They've gotten a bad rap for years, but recent research shows that guys who are close to their moms are super boyfriend and husband material. Here's why.
By Korin Miller
Between raving about her unparalleled cooking ability and rushing to her place whenever she needs something repaired, a man who is close with his mother tends to freak us out a little. But we're definitely gonna start giving these dudes another look thanks to a study from Arizona State University, which found that mama's boys have better communication skills and higher levels of empathy than guys who have cut the apron strings.
As a result, men who are close to their moms are much more likely to be in healthy, monogamous relationships than men who lack that connection, says New York City-based couples therapist Rachel Sussman.
So what exactly gives mama's boys such stellar LTR skills? These sweeties have been taking cues from their mothers for years. By observing how she relates to people and getting feedback from her while he was growing up, mama's boys are more likely to resist masculine stereotypes such as being aggressive and detached in relationships, explains study author Carlos Santos, PhD.
Mama's boys express their feelings more, are more tuned into our needs, and are closer listeners when women talk, says marital therapist Scott Haltzman, PhD, author of Secrets of Happily Married Women, all qualities that we crave in a partner. Even better, that openness and willingness to listen translate into awesome bedroom skills too.
Of course, mama's boys don't have a sucky reputation for no reason. Knowing there's another woman he's so connected to can grate on any girlfriend or wife's nerves. But you can deal with it by not viewing that bond as a threat or thinking that your guy has a limited amount of attention and love, and he's giving too much of it to her. Says Haltzman: "Thinking this way will only cause problems in your relationship."
Still, you have to set boundaries. If he chats her up on the phone while you're intimate or drops plans with you to see her, you've gotta step up and say something. Sussman recommends telling your guy how much you love that he's so attached to his mom, but that the two of you need to be a team and put your relationship first. Then, follow it up with a suggestion, like that he call his mom during his lunch break at work or telling her she can't come over when you're spending alone time together.
And while most of us are thrilled by a guy who will talk about his emotions, it can be a little too much if the mama's boy in him is always on display. When it gets too much, Sussman recommends encouraging his more masculine behavior, like telling him how hot it is when he changes the oil in his car. This sends the message that, while you love his sensitivity, you're equally turned on by his manly side.
Oh, and whatever you do, avoid the term "mama's boy." "No matter how in touch they are with their feelings, men still want to be men," says Sussman. "A lot of guys know that they're a mama's boy...and it's already embarrassing enough for them."