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5 Clear Signs Of Mommy Issues In Men And How To Create A Healthy Relationship

Steffo Shambo

Updated on Apr 4, 2024
mommy issues in men

Daddy issues. We’ve all heard that. How about mommy issues in men? 

Yes, you read that right. 

Imagine you’re at a family gathering. You’re surrounded by loved ones, savoring a delicious potluck feast. 

Amid the laughter, there’s that one cousin, let’s call him Jack. He’s the kind of guy who insists on calling his momma whenever he can’t find his socks or needs a recipe for instant ramen. 

We’ve all got a Jack in our lives, right?

This article will discuss the main signs of mommy issues in men, what it means, and the causes. 

Whether you are a man with mommy issues or a woman looking to solve your partner’s confusing behavior, this article should shed great light on this subject.

What Are Mommy Issues in Men? 

Mommy issues in men refer to emotional and psychological challenges. Men struggle with this when they have a complicated relationship with their mothers during childhood. 

And when we look at the mommy issues meaning sexually, it can reflect on the emotional aspects. I’m talking about the sense of abandonment and fear of intimacy. 

In other words, the man develops the habits of an avoidant when there is a void left by the mother. 

This can lead to mental health and intimacy challenges. To be specific, here’s what a man with mommy issues may struggle with: 

  • Trusting female partners 
  • Experiencing genuine intimacy 
  • Having a positive view of women 
  • Making long-term commitments
  • Setting healthy boundaries 
  • Emotional availability 

And the list goes on.

Are Mommy Issues in Men the Same as Daddy Issues in Women?

Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you will have heard about women with daddy issues. 

Perhaps you’ve dated one or even several. Some men even admit that this is their thing. 😉

Having a daddy issue can cause a woman to be promiscuous, overly needy, or anxious in her adult relationships. She might get labeled as a slut or drive her partners crazy with her constant need for love and attention.

smiling boy wearing a blue shirt with love your mama print

But we should have empathy and compassion for the women with daddy issues. 

As with many psychological issues, it usually comes from a poor or non-existent relationship with her father during childhood. 

Is it her fault? No. But if not tackled, a woman with a daddy issue can experience romantic adult relationships that feel chaotic. 

So what about men? Do men have daddy issues too?

The short answer is no, not in the same way that women have daddy issues. They have the same but in reverse: a mother wound instead of a father wound. They are equally as deserving of compassion and understanding as the aforementioned women with daddy issues.

How Do Mommy Issues Manifest?

Mommy issues can be boiled down to a lack of trust in the feminine. This is most often due to not having received adequate love, care, and attention as a young child.

As a result, a boy grows up with no balance in feminine energy

Moreover, he develops trust issues towards the women around him. Mental health symptoms may also develop as he gets older. 

He finds love and intimacy unsafe. His actions in a romantic relationship usually demonstrate this. 

Mommy issues tend to manifest in their least severe form as a resistance towards intimacy.

In their most severe form, they can manifest as the following: 

  • Hatred of women
  • Domestic abuse
  • Rape 
  • Violence

Age gaps

Some men with mommy issues may find themselves more attracted to much older women. 

In these instances, a man searches for the mother figure he lacks with past or current romantic partners.

Simultaneously, other men with mommy issues may be attracted to younger women. 

By going for those much younger than himself, he is essentially avoiding the intimacy that comes from having a strong intellectual connection with a woman. 

It is not impossible for an older man to have a strong intellectual match with a younger woman, but it is rare.

Another Kind Of Mommy Issue – The Mama’s Boy

The opposite also manifests in women with daddy issues. They tend to chase older men. They subconsciously or consciously search for the father figure they lacked as a child.

In other cases, a man can suffer from an entirely different kind of mother wound. 

If a man is or was a mama’s boy, he may struggle to find a woman he perceives as being as good as his mother. This is much less common but still happens. 

Just as with men who did not receive enough love, men who received too much love from mom can have problems with relationships.

A man’s relationship with women is impacted in all of the above instances. 

Women are seen as needy, demanding, or simply not good enough.

