Difference Between A Boy And A Man In A Relationship (21 Main Differences)

When you are dating a guy, it's easy to assume he's perfect for you, especially if he's got dreamy eyes, beautiful hair, and a chiseled body. 

Yes, these are the surface qualities ladies easily notice, especially if you are the type that gets quickly excited by those features. However, there's more to look out for than a handsome face or sexy physique if you are hoping to have a fulfilling, happy, long-lasting relationship.

Yes, that's supposed to be common sense. I mean, it's simple logic that a lady should look to date only a mature man that'll make her happy, give her peace of mind and bring out the best in her, instead of a boy that'll mostly do the opposite. 

21 Differences Between A Boy And A Man In A Relationship

Sadly, many women want the “boy” more. Now, I don't mean young/underage, but grown men that still behave immaturely.

It's like most women are drawn to and love dating the ones that break their hearts. Even if that's not the case, it's almost as if women can't avoid these types of men. 

The sad reality is, many of them are out there. The onus is on you to not get carried away by superficial features so you can separate a real man from a boy.

That said, dating an immature man/boy can be frustrating. So, if you are looking to maintain your sanity, find true love, and have peace of mind, here are a few tips that'll help you differentiate between the men and the boys because, in reality, it has nothing to do with the actual age of a guy. 

1. You are sometimes what you attract

you are sometimes what you attract

Before we jump right into it, you might want to know why you sometimes desire bad boys instead of real men. One of the reasons is because you are still a girl, even though you are all grown up. 

You might also have a low sense of self-worth and going about with your princess syndrome, dating a boy was just natural for you. Somehow, you know deep down, he is not the best for you, but only boys, not real men, attract you.

Psychotherapists explain it with the term, the attraction of deprivation. The theory explains that sometimes people find it okay to be attracted to those that hurt them because they've similarly been deprived of love during their growing years. The mind has now switched to this behavior as a coping mechanism to create a happy ending. 

If you lack self-respect, haven't grown up, or are avoiding dealing with psychological issues, you may find it more comfortable dating a boy that will hurt you even if you have the option of dating a real man. The first thing to do is, have some self-worth, do some growing up, improve yourself and see how your standard for men that attract you will also improve.

2. Boys play games, men do not

If you want to avoid dating boys, one of the best approaches is being able to spot their modus operandi from “miles away.” I know that's sometimes not possible since they might approach you looking classy and impressive. 

Still, the signs are always there if you care to notice. This class of relationship-unserious men may be called boys, but make no mistake, they've got charm and game. Getting you excited is usually one of their specialties as they are often a lot of fun. So, it's another reason to figure out early before you get hooked by their charm. 

That said, mind games, ghosting games, manipulating strategies, are all common with a boy. That’s because he’s not sure of what he wants. Yes, he wants to date a woman, but that’s just it. He doesn’t know the type of woman he wants, even if she’s right in front of him, checking all the boxes of an amazing or good woman. He desires the adrenaline rush that comes with playing hide and seek, ghosting you, and so on. 

Yes, a mature man can appear to take things slowly at first, but that does not mean he's playing mind games. If a guy acted aloof while taking things slow or getting to know you, he won't be afraid of being vulnerable because he knows what he wants. On the other hand, a boy plays games just because he can. 

3. Different values

different values

Before you get serious with a man, his self-worth and values, such as what is important to him, what drives or keeps him going should interest you. Girl, the looks and physique are not enough. This tip will help you prevent wasting time with a man. If you are attentive, a man can't fake it. A boy is driven by temporary, superficial, things, while a better man has important values like family, love, etc. 

4. Boys are mostly about sex, men want a life partner

Virtually everyone wants sex, but a boy is all about it than any other thing. If you are dating a boy, you can't help but notice it. Planning an outing, dinner, or any other get-together is always a means to get into your pants. It’s even worse if he has unresolved daddy issues

If you are equally driven by sex, it’s not a recipe for healthy relationships and you may confuse his attitude of being all over you as a good thing. He may even be cheating on you which further creates drama. On the other hand, a man may want to get intimate with you, but he also wants a partner to share his world with. With him, you don't feel like a mere object of sexual gratification but a partner, bringing the best out of each other.

5. A man has goals, a boy dates for the fun of it

Another sign that shows the difference between a boy and a man is relationship goals. While a boy may genuinely have feelings for you in his immature way, he usually doesn't know where he's heading with how he feels. 

