On this week’s fellas Friday, JW2 sounds off on the mama’s boy & tells the ladies how to deal! Follow him on Twitter @its_jdouble_u
“Men don’t even know who they are until they know what kind of women they want. And whatever he wants, it began with a woman.”
As many times as I’ve seen the movie, The Brothers, last week was the first time that quote resonated in my mind. Over on my personal site, I’ve written about the “girlfriend zero” effect. And lady blogger @JusLissen did a remarkable rebuttal post on dealing with the debris of girlfriend zero. Either you’ve been her or you despise her. When that woman is a relic in your boyfriend’s past, it’s easy to see where she went wrong. You can attempt to pontificate on how to “fix” what she broke. But how can you win when girlfriend zero is his mother?
Although the movie is centered on the romantic relationships 4 men have with women, the mother/son thread was woven in judiciously. After watching it again, it warranted a more meticulous analysis. There are a few categories that can identify a man’s relationship with his mother. I’ll offer up my advice on how to approach it.
Lack of emotional intimacy
The character Brian (played by Bill Bellamy) is the type women find strongly desirable in their mid-late 20s. He’s a lawyer, he’s good-looking, he maintains an enviable lifestyle, and he’s kid-less. But he’s a womanizer. He avoids substantial contact with women because he lacked an emotional bond with his own mother. She’s so resentful of his father (and the father of her 2nd son) walking out on them, there’s a major disconnect. The mere request of physical affection makes her visibly uncomfortable.
Many of us who are uncomfortable opening up are products of an emotionally rigid upbringing. For the minority community especially, single mothers often wear so many hats at once that they don’t have the time to allow their male children to sit and vent. That distance is further exacerbated if there’s extreme hostility towards the father of said child. It’s difficult to be outwardly loving towards a child that is a spitting image of the man you loathe.
What women can do: Emotional intimacy is overwhelmingly important to most women, regardless of race. I said in my own post a few weeks ago, that a woman can choose to be patient. You can have faith that through your actions and your consistency in loving him that he’ll shed that tough shell. However if you’re not the tolerant type, you may have to just admit that he’s not going to change. Not now, not ever. At least not for you.
Filling Daddy’s Britches
I’ve always felt that a sometime-y father can be just as damaging as an absentee father. There’s nothing more cruel than having a father who knows better but refuses to or doesn’t care to do better. No matter the reason, when a mother inadvertently makes her son pay for the sins of his father, it’s unpredictable as to the type of man he’ll mature into. I have a few friends that fall into this category. They’re intensely nurturing and overprotective, which is a good thing. I mean that doesn’t seem bad right? Meh. The fallacy is that he could lead into the third category.
What women can do: Guys that had to assimilate themselves into a father figure, especially if they had other siblings, can be great partners. They’re typically clutch under pressure, great communicators, and decisive. They do things for the greater good.
Momma’s Boy or He Just Loves His Momma?
I’ll admit I fall into this category. My parents were married until my dad passed. My father’s work had him on the road often. So by me being the oldest, I did sometimes slip into father mode with my sister and brother. Do I consider myself a momma’s boy? Absolutely not! The main difference between a momma’s boy and a guy who just loves his momma is boundaries. A man can have a strong, functional relationship with his mother and still create boundaries where it won’t conflict with his romantic relationships.
What women can do: First of all, you have to know which you’re dealing with. If the man just loves his mother, she’ll be your greatest ally. Referring back to the movie, both Jackson (Morris Chestnut) and Derrick (DL Hughley) had close bonds with their mothers. And in the case of Jackson, his mother helped to speak logic into his irrationality as it dealt with women; specifically the one. If you’re dealing with a momma’s boy where his mother doesn’t respect your presence, just keep it moving. Neither of them will change.
We all have a past and we all deal with it differently. Guys are innately pros at compartmentalizing the parts of our pasts that are painful. But when girlfriend zero is his mother, you can’t ignore the problem. Whether she inflicted wounds or spoiled him rotten, he has to be made aware that as long as he stays stuck under her thumb, he’s never going to be the complete man that he envisions himself being.