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Adults & Transitional Objects

I've been dating a man who relies on stuffed animals in his daily life, particularly stuffed monkeys, like Curious George. In fact, he has an overwhelming collection of C.G. memorabilia. That's all well and good, but it's his interaction with the stuffed monkeys that concerns me. During the first few months of dating, I never saw him with a stuffed monkey. But gradually he introduced me to one of his monkeys. He speaks to and about it as if it were alive, like a child would. He "creates" its actions, like begging for food, waving, looking out the window, etc. He purchases clothes for his monkeys. He expects me to interact with it, too, and even take it to bed (not in a sexual way). He gets after me if I hurt its feelings (by ignoring it). He sleeps with several stuffed monkeys every night. Other than this, he is pretty normal. He lives alone, works hard, is intelligent. He's had some tough times in life with the loss of family members including parents. I wonder if this unusual attachment to these monkeys is him trying to keep his family's memory alive? Is he lonely? Depressed? Are these monkeys some sort of extension of him? Lately, he seems to want to interact with the monkey more than me. He hugs it and caresses it instead of me. I've tried to be understanding with an "oh that's cute" mentality, but I just don't understand anymore. I love him, he's a great person, but would I ever fit in to his "monkey family?" I'm beginning to wonder. Is adult use of stuffed animals/transitional objects indicative of any mental health abnormality? Thank you.
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As you probably already know, this is not a common phenomenon, so figuring out what it means, how pervasive it is, and what long term effect on intimacy it will have is not something one can just know from case studies or other direct experiences.  That said, if he is open, it is something that can be explored with a therapist, both of you going and having an honest discussion starting with the message you sent here...about your love, and your concerns.
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Avatar universal
Would you want to fit in with his 'monkey family'?
I can understand the need to want to feel included ... but I feel the monkey stuff is excessive.

I don't know a huge amount about transitional objects.
I think possibly every adult has access to a transitional object which they perhaps use from time to time.  For example, photos, a favorite something, etc.
I think the use of stuffed toys in adulthood reflects a lack of separation/ individuation.
At the least it seems to highlight unhealthy attachments or object relations.

I think this reflects a problem with how ones personality is structured.  (Which is often the result of early childhood experiences).

I think introducing you to his monkeys reflects a degree of trust and comfort (safety) with you.
It sounds like he is projecting some of his own emotions onto his monkey(s).

I think it could potentially be quite liberating for him to speak to a therapist about the underlying issues.

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