Peter Pan Syndrome – What You Can Do With a Guy Who Won’t Grow Up

love u podcast

Peter Pans are men who don’t want to grow up. They’re fun, spontaneous, playful, creative, and interesting. You love them. Until it’s time to get serious. Then, you realize you’ve got a clueless boyfriend whose life revolves around his selfish whims and needs. What do you do when you are in love with a man who can’t plan 24 hours ahead? Join me on the Love U Podcast to find out.

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  1. 1

    I PROUDLY admit I’m a Pan!

  2. 2

    Meh to the Peter Pans. That type–and all the entitlement, self-absorption, and dog-chasing-its-tail behavior that goes with it–has never been remotely attractive to me. I much prefer to date adult men who are on my level. That said, you’re just too cute mugging for the camera in your little hat.

    1. 2.1
      Xander Angel

      That’s how he really is.



  3. 3

    Evan, looking so cute with the hat :).

  4. 4
    Just Saying


    Errrrr. Why do men need to grow up ? Are they not entitled, like women, to do whatever the hell they want with their lives?

  5. 5

    Yeah, it sounds weird, as if men have an obligation or duty to “grow up” and dedicate their whole life to a woman. If the same things were told about women   (“grow up and live your life to meet the needs of one man, selfish creature!”), it would be considered sexist/misogynist/macho.

    Men are free to live their life as they want – the same as women.


    1. 5.1
      Just Saying

      Yes Theodora. If I wanted to party and sleep around well into my forties as a woman, why shouldn’t I ? If someone said to me that I should”grow up”, get married to a good man and have babies, I would tell them to mind their own business. Why do people here expect a different treatment for men?

  6. 6

    I don’t have a problem with men or women who never want to grow up, but knock off the lying. Part of   the game ,the adrenaline rush, seems to be making a game out of those of us who do   want a relationship geared for marriage.   I don’t mind the way that people choose to live, however, when you attempt to manipulate, coerce, or otherwise   emotionally abuse another human being you’ve crossed over a line of playful to harmful. The “long-termers” are just as capable as the “Pans” of committing such vile acts. My point? Be truthful and state your intentions. You always get what you give.

    1. 6.1

      Right on!


  7. 7

    Evan, great podcast, you are so much fun to listen to, your material is always interesting.   Thanks for this Peter Pan podcast, even though I am in the happily   married category, there is much to learn about relationships in your work.

  8. 8

    they suck.. narrsasitic   jerk offs..

  9. 9

    these guys dont   change they go thru women like underware! If u just want a night of fun. Okay but never get serious. Trust me.  

  10. 10

    I actually see this topic as related to the “Is it ok to ask a man to dress appropriately” post. After all, how we dress is a reflection (on the whole) of how we see ourselves. It would be interesting to see how many of the ‘peter pan’ types intersect with the ‘dresses inappropriately or badly’ types.

    For example, I have a co-worker who wears sneakers every day. And normally, I think sneakers look terrible on men. But this young man has extremely clean shoes, and a new pair almost daily. He keeps them impeccably clean, and rotates them so that he wears most of them regularly. I had no idea, but apparently these are special ‘Michael Jordan’ type shoes that cost upward of $200/pair. So in spite of the type of shoe, these sneakers reflect his tidy, conscientious personality.

    So for me, I tend to associate certain clothing (cargo shorts, flip flops, Ed Hardy shirts, any logo shirt, sneakers, hiking boots or puka shell necklaces) with a less mature person. It’s not perfect, but I have to admit it’s my starting point of perception when I view their profiles online. Yes, I’d put the motorcycle pictures, bathroom and shirtless selfies in that category too.

    After all, ‘every girl’s crazy about a sharp dressed man’!



    1. 10.1


      Let me take a wild guess.   The guy is black.   The expensive basketball sneakers are apparently a status symbol and ethnicity statement for them.   Like a uniform to demonstrate that you’re a member of some group (eg. baseball team).

      Apparently these guys are able to get women anyway, even those who are also sagging (showing underwear).

      There is an old saying… If women preferred upside down men, you’d see half the population walking around via a handstand!

      If casual dress rather than business attire (button down shirt for men with dress pants and appropriate shoes is the norm in your department then this man has not yet learned that fitting in is the easiest path to success.

  11. 11

    Do you think that there are more Peter Pans today than in much of the past?   My theory is that during the 1960s and ’70s, in attempting to free men from the somewhat restrictive role of stoical breadwinner, our society also unleashed millions of fun-loving, whimsical, doe-eyed perma-boys upon us.

