Beware of Overgrown Little Boys

It doesn’t matter your gender or age, I’m pretty sure we have all dealt with what I like to call “the overgrown little boy” (hereafter referred to as OLB) with men in our lives.

Mine came as a little bit of shock when I first encountered this bizarre combination of physical seasoned prowess sprinkled with the emotional maturity of a teenage girl with raging hormones.

It was but a few years ago when I met, “Greg.” He was an older gentleman in his fifties, absolutely gorgeous (don’t we all just hate men for getting sexier as they get older?), with a great career. I dated him on and off for a couple of years, but the relationship itself was straight out of a poorly written Harlequin romance novel (minus all those rippling muscles and torn corsets).

Greg’s OLB qualities became apparent when he started to display excessive amounts of childlike behavior – his commitment confusions, his selfishness within the relationship (“me” mentality), the fact that any time we’d have some semblance of a disagreement, he would completely shut down and close me out.

Then there was, “Joe,” another older gentleman, in his late forties, terrifyingly gorgeous, and extremely successful. I fell and I fell hard, again, only to realize a little over a year later that Joe, like Greg, was nothing but an OLB. He presumably fell in love with me – the first time he’d been in love according to him – and it completely scared him into pulling away. Like Greg, Joe exhibited subtle demands of everything within the relationship having to focus on him, and the same old emotionally selfish qualities.

How is it, that these men can have successful personal careers, businesses, hell, even families in some cases, and yet when it comes to a meaningful relationship with me (or you!) they are completely inept?

OLBs come in all shapes, sizes, and age groups – so how do you spot one? I think I’ve narrowed it down to three simple observations:

First, I’ve noticed a pattern of at least one previously failed, extremely young, marriage – and they usually qualify it as “I was young, I was naïve, I didn’t know what I was doing,” or something along those lines. However, let me just point out that there are plenty of people who are young, naïve, who don’t know what they are doing, who are married and they work on the marriage. The “I quit” mentality of such a short lived romance insinuates a lot to me, and to you.

Secondly, they seem to lack meaningful male-relationships. They may have a few “close” friends and perhaps one that is considered a best friend (but almost always that best friend is out of state, out of country, or you’ve never spoken to him). Other than that, the friendships are work-related, business-only, or highly superficial.

Third, despite your willingness to keep things casual in the beginning (you know, to simply date?), OLB’s are looking for quick means of validation. They want you to fall in love with them, they want to fall in love with you, RIGHT NOW. You can spot this when they start dropping the “we” word and excessive future planning. It is very important here that you catch that these as hoaxes and not sincere fantasies of tomorrow.

I know I’m not the only woman to have dealt with OLBs, what’s your story? And do you have any further observations to help others avoid this dating pitfall?

36 thoughts on “Beware of Overgrown Little Boys

  1. Robyn

    I just read this after asking myself some questions over the last few days. Ive been with a man for about 5 or so months. I met him through mutual friends and I thought he was very sweet and funny! I love a man with a great sense of humor and who is good with kids. This one is definetly a charmer! AFter starting to really talk to him on the phone for long periods of time and then hanging out with him, I noticed how he was quite immature in some ways. he is 43 yo and has his own place that “his mom had to move into” to save money of her own. A story I still have a hard time believing. She couldnt afford her rent, he says. ok, but when I go there, which is very very seldom, I notice how everything in the condo is girly. It has woman all over it….thats because its his “mom’s condo”! I told him that and he gets a bit defensive and says that he got rid of his stuff when she moved in with him. She “helps pay the bills” and he has his own business with a side job. His only friends are business partners and one good friend outside of that, which he doesnt hang out with much. He only really hangs out with his brother and plays tennis with him. He “brags” a lot of his achievements from college….and still to this day talks about certain women he was with, and how he can make anyone laugh. His sense of humor is great, yet very kid like. he wants the center of attention A LOT! He is arrogant and rude and if he knows you’re wrong, he will go out of his way to prove it. He is too competitive and doesnt like losing.I think that is immature too. Ive been contemplating whether or not I should break up with him. He said he would have a hard time leaving his mom cuz she cant afford the rent on her own…but I think its the other way around! He talks about himself all the time not only to me, but to everybody else. He is sweet and shows emotion, but when it comes to talks in person about heart of the matter things, he would rather me email them to him and not wait til’ I see him again. What the hell is that about?? He is a big child in a man’s body and I dont think the child will ever go away. Its good to be in touch with your innerchild, but please…there is a time to be mature. I have my own apartment and he comes over twice a week and turns the tv on as soon as he gets in; Im not a tv person. He leaves stuff all over my living room, doesnt clean up anything. When I make breakfast, he sits in the living room waiting, while he watches cartoons! I feel like Im mom and I dont even have kids!This behavior is very childish and doesnt do a thing for my libido if you know what I mean. He is also quick in the sack and will say that it was so great! huh?? Oh, did we just have sex? Im very frustrated about this whole thing and yet feel guilty to let him go, cuz he didnt do anything wrong technically. I hate breakups, so I have a dilemma.
    But I really enjoyed this article! It opened up my eyes to reality and gave me something to think of!

