Personal Growth,  Relationships

The Ultimate Guide on Emotional Maturity

I hate to break it to you, but the dating pool is full of pieces of work in every single age group. If you’re wondering what the signs of emotional maturity are, you’ve come to the right place.

Being emotionally mature is super important in a relationship, because it’s based on feelings. You love your partner, right?

Even if you haven’t had the whole love talk yet, you obviously have feelings for them if you’re dating them. A relationship is a good relationship if you’re able to talk about your feelings!

Sadly, a lot of people are not emotionally mature. This could be due to many things, but not being in tune with one’s emotions is horrible for a relationship.

This post contains:

  1. What does it mean to be emotionally mature?
  2. What are the signs of emotional maturity?
  3. How do you develop emotional maturity?

You won’t leave this post empty-handed! Get ready to learn, y’all!

What Does it Mean to Be Emotionally Mature?

The whole definition of emotional maturity is pretty simple: it means that you are able to perceive other people’s emotions as well as being able to regulate your own.

If you can perceive other people’s emotions…

  • You know exactly what people are thinking without them having to tell you.
  • You know how to handle those emotions.

For example, if your friend is sad about something, you would try to soothe them if you were emotionally mature. Someone with stunted emotional maturity would walk away, ignore it, or even laugh.

If you can regulate your own emotions…

  • You can calm yourself down pretty easily. This means that you don’t escalate the situation.
  • You can read the room. You’re not the one to laugh at a funeral or make inappropriate jokes at the wrong time.

Not sure if your partner is emotionally mature? Keep reading!

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    What are the Signs of Emotional Maturity?

    They’re Emotionally Mature if… They Can Admit When They’re Wrong

    they're emotionally mature if they can admit they're wrong. woman angry.

    I’m sure you’ve met someone who has absolutely frustrated you with the tricks they use to avoid admitting that they’ve screwed up.

    If your partner shifts the blame on you when you call them out on something they did, that’s not super constructive! It can start an entire argument that could have been avoided if they had just admitted that they were wrong.

    An emotionally mature partner will say something along the lines of, “You’re right. I thought that making that joke was okay, but it was inappropriate.”. Got yourself that kind of partner? Lucky you!

    They’re Good if… They Can Apologize

    I'm sorry but is not an apology.

    Similarly, it takes a mature person to be able to apologize after admitting that they were wrong.

    I’m not talking about a half-assed apology that’s done with an exasperated tone of voice, or anything that starts off like “I’m sorry, but…”, I mean a well done apology that shows that they mean it.

    You can tell that someone is truly sorry if their tone is remorseful and they say that’s they’re sorry (no ifs, ands or buts). You two will have great communication if you’re both able to sincerely apologize!

    They’re Emotionally Mature if… They Can Forgive

    an emotionally mature person handles arguments in a constructive way.

    Can you see a pattern here? These past 3 points have all been included because an emotionally mature person can communicate properly!

    When you mess up, do they really want you to work hard for them to forgive you? Do they give you the silent treatment for days on end until they suddenly ease up? Those aren’t mature ways of handling conflict.

    Crappy ways of handling arguments include (but are not limited to):

    • Not responding to your texts or even you in person for days
    • Writing bad things about you on social media (even if it’s not obvious. Think of those annoying people writing “I’m sad” statuses on Facebook).
    • Brushing off your apology and then randomly bringing up the same argument later on.
    • Demanding that you not talk about it.

    Good ways of handling conflict include (but are not limited to):

    • Sitting down and talking about both of your feelings and thoughts.
    • Acknowledging the other person’s side
    • Not leaving it hanging and coming up with an agreement (i.e. not doing it again, being more mindful etc.)

    This process isn’t perfect (it can be messy sometimes!) but an emotionally mature person works hard to make sure that communication is healthy in your relationship.

    They’re Good if… They Can Compromise

    You feel second-hand embarrassment when you see one half of a couple absolutely lose their minds and insist on having things their way in public, right? You don’t want to be that couple.

