Relationships are never perfect. Even true love has its ups and downs, and even two people who are deeply in love go through problems of their own.
But the least to ask is that you have a partner who’s self-aware and emotionally mature.
When that’s not the case it makes the down times so much harder to navigate.
Here are the signs that you’re with somebody who lacks emotional maturity (as well as what to do about it).
1) Closing off
Nobody’s in a mood to communicate and talk all the time.
But when you’re with someone who just suddenly shuts down for no apparent reason or due to their own issues it can be highly frustrating to say the least.
What are you supposed to do now?
If you ask what’s wrong they’ll say you’re pressuring them. If you don’t ask, they’ll often say you’re neglecting them.
It’s kind of a lose-lose situation.
2) Cutting off
The next emotionally immature relationship habit is a refusal to listen.
This often manifests as never remembering what you say or interrupting you as soon as you start talking.
If you’re with somebody who keeps cutting you off, it’s not just your imagination. It’s them displaying a real lack of respect.
And it’s not OK.
Defensiveness is a classic sign of emotional immaturity in a relationship.
We all need to be able to take constructive criticism at times, like it or not.
When you’re dating somebody who gets defensive at even the slightest criticism or issue that comes up it’s highly confounding.
Being too sensitive can be a real issue in relationships, and if you’re with somebody who takes every little problem as the end of the world it’s incredibly frustrating.
If you’re with someone who can’t handle it, what are you supposed to do? Shield them from every bump along the road like you’re their parent or something?
Being with somebody who’s clingy is tiring and sad.
You enjoy their attention, but their dependency on you is another matter entirely.
It’s unattractive, for starters. It also keeps making you feel pressured to be there for them every time they make contact.
It feels like you can’t live your own life and have to be their on-call constant companion or something.
“An emotionally immature person may have an excessive need for external validation and approval,” observes relationship expert Rachael Pace.
“They might rely heavily on their partner for reassurance, seeking constant validation of their worth, decisions, and actions.”
If you’re with somebody who blames other people for a lot of their issues it can be quite discouraging.
They may be right about a lot of their criticisms and you may even agree and share these frustrations.
But being in a relationship with somebody who’s so focused on blame can become its own self-fulfilling prophecy.
Do you join their negative parade or try to break them out of the blame game? Both options seem likely to lead to their own set of problems.
7) Holding grudges
We all hold grudges at times, even just short term.
But if you’re with somebody who’s consumed by their grudges, it’s very hard to know what to do about it.
Do you pressure them to get over it? Do you sympathize? Do you just try to stay neutral and hope they get over it?
There’s often no clear answer, but the bitter energy begins to eat into your relationship and poison the intimacy between you.
It may even start to feel that your partner cares more about getting somebody back for what they did than with loving you.
A little bit of jealousy is a natural part of life, but being with somebody who’s extremely jealous is a bit much.
When it crosses the line into possessiveness and them actually becoming suspicious or accusatory about you and your daily schedule that’s when it’s truly toxic.
If you deny you did anything wrong it just makes them more convinced something’s off…
If you try to ignore the unwarranted jealousy they just keep amping up the envy.
This is somebody who has to face down their own green monster.
Another trait of those who are emotionally immature is inconstancy.
One moment they’re up, the next they’re down.
It’s not a mood disorder, it’s a way of having no personal stability and integrity to maintain their behavior from moment to moment.
If they’re hungry, they’re talking rudely and angrily to you. If they’re happy about being done work early you’re dealing with them being over effusive and excited.
It’s like you’re just supposed to be a passive receptacle or cheerleader who affirms every mood this person has and go along with it.
10) Emotional transference
Emotional transference is another behavior that emotionally immature people engage in in relationships.
This is where they essentially use you as a stand-in for somebody else.
Instead of actually reacting to you and interacting with you, you just become the recipient of their feelings and reactions to other people who aren’t around at the moment.
“Transference is when someone redirects their feelings about one person onto someone else.”
Emotionally immature people are highly impulsive in relationships.
This goes with their own habits and lack of self-control, but it also goes for the way they see the relationship itself and you.
One moment they seem committed and truly in love with you, the next they’re indifferent and uncommunicative. One moment they’re angry and rude, the next they’re all about some new hobby or interest and forget they were even upset.
This relates a lot to the next point as well…
12) Emotional blackmail
Emotionally immature individuals have a very hard time not getting their way.
If they want more leverage they will often resort to emotional blackmail.
This means they’ll withhold affection or intimacy unless you do what they want, or punish you with being angry and bitter until you give in.
They will also do things like give people the cold shoulder or make them jealous as another form of emotional blackmail.
If it works, they’ll do it.
Freeloading is sad to see, whether it’s a gold digger on the prowl or a couch bro with his video game control in hand.
When one person refuses to contribute at all to a relationship it makes the whole thing much more difficult and stressful.
The worst kind of emotionally immature person will use their partner’s financial wellbeing or good job as an excuse:
“Well my gf / bf has a decent job, so I don’t need to worry too much about the financial side of things.”
Emotional maturity sometimes requires playing an active role even when somebody may prefer to just tune out.
The individual who’s not very emotionally mature may display quite a bit of passivity.
Look for a lot of shrugging and “meh, whatever” in every area of the relationship. They’re not “chill,” they’re just expecting you to handle everything.
Codependency is a toxic form of reliance on each other that’s not love but can disguise itself as love.
If you’re with a codependent partner then they will often be portraying the role of a victim or a savior.
They’re either deep in trouble and always need you to bail them out and rescue them, or they play the role of saving you and being your hero.
But whenever they don’t get to play their desired role there’s not much between the two of you. It’s almost like you’re not in love, you’re just in a kind of weird dependency on playing a role.