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


  • […] differences between a boy and a man, and what it means to date either of them. PS – just stumbled onto this site, and I’m […]

  • Reply June 9, 2015


    Well according to this post looks as if men were perfect;However this is not how reality works.If i would consider that post i can say that 99,9% of male gender in human kind are made of boys.You shouldnt try to find a perfect person,cause it does not exist,you should try to find some1 that even with his or her imperfections can captivate you and you couldnt wish any1 better.

    • Reply June 22, 2015


      Most men out there are boys and saying your Jesus means your part of the problem…

      • Reply July 19, 2015


        Says the deatheater

        • Reply August 30, 2015


          Shut up, potter.

    • Reply September 16, 2015


      The idea here isn’t perfection. The idea is to find someone who acts in these ways overall. Sometimes even men will be immature, but for the most part they should be acting this way. I have dated an immature girl and trust me, you will be left wondering if this person even has the social skills to stay in a long term relationship.

  • […] article “11 Differences Between Dating a Man vs a Boy” changed my perspective completely on my current […]

  • Reply June 27, 2015


    No man ever really grows up ..and in this now business type world if you wear a suit you just look like a corporate fucktard and be looked down on by the general public …I mean who wants to act fifty

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  • Reply July 9, 2015


    Integrity and commitment, that’s the critical point. But ‘true man’ like explained in this post is way hard to find

  • Reply July 22, 2015


    I made a list of things about women that are “red flag run away” traits. I’m on #426.

  • Reply August 3, 2015

    Bruce Starr The LUVCOACH

    Hi Amy, great articles. I would like to connect with you sometime. Perhaps I can interview you.

  • Reply September 23, 2015


    It’s Not just about being 100% this. It’s doing & being your best not just for your Wife or your woman but for your self. Same time though don’t act like your better than the next man or that your walking the high road acting like your God’s gift to Women. Doing your best by applying these principals in your life does change you for the better. One downfall is Women don’t realize they meet a lot of Men like this. Because ‘This Man’ is not obnoxious at the Bar or loudest during a Party doesn’t mean he is shy or not sociable. A lot of it has to do how we were raised. Strive to be a better Man. Women tend to judge harshly to quick. I’ve heard the “Your such a Nice Guy” Too many times being a Gentleman is misinterpreted as weakness while the Loud abnoxious A**hole in middle of Bar is in the spotlight telling every Woman in his veiw he can tell what color her panties are by what she is drinking. Guys see this & they think “He is getting all the attention from the Women while the Gentleman is… not noticed. Who wants to be a Gentleman this day? You Women want a Gentleman that will not only want you physically but also emotionally? For the Love of God stop giving the A**hole that has no morals attention! Don’t be so quick to judge when you see a Man who might be doing the opposite of all the Other Guys. He might feel out of place so give him a chance. Besides, this type of man will not be hanging in Rowdy places every single night or every Weekend but occasionally show up.

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