  2. Sorah Suhng

    It sounds like you are completely aware of your situation and what you want, but you’re looking for a catalyst. Don’t be afraid to pull that trigger and be your own catalyst.

    Humans are creatures of routine, and we tend not to like “change,” even if the routine is a bad one. But what makes us unique in this existence is our ability to rise about our basic instincts.

    Why are you waiting?

  3. The Chicken or the Egg

    Hello everyone, I am trying to get out of a marriage with an olb who, 22 years ago told me that men wanted me for my body, and that he wanted to spend his life with me. I was quite flattered with this remark and let him in, seeking in him that lover boy I needed. However Charles ‘wanted a girl’, and to fit everything into a nutshell, we have two daughters, a home, a dog and a cat – and tv is his favorite addiction. I would like to have an affair, or at least get beyond the urge to do so. For the moment, even though the separation has lasted 15 months, I keep picking him up from his place, bringing him back home to see his daughters and basically continuing my life with him – paying all the expenses this time. Guess I am just a OLG, playing Mummy. For the moment, I keep my head up with work as that is what it takes to keep the home running. But I would like to break out of this relationship. The 22 years have brought with them a certain comfort, security as to how I want to relate to my job and such freedom, as I seek out my contracts. I know that I am the creator of my own problems. And that I am the cause of my precarity with regard to Charles my olb, and my job situation. It is nice to be able to perceive this. Maybe this will help me to heal, and to move on. Hope this helps someone out there to heal too. Peace & Love. Jean

  4. Sorah Suhng

    Wow. The majority of what you wrote sounds so much like my experience. Amazing.

    I’m glad that we were both able to pull ourselves out of that.

    I have to say, I am officially past the last bit of emotional baggage that came with my OLB relationship, thank goodness, but it has been an amazing sense of relief to me.

    I can breathe. I can think. I can love. And now I recognize these men a MILE away!

    <3 Sorah

  5. Kristen

    I am breaking up with one now. He is good looking, polite, rich, successful, total gentleman, fun and funny, intelligent– ok, so all kinds of great qualities. We discussed what we want out of relationship/dating and agreed we wanted to get to know someone and not move too fast sexually because we both wanted to be dating toward a serious, exclusive, committed relationship. Well, along with all his statements of wanting love and connection, he kept telling stories about his ex and other dates which were all booty call types (and before me, according to him, yeah right). I questioned him on all these mixed signals, and he convinced me of his sincerity and reassured me to keep dating him. I came to discover that this millionare, 39 year old successful businessman lives with his parents in their mansion! He claimed it was his house and his parents moved in after his bad break up and so he could take care of them in their old age. He wined and dined me and bought me gifts and talked all about our future and dangled so many carrots in front of me, but just wasn’t living up to any of the words. He wanted me to “give him time.” I was losing my self esteem which suited him perfectly because that would keep me around, being some special friend that gave him what he needs but never getting what I need and want. He got into an argument with my friend and that was his cue to leave. He decided he was hurting me and i was too special for that so he called it off. This was right after more talk about marriage. But two days later he was emailing romantic, loving emails to me. More mixed signals. He still wanted to see me. I gave in and met with him, mostly so i could get answers and validation. He claimed I was everything he ever wanted and the best thing to ever happen to him and he was falling in love. But!! He doesn’t want to fall in love! He had told me all along that he did. so now he says he meant someday… and if i give him time i will see, and I am the dream girl who is so easy to fall in love with… but he is afraid i would hurt him or afraid he would hurt me. So too scared to actually be with me, but unable to let me go. He wanted it to go back to how it was with me giving him time to have his cake while i get crumbs! He kept calling as if nothing was different, got upset when i ignored his calls… He then invited me to Hawaii with him for Christmas! Dangles my dream vacation in front of me, convincing me to go and how we could have fun and find out if we were meant to be. But before I gave an answer, he told me of the two girls he had been with back in July and August (when we dated). That made me sick and we argued and he wondered why i was busting his balls when he was Mr. Honest, trying to make me happy because I was so super special to him. He has everything I want except the ability to really connect and be in a relationship. And he dangled this wonderful life I could have with him in front of me, and then proved that I can never have it with him. He has two friends, the rest are business associates and females which he will wine and dine and take to a hotel every now and then, not caring about them more than the ego stroke they give (he has told me this). He never told the two male friends that he even left me (and he really didn’t ever go away) and then he lied to them about it all. He is not even honest with the only two men who are supposedly friends. I listened to him and let him keep contacting me for too long. I have had my last straw with this man-child. They can be so charming and successful and can talk a good talk, but they have issues and are emotionally disconnected. Good luck to any woman who gets taken in by him. Hopefully she will love herself so much that he doesn’t get past a second date.

