My partner is emotionally immature, what should I do? Are you having this kind of thought recently? You think your partner is emotionally immature, but you are not really sure about it. And if they really do, how do you want to deal with an emotionally immature partner?
Well, being with someone who is emotionally immature can be quite challenging. Some of them might behave like someone who’s much younger than their age, always expected to be served, quite selfish, stubborn, have commitment issues, and financially irresponsible.
It will be really hard to have a proper discussion with them. When you disagree, they slam the doors, when things don’t go their way, they become furious. They have a short temper, get defensive very quickly, and blame you for most of their problems.
Sound similar right?
Honestly, living with a partner who behaves like this can make you emotionally draining and frustrating. It is because you are not sure how to connect with them, a wrong move can trigger their mood swings and it can be dramatic!
However, just to be fair, it is important for you to take the time to give serious thought to your behaviors, attitudes, and maturity while reading this article. The thing is, we all have our immature moments. Acknowledge and understanding the differences will help make the situation better.
Why is Maturity not Based on Age?
Some people might think that maturity is all about age. But the reality is, maturity is an attitude that is built based on experience. Age does not determine how mature a person is, it is their experiences that determine their maturity.
Why? Through experience, we learn how to adapt to our environment and improve our life. Our life experiences teach us how to handle our problems and learn something from our mistakes. The journey makes us wiser as a whole.
Age on the other hand is just the number of years that you’ve been living on this earth. Yes, you can assume that people would have more experience because they’ve been living on longer. However, what you’ve been experienced through the years are the critical ones.
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Even though you’ve been living for 30 years, but there’s nothing much you do during those years. Your life experience will be much lower compared to someone younger who’s always striving to do better in their life.
That is why when you go to certain countries, where the kids need to work harder and struggle in order to survive, you will realize that the kids will be more mature compared to their ages. You can see their maturity level through their way of thinking and their actions. It is beyond the normal average kids.
I’m not saying that we should push our kids to go through the same hardship. But what I’m trying to highlight here is, our life experiences are totally related to our maturity level. The more challenges we face in our life, the more mature we will become.
What are Signs of Immature Partner?
Signs of emotional immaturity are not visible at the early phase of dating. You need to spend a little bit of time together to notice any signs of emotional immaturity in your partner. That is why most people who’re facing this problem usually are already in a relationship.
There are a few factors that contribute to a lack of maturity. One of them is their family background, in simple words, it is how their parent raised them. A person who grew up under an unsupportive parent or overprotective parent usually will become emotionally immature.
Parenting plays an important role in how a child develops. As parents, their attitudes, reactions, and behaviors carry a significant impact on their child’s personality and mindset.
So if you think your partner is emotionally immature, or their behaviors are quite similar to the list mentioned below, you may need to revisit their past. Understanding the cause will help you to overcome emotional immaturity in your relationship.
1# They get defensive and react negatively
In a healthy relationship, both partners are able to work together to resolve the problems. They don’t need to stay on the same page all the time. But when something happens, they will professionally argue and discuss to resolve the issues.
But when you’re in a relationship with an emotionally immature person, the situations that I describe above are most likely not gonna happen. Even the smallest criticism sets their mood off and they will get defensive.
If you happen to disagree with their opinion they will reply through aggressive reaction and sarcasm slang. For example, throw things, hit or scream at you or say bad things about you. They don’t care if they hurt your feeling or not.
2# Always blame others for their mistake
In short term, they don’t like to be held accountable. It means that they don’t own their mistakes. Usually, when you mess up, you will admit, acknowledge, and sincerely apologize in order to make amends.
However, someone who’s emotionally immature won’t admit they’ve screwed up. They will place the blame on other people or circumstances beyond their control.
Instead of fixing their mistake, they will point their mistake to others. They aren’t the type who likes to admit their fault. And the worse part, they even bring up your old mistake to accuse you or to win the argument with you.
3# Inability to take responsibility
A partner who’s emotionally immature will always find excuses to run away from their responsibilities or just push their responsibilities onto their partner. They don’t help out in the relationship, everything is one-sided, even your own needs aren’t being met.
They won’t help you around the house, they won’t clean up after dinner or help you plan things for the future. This type of partner expects you to do everything for them. You could say that all the responsibilities will fall on you.
If you ask them for help or do something for you, they might do so grudgingly. Most likely, there is a possibility they make feel guilty along the process.
4# They make decisions alone
If you are in a relationship, decision-making is critical. They should consider you when making decisions. It is teamwork, both of you should work together as a team. So whatever important decision needs to be made, it must be discussed together.
The reason is quite simple, that decision will impact both of you. So, it is not fair if you do not include your partner in decision-making. It is common sense, but an emotionally immature partner usually fails to consider how this can affect you.
5# They are selfish
You can easily notice this trait in your relationship. Emotionally immature partners are usually selfish and only take their needs into account. Even if they help you, they only help out when the situation gives benefits to them.
