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Is His Peter Pan Syndrome Getting In The Way?

Updated on April 27, 2015
Miss-Adventures profile image

My passion is writing about love, sex, dating, and relationships. I write based on my own personal experiences and those that I relate to.

There are some men that have an issue with getting older—this is what I call Peter Pan Syndrome. Men like this want to hold onto the youthfulness of their 20s for as long as they can. They will continue to do all the fun things that they did at that age, regardless of how old they actually are.

Men who have Peter Pan Syndrome will often dress young—their staple outfit: sneakers, baseball hat (usually backwards), and a tee-shirt with something juvenile displayed on the front or back. He will also like to hangout in clubs or college driven bars, party hard and stay up until the sun comes out then sleep most of the day away.

Although meeting a guy like this can be extremely fun—in the beginning, bringing out your youthful side—eventually he and his dating incapacities become old very quickly, causing a wrench in your relationship. At first, yes, his carefree no-responsibility attitude can feel refreshing (and almost intriguing)—putting a unique spin to dating—which definitely keeps you on your toes. However, unless you have that same "life style," it can end up being exhausting and potentially frustrating.

I have dated a few Peter Pans in my life—some were more apparent than others. One guy I dated was in his 50s. He didn't look his age, which was a plus, and the youthful energy he carried was completely different than what I was used to. Although he had style, as weeks went by I noticed that he really enjoyed dressing very youthful. He would wear baseball caps—usually backwards, board-shorts, t-shits and converse sneakers. He was also obsessed with rap music and would perform for me as if he were a hip hop thug—knowing all the lyrics and dancing his heart out. Don't get me wrong, he was very entertaining. Since this guy was always in performance mode (like most Peter Pan men) the attention to me and our relationship plummeted quickly. He didn't have the attention span nor the maturity to be in a relationship.

Another guy I dated was in his 40s and from the moment we met the energy between us was electric and our conversations were invigorating—lots of bantering (maybe too much) and many laughs. Although this guy was entertaining (to say the least), there were many red flags that started to reveal his Peter Pan tendencies.

The first red flag was when he had us stop by a corner liquor store, where he purchase two miniature bottles of vodka so we could "share a shot" on the way to our first dinner date. A little unorthodox, but whatever. I chalked it up to him being creatively fun in his dating approach. Little did I know, his creative approach was really just a lack of wanting to grow up! Then more red flags started to appear...

Even though this guy was fun to date, there were a few things that became old quickly. This guy really enjoyed partying—he would stay up until 5am and sleep until mid-afternoon. Our "dates"—when we had them, started to become group outings—every time we would see each other he would invite his friends. He had to be the center of attention all the time, constantly joking and bantering with everyone in the room. This guy had no filter. He would say anything he was thinking, usually just for shock value, never noticing how disrespectful and rude he was actually being. Don't get me wrong, I love a man who can banter, however, there is a mature way to banter and an immature way—he didn't seem to know the difference. His attention span was also like a teenage boy—not remembering dates he would plan with me and if his friends wanted to hang out that took precedence over me. When he continued to break plans with me, disregarding my feeling and never acknowledging that we had plans to begin with, the irritation began to grow. Add in the fact that he had two roommates, I decided enough was enough.

I understand that plans will change once in a while—not all the time, however. When a guy doesn't give you a follow up plan right away, it's hurtful and a big sign that you weren't that important to him in the first place.

Some men are great at hiding their Peter Pan ways, however there are usually some commonalities to spot one if you're unsure.

29 Signs of a Peter Pan Syndrome Guy:

  1. 1. Drinks a lot—likes he's still in his 20s
  2. 2. Very stubborn
  3. 3. Inconsistent behaviors
  4. 4. Always has to be around his friends—hardly spends alone time with you
  5. 5. Has a roommate—even though he can afford not to
  6. 6. Spends money frivolously
  7. 7. Sarcastic
  8. 8. Little white lies, both to you and other people in his life
  9. 9. Likes to wear baseball caps a lot and usually backwards
  10. 10. Lack of ambition
  11. 11. He enjoys pushing your buttons—once he knows the things that bother you
  12. 12. If better plans come along with friends he will cancel plans with you
  13. 13. Self-absorbed
  14. 14. He jokes a lot, making it hard to have a serious conversation
  15. 15. Most of his friend, if not all, are a younger than him
  16. 16. It's hard for him to be focused on one thing at a time
  17. 17. He will hold you to a standard that he doesn't hold himself to
  18. 18. He's fun to hang out with, but not stable
  19. 19. He'll interrupt you when you talk—talking loudly over you to get his point across
  20. 20. He has temper tantrums easily
  21. 21. He's an "in the moment" type of guy
  22. 22. Likes to banter with you a lot
  23. 23. He makes impulsive decisions
  24. 24. He has a hard time admitting he's wrong—if he ever does
  25. 25. The only time he can open up and shares his feelings is when he's under the influence of alcohol/drugs
  26. 26. He always have to be "on"—center of attention, when he's with his friends
  27. 27. He enjoys mimicking you when you talk
  28. 28. He always thinks he's right
  29. 29. He's very emotionally driven

**If you have noticed more than half of these things in your relationship, then most likely you are dealing with a Peter Pan Syndrome guy.

Ladies, a Peter Pan Syndrome's energy may be exciting and heightened, however, this doesn't mean that it's healthy. Unless you want to be "Wendy" and mother him forever, then this relationship might be more work than it's worth. Be direct and clear about what you want and more importantly, what you're willing to deal with. Communicate this early, before getting too serious. If he still chooses to not grow up, then leave this Peter Pan alone with his Lost Boys in Neverland.

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    • profile image

      MRB 2 years ago

      Very interesting article. Had never heard of the Peter Pan Syndrome.

    • profile image

      ana 2 years ago

      I've dated a couple of those. Made the mistake of staying with one of them too long waiting for him to grow up, it never happened.

    • Michaela Osiecki profile image

      Michaela 16 months ago from USA

      I'd like to point out that some of these behaviors could actually be indicative of mental illness or development disorders, like autism or Aspergers. Especially the traits: stubbornness, temper tantrums, awkward social behaviors, emotional and impulsive, etc.

      I only point this out because I'm in a long-term relationship with a man who's on the spectrum and a lot of these behaviors are in fact attributed to him being autistic.

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