Skip to Content

How do you deal with a husband who is a mama’s boy?

Having a husband who is extremely close to his mother can be challenging for any wife. While it’s natural for sons to have close bonds with their mothers, problems arise when that relationship interferes with the marriage. Mama’s boys tend to put their mothers first, avoid confronting them, and get caught in the middle between their wife and mother’s demands. This causes frustration, resentment and confusion in the spousal relationship. However, with understanding, communication and boundary setting, it is possible to have a happy marriage with a mama’s boy.

What are the signs of a mama’s boy?

Here are some common signs that your husband is a mama’s boy:

  • He talks to/texts his mother constantly throughout the day
  • He relies on his mother for advice, opinions and approval on big decisions
  • He tells his mother private things about your relationship or complains about you to her
  • He prioritizes spending time with his mother over you
  • He brings his mother along on dates or romantic trips
  • He expects you to act like his mother by cooking, cleaning, etc. for him
  • He puts his mother’s feelings and demands before yours
  • He avoids confronting or saying no to his mother
  • His mother still does many things for him that a grown man should do himself
  • He compares you negatively to his mother

If several of these describe your husband, he likely has an unhealthy attachment to his mother that is now interfering with your marriage. Action needs to be taken to address this.

Why do some men become mama’s boys?

There are a few common reasons why some men grow up to be mama’s boys:

  • Enmeshment – Lack of healthy personal boundaries between mother and son. The mother treats her son as an emotional spouse rather than encouraging his independence.
  • Control – The mother wants to maintain control over her son’s life and feels threatened by his relationship with you.
  • Insecurity – The mother feels lonely, insecure or empty nest syndrome when her son marries. She tries to keep her role as the most important woman in his life.
  • Guilt – The mother guilts or shames the son into continuing to put her first and do as she wishes.
  • Habit – After years of putting his mother first, the husband slips into old habits even once married.

These unhealthy dynamics can be changed if the husband is willing to set boundaries and prioritize his marriage over his mother. The mother-son relationship may improve once less enmeshed too.

How does having a mama’s boy husband affect the marriage?

Marriages with a mama’s boy often struggle in the following ways:

  • The wife feels like the third wheel or in constant competition with her mother-in-law
  • Frequent arguments and tension due to the husband’s divided loyalties
  • The husband avoids confronting or standing up to his mother
  • Resentment builds as the wife’s needs come second
  • The mother-in-law interferes in private marital matters
  • The husband discloses private marital issues with his mother
  • The wife ends up doing the bulk of household chores if the husband expects to be babied
  • The husband compares or criticizes his wife based on his mother’s standard
  • Intimacy and friendship suffer as the marriage lacks trust and equality

Over time, these unresolved issues can lead to emotional affairs or divorce. The husband’s loyalty and proper marital boundaries must be re-established for the marriage to thrive.

Tips for dealing with a mama’s boy husband

Here are some tips to improve your marriage if your husband is a mama’s boy:

  1. Communicate your needs clearly – Have an honest talk about how his relationship with his mother is affecting you and your marriage. Be direct yet calm when expressing your feelings and needs.
  2. Set boundaries together – Agree on healthy boundaries around his mother’s role that you are both comfortable with. This may include limits on visit frequency, topics of discussion, alone time, etc.
  3. Present a united front – Don’t let your mother-in-law triangulate you. Discuss issues privately and align on responses to her demands before conversing with her.
  4. Seek counseling – If communications continue to break down, enlist a marriage counselor to mediate discussions and provide an impartial perspective.
  5. Don’t criticize his mother – As frustrating as she may be, insulting his mother will put your husband on the defensive. Use “I” statements to focus on how her actions make you feel.
  6. Include his mother respectfully – Finding appropriate ways to involve your mother-in-law that don’t cross boundaries can help her feel valued. This may ease tensions.
  7. Spend quality time together – Plan regular date nights and couples activities to reconnect and strengthen intimacy in your marriage.
  8. Give it time – Changing lifelong habits takes time and effort. Celebrate small wins and be patient as your husband adjusts.

With teamwork, honesty and compassion, you can improve your marriage and help your husband become less dependent on his mother over time. Don’t be afraid to seek outside support if needed.

When to involve a marriage counselor

It’s a good idea to involve a professional marriage counselor or therapist if:

  • Communication has completely broken down
  • Your husband refuses to acknowledge problems or make changes
  • You can’t agree on healthy boundaries with his mother
  • Arguments are becoming heated or hostile
  • You feel the relationship can’t be repaired without intervention
  • Either of you are suffering from depression or anxiety due to marital issues
  • You have tried setting boundaries and talking but your husband continues putting his mother first
  • Infidelity or secrecy around his mother is present

A skilled counselor provides an impartial voice, teaches interpersonal skills, resolves circular arguments, and holds your husband accountable. With professional guidance, even entrenched issues around a husband being a mama’s boy can be resolved.

When to draw the line on unacceptable behavior

While you want to be patient and understanding, some behaviors should be deal-breakers in your marriage:

  • Verbal, emotional or physical abuse from your husband or mother-in-law
  • Infidelity or inappropriate emotional intimacy with his mother
  • Ongoing dishonesty or secrecy around his relationship with his mother
  • Unwillingness to compromise or respect any boundaries around his mother’s involvement
  • Financial irresponsibility or control by the mother-in-law
  • Your husband puts you in unsafe situations or allows his mother’s abuse
  • Constant undermining, insulting and disrespecting you and the marriage
  • Refusal to get counseling or improve the situation in any way

You have a right to be treated with love and respect in your marriage. Remaining in an unhealthy situation long-term can erode your self-esteem. Seek support from friends, family or a women’s helpline if you ever feel unsafe.

Leaving the marriage as a last resort

In extreme situations where counseling fails and your husband perpetually puts his mother above you, separating may be the healthiest option. To make this decision:

  • Reflect deeply about whether the marriage is truly unsalvageable or if more personal growth, time and effort could still help.
  • Have at least 3-6 months of couples counseling to ensure you tried your best before contemplating divorce.
  • Discuss trial separations to see if time apart provides perspective.
  • Consult lawyers and financial advisors to understand the ramifications of divorce.
  • Build a support system of friends and family to help you through this immense life transition.
  • Consider a therapist’s input about whether leaving is the right choice.

While incredibly difficult, removing yourself from a toxic situation can ultimately empower you to seek the true love and respect you deserve. With time, your heart will heal.


Marrying a mama’s boy can be a tricky situation for any spouse to navigate. However, armed with understanding, communication skills and professional support if needed, it is possible to set healthy boundaries and transform the marriage into a mutually fulfilling partnership. With teamwork and accountability, a husband can learn to prioritize his wife’s needs and still retain a positive bond with his mother. In cases of deal-breaking disrespect or toxicity though, walking away may become the only option. With courage and self-love, even the difficult decision to leave can result in a happier future in the long run. Ultimately, create the relationship you deserve – one built on compromise, trust and equality. You and your marriage are worth fighting for.