Do you feel like your partner acts more than a child than an adult? Does it seem like they always put themselves first?
Are they all talk and no action? Do they struggle to process and express their feelings and try to keep everything on a surface level?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, there’s a chance you’re involved with an emotionally immature partner. Unfortunately, getting romantically involved with someone who lacks emotional maturity will likely torment you emotionally and negatively affect your mental health.
Why? Because healthy relationships are built on mutual respect, trust, patience, and effective communication — things emotionally immature people struggle with.
What follows, are five red flags to watch out for that can help you identify emotionally immature behavior and save you a lot of time and emotional energy.
Let’s take a look at them.
#1. They Struggle With Intimacy
Usually, when someone hears the word intimacy, the first thing that comes to mind is sex.
However, intimacy has more to do with moments and feelings than sexual interactions. You can have sex with someone without getting intimate with them.
Intimacy also requires most of the things an emotionally immature person might struggle with:
Of course, everyone needs their own time to open up and connect on a deeper level with their partner. It’s okay to wait and give your partner time.
But, when you’ve been with a partner for a long time, and you still haven’t reached a certain level of intimacy, it might mean that they lack the emotional maturity needed for a serious, healthy relationship.
Signs your partner struggles with intimacy:
- They have difficulty in expressing their needs and feelings.
- They have trust issues.
- They have a history of short, unstable relationships.
- They pull away from conflict and deep conversations.
#2. They Are Unable or Unwilling to Support You Emotionally
The best thing about being in a serious (and healthy) relationship is having someone by your side during your difficult moments. And, as you know, there are many of those in life.
What happens, however, when your partner is unable or unwilling to support you whenever you’re going through tough times?
A partner who lacks emotional maturity is likely to pull away and distance themselves when the going gets tough and come back by your side when they know you’re happy and calm.
That usually happens because they have trouble in processing and expressing emotions, and they find it overwhelming to deal with other people’s feelings, let alone emotionally support them.
Signs your partner is unable/unwilling to support you emotionally:
- They distance themselves when you’re going through a tough situation.
- Whenever you say you need to talk with them about something that’s troubling you, they say they’re too stressed to talk, that they don’t have time, or that they’re not “in the right mood”.
- They’re dismissive of your problems.
- They don’t encourage you and seem indifferent to your successes.
#3. It’s Always Someone Else — Never Them
How does your partner react when they make a mistake, or something doesn’t go their way?
Do they own their mistakes? Do they take responsibility for their actions or are they quick to point fingers and play the blaming game?
If the latter is true and they tend to blame others for their problems, you might hear them say things like:
- “I would have more money if you hadn’t had such an expensive taste.”
- “I wouldn’t have made that mistake if my colleague hadn’t distracted me.”
- “It’s not my fault I reacted that way; he was the one who provoked me in the first place!”
Keep in mind that if your partner doesn’t like to be held accountable whenever they mess up, sooner or later they’ll put the blame for all of your relationship’s problems…on you.
And are you willing to always be the bad guy in your relationship?
Signs your partner is unable/unwilling to acknowledge their mistakes:
- They have an air of superiority.
- They rarely apologize.
- They often talk about circumstances and things “beyond their control”.
- They get defensive when criticized and can’t take feedback.
#4. “Selfish” Is Their Middle Name
In a healthy, balanced relationship, both people are supposed to:
- make compromises
- make adjustments to their calendars and plans
- make time for one another, despite their busy schedule
If you’re with an emotionally immature partner, however, you might notice that they’re deeply, utterly, unapologetically selfish.
Somehow their calendar is always more important than yours. They don’t make compromises and always want to have the last word in. They dismiss your preferences unless they match their own. And their needs always take priority over your own.
If your partner has a “my way or the highway” mindset, you might want to re-evaluate your relationship and your place in it.
Signs your partner is selfish:
- They prioritize “me” over “we”.
- They need to be in charge all the time.
- They urge you to make last-minute adjustments to your schedule so that they won’t have to.
- They make you feel like everything in their life is far more important than your relationship.
#5. They Use Words as Their Weapon
Words have power. They can teach, help, and heal. They can also hurt, humiliate, and destroy.
When someone lacks emotional maturity, they can’t understand that not only using words as a weapon is disrespectful, insensitive, and hurtful, but it can also kill a relationship as well their partner’s self-esteem.
According to this article in PsychologyToday, a person might choose hurtful words as a means of (unhealthy) communication, because:
But there are those who are thoroughly intentional when it comes to word wounding; they refuse to take responsibility for their words and act out of impulse, self-involvement, and self-aggrandizement. They usually need to win, no matter the cost to the other person, and insist on having the last word.
An unwillingness to be held accountable. A need to win and have the last word. Acting out of impulse. All these are typical behavior of an emotionally immature person.
The question is, how comfortable are you with someone throwing verbal grenades at you? And how long will it take for word wounding to turn into verbal abuse?
Signs your partner uses words as a weapon:
- Every time you argue, instead of focusing on the problem, they make a nasty remark about your personality.
- They manipulate words to appeal to your emotions.
- They name-call you.
- They use extreme or absolute language.
To Sum Up…
Being in a relationship with an emotionally immature person can be tricky, exhausting, and take a significant toll on your mental health.
That’s why you should keep an eye out for the following red flags that indicate a person’s emotional immaturity:
- a struggle with intimacy
- an inability or unwillingness to provide emotional support
- an inability or unwillingness to acknowledge mistakes and take responsibility for their actions
- extreme selfishness
- a tendency to use words as a weapon
If you recognized the above signs in your partner’s behavior, it might be time to take a step back and re-evaluate your relationship as well as your place in it.
You should also initiate a conversation with your partner — without being aggressive — , discuss their behavior, and see whether they’re willing to change. If they are, that’s a good sign! You can encourage and help them change their ways.
If they don’t seem willing to change their ways, however, it might be better to move on to someone who’s emotionally ready to support a serious relationship and fulfill your emotional needs.
Previously Published on Medium.
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