They are not willing to compromise with your needs and they only think about themselves. For them, it is all about ME instead of WE. So as their partner, they also want you to follow their way, failing to do so will result in blaming, quarrels, and even tantrums.
People who are emotionally immature set their self-worth based on a false sense of self, so when things go wrong it will become a direct threat to their ego. That is why they act aggressive and defensive. They feel like it is important to defend their ego.
Without being aware, they might say something that hurts your feelings and disappoints you. This behavior is a toxic trait in any relationship and it should be stopped. As a partner, we need to understand that our words and our action will impact our relationship as a whole.
How do you Live with an Immature Partner?
Emotional maturity is all about coping with your emotions, controlling your expression and your actions, no matter the circumstances. It is an important element and is a necessary part of a healthy relationship.
However, some of us didn’t develop this skill as well as we should have. It could be because of family backgrounds, trauma, or the environment itself. And this problem happens a lot within men rather than women.
According to Gary Cross, this maturity problem is a modern 21st-century culture and it is called “Man-boys.” Many men prolong their youth by spending more time on something they consider fun, it could be gaming or anything, you name it.
So they are postponing their marriage and parenthood. Even when they enter the labor market, they choose to access part-time or temporary work. It means that they delay their financial and emotional independence.
Somehow, this kind of lifestyle makes them emotionally immature. So if your partner is one of them, it is necessary to cut them some slack and give them an enabling environment to improve. Hopefully, these tips will help.
1# Be patience
You need to stay calm and try not to be emotionally involved as much as possible. Because any negative reaction you show feeds into his unhealthy behavior pattern. That won’t be helpful and will only encourage them to act negatively.
Instead, try to stay calm and show your maturity. Showing good examples is the best form of advice. There’s a quote saying “You can teach better with your example than by your words.”
Your action might not change their life immediately. Give them some time, take a step back and try to understand their problem. If you have this mindset, you will be able to see his action in a different light.
2# Find the right support
This is totally up to your partner to take the first step. However, you can try to encourage them to seek help for a better future. Create the right environment by constantly reminding them that you’re with them in whatever they’re going through.
A professional therapist might help to identify the underlying reason for their immature behavior. They also can help your partner to get a better understanding of their behavior and work on changing it.
Even though you are not responsible for changing your partner’s behavior, you still can support them as they work on making changes.
3# Stand up and set boundaries
From what you’ve read above, you know that an immature person doesn’t think much about the needs of others. That is why you need to stand up for yourself. Stay alert and speak up when you think something isn’t right.
If you want to hold on to your relationship, you should set stronger boundaries, communicate more directly and openly with your partner about your needs. These are important for your health and your well-being.
Your partner can live their life as they seem fit. But your needs and your boundaries are the lines around your expectations, it is the things you need to be happy. So make sure they know how to respect it if you want to move forward with them.
4# Be clear of why you’re with them
Dealing with an emotionally immature partner is hard work. There’s always some relationship drama and never-ending conflicts. That is why it is important for you to truly understand your decision. You need to be clear about what is going on and how you’re feeling.
Try to take a step back and give yourself some time to embrace an honest perception. Try to address these issues with accountability and maturity. Ask yourself some questions, where do you want the relationship to go? Are you be able to handle the stress? Did you feel happy?
In order to make things more balance, you need to check back what you value the most in your relationship. And also recall back to why did you fall in love and why did you choose them as your partner?
They most likely have many other positive qualities. So instead of only focusing on their emotionally immature side, try to look for the skill that makes them shine in your eyes. Consider their strength and think about what they do today that deserves praise.
By thinking this way, you will see them in a more balanced way, and hopefully, it help you get a clear answer of how you should treat your relationship.
5# Take better care of yourself
If you’re up for the challenge and decide to stay with your partner, you need to take better care of yourself. Dealing with a difficult relationship can be exhausting, there are going to be emotional ups and downs along the road.
So it is important for you to have a solid self-care routine physically and mentally. Maybe you can start with taking care of your sleep. It might sound cliche, but sleep has a huge effect both emotionally and physically.
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Then you might want to learn about breathing exercises. A good breathing technique will help you calm your mind and help your muscle relax. This simple practice will release tension from your mind and body.
Other than that, you can keep and stay connected with your loved ones. It could be your parents, friends, or anyone you can count on for support. You don’t need to share all your specific problems with them, but keep them close to you as your social support.
Can an Emotionally Immature Partner Change?
Well, the general answer to this question is YES. People can grow and change over time. However, the most important question here is, whether they are willing to change or not?
In many cases, the emotional immaturity will fade over time. The same partner will be more stable emotionally, they will learn to compromise, they will learn to love, and appreciate things around them. However, there are no guarantees.
So my personal advice is, don’t expect too much and keep waiting for your partner to change. Instead, you should learn to accept and be okay with their present level of emotional maturity. It may be less ideal, but it won’t disappoint you in the future.
As a partner, try to accept them and help them learn to behave more like an adult. You also can encourage them to speak to professional therapists or trained psychologists. If they value the relationship as much as you do, they will put some effort and try to change.