“Mama’s Boys” Make Better Relationship Partners, According To New Book
9:30 am, April 13th | by Laura Donovan
There’s a lot to consider if you’re choosing a male romantic mate for life, and your chances of success and happiness may be greater if he has a strong connection with his mom, according to Kate Lombardi’s new book “The Mama’s Boy Myth,” which argues that men who have tight-knit relationships with their mothers are all around better romantic partners.
Off the bat, this either makes a whole lot of sense or seems way off, as mama’s boys have a reputation for appearing unable to advance, especially in certain European cultures in which the men live with their mothers well into adulthood, but this bond is actually preferable to mother-son hostility, which could trickle into his romantic relationships and result in emotional or physical abuse.
“Boys are born with a strong need for connection and attachment to their mothers, and mothers have deep instincts to nurture and love their sons,” Lombardi told The Jane Dough. “The problem comes when our culture pressures mothers to push their sons away, and to do so at very tender ages. There’s a fear that mother-son closeness is somehow dangerous or even pathological. In fact, the research shows the opposite is true: a strong mother-son bond benefits boys in multiple ways.”
While mama’s boys are often stereotyped as wusses and their mothers as enablers, the men are actually more in tune with the women around them, says Lombardi:
“One of the things that mothers who are close to their sons do is teach them emotional intelligence – the ability to recognize and articulate their feelings, and also to understand those of others. These boys grow up to be better communicators and more emotionally sensitive, so they make better partners. Also, boys who are forced to separate prematurely from their moms – little guys whose moms stop cuddling and nurturing them because they think they need to toughen up – go on to have a harder time with women. The lesson they have learned is that the first woman they have ever loved and depended on has pushed them away. Is it surprising those boys grow up to be guys with commitment issues?”
Of course, there are plenty of emotionally distant, womanizing men who turned out that way in spite of their nice, stable upbringing, yet there are exceptions to every rule. Considering the growing number of man-boys with commitmentphobia and a knack for disappointing us, we could definitely use fewer cads in the world, but having known a few mama’s boys that struggled to find women who lived up to their mom’s image, I couldn’t help wondering whether this kind of closeness makes it harder for guys to stick to one woman and stop comparing said lady to their mothers. Lombardi assured me that mama’s boys aren’t likely to fall victim to this line of thinking, as they view their moms as humans as opposed to perfect beings:
“[T]he men I spoke to who were close to their mothers didn’t idealize them, but saw their mothers as real human beings, complete with strengths and weaknesses. That’s part of what real closeness is. That said, there is evidence that men tend to choose partners who resemble their mothers – not just physically, although that tends to be true, but also emotionally and intellectually. Researchers at the University of Iowa have found a connection between a mother’s academic and professional achievements and the partner her son seeks. And, as one guy said to me, ‘Of course I want to marry someone like my mom, both personality- wise, and with that same emotional support. My mom is the first woman I ever loved.’”
There are downsides to any personality type, but mama’s boys are much more likely to treat the women around them well than men who disrespect their mothers. I don’t believe everything my parents told me as a child, but one valuable piece of advice my father gave his two daughters was to never to go for a fellow who didn’t have a solid relationship with his mother, and I’m pretty sure he was spot on with his implication.