You should also know that there is a huge difference between a wounded man and an awakened man. I summarize this best in my short YouTube clip below: 

The Causes Of The Mother Wound

The mother wound in men usually stems from a difficult relationship with their mother in childhood.

According to Amir Levine and Rachel Heller (Attached, 2012), boys whose mothers were physically and emotionally unavailable or unresponsive will internalize their need for love and attention.

During childhood, a boy needs to have a safe and secure attachment to his mother. 

A boy with a secure attachment to his mother knows that his needs will be met and emotional distress will be tended to, in appropriate ways, by his mother.

If a boy’s needs are not met by his mother, the mother wound is formed.

A boy’s mom does not need to be physically absent or not love her son to create a mother wound.

Many moms (for example, single mothers) may love their children a great deal but be unable to give them adequate care and attention due to having to work or take care of a sick family member.

Therefore, it’s easy to see how common mommy wounds are among men lately. More women than ever are choosing their careers over being mothers.

How Mommy Issues Affect Romantic Relationships: The Avoidance Attachment Style

According to Levine and Heller (2012), a man with mama issues will likely develop an insecure attachment style with the ‘avoidant’ subtype.

What on earth does the avoidant subtype mean? 

For those of you who haven’t read Levine and Heller’s book (which I’d highly recommend), I’ll explain.

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The Main Types of Attachment 

In the context of romantic relationships, most people fall into one of three categories.

These are:

  • Secure
  • Insecure – anxious
  • Insecure – avoidant

The first, secure, means having a stable and healthy approach to relationships. They’re comfortable enough to receive and provide essential emotional support to those they care about. 

Second is the insecure, anxious type. The anxious types need constant reassurance that they are loved. They are very comfortable with and crave a lot of intimacy, but lack self-esteem

The third is the insecure-avoidant, which is the category most men with mommy issues fall into.

The other lesser-known attachment style is the disorganized attachment. However, this article is about mommy issues in men. So, we’ll be focusing on the third mentioned attachment type. 

Now, the lack of care that a man received from his mother as a child makes him fearfully avoidant.

In a relationship or dating scenario, they push their partners away when they get too close. A threat is perceived, and they distance themselves to feel safe again.

If you are still reading by this point, I’m guessing you are thinking of yourself or your partner.

Not quite sure if there is enough evidence to pin them as having an avoidant attachment style due to mommy issues?

Let’s look at the five key signs that someone has mommy issues with an avoidant attachment style.

man sitting on the bed checking his phone while the woman is sitting far from him

Five Telltale Signs That You Or Your Partner Have Mommy Issues

Here are the five telltale signs you’re dealing with a man with mommy issues:

  • They always speak or think badly about mom
  • He sends mixed messages all the time, blowing hot and cold
  • Commitment is a genuine struggle
  • There is a large age gap with his past or current romantic partners
  • He is seemingly unmoved by loss 

All of which leads to not being able to harness the masculine energy

To be specific, let’s dive into each of these signs in a bit more detail. 

1. Speaking/thinking badly about mom.

This is the first and probably the most obvious sign of mommy issues in men.

A man with mommy issues usually doesn’t speak so well about his mom. When describing his life as a young kid, he may say that he didn’t get enough love or describe his mother as being cold, unresponsive, and unloving.

His relationship with his mother, now that he is mature, may be difficult or even non-existent.

A key sign to look for is frequency and quality of contact.

Men with a healthy relationship with their mother will speak to her often. She will know what is happening in his life and vice versa.

A man who does not love or care for his mother so much may speak to her infrequently. He may take weeks, months, or even years to tell her about a new partner. This kind of guy may feel like her interest in his love life is an intrusion into his personal life.

If you want to find out whether or not someone has mommy issues, watch his language when he is speaking about his mom. 

Is it full of compassion, love, and admiration? 

Or is it spiteful, hateful, and brimming with resentment?

2. Mixed messages – blowing hot and cold

The second sign of the avoidant attachment styles is blowing hot and cold. 

This can be very evident, especially in younger guys who are not yet emotionally aware of their behavior.