    Now, I don’t want your partner to be a total wallflower and give in to everything. I’m sure you don’t want that either. What I mean is that they can compromise with you on the little things.

    Ask yourself if every conversation feels like a debate.

    If it does, perhaps compromise isn’t something that happens a lot in your relationship.

    In a relationship, it can’t be their way or the highway. By being able to compromise, your partner is able to think of people other than themselves, which shows maturity.

    Related Article: How to Set Boundaries in a Relationship

    They’re Emotionally Mature if… They Can Put Themselves in Other People’s Shoes

    Cue your mom asking you “What if your friend did that to you, would you like that?”.

    For some of us, empathy has been drilled into our heads since childhood. I know for me, I always ask myself that question before I make a big decision. I don’t mean to brag, but that’s pretty mature of me (all jokes!).

    Daniel Goleman, a psychologist, actually lists self-awareness as a trait of emotionally mature people. By putting themselves in other people’s shoes, that’s exactly what they’re doing!

    Your boyfriend or girlfriend may be emotionally mature if they can stop and think before they act. Impulsivity might be cool for a while, but if you constantly have to clean up their messes because they don’t think before they act, you’ll get tired of that really fast.

    They’re Good if… They Don’t Bottle Up Their Feelings

    an emotionally mature person does not bottle up their feelings.

    You don’t want to date a rock. That’s essentially what you’re doing when your partner refuses to tell you what’s wrong or hates talking about their feelings.

    HUGE DISCLAIMER: Now, they could be doing this because of childhood trauma or other important events that taught them that speaking up is bad. Be sensitive of that when it comes to getting them to speak up!

    However, an emotionally mature person has already mastered the art of vulnerability. This takes a lot of practice, so be aware of that as you communicate with your boyfriend or girlfriend.

    Because of possible events that could have lead your partner to being iffy about discussing their feelings, I wouldn’t use this sign as the only sign that they’re emotionally immature. Just saying!

    They’re Emotionally Mature if… They Try to Psychoanalyze People Who Have Wronged Them

    I love this one because the discussion that happens when trying to explain someone’s behaviour is so deep.

    Emotionally mature people will try to look at the possible reasoning behind someone’s bad behaviour.

    For example, someone who just got out of an abusive relationship can try to justify their girlfriend’s mistreatment of them by saying things like “Oh, well her mom wasn’t nice to her as a child so she never learnt how to be nice” or “she has a history of mental illness so she’s doing the best she can”.

    Finding an explanation to bad behaviour makes emotionally mature people feel better and like they’re more in control of a situation.

    They’re Good if… They Don’t Try to Get Revenge

    An emotionally mature person does not get revenge.

    People who key their ex’s car or give their phone number to an STD notifier bot are not emotionally mature people (yes, that last one is a real thing).

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s normal to be tempted to do these ridiculous things, especially when someone made you miserable. The difference is that your partner won’t go through with these things.

    Remember Daniel Goleman, that psychologist I told you about? Another quality he outlines for emotionally mature people is self-regulation. This means that while you can think about reacting to people doing you wrong, you can regulate your emotions quickly and calm down.

    If your partner speaks respectfully of their exes (or at least, doesn’t go on a huge rant every time he mentions their name), you’ve got yourself a emotionally mature person!

    They’re Emotionally Mature if… They Have the Tools to Calm Themselves Down

    Emotionally mature people can calm themselves down with items on this checklist

    You don’t have to be their mother and tell them to calm down.
    This is another aspect of self-regulation. They know what they need to rebalance their emotions!

    Some strategies of regulation your emotions can be:

    • Going into a quiet room to be alone.
    • Going for a walk.
    • Taking a few hours off to watch TV.
    • Grabbing the phone to talk to a friend.

    Anything that isn’t destructive to your health can be a healthy mechanism to calm yourself down. If your partner does this and you’re not worried about them constantly freaking out, they’re emotionally mature.

    They’re Good if… They Have No Problem Complimenting Other People

    Man being happy and excited.

    Have you ever been around that person that gives someone a compliment, then immediately turns around and says something nasty about them?