  6. Sorah Suhng

    I would have to hold judgment on Tiger to say whether or not he is a proper OLB, although on the surface it seems likely!

    However, what you said about “they miss you and want you back” bit made me nod! I have -so- experienced that.

    But ya know, when I told my last OLB, “I’m done,” it was an amazing feeling of “Wow, I really am done.” Haven’t thought about it since in any real manner.

    I just want to say, I don’t regret having gone through the OLB experiences. I got great life lessons out of them. And while I can sit here and be angry at both of them, I’m not going to be. Just because they are overgrown little boys, doesn’t mean I have to be an overgrown little girl.

    I’m happy to be the adult in this situation.

    <3 Sorah

  7. Sparkle

    The OLB syndrome is alive and well, and what I’ve experienced, is that they blame the woman for everything so they can run. They take responsibility for nothing, even the fact that they either cause you to break up with them by being so hurtful and fearful that you can’t take it any longer, or they break up with you for no apparant, valid reason. They run, instead of working on the relationship, and blame it on the ex-wife or the terrible marriage they just got out of. Then they miss you and want you back, presenting a full, insincere apology just to get you to play again. I’ve had it with these types of men. Manipulative, fearful, cold, shallow and “Tiger Woods like” in selfishness. Ladies, if it doesn’t feel good, then your needs aren’t being met, and probably never will be.

  8. angel

    your so right Estelle! I went out with a Tiger Woods, and after 2 1/2 of being true to my OLB one of his girlfriends called me on my cell phone and told me to move on!because he cheated on her a few times before and that he will change, she must think her voodoo works,lol I dont know who I should feel sorry for her or him! but it was pretty shocking! They both deserve each other and his other chicks as well

  9. toolate

    You described me perfectly, Sorah Suhng. But I am a female. I had a very early marriage which I couldn’t figure out, so left. I had many many sexual encounters in my 20s and 30s, mostly rushing immediately to sex and thinking I’m in love, then backing away till I was gone. I was called controlling, a tease, full of contradictions, a ball-snipper, mean, etc. By my 40s I had a few long-term connections with men who wanted sex once a week but gave nothing else. Finally I gave it up in my 50s. I’m now in my 60s, youthful looking, successful economically and professionally. I would like a partner, but had to just stop even trying, because of my hurtful behavior. All the therapy in the world hasn’t changed the automatic internal/external behavior.

  10. estelle

    Hello Lori, You are 100% correct. The OLB that I was with had a harem alright. I found that he had kept a diary called HISTORY that had a list of every women he went with since high school. He had it categorized with description like short, latina,sloppy, BJ(blow job) and the number of times he had sex with them. He would also have a category of new women and every time he had sex with them he kept track. I think my name was on a list with four other women that year and the age range was from 18-46. He left his computer on and during one of my many sleepless nights cause I new something was wrong. I checked out the icon HISTORY it was even done neatly on word excel document… HAREM no children never married, friend that lives far away, successful, non commitment, charming, and an insatiable sexual appetite that can only be filled with the multitudes of women on the earth. Boy oh boy did I learn. I was in love with him so it hurt but I since learned that while he was juggling his past girlfriend I was on the years list with 2 other women. What can a person do? I have come to the conclusion long ago that most men and women have never matured beyond high school. Sometimes we avoid the glaring obvious.