A guy who is blowing hot and cold can come across as interested, attentive, and loving at first. 

But as soon as his personal intimacy threshold has been crossed, he will start pulling away.

He may feel or say that he needs space. Next thing you know, he disappears for several days.

Whilst he was once responsive and eager in text message exchanges, he might start giving two or three-word answers or take hours. In some cases, he may even take days to respond.

And a common excuse is that he’s simply too busy. 

For their girlfriend, it can be painful and frustrating. It’s not surprising for his girlfriend’s sexual interest or enthusiasm to fade over time. 

If you’re the partner of a man with mommy issues, understand that men aren’t as naturally capable when it comes to emotional intimacy. For an overview of what this means, watch my YouTube clip below: 

Conscious avoidant tendencies

A guy on the conscious path to manhood may be well aware of his avoidant tendencies and therefore be able to explain the reason for his actions to his romantic partner in no uncertain terms. 

His verbal and nonverbal communication leaves no ambiguity surrounding the reasons for his retreat. 

There is accountability, responsibility, and an awareness of the impact of his actions on his partner.

Unconscious avoidant tendencies

Meanwhile, a young man or a man with less self-awareness may not be able to communicate with such honesty about the pulling away. 

In these instances, he may simply say that he is busy. 

Believing his avoidant tendencies to be normal, he may be totally unaware of the hurt and suffering inflicted upon his partner. 

If she happens to be anxiously attached, the pain and suffering can be tremendous. 

If he is unaware of the psychological reasoning of attachment theory, he may see her as overly needy and annoying. Worse, he sees her as pathetic and may show harsher dismissive avoidant behaviors

This is one of the most obvious and important signs of a man with mommy issues. 

Still, it is important to discern whether he is genuinely very busy all of a sudden or acting avoidant because of a mother wound. 

It is also important to establish if there is an awareness of this hot and cold behavior. 

If there is awareness, then this is the first step towards a more harmonious coexistence. If there is no awareness or acknowledgment of this problematic pattern, Houston, we have a problem. 

It is up to the partner to decide whether to stay in the relationship whilst staying comfortably silent and suffering, to raise it as an issue, or to leave.

3. Commitment issues

A man with mommy issues may be reluctant towards long-term commitment.

In real-life terms, this often looks like refusing to speak about the future. Any conversation about where the relationship is heading is quickly shut down.

This doesn’t mean he will frequently hop from one fling to the next.

Many men with mommy issues stay with one woman for a very long time. 

But any time when she mentions exclusivity, marriage, or a shared future, he shies away.

4. Large age gap between partners

A man with mommy issues may frequently go for much younger OR much older women.

In going for younger women, he is essentially creating a barrier between him and his chosen partner. The large age gap (15 years or more) prevents a certain level of intimacy from being reached. 

What’s more, these relationships tend to be of the fleeting kind. 

And so he feels safe.

Through avoiding women of his own age who might well be an intellectual and emotional match – he is able to keep himself from uncomfortable levels of intimacy.

At the same time, some men with mommy issues are only attracted to much older women. 

As explained earlier, in these cases, they are searching for the maternal, loving, caring mother figure they may well have lacked in childhood.

old woman on the treadmill while talking to an old man

5. Seemingly unmoved by loss

The final sign of a man with mommy issues is seemingly unaffected by loss. 

It might look like he doesn’t need any emotional support. In reality, he’s hurting the most in the inside. 

Men with a mother wound may seem to be able to lose people, be rejected, or go through a difficult event without feeling the tremendous sadness and grief that others feel.

This doesn’t mean that they don’t feel it. 

According to the University of Illinois, researchers have proven that people with an avoidant attachment style still feel negative emotions very deeply. They feel them to the same extent as someone without an avoidant attachment style.

In fact, it was stated: 

“They may appear not to care too much about close relationships, and may prefer not to be too dependent upon other people or to have others be too dependent upon them.”

These individuals have simply learned to suppress their more vulnerable emotions over time.

In doing so, they are avoiding their ultimate fear: intimacy.


