The 11 Differences Between Dating a Boy vs a Man

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


  • Reply April 28, 2016


    I am only a 19 years old male and I want to be more masculine, so I don’t know if I ever want to be a “bad boy” that most of my guys my age and older are pursuing. I didn’t want to show my feelings towards others; I want to be a tough guy on the outside but the soft cookie on the inside; kind of like “machismo” but not on the dot Anyways, when I didn’t show my true feelings towards others, I guess the other “true masculine” characteristics picked up after it and I was praised a lot by men!

    • Reply August 5, 2016


      I have MS, balance, walking issues and a persevering spirit. I got married in my early forties to finally have a baby..really not sure why he did. Lovely guy…no ideas except for the opposite to what I say. I ask he gives…since he generally makes a mess anyway I seem to spend a lot of time cleaning up his messes. Words are so important to me and all I get is: “aww I was going to…”, “thank you” and “sorry” in scary succession and silence. My husband is a boy and I have no energy to raise him….any ideas.

  • Reply April 28, 2016


    A man is a man of steel; he never loses his cool, and if he does, he doesn’t blame it on others; he acts like it’s not a problem.
    A boy is a man of paper; he always loses his cool, and whenever he loses his cool, he blames it on his opponent for losing it.
    A man is a leader; he can follow others if he likes, but the majority of the time, he’s leading through his actions.
    A boy is passive; he follows everyone where they go; he has no respect for himself and let his “buds” take control of his life.
    A man is independent; he let people follow him and doesn’t tolerate girls yelling at him.
    A boy is dependent; he let his buds bang him up and his girlfriend yell at him.

  • Reply June 21, 2016


    I really like what you write but I think boys and men in reality are a mixture of things. Basically you describe men as what some people might call “rat racers.” More conservative and tradition, the energy of Capricorn perhaps in astrology. At a deeper, spiritual level, the fool, joker, free spirit visionary quality of Sagittarius might be full of romance for life, but a woman is just a small part of his quest. He is a Man also, perhaps far more evolved than the dependable, comfortable home bird. I think the question needs to be asked about what sort of human being someone wants and needs, rather than just categorising them into Man or boy

  • Reply July 31, 2016


    I disagree! A little girl love to talk about problems and drama and a boy who sits there listens is really hurting the relationship. Someone who only thinks about there careers and bring there stress home makes it stressful for everyone in the situation. Really who wants a boy who has a chip on there shoulder and or who wants to impress everyone else but himself. Having a man with true confidence with nothing to prove, but just doing something that flows is really what it’s truly about. Instead of being yourself your being someone different, then whats the point of having someone who is secure? It is to impress a girl?

  • Reply July 31, 2016



  • Reply November 14, 2016


    The author of this article (Amy C) has made some major mistakes. She is confusing a man and a boy with a successful person and a college student respectively.

    There are many womanizing men I know that would fall into your “men” category. They let women know where they stand (no chance of anything serious) and abuse people’s feelings in an assertive way. You’re looking for the wrong characteristics to distinguish a viable candidate for a relationship from your everyday player (which is more prevalent than ever)

    Good luck to all!

  • Reply December 10, 2016


    What this article is actually about is women’s continued attractiveness to boys (whatever that means). Basically it is saying that women love these boys and keep dating/f!@# them – but that they wished they could date more stable men. There’s nothing stopping women – except evolution and the strong desire to date the bad boys.

    This article is also suggesting men as “stable”, “confident/pursuit”, “support” machines in women’s worlds. It’s actually laughable that some women think like this – and I fear most women do indeed.

  • Reply January 26, 2017


    Gentleman 😀

  • Reply February 6, 2017


    This article fails to take into consideration differing personality types. Lumping everyone together just breeds closed-mindedness. Base your interpretation of every individual on your own means. Some of these are great guidelines but trying to pigeonhole all men based on some of these assertions is just idiotic.

  • Reply March 6, 2017


    So if I’m not someone who works on education and care about money, house, car and all that material bullshit, I’m not a man? I know what I want. I never hide my intentions and I always stick to my principles. I never play anyone and I never engage in a relationship if I’m not ready to commit. This has been my principles since I was 18-19. I had my first relationship at 30. But I’ve never had career ambitions, so regardless of my adult mature ways of thinking, since I don’t go for the money and status, I’m not a man? Typical of women to think in two dimentions instead of three.

    • Reply March 23, 2017


      What have you read?
      The article says nothing about “money, house, car, status….”

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