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Do men ever grow up?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  October 28, 2009 09:43 AM

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Peter Pan or Ray Romano?

Remember to chat at 1 p.m.

Q: Hi Mere,

Nice to finally be writing in after reading this column for so long now! Also, looked at that Spanish hotel that you mentioned…packing my bags!

Well here it goes …

I just turned 25 and I want a man!!! I’ve already got a boyfriend, but I want a man.

Here’s the deal… My boyfriend (32) and I have been going out for about a year and we are living together (2 mos. now, mutual idea), however, I think that he acts very childishly.

Just to give you an idea, here are a few examples. He jokes about everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, even when it’s not appropriate to do so. In fact, he once told me that he will never let an opportunity for a joke pass him by (which, btw, he doesn’t). This becomes a problem when I need to talk about serious things with him and he responds back with jokes. I am not getting the emotional support that I need from him.

On top of that, he always wants to hang out with his friends, which I am rarely invited in on because it’s “guy time.” Although, I’ve seen the way they act when they all get together and I don’t feel slighted in the least! But they all go to the same gym Monday thru Wednesday (7-10pm) and then almost every weekend (Thursday thru Saturday) they drink beer and hang out at bars/clubs. And let’s not forget that Sunday is football ALL day. So if you look at the timeline … I get my bf to myself m-w from 6-7 and 10-12, Saturday mornings (usually when I have to run my errands), and then on Sunday, but I have to suffer through football. However, I will be honest and say that if I gripe a bit he’ll usually cave in and spend some real quality time with me.

I noticed this behavior before, but it wasn’t so bothersome because we weren’t living together. However, as anyone who lives with their lover can tell you, everything is exaggerated within the close living quarters. It’s not like I’m looking to get married anytime soon, but I am ambitious and I have goals that I would like to reach, some major ones before 30, and I would like a guy who’s on the same page. Not one who is 32 and still trying to relive his college partying days.

Now I don’t want to be mistaken for a prude, because I can let loose and joke around with the best of them. But I’ve already done the high school and college thing and my 20s are nearly over (not that I’m depressed about that … although ask me again when I’m 30!) and I want to (although don’t feel any pressure to) start acting older and more mature.

What’s most frustrating for me is the fact that he’s way older than I am (7 yrs), and because of that, I feel like he should be at the mature stage already, yet he’s not. We've talked about this and he says that this has been -- and will continue to be -- his personality. He probably won’t change (some of it has to do with the fact that he looks so young in the face that he feels like he can still get away with acting young), so I have no misconceptions about how long our relationship will last.

However, this LL is about men in general and not my bf in particular. Because while I know that he and I will probably not make it down “Life Street” hand-in-hand, when we finally do move on (I assume when the lease is over), I want to know if what’s in store for me is an even older version of the same nonsense.

My questions are: do men ever GROW UP? Do men always remain boys and act like Ray Romano? Because if so, I’d rather be single forever then have to deal with a man who acts like a child -- i.e. Jon Gosselin.

– 32 going on 21, Allston

A: 32GO21, Ray Romano? Really?

I want that to be the first and last time we mention Ray Romano on Love Letters.

But I do like “Life Street.” I imagine Life Street as the opposite of Splittsville. As in, “He wanted to travel with me down Life Street, but we were already in Splittsville.”

Life Street also makes me think of “21 Jump Street.”

But about your letter … you’re well aware that you’re dating a guy in his 30s who spends a strange amount of time at the gym. But you’re already planning to break up with him, so we don’t have to deal with that issue. (Although -- do you have to wait until the lease is up? It seems weird to live with someone for months and months when you already know it’s over).

You’re asking me if men grow up. Sure they do. So do women. But don’t confuse interests with maturity. If you want a man who shares your interests – someone who is less interested in beer and the gym – that’s what you should be looking for. Your guy knows who he is and what he’s capable of. He has been clear about it. That actually takes some maturity.

My point is -- just because someone is out until 2 a.m. every night doesn’t make them immature. Likewise, a guy who behaves like a grown-up isn’t necessarily a grown-up on the inside.

You’re a good example of that. You like to do grown-up things -- but you also know that you still have a lot of growing up to do.

Look for someone who shares your interests. That seems to be the issue here.

Readers? Is she ready for Life Street? Is this about maturity? Do men grow up? Is this even a gender issue? Share thoughts here.

– Meredith



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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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