What, exactly, is a “mature” relationship? Does it mean you and your partner never fight? That you suffer through a rampantly terrible partner with a forgiving expression? Is there an automatic upgrade when you get married? Answer to all of the above: no. Adults can have very immature relationships, and they tend to be tricky spaces. But if you’re in a mature partnership, you have a wider capacity to handle things, deal with problems, and let certain issues go without harping on them. It’s all about how we handle emotions as we grow up, and what that means for our security.
Dr. Susan Heitler, writing on maturiy for Psychology Today, explains it in terms of “emotional age.” What is acceptable behavior in children, in other words, is not acceptable in adults, and if your emotional age is too low, you’ll be prone to problematic responses. Heitler mentions “emotional escalations” (like pouting), poor impulse control, the constant need for reassurance, and the inability to listen in arguments as signs of emotional immaturity. If you’re emotionally mature, though, you’ll be able to deal with sh*t Like An Adult.
There are certain issues that can be real signs of a relationship’s maturity or immaturity, on topics ranging from sex to attention to time management. Let’s take a look at a few of them, and see why mature people can let them slide while immature people can’t let ’em go.
. Natural Dips In Libido And Sex Frequency
Sexual appetite ebbs and flows naturally throughout long-term relationships. We’re not all sex bots. How we cope with that is a good sign of our emotional stability and maturity. Dr. Roger K. Allen’s division between emotional immaturity and maturity gives us a bit of perspective on this one. According to him, immature people are reactive to situations, want to avoid rejection, and focus on getting, while mature ones are proactive, want to grow, and focus on giving.
If you’re immature, you’re going to immediately react to your partner’s lower libido by panicking, being resentful that you’re not getting what you want, and worrying that they no longer like you. A mature person will likely recognize those feelings and communicate them, but in a less worrisome, more constructive, we’re-a-team approach.