  11. Jan Loomis

    Hmmmm, well at my ripe old age of 5o something, if I have learned nothing else, I have learned to look at myself and my needs when I attract someone like this into my relationships. It is generally because I too have something that dovetails perfectly with this behavior and so I have learned to take a deep breath and a step back and ask about what is going on. What is his intent in the relationship? Where does he see us in a year, 5 years, 10 years? Then I go to work on what I was thinking, feeling, etc. What I have discovered is that like attracts like at the core So IF I attract OLB energy, what am I giving off? Sometimes it even takes a trip to my therapist for help to sort it out. All good. OLS’s were not born that way. Neither was I. Only adults working with conscious choices have any chance of making it in a long term relationship. namaste

  12. Gina

    Yes the OLB’s well Ihave beeen withone for 5 yrs now and i still continue in ytying to figure him out and when i get mad at him i actually tell him that he is acting something like a teenager even though he is 38 funny for sure.. well with him it seems to be his selfish ways and his hot-headed temper tantrums and the, about him story we live. Very fustrating to say the least and dont know how much longer I can take his also manipulative ways of trying to blame me for his unusual behavior..well Gals I do wish good luck to anyone to is living this way and please pray for me for I do pray for myeself and him–crazy but true..

  13. Betty

    ditto here too. The whole paragraph is exactly what my life has been experiencing, especially in the past 15 years. Karma will get them as we heal.

  14. Jeanne

    My OLB and ex-husband was really a narcissistic alcoholic who wasn’t physically attractive. I fell in love with his charm and hoped someday he would grow up. During that time, I went from being self assured to insecure. He forced the divorce, which I am thankful for; since he got tired of trying to hide his inappropriate behavior. It is much harder to cope with all of life’s challenges, now that I am not the self assured person I once was. Now that I have started to feel reality again, the Tiger Woods situation has brought up the more intense feelings of the painful betrayals, e.g., lying, marital affairs, manipulating, and drinking again. Being a victim of child abuse made me an easy target for his OLB charm. It is sad that some people are so insecure with themselves that they have to destroy the one person who is willing and wanting to love them.

  15. elinwannnabe

    Oh boy! I went out with a OLB for 2 years on and off He is 48 never married a mama’s boy even thought he is successful and left home at 25, this peter pan should come with a warning label on him, because he is quite charming very sweet, but a man ipulator, He will say your the one and when you break off with him He will say your not the one true love, no he is not Tiger Woods,lol
    beware and start investigating these OLB’s from the start check for any red flags along the way! or you will be wasting your time and life with one.

  16. Damsel

    I can relate to your description of an OLB and through investigation have found that there is most likely personality disorder involved.
    Both of my partners have been OLB’s so this does leave me discouraged wondering if there are any nice men out there.
    I am currently separated from my “OLB” because my efforts to be strong and assertive and defend my boundaries only caused him to become abusive. He couldn’t cope with any type of equality in the relationship and it seems the only way he could feel loved was if the other person was selfless and attempted to meet all his needs and make them his world. Even then he wasn’t happy.
    I would just say beware ladies of these handsome looking guys that seem like they have everything going for them that suddenly their wives just kicked them out when they have four children.
    Believe me I put up with alot that I shouldn’t have to keep this family together and when he just continued to resist to do his part, take responsibility and threatened physical abuse I had no option but to ask him to leave.
    He’s a charmer, so look out, all he’s really interested in him despite how interested he will act in you, is himself.

  17. lori

    My last olb- 58 never married no kids…hello red flags! Missed the red flags…
    Drove 60 miles to buy a wood chipper for 650- and does’nt have a bunch of trees…yet wont replace the worn tires on his truck. 3 Harlys and a keg where there should have been a washer and dryer in his 1.5 million dollar house.
    Always throwing names around of important people, that really are not that important..
    Emotionally unavailable, narcissist, passive agressive, overgrown little boy? Who knows..He is a leo and I am an was fun, but really how much fun should two people be allowed to have before they have to stop and look at reality?
    Not once has anyone mentioned the “harem” these men seem to collect..women with little or no self value that actually go out of their way to please this man, type of man in hopes of the crumbs that he will throw their way when he is in the mood..
    I learned so much from this last olb, if that was what he was..I am sad some, but truth be told I would have lost respect for him eventually.

