When Do Men Grow Up – Part 4

Today I’m returning to the question of what to do when, as a mature, put-together woman in your 20s, you want a relationship but the 20-something men just aren’t there yet. I’ve shared some answers from men in the past two weeks and today some answers from the women. More support for the reality that most men in their 20s still have some growing to do…but you will know when they are ready.


QWhen do 20-something men grow up?


My girlfriends and I are recently single and have found the dating scene, well, interesting. Do 40-something men act the same? Why do 20-something men run for the hills when they hear the word “commitment” (not necessarily meaning marriage)? Why are they intimidated by strong career-focused women? Why are they unable to pick up the phone and call you, but will eagerly send you a text?   We aren’t chasing after these boys, but would love to know if there is hope down the road. We are also wondering if it would be possible to field this question to some 40-something men for help?

– From, the 20-something girls out there who want to find some 20-something mature [and normal] men.

A. It’s complicated but there is hope.

Dear 20-something,

Well, you and your girlfriends are struggling to understand a very complicated phenomenon. First of all, when you refer to men in their twenties, there is a gigantic difference between a 22 year old and a 28 year old man. One end of the spectrum is fresh out of college while the other is soon to be 30. Hugely different places in life for certain. The reality is that younger men tend to avoid commitment and can we blame them? They have their whole lives to be married once that day comes. It is all about timing. If the guy is in a place in his life where he wants love, then he will be open to it.

The truth is that if a guy really likes you, and the timing is right, he will want a commitment. He will want to call you and not just text you. He will think its great you have  a career. The “he’s just not that into” theory is, for better or worse, pretty true (if you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, look up the Sex and the City episode, not the movie of that title). When I met my husband he was ready to  meet me. It sounds corny, I know. If I had met my husband a few years earlier, I am not sure he’d have been “ready” for me. Men in their twenties grow up gradually….some fast, some slow, some never! It all depends on their life experiences and what they value.

40-something year old men are very different from men in their twenties…though I know some 40s men who are still single, living la vida loca and have no intention of changing any time soon! These men you know now will be very different 20 years from now. It is just the reality. We all change, mature, develop ourselves, etc. as we get older. There is hope!

As for the texting as opposed to calling…that did not exist for us when we were your age, so it must be tough to navigate. It is the typical stereotype that men like to be “to the point” and not talk things to death like women do….texting is a dream come true for men! They can get their point across without any interruption, discussion, drama…you get the idea. Good luck out there! – 40-something


Dear 20-something,

I wish girls would know you might not meet someone until you are 50 that is the right person but most likely you will meet someone. You may not get married and have children but you probably won’t be alone either. You can date and date and enjoy life. I so get worried about my niece who is 28 and always asks, “What am I going to do if I’m not married by 30?”  I say, “You’re 28, you could meet someone next year. You could meet someone in 5 years… in 10 years.” I know for me, dating would have been a lot more fun knowing what I know now because I wouldn’t be as stupid. I would have spent more time enjoying what I liked to do and less time with guys that didn’t call (and less time dissecting why they didn’t’ call).  Knowing what I know now, I would never date someone for as long as I did in my 20s. After a year or 2 if you don’t know, it doesn’t matter if you are 28 or 48, move on.  When it’s right, you will know. I just know that when my husband and I got together, we had fun and it wasn’t ever stressful. I remember that tendency when you are young and you get so worked up and you like the drama because it’s exciting. But drama probably isn’t going to work. – 40-something, married in early 30s. After years of dating the wrong guys she found her right guy right under her nose — her best friend’s brother and her go-to guy friend


Dear 20-something,

In my experience men under 50 don’t grow up unless something personally adverse happens to them that is directly related to their immature behavior and they experience a loss as a consequence (i.e, job, loved one).  Then they either become more firmly rooted in their faulty defense and coping mechanisms or, they use the opportunity to change. I believe it’s the learning from this experience that represents growing up.  In fact, I think this is one of the definitions of maturation – growth through experiential change.  Good luck!! – 40-something woman, married in her late 20s, experienced some growing up with her husband both together and apart, 2 kids, psycho-therapist


The consensus. Most men start growing up in their late 20s and hopefully do grow up by 35. They’ve gotten things out of their system, they’ve experienced some sort of loss or challenging growth experience (this could be self-motivated as well) and they do begin to think there’s got to be more to life than hanging with the boys. They do get tired of the game. Getting married is a rite of passage for men and for many a serious step toward wanting to start a family. At some point it turns from “I like the way she looks and I’d like to sleep with her” to “I’d like to keep this one around.”. It is easy. It’s not hard work. They get a real sense that you like them too! You want to spend time together. It’s not an instantaneous thing as if a guy will just marry the next one he dates after he begins to mature. At the same time…you have to understand that men really can separate sex from love and caring. So they may have sex with you, hang out with you but not really like some other things about you enough to want to commit. That can be confusing.


The most important thing you can do after you take it all in is focus on what makes you happy. The more you know what makes you happy, the more you will be able to recognize …the one…and have more fun on the way.


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