They Don’t Wanna Grow Up: Demystifying the Man-Child and His Missing Maturity

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Ahh, another grueling day at work. Drained and demoralized, you slither through the door and sink down onto the couch right next to your boyfriend — Has he been playing Halo all day? Is that a scale model of Mt. Everest made of Hot Pockets wrappers on the coffee table? — intending to tell him about your workday dilemmas. He appears to be listening as you explain Gerald in accounting's massive blunder. But that’s when you notice — a glint in his eyes, a smirk crawling across his face. In a flash, he's yelling "Pillow fight!" and delivering a deluge of blows using your grandmother's hand-embroidered cushion as his weapon of choice. You decide you'd rather camp out in your cubicle, use your desk as a tent and subsist on those stale graham crackers in the breakroom than deal with another night of this.

If this relationship horror story hit a little too close to home, you might have a man-child in your midst. While they may not act like literal children, speaking only in a language of food fights and whining, it can seem like the very essence of their being is permeated by a childlike immaturity, a perpetual Peter Pan-ness that renders them unreliable and incapable of the level of seriousness you'd expect for their age. Dealing with one leaves you clutching your last razor-thin shred of patience and wondering where the guy's babysitter ran off to. So what should you do to maintain your sanity if you encounter a man-child or — gulp — live with one? We’ve got the lowdown.