The Mother Son Relationship: How Women Feel About Men and Their Mommies

The mother son relationship is really complicated. I know this because I have an ex-husband, a dad, a brother and a son.

There is nothing more attractive to a woman than a man who adores his mom, treats her well, treats her with respect, and goes out of his way to help her.

There is also nothing more unattractive to a woman than a man who can’t stand up to his mother, who let’s his mom control him, who fears his mother, and who puts his mommy first (in front of his girlfriend or wife.)

The idea to write a post on the subject of the mother son relationship stemmed from the website, “It was Over When…” by Robert K. Elder. On the website, people write in and share theirstories that begin with “I knew it was over when…”


Here is what one woman had to say:


He talked to his mother so much he would even answer the phone at the movies!! One day I called him and he told me he couldn’t talk because he was painting her toenails.


—   Mari

Aftermath: I told him it wasn’t working out. His mother called me the next day to ask why.

I don’t think Mari’s situation is that unique. I think there are many, many men who don’t know what kind of relationship to have with their mom once they get a girlfriend or get married. It’s hard. Things are changing.

So much of the mother son relationship stems from childhood, and circumstances that might have happened. For example, maybe the guy’s dad left when he was just a little boy, and he was all his mother had. Or maybe his father died, and the man has always felt sad for his mom and tried to compensate for his dad not being there. Maybe the guy’s dad treated his mom like crap and the guy feels like he needs to pick up the slack.


While all of these scenarios are heartfelt and while I can understand a guy’s need to treat his mother like gold, there are differences between healthy and unhealthy mother son relationships. Here are 3.


  1. Obligation versus choice:


Unhealthy: The son always feels obligated to see his mom and put her first in front of his plans. In other words, he will drop anything if she calls because he feels some kind of guilt.

Healthy: The son WANTS to see his mother, and if she happens to call and ask to get together when he already has plans—say a date, he tells her he will instead meet her for breakfast the next morning. When he meets her, he might bring her flowers or just give her a huge hug and say, “Mom, I know you already know this, but I really really love you a lot.”


  1. Fear versus honesty:


Unhealthy: The guy always fears that his mother will be angry with him or not speak to him if he disappoints her and doesn’t do everything she asks.

Healthy: The guy doesn’t fear the person who is supposed to love him unconditionally, and who understands that there is no son in history who didn’t disappoint his mother at one time or another during a lifetime. Instead, if he has to say or do something he knows will upset his mother, he sucks it up and is honest about it because he knows his mother will eventually get over it.


  1. Annoyance versus happiness:


Unhealthy: The guy who fears his mother tends to resent her (but won’t even let himself realize that).

Healthy: A guy who has a great relationship with his mother gets joy out of seeing her EVERY time they get together. He cherishes the time, they laugh together, maybe reminisce, and really talk about things.


Here’s the thing. I’m a mom, and when my son grows up, meets a woman, brings her home and marries her, I am really going to try to understand that he is madly in love with her, and that he will put her needs above mine a lot of times. And that is how it should be! And any mother who doesn’t see it that way is just plain selfish! Sure, it might be hard, and your feelings might get a little hurt at times, but that NORMAL!

The last thing I will say is something I always tell women. “How your man treats his mother is how he is going to treat you.”

I will never forget being on a date with a guy who (I promise I’m not making this up) was referring to his mom as a “stupid idiot.” I couldn’t get out of the car fast enough when he dropped me off, and I never saw the guy again.

If a guy fears his mom and then resents her, he will probably do that to the person he marries, even subconsciously.

All men should treat their moms with kindness, respect and gratitude. That’s a given. But he should do that because he WANTS to do that, not because the mom expects it. No mom is perfect, but men should do the best they can to try to have the best relationship they possibly can with their mom, AND to facilitate the best relationship between their mom and their girlfriend or wife.

THAT is how women feel about men and their mommies!
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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorced Guy Grinning is a blog for men facing divorce and dating after divorce. It's kind of like hanging out with your platonic female divorced friend and hearing her perspective on your divorce and your love life issues.

2 Responses to “The Mother Son Relationship: How Women Feel About Men and Their Mommies”

  1. Laura

    I always felt his mother was a third person in our marriage. Now that we are divorced, he lives with his mom, relies on her for help with taking care of our three kids and she won’t speak to me at all. She will not put her feelings for me aside even for the benefit of her grandchildren. She refuses to sit near me at school functions or extra-curricular activities. The kids notice this and recognize this is how SHE is. I still encourage my kids to respect their grandmother, even though she wouldn’t do the same for me.

  2. Soon to be newly divorced

    I just read “How your man treats his mother is how he is going to treat you.” and, well, I can’t say I agree with this because, I used to believe it and it didn’t turned out to be true for my hubby and his mom. You see, that might be true for someone who has a realistic image of his mom, or a kind of normal relationship with her, but “mommy’s boys” will never treat you the way they treat their mom… (I wish they would, but no, it won’t happen). My soon to be ex-husband loved his mom so much, that he actually missed our first anniversary dinner and our baby shower (2 different dates like 1 1/2 yrs apart) because his mom called him over (she had problems with her husband and was sad) leaving me alone to deal with it. After 4 yrs he cheated on me, just like his father did to his mom several times (even though he always cared so much for his mom and was there for her so she could cry on his shoulder due to his father’s mistakes). Unfortunately, a guy that is loving and caring with his mom, may not be like that with his wife.


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