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You Asked: Is He Too Immature For Me?

Dear Sugar,

I am 26, have a great job, and live on my own. I have been dating a guy for seven months now who is 23, lives with his parents, goes to college, and works full time. It's not his emotional maturity that I'm concerned about, rather his place in life. He's never been on his own and he's cheap, which is one of the reasons I think he's never moved out.

We go out to eat sometimes but I always feel awkward because I don't know who should pay — though he does offer frequently. I cook a lot for us, but he never pitches in on groceries — I don't ask him to. He never says "thank you" or helps clean up. He also says he's going to get me things, but doesn't follow through. He just got a new car, but he has very few bills to pay outside of that. He doesn't pay rent, buy groceries, or pay for school. He's never been on his own so I don't know if he'll always be like this or if he just needs to experience things to appreciate them.

On the flip side, he mentions our future together all the time. He got me a nice gift for Christmas and my birthday. He's a very sweet guy — he's always affectionate, polite, and makes me laugh. I think he has good intentions, but he's in desperate need of guidance. I don't want to be a nag but I feel like I put more into the relationship than he does. I guess I have standards and he's not meeting them. I know good guys are hard to find and I would really like to make it work, but I think I need more. Am I being selfish? Are we just in two different stages in life? Will he grow out of this? Please help!

— More Mature Marian

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear More Mature Marian,

You're certainly not being selfish — if your needs aren't being met, that's a problem. I wish I could say whether or not your boyfriend was going to grow out of this, but unfortunately, only time will tell. It sounds like he does care about you, but just has no idea that his actions are upsetting you — how could he if you've never told him? It also sounds like he's fairly responsible if he's holding down a job and going to school full time even if he does still live at home. However, if he's just a cheapskate, their might not be much you can do. Regardless, it's time to make him aware of your issues so you can at least give him the opportunity to change.

Sit down and talk to him, or if that's too intimidating, try bringing it up casually next time you go to pay for something. Either way, avoid attacking him or mentioning his age, as it's likely that he'll react defensively instead of trying to understand where you're coming from. If he decides to start rethinking his actions, make sure you show appreciation and support. It will be important for him to hear that he's doing something right for you. If he's not willing to change, or if he says that he will but then continues the same behavior, I think you'll have your answer about whether or not you two are on the same wavelength.


