psychologist Patrick J. McGrath on his website Ask Dr. Pat. Hand him a pen and paper and ask him to list his life goals. If marriage and children are priorities for his future, he'll need to put you ahead of his mother.

Ask him to set boundaries with his mother. Setting boundaries can help the two of you to work on your relationship without his mother's constant interference. Try to stay out of the boundary-setting talk that he has with his mom. Your boyfriend needs to draw the line himself and assert his own independence, according to psychologist and marriage and family counselor Marie Hartwell-Walker on the website PsychCentral.

Accept his limitations. If you've accepted that he is and will always be a mama's boy, get a grip on any resentments that you may have. Consider befriending his mom. This allows him to have her around as much as he needs, but also makes you part of the picture. For example, when she calls for her daily updates, put her on speaker phone so all three of you can discuss what's going on.

Discuss who makes the decisions in your relationship. True mama's boys often let mom make their decisions -- even as an adult. While making choices for him as a grade schooler was acceptable, deciding what he wears, where he goes and who he sees is no longer necessary. This is especially true when it comes to your relationship. Let him know how you feel and what you believe is -- and isn't -- appropriate for her to decide. For example, you may think that it's perfectly fine for her to choose where the three of you go out to dinner, but you may not want her to have the final say on the new apartment that you and your guy are selecting.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

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