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Living With Mommy Issues In Men

If you recognize your actions/thoughts in this article or your partner’s, know that you are not alone.

Mommy issues are very common. The most important thing is to be aware of them. As with all shadow parts – awareness is the light we shine onto them.

Once you or your partner are aware of mommy issues, you can educate yourself to move away from that mode of operation

There is likely to be a lack of trust coming from both partners in any relationship where one partner has mommy issues. Trust issues are a major red flag. Rebuilding this relationship trust is essential to the survival of the relationship.

Mommy issues have a huge impact on men’s lives, and the lives of their partners are made even more difficult. 

Many men and women live their whole lives or go through entire relationships without even knowing what they are dealing with. 

man sitting in front of the lake

Modern Society Encourages Independent Mothers

We live in a culture where divorce rates are higher than ever. 

More and more children are being raised by single mothers or being passed between two parents.

A boy who spends his precious, delicate early years among different caregivers will not be able to form a secure attachment to his mother. Not developing a secure attachment means increasing the likelihood of having a strained relationship with a romantic partner in the future. 

Single mothers and divorced parents are, of course, doing the best they can for their children. 

Very few parents actually want to harm their child’s development, let alone make him develop mommy issues. 

But the absence of a mother’s love holds lifelong implications for a son’s ability to have a healthy, loving relationship with a woman. 

Worse, it may affect a boy’s mental health. 

If at any point you’re concerned, it may also be worth seeking advice from a mental health professional. 

Recommended Reading

I highly recommend reading the book ‘Attached’ for anyone with mommy issues or even dating someone with mommy issues. It is a really informative, useful, and practical guide to having successful romantic relationships whilst attachment-related issues are present.

Now, I have saved the best for last. 

There’s one more thing I want to impart to you in the conclusion below. 

Conclusion: A Healthy Relationship With the Mother Has a Positive Impact on a Man’s Adult Relationship

Mommy issues in men are real. It’s not just a quirky phase like hitting puberty. 

No. Mommy issues are a serious challenge tied in with deep emotional roots. Men who have not resolved this will have a harder time navigating through relationships, even in adulthood. 

But, there is one good part: addressing these issues will lead to transformative changes.

Are you one of those few people who are willing to tackle your challenges head-on? 

You’re not about to sit there waiting for something to happen because you know you can make a change, except you’re unsure where to start. 

Well, if that’s you, you should know there is a solution. 

And that solution is to watch my free relationship training video. It’s specifically designed for men to develop skills that will allow them to completely transform themselves and overcome the complexities of mommy issues. 

If you want to go deep into healing your mommy issues in relationships, I highly recommend watching my free training. This training for men can help you make some big shifts when it comes to your avoidant attitude and can help you discover and overcome the root cause of it all. 

If you’re a woman reading this worried that your partner has intimacy issues, the first and most important thing I want you to read is that this is HIM, not you. Perhaps suggest he takes my training. 

And if he’s a man worth keeping, he should be open to it to help the relationship.

FAQs

What does it mean when a guy has mommy issues?

It usually means that he has trouble connecting with the feminine. This means he struggles to build strong relationships with women. Besides affecting his love life, it can also take a toll on a man’s mental health. 

Can a man have mommy issues?

Yes, a man can have mommy issues. This typically manifests as difficulties in relationships and emotional challenges stemming from an inadequate early mother-child relationship. These can affect his trust, intimacy, and attachment styles even in his adult life.


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Steffo Shambo

Steffo Shambo

Men's Tantric Relationship Coach

I am the founder of The Tantric Man Experience™, a pioneering transformational coaching program for men. With over 1500 hours of certified tantra training in India and Thailand and 7 years of experience helping hundreds of men worldwide save their marriages and reignite passion in their love lives.

I have over 8 million views on YouTube and have been featured on VICE and Newstalk Radio for my life’s work - helping men unleash their full masculine potential.

My holistic FLT method seamlessly integrates ancient tantric philosophy with my modern expertise in relationships, sexuality, dating, and men’s health.

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