Join The Conversation
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Speak up!
murdock99tx murdock99tx 9 years
Do dump or marry? DUMP! Good god, it is only going to get worse. The guy is a child w/no signs of growing up anytime soon.
Lilith1 Lilith1 9 years
Story of my life... I went through the exact same thing. I'm almost 27, mi ex turns 25 today. Two weeks ago I decided I just couldn't go on. We were together for two years. I can only say that you guys are in very different places in life. No matter how nice he is or if you care for each other, maturity really is important. You need someone you can admire and you need to keep on growing, usually with younger guys (specially 20 somethings) you lower yourself to their level and forget about yourself. At least that's what happened to me. Also keep in mind that people don't change (unless they undergo some experience that makes them change). What you have now is what you'll have in the years to come... Good luck and if you want to talk more I'm here for you.
lulupitty99 lulupitty99 9 years
wow I have been going through the EXACT same situation for the last year. I'm employeed full time, have a college degree, and live in my own apartment. My boyfriend just turned 23 (i'll be 25 in the fall) and he is still living at home, working full time, and has college on hold right now. He has never lived on his own and has very little responsiblities. He very rarely offered money to pay for any of our activities but would always have new clothes and video games etc. This did make me quite resentful to him also because I am working so hard to support myself. However, just recently we broke up... on his doing... so that he could take time to figure his life out. Get everything in order. As I write this we are still on pretty good terms although its painful... we're "hoping" to get back together in the future when he feels like he has more to offer... and can feel like a better boyfriend and a better man. YOu really do have to take a step back and look at how he must feel. If your man is like my man, they have no idea how to be on their own and that is very scarey. Its easy to rely on other people when those you love are helping you out all the time. He will never be able to grow up and mature if you dont let him go do it. He may even be quite intimidated and immasculated by your success of living on your own. It will hurt.. especially if you love him. I'm feeling devistated right now because I lost my lover, my best friend, and someone I had hoped to have a happy future with. But honestly, if its meant to be it will be. He will never be able to grow to be the man you want/need unless you let him figure out his life on his own and you will never be able to give up the resentment if you can't allow him some time.
nikodarling nikodarling 9 years
Sounds like mommy and daddy are still babying him. Gaining independence and being on your own is an important step for anyone. If he moved out and had to take care of things for himself he would probably become a much more considerate person. The question is can you wait for him to grow up?
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
I think he would have to just grow out of it - and he needs to realize his "flaws", either through someone telling him (as in a wake up call) or discovering this on his own. Man, I dated a super stingy guy before and it was annnnnooooyyyiiinnngggg.
katiedid0985 katiedid0985 9 years
I say just talk to him about helping to pay for things and your other needs that you feel aren't being met. Maybe he just thinks you're being nice or don't need help paying for things. Also you said he offers to pay, would he actually follow through on that and you don't always let him or are they empty promises? I guess I'm not sure what you mean by get you things, like bring over dinner or buy you jewelry? There's a difference. I'm sure most people would take advantage (not in a bad way) of the situation he has if given the chance, so I wouldn't judge him too harshly for it. That said, he doesn't have experience of being out on his own, so when that happens (if it doesn't then I'd say worry) some of these things might change. But I agree with lexi saying that you guys are on different wavelengths, you are in different places in your lives and it sounds like that might be difficult for you to deal with right now.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
He hasnt had any "life" experiences to grow on, he might not be money savvy, or even know how to be grateful for your efforts in cleaning or otherwise (mommas boys usually arent, they take that stuff for granted) I married a man who wasnt ready to be a husband and paid dearly for that, let him move out and learn some valuable lessons.
shelleybaby32 shelleybaby32 9 years
well, he is only 23. What do you expect? I believe that you learn about life by participating in life. You learn from your mistakes and as you get older and mature your views change. He lives at home mommmy and daddy take care of him. Come can't expect this guy to voluntarily take care of himself in this situation. Don't be too judgemental. He seems like he has potential. He obviously doesn't know any better. So many women like you are soooo judmental about their men and picky. Then when you are 35 you are crying and complaining because you don't have a man. Relax...this doesn't seem like a big deal.
jaxon jaxon 9 years
He has NO REAL BILLS but works full-time and does not always (mostly) pick up the check? HELL NO! Is it that you WANT to take cre of him? You said he offers frequently to pay for then what happens? Do you say no, I'll pay? It's a toss up. Some men I know are very mature at 23 and he does seem like it. I would not say end this relationship but DO NOT let him move in with you. When he's ready to move out let him get his own place for at least a year. That way he'll forge fiscal resonsibility on his own w/out you "nagging" him. As far as the gifts TALK TO HIM. Let him know how you are feeling. If he doesnt make significant changes he'll probably ALWAYS be cheap and you should move on...
lexibaby lexibaby 9 years
People can be totally oblivious to obvious things sometimes. Maybe he thinks that since you never asked him to help pay then he doesn't really give it much thought. You'll never know until you talk to him. BTW- It sounds like you see each other on two different wavelengths already- "He's a great guy, BUT...he's just not at that place where I would like him to be..."
gigill gigill 9 years
Well - why is exactly is he being cheap? Is he saving up for a house or something like that? If he's just blowing it on stuff for himself then yeah, I'd be pissed! You can't fault him if his family has come up with an arrangement where they don't make him pay for rent or school etc. Perhaps the next time you're out and you're buying groceries or whatever just say that money's tight and you would appreciate it if he helped out. Maybe that would get some money talk going and you could talk about how you feel.
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
He doesn't sound all that bad but.....what's worse than a cheap man? It depends on who you are as a person some SAY they appreciate a cheap man but you sound like the type who can't stand it, and I don't blame you! I think since he seems like an overall good person its only fair that you at least talk to him about it. I think a lot of cheap people take advantage whenever they can not to pay for things but he needs to be told that it bothers you. I think cheapness is a huge part of who a person is so don't expect much change, but if he becomes more considerate then great. If it continues then maybe this guy just isn't the right fit for you don't force it. Pfft, I just reread your post and dude does have some serious flaws. He lives rent free and works FULL TIME yet still looks at you to pick up the bill when you already cook a lot for him? I think you'll be moving on soon.
Berlin Berlin 9 years
Careful that he isn't borrowing that money from his rents to get you the gifts, or that he's spending his every last cent to buy them. And if he's mentioning a future together, you don't want it to be because he's depending on you to be there for financial support, that he'll jump from living with his rents to living with you. You aren't his babysitter or supporter. Guys will latch on to what they can, and what you let them do. You need to be with someone on the same page, someone that has a good job, that's planning for their own future and want to include you in it, not planning the future that they can't afford with you! He should be saving for retirement, having a nice car with no payments and being able to buy a house and have a career, not buying you gifts with the little that he may have. He'll end up leeching on and you will get drained. So be careful, truly look at where you are in life and where you want to be, and if you really see him there with you or you just WANT to see him there. This is your life too and you deserve the most out of it, not to spend time helping him help himself. Relationships are hard enough when you are both on the same page:)
jJuliet jJuliet 9 years
If his parents offered to pay for his school and his rent, and you are offering to cook and clean for him, It's kind of silly to blame him for taking you up on the offer. Just let him know that you are feeling underappreciated and that in the future, you would like some help paying for groceries, cleaning up, etc. Don't ruin the relationship because you are too afraid of being a "nag" to ask for what you deserve.
Beauty Beauty 9 years
I think Dan Savage has an acronym for this guy... ahem. Guys in their early 20s are largely like this. And some of them keep it up into their 30s. I'm sure he's a nice guy, but he seems pretty immature. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I'd talk to him about it. In theory, at least. In real life I would probably move on, but I'm impatient like that. ;)
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