    Emotionally mature people give genuine compliments not because they want to get something out of it, but because they mean it! They don’t have insecurity issues that are so bad that they resort to back-handed compliments.

    Emotionally intelligent people have great social skills. They don’t necessarily have to be extroverted, but as long as they want to make people feel comfortable in social situations, they’re emotionally mature.

    If your significant other gives compliments just to see people smile, you’ve got yourself a keeper.

    They’re Emotionally Mature if… They Don’t Hate Cats

    I’m serious! Let me paint you a picture of why this tells you a lot about a person.

    They don’t have to adore cats, just tolerate them.

    Cats are independent animals that you can’t really train like dogs. It takes a patient person to take care of a cat and respect its boundaries. You also can’t control a cat very well, so controlling people hate that.

    If you can see your partner co-existing with a cat, they have the emotional maturity to respect boundaries and respect other people’s space. It’s all about the little things they do!

    They’re Good if… They Don’t Seek Constant Validation.

    Internal validation is really important to save your self-esteem when no one is validating you. This means that your partner should be okay with not constantly being praised or coddled. It’s exhausting!

    Seeking validation in a relationship could be little things like texting you every five minutes, needing to know where you are all the time, and getting super jealous for no justifiable reason. In a strong relationship, these behaviours don’t happen because you both have a mutual understanding of how stable your bond is.

    Emotionally mature partners should naturally trust you and realize that you have your own life without them. It takes this maturity to not be controlling and seek validation all the time.

    They’re Emotionally Mature if… They’re Internally Motivated

    Motivated person.

    No clout chasers here! Your partner isn’t interested in fame, money or praise when they do what they do.

    Their motivation to accomplish their goals comes from within. It’s something they want to do for self-improvement, or something that they love to do.

    As a bonus, they try to motivate you when you’re working toward your goals! An emotionally mature partner is the best kind of hype man!

    They’re Good if… They Consider You to be Their Equal

    You don’t have to argue with your partner to be seen as an equal. Your partner shouldn’t be talking over you, telling you to be quiet or ignoring you if they think of you as an equal.

    It’s a confidence thing as well as a maturity thing, to not boost yourself up while tearing people down.

    A mature person is secure of themselves so putting you down is not necessary to boost their self-esteem.

    They’re Emotionally Mature if… They Have a Positive Mindset

    An emotionally mature person who has a positive mindset on the top of a mountain.

    Most importantly, your partner shouldn’t be a negative Nancy. They can regulate their emotions to the point of knowing that life is not just bad things.

    An person who is mature emotionally understands that while life has its ups and downs, the experiences are generally a positive thing.

    They try to learn lessons from negative experiences and not just chalk it up to a bad thing happening for no reason.

    I’m not talking about someone who ignores the bad stuff. A mature person acknowledges the bad stuff, but can move on from it. There’s a difference!

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      How Do You Develop Emotional Maturity?

      There are 3 things you need to do to develop emotional maturity:

      Let it go. A lot of the times, we can hold onto times in our lives that feel safe and familiar. You could be comfortable with emotional immaturity because it reminds you of a simpler time. Acknowledge that.

      Pinpoint your insecurities. You could be using emotional immaturity as a coping mechanism. It could be your shield so that people won’t notice what you’re insecure about. Try to be mindful of those insecurities.

      Start thinking logically. If you have a hard time with perceiving other people’s feelings, start thinking of it logically. If someone looks sad, for example, try to figure out why they’re sad, and why it makes sense that they’re behaving that way. Eventually, it will become second nature!

      A Final Word

      All of these qualities can be learned! Just because you see someone who doesn’t fit all the criteria right now doesn’t mean that they can’t learn to be emotionally mature. It’s a process. You choose what level of maturity you can tolerate.

      The good thing about this article is that now you have a checklist of what to improve on if you don’t quite live up to certain points. Use this as a guideline to emotional maturity!

      Share this article if you found it useful!

      Peace out!

      Last Updated: August 2020

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