Apart from taking his feelings to the first base, second base, and other levels of intimacy, he doesn't have any productive goals that include the long-term happiness of you both. On the other hand, a real man doesn't date for fun or conquest. He approached you with clear intent, which you will notice in due time, both in his conversations and actions. 

6. Open communication

open communication

As simple as communication might sound, it's not something you should expect from a boy. Of course, you both will talk about fun things, jokes, plan outings, and other stuff. But when it comes to real communication that creates emotional bonds between couples, that's where you start to question if you have a man or a mere boy. 

A boy avoids serious talks about values, family, but will hold a superficial conversation well. If you are equally the superficial type, you might not see this one as a sign of being with a boy.

7. Avoids trashing out issues

One of the signs of maturity is being able to confront issues, trash them out, and learn from them. It has nothing to do with age. You'll find that a boy ignores confrontation. The reasons are not far-fetched. First, he's proud and doesn't want to acknowledge wrong. 

If you fight, he'll cover up the whole issue with anger, throw tantrums, or create drama just to avoid admitting his fault. He may even invalidate your reason for being upset. On the other hand, a man isn't afraid to be wrong. For him, dealing with or confronting issues is a chance to bond, know you more, and show you how much he cares about your feelings. 

8. Commitment

Another difference between dating a man and a boy is the level of commitment. A man takes time to reflect on what you both share and consciously invest efforts towards its sustenance. Dating a boy can come with a lot of fun and excitement, but if you are attentive, you’ll quickly notice that’s probably the only upside of being with him. He acts passive in his relationships, so to fully commit is usually a problem because he’s either not ready or just playing you. 

Even if he tries, investing much effort is alien to him. Yes, I agree that you can give someone time to change. If you have a boy that isn’t ready to become a man. It might be time to look elsewhere. 

9. Insecure

Another attitude you can't miss in a childish or boyish man is being insecure. He allows insecurity to dominate him. When you need him to trust you, his insecure attitude takes the better of him, causing frequent issues, where there shouldn't be any. A man is more secure about his feelings, doesn't lack self-respect, and will naturally make you feel trusted with him.

10. Responsibility


Whether he's religious or not, a man displays a high standard when it comes to being responsible. Not just for his job and relationships, but in his daily life because people around him can also tell just how responsible he is. 

What's more, his moral compass is solidly established and maintained, so he's got standards and isn't swayed by every enticement that comes his way. With a boy, he hasn't probably established a code or moral compass for himself. Because he has no guiding principle, he displays inconsistencies in the way he relates with you and others as well.

11. The future talk

One of the easy signs that tell the difference between dating a man and a boy is the confidence and openness about discussing the future. He doesn’t let insecurity dominate his outlook on life and he finally grew into his responsibilities. It's a clear difference you can't miss as a boy will naturally avoid talks about the future. This kind of man lives for today and as his girl, he expects you to be the same. Why? He's not sure about what he wants. 

Even if he tries when you bring up the topic, he would be vague, uninterested, with no real actionable plans. If you are attentive, you'll notice that the talks about the future are uncomfortable conversations with him. At best, a boy makes promises about the future he can keep.

12. Independence

A man that goes into a relationship would have attained a significant level of independence. Not only does a man live in his apartment, but he's also self-sufficient and able to handle his business without the control of family or friends. 

On the other hand, boys lack independence. If a boy lives on his own, he may still have unnecessary attachments with his parents or friends. Don't be confused by how successful or where a boy lives. Many of them are well-to-do but are seriously deficient in the capacity of being a man or being fully independent.

Some men grew up with the total absence of a father figure, making them totally reliant on their mother. While it's not supposed to be a bad thing, some of them never outgrow the comfort of “living in the nest” with mummy, so they need you to fill a past void. A relationship that involves mothering a grown man can be exhausting and challenging. 

13. Childish behavior

childish behavior

Grow up! I remember this one as a wake-up call my mother regularly threw at me whenever I was acting childish as a teenager. If you are not dating a guy at his tender age, he isn't a teenager, but a fully grown man, yet you constantly control the urge to tell him to grow up, then he probably has some immature attitude that's frustrating you. 

A man acts more maturely in thinking, actions, words, etc. Having an honest conversation can help as I earlier mentioned. However, if he shows minimal interest in changing girls, hoping for a healthy relationship elsewhere might not be a bad idea.

