Mamma’s boys have gotten a bit of a bad rap.
Sex and the City’s Trey MacDougal was easily manipulated by his domineering mother, Bunny. Principal Skinner on The Simpsons had some issues with his “beloved smother.” And Psycho’s Norman Bates was so close to his mother that he actually became her.
These are, of course, extreme examples of the kind of adult male who has yet to cut the apron strings. (Forget apron strings — these guys are tangled up in umbilical cord.)
According to a recent poll on online dating site Zoosk, Canadian women tend to be wary of mamma’s boys. When a man is babied by his mother, 76% of women polled declared it to be a turn-off.
“To me, a mamma’s boy is a man who never learns to live independently from his mother,” says Kristie, a 20-year-old who has dated mamma’s boys in the past. “He doesn’t get a haircut until she tells him to. He doesn’t go through the paces of a normal teenager or grown man, because he’s living through her filter. And it’s often self-imposed.”
Eligible women may raise an eyebrow at coddled sons, but in many cases, being a little bit of a mamma’s boy can actually be a good thing when it comes to relationships.
“Traditionally, the term ‘mamma’s boy’ was used in a derogatory fashion to depict men whose relationships with their mothers were intertwined in unhealthy ways,” says psychotherapist and author Dorothy Ratusny.
“The mothers of mamma’s boys are stereotypically seen as controlling, overprotective and emotionally needy. Yet, the term ‘mamma’s boy’ needs an overhaul. Today, many men have a healthy and loving relationship with their mothers while experiencing individuation and a good sense of self.”
Ratusny says that our cultural norms have yet to catch up with this revised view of a healthy, respectful mother-son relationship.
Braydon, 23, is a self-confessed mamma’s boy.
“I’m a mamma’s boy because my mother has a strong influence on me, and the type of life I live as an adult male,” he says. “Her values are often a factor I consider when making decisions.”
Braydon says his mother played a huge role in who he is as a person, and he is proud of the man he has grown into (thanks, mom!).
But Braydon admits that his close relationship with his mother hasn’t necessarily benefited him in his romantic relationships.
“The majority of my exes have felt threatened by my close relationship with my mother. But that speaks more to the types of women I’ve previously dated than the relationship itself, I think. I’ve sought possessive women, and that clashes with having a possessive mother. Now I tend to date women who are far less dominant, and there are far fewer problems.”
If you’re seeking out a solid life partner, you could do worse than to snag yourself a mamma’s boy.
“Men who have a (good) relationship with their mother — yet with healthy boundaries in place and a supportive and loving rather than dependent relationship — make ideal candidates for having their own healthy love relationship,” says Ratusny.
“A large part of establishing a close relationship with a woman is valuing females as a gender, seeing them as equal to males, and placing high regard on their intellectual capabilities, athleticism and inner strength.”
Ratusny says that men who value and appreciate their mothers without placing them on a pedestal tend to hold women in high regard.
“(Mama’s boys) are also more likely to have some understanding of females as a gender and how to relate well to them.”
Sexy Typewriter blogs about her dating failures – online and otherwise – at Sexytypewriter.com