    There are degrees of boyishness.   Two dear friends are devoted men who value marriage and are rock-solid emotionally.   However, one refuses to hold down any job bc he wants to make his fortune flipping houses (bought and renovated with other people’s money, of course); at 49 years-old, he lives with his dad or couch-surfs at friends’ homes and has yet to actually buy a house… he just talks and thinks about it a lot and tries to convince family members to “invest” in his schemes.   The other is now married but with two Masters Degrees, he still (currently 46 years-old) works as a cater-waiter because a “regular job” would interfere with his hope of being a successful fiction writer (still hasn’t so much as published a single book).   Neither one steals, cheats or lies.   Both are kind, faithful and treat their partners like gold.   In both cases, I know they are lovely fellows and there are certain women who can build a life based on this kind of sweet dreaminess.   I just realise I’m not such a woman; I need a man, not a boy.

    1. 11.1

      @ Henriette #11
      “Do you think that there are more Peter Pans today than in much of the past?   My theory is that during the 1960s and ’70s, in attempting to free men from the somewhat restrictive role of stoical breadwinner, our society also unleashed millions of fun-loving, whimsical, doe-eyed perma-boys upon us.”
      I think you might be right that there are more Peter Pans today than in the past, however, I think are a number of reasons for this development:
      Relative Decrease in Income
      I’m not sure what the proportion of one’s (average middle-class) income is required to buy a(n average middle-class) house is now, but I’m pretty sure that it’s a lot higher than it was in previous generations. Therefore the effort/yield ratio involved in buying a house (and starting a family) is just too high to be worth it.
      So why even bother?
      Dissolution of Stigmas
      Several societal stigmas have now dissolved, or diluted to such an extent that they have no effective influence in affecting behavior anymore:
      –                   It’s now socially acceptable to have casual sex
      –                   It’s now socially acceptable to have multiple different relationships before/instead of marriage.
      –                   It’s now socially acceptable to have children out of wedlock
      –                   It’s now socially acceptable to choose not to get married
      –                   It’s now socially acceptable to choose not to have children
      So what incentive is there for a guy to grow up and take on the responsibility of marriage?
      Women prioritizing chemistry
      As women now earn their own money they have no necessity to value a guy’s salary/job anymore they are now free to prioritize “chemistry” when choosing their romantic partners. But as a result young men learn that in order to get sex they now need to learn how to generate “chemistry,” which involves prioritizing their looks and developing characteristics such as humor and cheekiness rather than developing previously valued characteristics such as reliability, job stability and long-term vision.
      So what incentive is there for a guy to develop the latter characteristics and grow up?
      Consequences of Divorce
      Well this is pretty simple I guess. If one doesn’t grow up and get married then there’s zero risk of getting divorced and all the potential attendant catastrophic consequence.
      So why get married in the first place?
      Culture of the Individual
      With our culture now so focused on the individual there’s no social pressure to focus on the greater good rather than each individual looking out for themselves.
      So why bother growing up for the benefit of society?
      “I just realise I’m not such a woman; I need a man, not a boy.”
      Well I guess some guys do grow up…eventually. Lol. And when they do, they’re gonna want a real woman 😉

  12. 12

    Love this. Absolutely love this! Thanks so much. I’ll save this explanation to refer to in the future.

  13. 13

    This might be the biggest issue facing women today.    There’s an epidemic of men who don’t have the education or life skills to prosper.   I would not describe these men as immature or manboyish or fun-loving.   They just don’t have their act together enough to be in a relationship.   Men who are in their thirties and live at home.   Men who are in between jobs or taking a break for a while.    Job hoppers who never get ahead.   Men with 100k deferred student loan debt who don’t have a degree or decent job prospects.    Men who are working under table while collecting disability.   If you are not meeting people  at work or near work, you run into ne’er-do-well men.   My view may be a double standard but  I want more than a  fun-loving manly body.

  14. 14

    Thank you so much! This was very helpful!

  15. 15

    Just to make a point to those accusing Evan of saying these men ‘need to change’ (which commentors have pointed out is wrong) he doesn’t say this. He explicitly says that women can’t expect these men to change and that if they are having issues, they ought to seek somebody else.

    An extra thought though Evan, you’ve painted the picture of these Peter Pan men as hopeless creatives and dreamers. I think that there’s a category of Peter Pans you have entirely missed out. Yes there is the type that avoid growing up, in the conventional adult sense to pursue their dreams, which is to some extent admirable. But there’s a more difficult category: the peter pans who completely AVOID having dreams as they don’t want to grow up. The type that avoid making their own decisions. The type that rely on their mothers to sort out menial issues. The type that drop out of college 5 times to change their majors just to avoid the ‘real world’. The type that like a child talking about their futures are all talk, but no action. These are the harder cases…

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