  18. Allyson 5203

    In theory that is a good idea but if these olbs are only thinking about themselves then they are all ready thinking of how to change the conversation back to themselves half way through you expectation conversation. Also if you can get them to listen to you they don’t believe you or they think they are so wonderful and you love them so you will change your mind. With olbs its all about the fun because more likely then not as soon as you pin them down with one of these announced and discussed needs they move on to someone less demanding and fun!

  19. annie-happy-2-b-me

    Too many of those OLB’s around…my ex husband and my ex boyfriend had all the symptoms. I just wasn’t smart enough to spot it the second time around. Won’t happen again, I’m on to the OLB’s and their little games.As the song says “I won’t get fooled again” LOL

  20. katkat

    i know an olb who keep saying i love you and want to married you and make a family, only after 3 days of dating, beware ladies a real man observe you for a long time dont rush.

  21. Sorah Suhng

    When you narrow the pool down of maturity levels, it’s usually a safer bet that older equates to that. Obviously, as pointed out by my article, that’s not always accurate. But it’s a statistical thing. That or someone has daddy issues, to which, I’m glad I don’t suffer from.

  22. Eric

    I’m a 26 year old Leo. After reading both the article and Amelia’s comment, I realize I may have a few OLB behaviors. I noticed I do like a stronger woman to set the pace, but I have no problem owning up to responsability. Helping out with the finances, kids, ect., that is what a man should live for in a relationship. Not only is it impressive to your better half, it shows her you care and are willing to do what ever you can to provide for your family as best you can. Isn’t that the point. Sadly I have no kids or family of my own, yet! However I understand what it’s going to take to get there. Being a Leo, I require reassurance and affection more than some signs, but it seems only fair to want to put that much back into the relationship. In conclusion my question is: can OLB behaviors be reversed, can you teach an old dog new tricks??

  23. nrita2007

    My OLB, decided that after a couple of years he didnt like the idea of “competing” with my two sons. We have been together for 9 years. My sons are 19 and 18 now, but a couple of years ago he kicked them out of our house. So I went too. When my sons were younger I used to read to them every night and he started throwing a fit. He is 47, not drop dead handsome. He kept telling my sons when they first met that he was a 12 year old trapped in a 30 something body …. his body has aged but not his mind. He STILL acts like a 12 year old. And me … I like being a mom… At least taking care of him, for the time being. I am sure I will get tired of it soon. But I also feel that no one else will want me. Iwas married for 11 yrs to a very handsome man, but he didnt want to be married anymore, at least not to me …. come to think of it he was an OLB too! And he is an only child. I think that OLBs want the motherly attention … to be our center of undivided attention. My second OLB was ignored by his mother and physically abused. Maybe that has something to do with it.

  24. anita

    I am in the middle of divorcing my OLB. We have been married for 5 years. I read the article above and final found a name for my husbands lack of responsibility and everything else. Little boys don’t know how to handle responsibility. Makes perfect sense. My OLB is handsome and smart. He immediately turned to sex shortly after we met. He told me that he wanted to have a relationship like his dad and mom. He wanted someone he could grow old with. He has his own business and does very well at it. Only thing is he is unable to take the responsibility of being the boss. His kids are left to raise themselves. He left me to pay all the bills with the money I made while the money he made went to who knows what. When I asked for help financially from him he would never ante up. He always spoke of how he never got to have certain things in the past. How he wasn’t ready to move to a new location because he hadn’t finished unpacking from his last move. He had to have this, he had to have that. The house was his house, or the bedroom was his room, nothing was ever labeled verbally as “ours”. If I disagreed with something he wanted to do or get then I was told that I never allowed him to do the things he wanted to do. According to him I never did what he wanted me to do. Anything he said was always contradicted by his next statements. If he couldn’t do what he wanted then he would sulk. No one could make the right decisions for themselves because only he knew what was right. If I tried to set down rules for his kids and try to get him to be a dad and set rules himself then that meant that I hated his kids and him. Any time he spent with his kids he had the air and demeanor of a young boy whose best friend just came over to visit. When I gave him the choice of either help out financially or move on, to him that meant that I kicked him out and he had no choice but to leave. There were times in this relationship I felt as if I was being a stand-in for his mother and wondered if that is what he was really looking for from a wife. Much of what he did or said was done so in a selfish manner. Now I know that he will never truly be a grownup although his body shows otherwise. I am glad now that I have a name for the way he is. Thank you for the article on OLB’s.

