By Marianne Mancusi Beach, GalTime.com
There are good boys, bad boys, and then there are mama's boys--the type of guys who are always judging their women by that yardstick of perfection--dear old mom. I mean we've all seen the tattoos!
While devotion between mother and son is, of course, wonderful, if you're not careful you could find yourself stuck in a perpetual second place to the woman who gave your guy birth. So what can a girl of a mama's boy do? We asked relationship expert and founder of the online magazine twoday, Natalie Bencivenga, the secrets of dating a mama's boy.
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What are some of the warning signs to be on the look out for when dating someone new?
"Does your boyfriend start every sentence with: 'This one time, when I was with my mom...' or 'Wow, you sound just like mom' (but in a wistful sort of way?) You may be dating a serious mama's boy." She laughs. "Mama's boys often times live within a five mile radius of their mother (if not in their mama's basement). They defer to her for every decision, they regard her as the Queen of all things domestic, and they expect you to embrace her philosophies (and recipes) immediately upon entering the relationship."
And living up to Mom and her recipe box can be daunting for even the most steadfast girl. Natalie says it's important not to repress your feelings about the situation.
"Eventually, something small will set you off and you will find yourself flying into a nagging rage about all the tension built up and acting, well, just like his mother," she says. "Instead, verbalize to him that you feel as though he is expecting you to 'fill' his mother's shoes. You are his lover, not his maid. Not his cook. Not his nanny."
And make sure to put that foot down early in the relationship. "You don't want to begin to take over mom's responsibilities and expect things to change two years down the road," Natalie points out. "And, guess what? If he doesn't like it...he can go cry to his mommy. You're looking to date men, not boys!"
So are there ways to untie him from the apron springs--without causing a major tantrum?
"Putting some physical distance between him and his mother could really do wonders for both their relationship and your own," says Natalie. "But, if moving isn't in your future, I suggest laying some ground rules. Sure, you don't mind visiting her a few times a month, but dinner every week is a bit excessive. Start your own traditions and rituals to slowly transition him from his mother's house to your own. Remember, you are his home now, and he needs to be encouraged to nurture your relationship. If you don't establish ground rules first, don't expect things to magically change ten years later. You have to ask for what you need; if you need space from his mother, let him know."
Of course bringing these things up can be a sensitive subject.
"If he always takes her side, or you find yourself left out of a lot of family events and planning, a counselor may be in order," Natalie says. "He may have deep rooted issues of insecurity and guilt that have followed him since childhood. He may never have gotten in touch with these feelings and he may become very defensive if you bring them up. But, an objective third-party could do wonders to get it all out in the open without saying things either of you will regret in the morning."
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