Finding the right partner can be incredibly hard. You jump into a relationship with an open heart, only to find out the person doesn’t have what it takes to get a healthy relationship going – emotional maturity.
So, if you’re tired of the dating scene, or you feel like you keep attracting the wrong people, maybe it’s time to take a break.
Maybe now is a good time to sit down and make a list of the signs that should tell you if a person is emotionally mature enough for a committed relationship.
Or you can start with this list! In this article, I’ll show you 10 signs of emotional maturity. And until you see them in the person you’re dating, it’s probably best to stay single!
1) Effective communication
Let’s start with one of the cornerstones of a healthy relationship – knowing how to communicate.
For me, effective communication has always been a guidepost.
I’ve been in relationships where communication was lacking. Either the other person would have a volatile temper and our arguments would quickly escalate into name-calling and crazy accusations, or they would completely stonewall.
These communication gaps led to a lot of misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Even today, when I’m happily married, I find that staying on top of the communication game is absolutely essential.
Because no matter how long you’ve been together, you have to be mindful of how you express your thoughts and feelings and resolve arguments respectfully .
This leads me to my next point…
2) Healthy conflict resolution
Does this sound familiar to you?
You have a disagreement with your partner, but instead of sitting down and trying to reach a compromise together, the two of you start hurling invectives at each other. You’re raising your voices higher and higher, until it all becomes too much, and one of you walks out.
Or how about this:
You come home to a pile of dirty dishes in the sink – your partner has left them there again. Aarrgh. But instead of telling them how you really feel, you go ahead and wash them yourself. You don’t want to argue and hurt their feelings, so you decide to let it go.
Unfortunately, issues don’t really go away; they pile up and create resentment over time.
Before you know it, the relationship has gone down the drain.
If it isn’t clear yet, let me tell you this: the way a person handles conflict determines the health of their relationship.
So, if the person you’re dating isn’t willing to resolve disagreements in a healthy way, best to stay single!
3) Respect for boundaries
While we’re talking about conflicts, let’s discuss boundaries. Because in a relationship, conflicts arise when boundaries are disrespected.
What are boundaries for, anyway?
Well, they are to keep you safe, comfortable, and thriving!
So, whatever your boundaries are – like, you need personal space, you need to go out with your friends every now and then, anything you need to still be your own person…all of these are valid.
Your partner needs to respect those, and if they can’t, they likely aren’t emotionally mature enough yet.
4) Taking responsibility
And if they happen to disappoint you or overstep those boundaries? They should be able to apologize.
Nothing dampens romance more than your partner refusing to own up to their mistakes. For me, it’s always a red flag. I don’t want to be stuck with somebody who always deflects when they know they’ve hurt me.
Emotionally mature people accept their wrongdoing and say sorry when they need to. So it’s easier to restore trust and to repair what’s been broken.
In fact, taking responsibility is a good indicator that they’re willing to learn from their mistakes and grow as a person.
5) Commitment to personal growth
If you see this sign, it’s an absolute green flag. When you’re looking for a person to build a future with, you want someone who always aims to do better. Someone who will grow along with you.
In contrast, when your partner isn’t, it can create a mismatch in values and goals. You’re bound to feel frustrated and held back by their lack of effort.
Even in simple things, a lack of commitment to personal growth can cause so much trouble.
For example, if your partner never learns from their mistakes, you’ll eventually feel drained from having to deal with the same issue over and over.
6) Empathy and compassion
I once dated someone who seemed to lack empathy towards others. I found this out when I saw him pass by an old lady whose grocery bag had split open and had fruits rolling on the ground around her.
At first, I brushed it off. But over time, I saw that there was indeed a lack of compassion for others in him. And the longer we were together, the more that lack extended to me.
When I made a mistake, he would be overly critical. He would make snide comments about how little I earned as a teacher.
Eventually, I woke up and had to accept that this relationship had no place in my future. I wanted to be with someone kind and compassionate.
So, look at certain behaviors that would indicate a lack of empathy, such as:
- Ignoring your needs
- Criticizing or belittling
- Dismissing your feelings
- Being absent or unsupportive during difficult times
7) Handling stress and uncertainty
We all have our own ways of handling problems and stress. The question is, are they healthy?
This is something to think about when you’re looking for a potential partner. How do they deal with stress? Do they lash out or clam up? Do they fall apart at the first sign of trouble?
Look, all couples experience stress, which may come from different directions like work, friends, or family issues. Even when you’ve got a healthy relationship, stress can be carried over from these areas of your life.
The truth is, whether we mean to or not, stress can make us feel so on edge that we can’t help but snap at the people around us!
The important thing is that your partner (and you as well) knows how to manage their stress so that you don’t have to “catch” it. Look for someone who has the self-awareness to pinpoint where their stress is coming from and identify what they need to be able to manage it.
That’s a huge sign of emotional maturity!
Another important aspect of emotional maturity is flexibility. I’ve been in relationships with control freaks and perfectionists, and let me tell you, it is exhausting.
It feels like a never-ending tug-of-war trying to reach a compromise with them. They always want things to go their way or the highway!
Any relationship expert will tell you that compromise is a key factor in healthy relationships. And it takes a great deal of flexibility.
One must be willing to accept that 1) there will always be differences in the relationship, and 2) they won’t get their way all the time.
Plus, they should be able to adapt to changes because not only is change inevitable, but it’s also the only way to grow!
9) Good listener
I know that I’ve talked about the importance of communication earlier, but I think that listening deserves its own discussion.
See, I once had a boyfriend who was a poor listener. He had this habit of scrolling through his phone and nodding mindlessly whenever I was saying something.
It got to a point where I just stopped talking because there was no point to it. In that relationship, I remember feeling very lonely. I remember feeling like I wasn’t part of a pair, that I was…single.
Real talk – you don’t want your partner to listen only when you’re discussing the heavy stuff, when there’s an issue to be addressed. Although, of course, that’s a requirement. Our partners do need to know how to listen to our perspective.
But I mean, you also want them to be there for the light stuff, too – those meaningless stories that pepper your day and that you’d love to share with your partner just the same.
Those stories about how you saw a woman on the subway wearing a puffy flamingo hat, how your annoying neighbor thunked his broom on your ceiling again…
These aren’t really nonsense; they’re ways for you to bond and stay connected.
And now we get to the last sign of emotional maturity that every partner should have – vulnerability. A word that strikes fear in the hearts of many.
I get it – it’s hard to open up and share your innermost feelings with someone else. There’s always that fear of being judged, or worse, rejected.
But vulnerability is a definite requirement if you’re after a REAL relationship, not just one with pink ribbons and party balloons tied around it.
If the person you’re dating can show their vulnerable side, that’s a promising sign.
Because the relationships that stand the test of time are those where both partners are willing to be their true selves. That’s where true intimacy and trust happen.