14. How do you feel about being with him?

If you are dating a man, matured in every way, it will reflect in the way you feel. First, a man makes you feel secure. You know what you are to him even without verbally spilling out at you. You are not confused about your place in his life. 

What's more, even if you are not planning a marriage or moving in together at the moment, you know how he feels about you and where you both are “heading.” A boy makes you feel the opposite, even if he's not deceiving or cheating on you. Because he seems to live for the moment, you are not sure if you are his girlfriend or FWB.

15. His family

Another obvious clue that tells you the difference between a man and a boy is that he may not be committed to the level of letting you meet his family. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean he's cheating on you. However, because he has no clue of what he wants and may probably just be having fun with you, you'll notice his family is off-limits for you, and he won't even bring you into a conversation about them.

16. Your family

your family

Sequel to the one above, because a boy isn't ready for serious talks in relationships, you'll hardly hear him ask about your folks. If he does, they are only superficial things. If you make moves that involve him meeting them, don't be surprised if he takes a rain check or comes up with an excuse at the last minute. Again, he might not be cheating, it's just that he's a boy. 

To a boy, less complex, i.e., the idea of you and him only makes better sense than knowing your family, calling them to say hello, or even paying a visit. Men, on the other hand, understand the importance of family. Because he probably has long-term plans with you, he sees it as a normal thing to get involved with your folks, since they may become “his family” someday.

17. Your world

Look around you, how involved is your boyfriend in your world? If you are dating a boy, you'll notice he's only involved in limited things about you even though you welcome him. Like I mentioned earlier, he's a fun junkie and can easily get you lost in having wild fun. But that's probably all he has to offer. A man understands other aspects of your life are part of the package, so he's involved not just to bond, but to also help in ways he can. 

18. Initiative

A boy will always be a boy until he grows to become a man. A boy usually lacks obvious initiative, like when to go out of his way for you, stand up for you, be a shoulder for you to lean on, and so on. A man on the other hand is experienced and knows when to be a man without being told. Yes, we are all work-in-progress, so it's okay to allow room for improvement. However, know when it's time to leave a boy that refuses to grow into a man

19. Role model

Like all children, don't expect much from a boy that is yet to get his life together or doesn't want to. Unlike a man, a boy would hardly be a role model to others. A woman, looking for a potential life partner knows to look out for a man that would be a good husband and also a fantastic role model to his kids. A boy isn't just ready, you can't force him. He's probably not aware of it. He doesn't care about being a good example. A boy cares mostly for himself alone. 

20. Financially secure

financially secure

While a man may not be rich, he would have gotten his business together instead of relying on friends and family for financial support. If you are in a relationship with a boy, chances are he may want you to be responsible for the bills without trying to step up. A man knows his place and responsibility, even if he’s financially incapacitated at some point, you will notice he’s trying to improve.

21. Challenging situations

While we all have a different appetite for challenging situations, a man is more available and doesn't shy away from being there for you during rough times. It doesn't have to be a life-threatening challenge. It could just be family or work issues. A man doesn't ghost you when you have issues to deal with and show up later, pretending to be busy. He offers support in the best way he can, while a boy is afraid to hang around when the chips are down.


What separates a man from a boy?

In dating, unlike a boy, a man doesn’t play games. He doesn’t look for the excitement that comes with toiling with your feelings. A man knows what he wants and goes after it without being scared of being vulnerable.

What makes a man a man?

A man is confident, strong, able to protect and make those around him feel safe. He has important values that guide him and doesn't jump on any train” in a heartbeat. What's more, a man makes his women feel loved and secure.

At what age is a boy considered a man?

Being a man has nothing to do with his age. Some young adults are more mature than some grown men in every way you could think of. So, as long as a guy has come of age, and has the qualities expected of a matured, real man, then he's' considered to be a man.

What is a real man in a relationship?

A real man doesn't date a woman for the fun of it, but because he knows what he wants in a woman: a life partner. He's not driven by sex, but important values that build healthy long-lasting relationships

Why does a guy want to kiss a girl?

Kissing is a way of showing affection. While anyone can initiate a kiss, boys do so to feel good about themselves or just get into your pants. A real man kisses you, bonds with you, has uncomfortable conversations with you, and makes you feel loved.

In Conclusion

No matter how sleek/charming a boy is, you can identify he’s not a man and move on, especially when he’s not ready to grow up and showed minimal interest in you. I hope you enjoyed reading the article? You can share with friends and also drop a comment for improvement of the article

Leave a Comment