Dating a Mama’s Boy: Stop Enabling Him

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man" by Steve Harvey. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you dating a mama’s boy? Do you want to know how to make your man prioritize you over his mother? How can you learn to set boundries?

According to Steve Harvey, if you are dating a mama’s boy, you are the culprit, not him. Harvey explains that a man’s mother is his first love and it’s where he learned his rules and principles and is the most comfortable. However, that does not mean he is unable to change with the right push.

Keep reading to learn how to navigate dating a mama’s boy with Steve Harvey’s advice.

The Other Woman—His Mother

Every now and then, you’ll come across a man who is considered a “mama’s boy.” The signs that you’re dating a mama’s boy are obvious:

  • He drops everything to do whatever his mother asks of him.
  • He never stands up to his mother. 
  • He puts his mother in front of his responsibilities to his own family.
  • He allows his mother to call the shots in his relationships.
  • He spends more time at his mother’s house than in your bed. 

It’s easy to identify a mama’s boy, but it’s hard to know what to do if you’re dating one. If you want to regain your man’s attention and keep him more focused on you than his mother, you need to understand why he’s a mama’s boy to begin with.

You may want to blame the mother for not giving her son the freedom to be a man. You might assume his mother doesn’t like you or thinks you’re incapable of making her son happy. You may believe your man is immature and likes being babied. The list goes on, but none of these excuses is the culprit for your man’s issues. Steve Harvey says the culprit is you.

His First Love

A mother is the first woman to hold a significant place in your man’s heart. She’s known him all his life and raised him under a certain set of rules and principles. She set her expectations for his behavior, and because he loved his mother, he followed them to make her happy. He also knew that there would be consequences if he didn’t follow her standards. And he also wanted to be a good man in her life. 

You may think your man would automatically cut the cord linking him to his mother when he grew up, but you’re wrong. By the time your man is grown, he’s been living under the umbrella of his mother’s standards for so long, they’re second nature. He’s clear about who she expects him to be, and loving her is easy because he understands his role in the relationship. His love for her means he respects her and wants to protect and provide for her. 

Yes, your man should be able to flip the switch and treat his woman with the same love, respect, and protection, and he would if he knew how. A man knows that he can’t and shouldn’t remain a little boy in love with his mother. He’s not unwilling to adjust his attitude and put the love of a good woman in front of the love for his mother. But until you tell him that’s what you need for him to do, he won’t. 

Your Silence Is the Glue Between Your Man and His Mother

Your man wants to do right by you, but you have to tell him what doing right by you means. He’s not a mind reader. He wants to love you and love his mother, and if you are silent about your dissatisfaction with her role in his life, he won’t know there’s a problem. Your man needs to know what your standards are so he can follow them, not his mother’s. 

When you become serious with a man, you must tell him that you expect him to respect you and your wishes, put your needs ahead of those of others, put your family’s needs ahead of anything else, and make sure the people in his life know that these are his priorities. 

If you’re with a mama’s boy, you may be afraid to say something and rock the boat. You fear he will choose her over you, that you’ll anger her and ruin your relationship, or that you’ll never be able to compete with her. None of those things really matter to a man. If your man loves you and knows his mother’s actions make you unhappy, he will do what he can to appease the situation. 

Try these tips to keep your man from becoming a mama’s boy:

  • Stop trying to compete with her. Your love is different from her love, and he knows that. 
  • Believe that loving his mother makes him capable of loving properly. 
  • Recognize that you’re not going to separate your man from his mother. 
  • Accept that your lack of standards makes him free to follow hers. 
  • Control what you can—the expectations you set for your relationship. 
  • Let your man know you respect his mother, but he needs to set boundaries for her influence in his life. 
  • Tell his mother how well your man protects and provides for you because of the standards she set for him. 
Dating a Mama’s Boy: Stop Enabling Him

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Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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