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How to Win the Heart of a Mama's Boy

by Anna Green

When you have feelings for a man with a close attachment to his mother, you may feel as though you are in competition with a woman who has had his heart much longer than you have been in the picture. Such feelings can hamper a relationship, however. Instead of trying to take the place of your man's mother or change their relationship, focus on the strengths and positive qualities that your mama’s boy -- and his mama -- bring to the relationship.

Understand Your Role

Although your love interest may appreciate many of his mother’s qualities, you do not need to try to win him away from his mom’s affections. Instead, let his mother play her role -- that of the nurturer -- while you play yours -- that of the prospective romantic interest. For example, if your man appreciates his mother’s Sunday dinners, do not try to compete by making your own weekend meal. Instead, help him make plans for a romantic Friday night out.

Embrace Family

Even if your mama’s boy seems overly attached to his mother, trying to force him to distance himself from her can lead to resentment and damage your relationship. Instead, accept your man’s mother as part of your life and, if possible, try to get to know her. For example, once you have started dating, invite your boyfriend’s mother to lunch.

Accept Your Mama’s Boy

While being a mama’s boy might mean that your love interest is sensitive and in tune with women’s needs, it might also mean that he is overly dependent on his mother. He might rely on her to make decisions for him or even insist on living with her into adulthood. Although you might find these habits frustrating, think about whether you can live with them. If you can live with his level of attachment to his mom, accept it without criticism, even if he does not make the same choices you would make. Trying to change him will do little to win his heart.

Voice Criticisms Gently

If you find that your personality does not mesh well with your man’s mama, or even if she does something to upset you, do not be overly critical. When bringing these issues up with your boyfriend, be constructive rather than critical. Explain your feelings using “I statements,” advises John A. Johnson, a professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University, in the article "Are 'I' Statements Better than 'You' Statements?" for "Psychology Today." For example, say “I felt hurt when your mother did not invite me to brunch” instead of name-calling, blaming or losing your temper.

About the Author

Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images