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How to Recognize and Deal With a Man-Child

Dreamworker has known many people in life whose behaviors have caused unnecessary problems and wants to help them.

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.

How to recognize and deal with a man -child.

How to recognize and deal with a man -child.

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.

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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!

Boys whose parents allow them to manipulate them grow up to be highly immature men.

Boys whose parents allow them to manipulate them grow up to be highly immature men.

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.

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

Question: Is it a doomed relationship if my partner if forty-six and a man-child?

Answer: 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.

© 2018 Sondra Rochelle


Christine on May 17, 2020:

But what if the man baby is a relative

cherryl jordan jones on May 10, 2020:

I have been keeping quiet and trying to deal with it but I realize that life will go on and instead of me being a wife i am a mother. I really thought that with church and age we will see better days but i realize more and more as the years go by the child is still there and at times when he requests things like me taking him for a drive and i refuse he says things like he would begin to make noise or break up things.

Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on November 11, 2018:

You are going far beyond the scope of this discussion and getting into legal issues that are relative to individual situations, so let's end this here. Any banker will support what I've told you regarding the legalities of a couple keeping separate accounts, but that is not what this article is about. It's just one point, and I think we've beat it up enough. Good for readers to see though.

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on November 11, 2018:

OK, but if the spouses drew up wills, a power of attorney usually goes with it. The power of attorney gives access to the account. I was assuming (my bad) wills and the power of attorney, would be drafted in a marriage.

A divorce judge would consider the funds in the account for the division of the property. There is also the case of NCM, or incompetence.

Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on November 11, 2018:

Sorry to disagree, but power of attorney is NOT included in marriage papers or even "understood". To get power of attorney, one partner must actually assign it to the other with legal documentation. Don't know where you're getting your info from, but again, states may vary in the rules. Funds in a separate account are not accessible by a spouse unless his or her name is on that account also.

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on November 10, 2018:

Authorization may be by power of attorney which is included in marriage. Be aware. Funds in a "separate" account are accessible by a spouse.

Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on November 10, 2018:

“Legally, a spouse can’t access your personal savings account without permission,” said Scott Trout, CEO of national domestic litigation firm Cordell & Cordell, headquartered in St. Louis. “The only person permitted access to the funds on deposit is the person who is authorized to sign on the account

Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on November 10, 2018:

I will have to check into this point because I've always been led to believe that separate means separate when it comes to bank accounts. Is it possible this is a law that varies by state? I imagine a lawyer would have to sort this one out.

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on November 10, 2018:

"Yes, there is always a certain amount of joint liability when it comes to bank accounts, but in truth, one spouse cannot use the money of the other if it is separated like this."

Both spouses are liable for the joint assets of the marriage. In most marriages that means All the assets. One spouse may access the separate account by law. You can hide or attempt to hide assets by separate account.

People should receive counseling Before they get married and Before they have children.

Something can be learned from the relationship. What is it?

Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on November 09, 2018:

I'm sorry to hear this, but people who continually choose the wrong person literally are shouting "There's something wrong with me". The definition of insanity is to make a mistake, get hurt as a result, but continuing to make it again and again without realizing that you're even making it! Your friend could use some serious counseling, I think...and yes, this IS very sad.

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on November 09, 2018:

This is a very sad scenario. I know someone who has a history of falling for these types of men and has had a very difficult live as a result. After what you have described here, I understand more what she went through.

Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on November 09, 2018:

To the best of my experience and knowledge: people get married because they often rush into relationships in the glow of lust but don't actually "see" the flaws of their partner. If children are involved, of course they would be affected and involved. Harm can come in many ways and each situation is different. What can be learned is that individuals should take their time before committing themselves to relationships so that they know what the other person really is like. Yes, there is always a certain amount of joint liability when it comes to bank accounts, but in truth, one spouse cannot use the money of the other if it is separated like this. In the case of my example, it was the best choice at the time.

Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on November 09, 2018:

I love it when you respond to my articles because your perspective is always so spot on. Thank you. Your comment adds much to the content I presented here.

dashingscorpio from Chicago on November 09, 2018:

"Compromise or Leave " - Great advice!

Generally speaking people don't change unless (they) are unhappy. Very few people are walking around with one hand raised in the air screaming: "I'm looking for someone to change me!"

Most people want to be loved and appreciated for who (they) are.

Each of us (chooses) our own friends, lovers, and spouse.

Each of us has our mate selection process/must haves list.

Each of us has our boundaries and "deal breakers".

Don't ignore "red flags" and don't take on "projects". The goal is to find someone who (already is) the type of person you want.

Life is too short to be trying to change water into wine.

There are only two ways to experience joy and peace of mind in relationships. We either get what we want or we learn to be happy with what we have. Accept them as is or move on.

Suffering is optional. No one is "stuck' with anyone!

"Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary."

- Oscar Wilde

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on November 09, 2018:

Interesting article, here are a few points:

1. Why did the couple get married in the first place?

2. Are children involved or affected?

3. What harm was done by this man? (violent, psychological, financial)

4. What can be learned from this relationship?

I think you did a good thing by separating bank accounts, but remember there is still joint liability.

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