The 11 Differences Between Dating a Boy vs a Man

suit tie Jaclyn Auletta

When I was in my early twenties, if a guy acted aloof, called back only sometimes and showed minimal interest, I would get hooked. You could say I was addicted to the bad boy/ unavailable boy/ player. I was drawn to what psychotherapist, Ken Page terms as “attractions of deprivation” – when we are drawn to people who embody the worst emotional characteristics of our parents. Basically, the theory explains that we are attracted to people who can wound us the same way we were wounded in our childhood, as our psyche tries to recreate the past void and save us by changing its ending.

“The child in us believes that if the original perpetrators — or their current replacements — finally change their minds, apologize, or make up for that terrible rupture of trust, we can escape from our prison of unworthiness. Our conscious self is drawn to the positive qualities we yearn for, but our unconscious draws us to the qualities which hurt us the most as children.”  - Psychology Today

So games used to work on me because 1) I had unresolved daddy issues and 2) At the tender age of 20, I was trying to figure out who I was and to top it off, I was ridden with insecurity and a low sense of self-worth.

But somewhere in between the passing of a decade, something changed.

I learned to love myself.  I became independent, confident, and started to value my self-worth. I went through hardships and heartbreaks and picked myself back up which built my strength and courage. Instead of relying on beauty as my source of empowerment, I focused on basing my empowerment on my intelligence, successes, values, contributions to the world and how I helped others. In a sense, I finally grew up. I went from being a girl to becoming a woman. And as a woman, you are attracted to very different things than you are as a girl.

A girl is attracted to boys. A woman is attracted to men. Now, this has nothing to do with the actual age of a person. I’m referring to maturity, life vision and stage of life. In fact, some people regardless of their age, will never really grow up. You can switch the genders in this post and most points would likely still apply. Or, read this post on “The 11 Differences Between Dating a Girl vs a Woman“.

If you are a girl (lack independence, are ruled by insecurity, lack self-respect, throw tantrums, have princess syndrome, don’t have strong values or boundaries and can’t hold yourself on your own) then expect that you will attract only boys. However, if you are a woman (independent, ambitious, knows your worth and value, has a strong moral compass, is considerate and an able communicator and doesn’t let insecurity dominate your psyche), then you should be dating a man. And if you can’t spot the difference just yet, here are some pointers.

  1. A man knows what he wants, and goes for it. A boy may have somewhat of an idea, but not really. He doesn’t think too much about it, and even if he does, doesn’t exert much effort to get it. A boy is passive, a man is assertive.
  2. A man plans for his future and is working towards building a foundation and infrastructure in order to have a family (at some point in his life) or another purpose or passion.  A boy lives only in the moment and his plans are mostly around which bar he’s going to hit up on the weekend.
  3. A man looks for a woman with intelligence, who is supportive, grounded and encompasses a shared set of values when choosing a partner. A boy cares mostly only for girls who are hot, wild and exciting.
  4. A man knows a good woman when he meets one and will take initiative to get to know her. A boy may make an attempt if you’re lucky, but gives up before ever really trying.
  5. A man has the courage to have uncomfortable conversations. He is honest with his intentions and lets people know where they stand. A boy avoids. He ignores confrontation or any serious talks about feelings. Instead of dealing with a situation, he runs away from it or creates drama or excuses to mask the fact he’s not that into you or a relationship.
  6. A man knows when to invest in a woman and jump in with two feet. A boy is always “testing” – he doesn’t fully commit because he never knows if he is quite ready. But the truth is, because he is a boy, regardless of who he meets, he will never be ready due to the stage of life he is in.
  7. A man knows how to have a good time and be social, but is often busy making strides in his career and building his life. A boy is getting crunk with his buddies at the bar every weekend.
  8. A man takes the time to reflect on the type of man he wants to be, the example he wants to leave and the vision for his life. He has put thought into his values. A boy has not established his moral compass or values and consequently, is often inconsistent.
  9. A man has integrity. He means what he says, and says what he means. He has follow through and actions his promises. And if he can’t he has the guts to tell you why. A boy makes promises but doesn’t follow through.
  10. A man is afraid of rejection but will put himself out there anyway. A boy is afraid of rejection and acts passive so that his pride and ego won’t ever get too banged up.

Now, a lot of these differences require taking the time to know someone to figure out if the apple of your eye is indeed a man, or a mere boy. However, one of the quickest filters that you can notice from the beginning is this:

11. A boy plays games. A man doesn’t.

*To clarify, when I’m referring to “games” I mean mind games.

Photo credit: Jaclyn Auletta

814 Comments

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  • Reply October 28, 2015

    David

    I like this article. A lot. It confirms what I always knew to be true – being a man takes work, being aboy is easy.Love the comment re #426. Perfect! Love DropHammer77′s points.
    Guys – don’t try and be something you are not; discover WHO you are and make the changes necessary to see the guys you WANT to be when you look in the mirror. Not for the sake of getting a woman. But for yourself.
    Women – if you read this article, then you have issues. Period. Yes, you came here for help, but stop looking for a man if you don’t know what you’re looking for, or wondering why you only end up with jerks. You need to work on yourself, the way the guys do. Acknowledge present state. Decide future state. Work on inplementing change until change is visiable to all. THEN, looking for a MAN will be easy. you’ll spot him a mile off.
    Yes, I am a man. Yes, I have boyish tendancies. Those who know WHAT I am will benefit from WHO I am; and vice versa.

    • Reply October 30, 2015

      Jo

      David, I agree with you except the part where you say any woman who reads this article has issues.

      Isn’t fair to say that the boys reading this also have issues? Some women who come across this site and read this or any article is seeking a perspective or something. Some women are trying their best as some men are.

      Don’t be so condescending to women who read this article or any other article that offers advice or a perspective to understand dating dynamics.

  • […] When I (very involuntarily) discovered who I didn’t want to be, which prompted me to put a lot of thought to consciously decide what type of woman I wanted to be: positive, passionate, strong, kind and loving. I love this very well-written article on dating a girl vs dating a woman (and the man version as well – dating a boy vs dating a man). […]

  • Reply December 3, 2015

    shehan

    read it, learned a thing or two or maybe more. thank you!

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  • Reply December 13, 2015

    Hector

    There’s a problem I have here
    It has no respect for the introverts
    Do you think we don’t go out because we want to
    We don’t go out there because we can’t
    We can freely express and care for others
    But approaching is a difficult subject
    You have no idea how badly I want to be social, mainly due to societal pressure and rejection
    But I can’t, and I can’t change it, nor should I have to change it
    That’s who I am
    Discriminating against those who cannot only serves to make them feel horrible about themselves, as I have for many years
    Be happy about who you are, and be as social as you wish
    It does not make you any less of a man

  • Reply January 13, 2016

    Chris

    Live your life by lists made on the Internet, that’ll make you a boy. You might appear like a man for a bit but eventually the boy inside will come through again.

    There’s two sure fire ways to become a man, age and experience.

  • Reply January 31, 2016

    CONNIE

    Ladies and gentlemen: I am approaching 65 years, have been widowed at 60, remarried at 64 and laugh every day at throwing out the rule book of youth. Who cares about her independents and smarts or his focus on the future ect. Online is full of the do’s and dont’s of relationships. What a hoot !!! Like the gentleman in the last comment said: “There are two sure fire ways to become a man, age and experience. This applies to women also…..

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