J. M. Barrie's classic tale Peter Pan should be required reading for anyone trying to understand men better. Peter Pan appears at the second-story window of the home of Wendy and her two brothers. Peter convinces them to fly off to Neverland with him giving the excuse that there are boys back in Neverland who are in need of a mother's care (himself included), and Wendy seems like a good candidate for the job. She can tell stories and has shown herself to be resourceful by sewing Peter's wayward shadow onto his foot. During their time in Neverland, they all have wondrous adventures with Peter as the captain and tour guide of all that is fun. Then the whole thing begins to unravel. Wendy asks Peter about his feelings for her, and he replies that it is all make-believe, not understanding there is more to a grown-up relationship than the world of pretend. Wendy, growing alarmed about the traps of Neverland, tells Peter she is leaving, along with her brothers. While I have condensed much of the story, the source of real tension is if Peter Pan will stay a boy or grow up, and how this has an impact upon his ability to experience mature life beyond that of the make-believe world in which he lives.Many of the same questions can be posed about the modern-day equivalent: the Peter Pan Man. Will he grow up and be able to assume a job beyond that of fighting make-believe pirates? Will he come to understand mature love with all its complexities, responsibilities, and rewards? The Peter Pan Man is not always easily spotted. His personality can be disarming and can lure a potential romantic interest into thinking she has found Mr. Right. A Peter Pan Man knows how to have fun, and his lust for life can be intoxicating to those around them. He can also win you over with boyish flashes of vulnerability, which can lure you into a protective mothering role. You may never feel as alive as you do when you're with a Peter Pan Man. As long as nothing is really asked of them in terms of commitment or responsibility, they are fun to be with. The problem, however, is that by definition, a Peter Pan Man has never really grown up in any significant part of his life. These include the areas of work and love. Regarding his romantic relationships, he may think along these lines: "Yeah, she is nice enough alright; I think I do love her, and maybe there could even be a future for us. But right now I just want to concentrate on my music." What he fails to appreciate is that he is well beyond thirty years old, still lives in the basement of his mom's house, and the garage band that he plays in can only book gigs at the coffee shop where his drummer works. His woman is the best thing to come along in his life in quite some time, but the prospect of settling down seems too cumbersome, and let's face it, kind of scary.If you are committed to being with your Peter Pan Man, there are some things he, and consequently you, are up against in terms of his growing up. This involves breaking the Neverland barrier that keeps him insulated in a boy-like mentality. Think of the Neverland barrier as an imaginary wall that separates the world of a boy from that of a man. The hard thing is that the Peter Pan Man does not realize a healthy transformation is possible; he has not seen what lies on the other side of the Neverland barrier. Instead, he thinks he has it good where he is, and there is no real reason to move on. The Peter Pan Man does not realize that growing up adds a whole new dimension to life. Here are two of the possible challenges a Peter Pan Man must face if he is to cross the Neverland barrier and become a grown man.
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