  25. Sorah Suhng

    HA! Glad to see that I made a few people giggle and even more agree!
    And to answer the question – Greg was a Libra, and Joe was MOST definitely an Aries (as am I).

  26. Giddy Up

    Wow!! Loved this articel on OLB’s…I too have had more than my fair share of them. Last couple were also drop dead gorgeous men. One in peticular I fell hard and so did he, and then it started to go bad. They want the thrill but cannot hold up to the real deal. This one was a true mama’s boy and I had to bail fast before I would rock my world..It hurt and I cried..I’ve taken off a yr from even looking at men. But now I am so Thankful..I met a wonderful man he is not gorgeous but mature, treats me like a Queen, spoils me rotten and is everything in a man I wanted but couldn’t find. OLB’s are not worth the thrill as we get older the hurt gets harder to get passed if even your doing the walking to save yourself. The whole experience is difficult but I’ve learned my lesson…

  27. Psychic Amelia 9772

    I also married an Aries – as did Darcy. And, while he does have some OLB traits (I think ALL men are like little boys in many ways – God just made them that way!),they eventually show grown-up qualities when they deal with strong women who men look for to set the pace. In the many years I have been reading charts and doing cards I have learned quite a bit about men. They really want to love and BE loved and need a STRONG woman to guide them. So, don’t accept their OLB behavior. Those that aspire to responsibility are the ones you keep.

  28. The Lovely Duckling

    Thank you so much for this article, Sorah!!! You are certainly not alone in your dealings with the OLBs of the world.
    I could help but laugh out loud when I read: “Mine came as a little bit of shock when I first encountered this bizarre combination of physical seasoned prowess sprinkled with the emotional maturity of a teenage girl with raging hormones.” That is the absolute truth!
    What you said about the lack of interaction with friends is true in my case. The only ‘friends’ I’ve met are people that there is very little commitment to–people who are not there on a day-to-day basis. There is no commitment to friends, either.
    The one I’m in the relationship with has been around for the long-term, but I have long felt that I am a replacement for his mother in a lot of ways. What she doesn’t still do for him, I am now responsible for. Is it that the mothers of OLBs have ruined them for us?

  29. SD

    I just got out of a relationship with presumably an OLB. I think the key is to always have your standards set, as to what you expect from your partner in a relationship and when those needs are not met, accept the facts and move on. Instead of attempting to change people, we can communicate our needs and respect our partners response, and ourselves.
    And Darcy, he was an ARIES-he completely fits your outline.

  30. AdmireCharity

    I know an OLB. This guy is a control freak, and has svere jealousy problems.He’ll try to break up any kind of relationship that is going well. He runs around and slaners people and is highly negative. I you are busy and do not acknowlegde him he will grunt stomp slam things just so you say something to him. and all that is just the tip of the iceberge. Now thats one hell of an OLB.

  31. Pola

    They most likely show aspects of OLB in their daily lives too. I live and often work with one! lol
    In my case he usually got ‘hurt’ when I didn’t do something for him (like turning on the tv or cleaning after him) or pointed that he never said ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ when he wanted something. Amongst others! lol
    Talking to them or writing to them about it about it takes a lot of trust and it’s up to them if they accept to or not. But I think it’s the best way out if the relationship is worth it. (Rev. Nanci insisted that I’d do that and it did open a few doors 🙂 )
    IMHO though, it’s not just a male issue or the age. Roles have been so impaired in every period of our lives for the past 5-8 years or so that we now have clear evidence of overgrown kids in school and +40 people still acting like they were 16 (or younger!). It shows more in some places than others, but I guess we just have to deal with it and make it a little better step by step.
    Thank you for bringing it up 🙂

  32. MarioKart

    maybe try men your own age so that they have room to grow and not so set in their ways. the older we get the more stubborn we get!


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