By Sarah Rae, BounceBack.com Editorial Staff
I'm sure you're thinking of the "Mom" heart tattoo, but being a Mama's boy is way more than skin-deep. You think you can spot them, but it may not be obvious when you start dating. He probably won't say things like, "Well my Mom says…" or "My Mom told me that…" You may not hear him on the phone with his mother. He may not tell you that she still does his laundry. He may not expect to be pampered and fussed over. Being close to Mom can manifest in a million different ways. The real Mama's boy doesn't always wear it on his sleeve.
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If your Mama's boy is spoiled rotten, living off his mother, letting her make all his decisions, or still throwing tantrums at 34, then he's just dependent and not worth it. The real Mama's boy has the more covert, abstract tattoo. For example, a tattoo of a playing card because she loves to play bridge or a cardinal because red is her favorite color or a turtle shell because she took him to the reptile zoo when he was little. Once you see the hoops he'll jump through for Mom it can become a fight or flight situation.
What to expect:
Mama's boys make you feel like you have to compete. Not that you have to be like their mother, that's just plain creepy. No, a Mama's boy makes you feel like you have to compete for their attention. His gifts for Mom are more thoughtful than anything he gets for anyone else. Sometimes he gets her something for no reason. Her calls don't get screened. He's willing to put anything on hold for her. When she has a bad day, he has a bad day. Nothing is ever her fault. He might get cagey if you ask to do something while Mom is visiting. He wants her all to himself. He saves his money and takes her out to a fancy dinner.
Before you start the showdown, stop and think. What you have to consider is that her position is inalienable. She'll always be his mother no matter happens. You, on the other hand, may not always be his partner. You're going to have to show you have staying-power before you start getting some of that attention for yourself. If it's just not for you, then it's time to walk.
Mama's boys don't like being confronted about their bond with Mom. Usually it's borne out of a bad divorce, an abusive father, a death in the family, or a rough childhood. If you have an argument and you throw it in their face, you're going to get dumped. Long before you came along, they were weathering the storm together. That's a history you can't compete with, but you can relate. There has to be someone, a friend, sister, even an ex, who is a non-negotiable part of you life. If a new partner tried to remodel that relationship, you would send them packing, too. The number one reason to hang in there with a Mama's boy: These guys actually have a clue how to treat, love, and respect a woman.
When to put your foot down:
So he goes out of his way to do things for her that he wouldn't do for anyone else. That's all good and well, if Mom is a sweetheart, but some take advantage. There are always mothers who just don't deserve their sons. Red flags should go up when she asks for favors that are way out of line, and he readily complies. She gets upset when she doesn't immediately get him on the phone, even when you're out at the movies. One example I've heard a million times: He can't take a vacation away from Mom. If he plans a weekend getaway with you, Mom will pull out all the stops to keep it from happening. What if she needs something while he's away? And how much is that going to eat into his savings? She's heard that Paris is dangerous. And she thinks she might be getting the flu [insert fake cough]. If you do go to Paris, she will call in the middle of your dimly-lit, uber-romantic dinner to ask for help with the computer, and he will answer the phone. That is when you put your foot down.
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