How to Recognize and Deal With a Man-Child
Some people define a man-child as being an adult male who is immature, but that definition is actually incomplete.
If you are unfortunate enough to have become involved with a man whose behavior does not seem quite normal or who is excessively needy, you have a person on your hands who will become increasingly difficult to deal with as your relationship progresses, and who can make your life absolutely miserable.
In order to stop this relationship before it goes too far, it will be important for you to recognize how the man in your life responds to situations and seriously consider whether this is the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life, count on when times get tough and father your children.
What Is a Man-Child?
Men who are extremely immature for their ages usually were overly nurtured as children. Their parents protected them to a point where they did not get to experience the natural situations that occur normally in life or bear the consequences of making mistakes.
As children, their parents likely would do such things as cutting their meat for them at dinner, angrily confronting their teachers based just on their child’s version of events at school, blame other children for the behavior of their own, do their homework for them and things of similar ilk.
Teaching a child to think that he is always right is never to blame and does not have to handle tasks and responsibilities either at home or at school literally stunts his mental growth.
Parents take protective measures to make sure their child is happy and safe, but they often go too far. When they do, their intentions are good, but the results are ruinous for their child in the long run.
A True Life Example
A man I know grew up in a home with parents who doted on him because he was the youngest child and also the only boy. His older sisters doted on him also. The result was that he rarely faced consequences for the things he did, and was made to feel that he always exhibiting acceptable behavior, even when this was not true.
This boy grew up, went to college, married, had a child and worked as a high level administrator in his local school district.
He was horrible at his job, but because he was affable, nobody paid attention to any of the major mistakes he made as he went about his daily business.
- The kids loved him because he was just like them!
- The parents loved him because he never disciplined their children.
- The teachers hated him because his lack of ability mad their jobs much more difficult.
He was a physically large man because he had absolutely no discipline when it came to eating. Worse yet, he always had candy bars readily available and ate them constantly.
He had a terrible marriage. When his wife died, he married again. This marriage was also terrible.
The result of his undisciplined and uncontrolled behavior throughout his life was that the eating and the candy caught up with him. Now he has heart disease, kidney disease, sleep apnea and can do very little other than sit and watch TV.
Despite his problems, he continues to sneak eat the wrong foods and ignore his doctors’ orders.
It’s a sad story, but is typical of what happens when a boy is not properly raised such that he understands that there are consequences for everything he says and does!
How to Recognize a Man-Child
There are many behaviors that should clue people in as to whether a man falls into the category of extreme immaturity. These include but are not limited to:
- continually arriving late to dates, social events and meetings,
- spending too much time doting on himself,
- ignoring responsibilities,
- never taking blame,
- cheating of any kind,
- borrowing things and not returning them,
- lying to protect his ego and interests,
- ignoring or downgrading the needs of other people,
- being unreasonably romantic or unreasonably cold towards the woman in his life,
- flirting with other women while with his wife or girlfriend and
- refusing to share work loads with his wife.
In short a man-child is a person whose every behavior shouts out “me, me, and me”. He spends his life fawning on himself and taking care of his own needs while treating others in his life as though they owe him.
What to Do
Dealing with a person who has this personality flaw is not easy, especially if you have allowed yourself to go too far into the relationship.
- On the one hand, if you try to ignore the things he says and does, he will become progressively aggressive in his behaviors.
- On the other hand, if you try to change his ways, disagree with him or get in the way of anything he wants to do, you’re going to be fighting all the time.
So, if you are not yet involved, your best bet is to walk away from the relationship.
If you are emotionally or legally tied into the relationship and want to maintain it, the best you’ll be able to do is try to compromise on the most important issues.
For example, my own ex husband was a totally undisciplined spender. Nothing I could do would keep him from wasting our money. He would even go so far as to try and hide things that he purchased!
We both worked, but he was using far more than his fair share of our income for his own needs.
As a result, I opened up a separate bank account in my name only, deposited my paychecks into it, divided our living costs and told him whatever he had left over would be his to spend.
He soon ran out of money, but I refused to budge. I would not pay his share of the bills or any of my money towards the toys he wanted to have.
It wasn’t a perfect solution, but it eliminated any resentment I had about his spending habits. Ironically, he eventually agreed to let me cut up all of his credit cards. The result was that after a few years, we became debt free, and this made him very happy!
Compromise or Leave
You will never be able to totally compromise with a man-child, nor should you try to do so. If compromise at all is not possible, you will then have to decide whether you want to remain in the relationship or leave it.
It is very hard at the beginning lf any relationship to see what an individual really is like. This is why you should always give things plenty of time before making any long term commitments.
Learning how to recognize and deal with a man-child is one of the most important things you can ever do to protect yourself from having an unhappy relationship, so taking the time to learn the whole truth is well worth your effort.
Are you in a relationship with a man-child?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Is it a doomed relationship if my partner if forty-six and a man-child?
A man with childish tendencies can be a big problem for any woman he marries, but whether you will be happy being married to a man like this is up to you.Helpful 18
© 2018 Sondra Rochelle