“The Peter Pan Syndrome” – Why He Can’t Marry You (Even When He Secretly Wants To)

Men are often accused of being commitment shy or commitment phobic.

A lot has been said about men’s hesitance towards taking the ultimate step in a relationship – marriage. Why do so many men struggle with the idea of marriage? You might have encountered this question at some point in your life.

The answer to this mystery is very simple. An average man is in either of the two primary phases after reaching adulthood. He could be in the mature adult phase where he has abandoned all selfish adolescent wildness or he could still be in what is popularly known as the “juvenile player” phase.

A “grown up man” understands his responsibilities and knows the importance of having a partner with whom he can build his life. On the other hand, a man who still functions as a “juvenile player” will be apprehensive of commitment because of his fear of losing his freedom. A man like this may desire to marry and commit himself to his partner, but he will show his disquiet about his decision at every opportunity he gets.

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The player phase is all about immaturity where the man is happy to be in a relationship with a woman but not ready to go any further than that. He may refer to himself as the boyfriend or fiancée. However, in his mind, he might not have registered the idea of actually getting married to his partner.

You might be engaging with these ideas for the first time, and there is even a name for such a behavior which is called the Peter Pan Syndrome. In this syndrome a person has physically matured into adulthood but his cognitive and psychological processes are still lagging behind. Peter Pan syndrome could occur due to various reasons like when an individual has simply refused to grow up or he is stuck in a certain developmental stage which makes him unable to grow psychologically.

This condition is not categorized as a psychological disorder till now. There are adults who display childish and reckless behavior well into adulthood. It is not limited to men, but it affects the male population more than the female.

Men who are still stuck in the juvenile player phase are not psychologically mature to take on the responsibilities of a commitment like marriage. Men in such a situation are looking for a woman who will inspire them to step out of it and progress to grow up.

This might remind you of some movie where an aimless, child-like man meets a certain woman whose love initiates change which further compels him to become a better man.

There are men who pretend that they are mature and have it all together, but deep inside they are holding on to the ideas of the juvenile player phase. An immature man is afraid of losing his options. Often such men are viewed in a negative light which should not be the case. They just need to find their way to maturity and psychological growth.

This is not as easy as it sounds. Since each man’s environment and circumstances are different, the reasons behind his inability to grow up will also be different. You cannot pin it down to one single approach which can be applied to all men in a situation like this. You have to get him to talk to you about his desires and fears. It will require a lot of patience to make him realize his problems.

It’s his responsibility to work out things after this realization. Remember: Do not feel guilty, or blame yourself if he bails out on you.

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