1. He is averse to your success.
Dating a man child means dating someone who is stuck in a conventional, patriarchal mindset, if only to ease his own insecurities. When you start to succeed (especially in the professional sector), he starts to feel weak, loses his balance, and flips out at you. Because he hasn’t really found himself yet and so your success is in direct correlation to his unhappiness.
2. He has a bizarre, unhealthy obsession with video games.
I’m not one to judge game addictions; Tetris stole my entire senior year right before my very eyes. But there’s something particularly off when your boy is playing a fantasy, first-person shooter game on his iPhone any chance he gets. I’m talking you look away for one second to fold your laundry and he’s at it again. The type of attachment that actually gets in the way of his work and productivity.
3. He isn’t honest with you, and for stupid reason.
If your man child boyfriend has an ex, you best be sure that he is going to be shady with her. Even if he has nothing to hide, even if his feelings for her are long gone, he’ll still choose to not tell you about his dinner date with her because he relishes attention and that sneaking-around sensation.
4. He doesn’t invite you out with him.
Because a man child is never secure with himself or his own decisions and so he’ll go out without ever inviting you. He loves you, but he ultimately wants to leave his options open. Because a man child always has one foot out the door, and is never fully committed.
5. He doesn’t introduce you to his friends
In a similar, noncommittal vein, he is reluctant to introduce you to old friends he maybe bumps into on the street. Because doing that is just one extra step to making you guys official—something he might, deep down, want, but clearly isn’t ready for.
6. There’s a huge disparity between his grand ambitions and his day-to-day life.
Another unequivocally man child trait is being all talk. If your dude is a man child, then he’ll have grand ambitions, ambitions he mentions, sporadically and vaguely, while smoking a joint. And ambitions he has never once acted on. He talks about, “When I’m rich this…” and “When I’m rich that…” but he’s been working as a mover for 6 years now, and has no plan.
7. His mom still shops for him.
I realize most heterosexual men pride themselves on not “getting” fashion, but that is still no excuse to have your mom still shopping for you. Real talk, it’s kind of creepy.
8. He refuses to meet your parents.
Not only is this indicative of man child syndrome, but it’s also just rude. Whether we want to admit it or not, a good portion of our feelings for our man is based on our family’s opinion of him. To refuse or constantly make up excuses as to why you can’t meet your significant other’s parents is obnoxious and poor form.
9. He is not polite around your parents.
In this case, it’s actually best that your dude keeps refusing to meet your parents. Because there really is nothing worse than having to explain to your mom and dad why your boyfriend treated them like a maid.
10. On all of his days off, he sleeps till 4pm.
I do love a good sleep, don’t get me wrong. But like FU for sleeping until 4pm on all of your days off. You do realize these are the only hours you have to pursue your dream career of becoming a restauranteur, right? And also, that you’re 30?
11. He refuses to go to the doctor when he’s seriously injured.
Being a man child isn’t all about how you treat your woman; you have to learn to take care of yourself too. So when you get knocked over in basketball and your collarbone is protruding from your neck, I’m going to go ahead and say it’s time you see the doctor. I think, at this juncture, it’s safe to say your health insurance excuse extraneous here, seeing as you look like you’re two minutes away from death. So please do your significant other a favor and take care of yourself. We’re not here to solely take care of you.
12. He calls your self-confidence self-obsession.
Again, a man child is not secure with himself and so your ballooning self-confidence is just a massive threat to him. Men with backbones revel in a girlfriend who is over-confident, because what real dude wants to deal with a girl who keeps putting herself down? Whereas a man child will try to flip your confidence into a deplorable trait, like self-obsession, because, as he sees it, if he can’t be confident than neither can you.
13. When he doesn’t get his way, he hangs up on you.
Fights with the ol’ man child boyfriend are just brutal, mostly because, well, he’s a whiny little stubborn bitch. If they don’t get what they want, the true 5-year-old living inside of them will reveal himself in the form of hanging up on you. Again and again. Until you finally concede (he hopes).
14. He is incapable of owning up to his mistakes.
Similarly, he makes fights unbearable because he is physically, emotionally, and mentally incapable of ever admitting when he’s wrong. It’s unclear if this is because he actually, genuinely thinks he’s always right, or if it’s because he is a stubborn twat. Either way, he’s a man child.
15. He is an asshole to your friends.
Because, as a man child, he does not really consider long-term consequences. Rather, he’s all about instant gratification and if he thinks your friend is kind of annoying he won’t hold back, despite the discomfort it might cause you.
16. He puts you down in front of his friends.
A man child can never find enough ways to make you feel like shit because, as a man child, that’s sort of his god-given duty. So he’ll put you down in front of his friends, indifferent to your feelings. Doing this is sort of a double whammy for him: he’s showing his friends that he’s not too serious about you and is therefore still a homie, and it also makes him feel better about your accomplishments, if only for a brief moment.
17. He takes forever to respond to your text messages.
Contingent to being a man child is never throwing in the towel when it comes to playing the game. He’ll always keep you questioning his devotion to you and love for you. Doesn’t matter the circumstances; you could be like, no, fool, I’m actually just trying to find out what time the movie is that YOU invited me to, and he’d still give it a good 30 minutes before responding.
Again, it’s partly his way of compensating for his insecurities, by making you feel insecure, and it also makes him feel like he’s on top.
18. He flirts with other girls in front of you.
To, once again, keep you on your toes, always guessing, and never comfortable, he will flirt with girls in front of you and flagrantly so. Because he is truly a child, is never comfortable with the idea of “settling” for one girl, and believes it is his duty to his penis to keep his options open.
19. His mom still does his laundry.
Oh, and he’s past 30. Man children COULD do their own laundry, but they choose to instead regard it as a world entirely unfathomable and impenetrable to them. They’re also kind of sexist, just by their nature, and so assume that laundry can only be done by people with vaginas.
20. His home resembles Steve Carell’s home in 40-Year-Old Virgin.
He has elaborate, gratuitous games and play toys, such as a robot to play ping pong with.
21. He will not shut up about that one good deed he did.
It could have been two years ago, but it’s still fresh in his back pocket, ready to be whipped out at any moment he’s feeling victimized or accused of something. You couldn’t have known it at the time, while he was helping you with that project you had to finish for work, but you are now forever indebted to him.