In these times when many of us seem to have become more impatient and easily frustrated, emotional maturity has become something of a rare trait. Whether we like admitting it or not, getting a grip on our emotions can be a real challenge.
How do we get better at handling our emotions? Is it by repressing them? Endless introspection and navel-gazing?
Well, for starters, we can take a look at the things emotionally mature people never do in their relationships.
In this article, I’ll share 10 things emotionally mature people avoid so they can have healthy relationships. Let’s dive in!
1) Playing mind games
I’ll start with something lots of people have done (or are even still doing) in their relationships – those tricky mind games that involve manipulation, deceitful tactics, and passive-aggressive behavior.
Before you tell me, “But love is a battlefield!” or, “All’s fair in love and war!”, let me stop you right there.
Yes, love is indeed tough – it’s got all sorts of emotions, good and bad. But real talk – it’s not a battlefield where underhanded tactics can give you the upper hand.
That right there is the issue. Many people see relationships as a competition where they “win” every time they get what they want.
But guess what? The minute you start thinking that, you’ve already lost the “war.”
Emotionally mature people understand that competition has no place in relationships – it should be about teamwork and working together toward a common goal.
2) Giving the silent treatment
The silent treatment is one example of passive-aggressive behavior. I have to admit, it was my go-to response when I was younger. I thought that the silent treatment was an effective way to get my point across.
It was only later that I would learn it’s a form of emotional manipulation.
Emotionally mature people don’t use the silent treatment as a weapon. If they’ve got something to say, they just come right out with it – no shutting down or withdrawing
And they do it constructively, again in the spirit of teamwork.
What’s the reward for taking an open approach? Your relationship will have a sense of emotional safety and connection, and both you and your partner will feel heard and valued.
That said, openness doesn’t mean a total disregard for boundaries…
3) Ignoring boundaries
We all have unique needs and emotions, and boundaries are there to protect us. Emotionally mature people know this.
Think about how you respond to your partner’s needs.
Do you pressure them to conform to what you want? When they ask for space, do you respect it?
These are just some examples of how couples can ignore or disrespect each other’s boundaries.
Here’s the thing about relationships: they thrive when each partner is allowed to have their own sense of identity and individuality.
That’s why boundaries are important. You want do things together because you’re a team, but you don’t ever want to lose sight of who you are as a person as well.
4) Playing the blame game
I’ve been there, and I’m sure you have too—those heated moments when emotions are high, and you just want to pin the blame on your partner.
But emotionally mature people don’t resort to pointing fingers. Instead, they understand that both parties contribute to the situation and work together to find a solution.
Again, it’s all about teamwork!
So, they practice empathy and actively listen to their partner’s perspective. This approach helps resolve conflicts more effectively and fosters a deeper sense of understanding and trust in the relationship.
So, next time you find yourself in a heated moment, take a step back and breathe. Think about your role in the conflict and focus on finding a solution to the issue.
5) Avoiding tough conversations
Speaking of conflict, it’s quite common for us to just step back and refuse to engage.
I get it – conflict is never easy to face. For some of us, especially the non-confrontational ones, it’s much easier to just bury our heads in the sand like ostriches and wait for the moment to pass us by.
Emotionally mature people don’t do that. As I mentioned earlier, when there’s an issue that needs to be addressed, they just step up and face it head-on.
Because they understand this key principle: Communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship.
So, sweeping things under the rug? They know that it will all come back someday with a vengeance. Best to tackle problems right away instead of letting them fester!
6) Refusing to apologize
Now, as we get into communication, another thing emotionally mature people don’t do is refuse to say sorry.
Does apologizing come easily to you?
For me, it doesn’t. But over the years, I’ve learned just how powerful a sincere apology can be.
If you want to be in a grown-up relationship, you can’t be acting like a child and refusing to own up to your mistakes.
Taking responsibility for your own actions is part of not just a healthy relationship, but also of growing as a person.
Because apologizing takes humility and vulnerability. You can’t come to terms with who you really are unless you have these two ingredients.
Emotionally mature people know that, so apologizing when they’ve done something wrong just comes naturally to them.
7) Holding grudges
What if you’re the one who’s been hurt? Can you accept an apology and forgive? Or…what if the person hasn’t even apologized?
Well, it can be incredibly hard to forgive, right? Especially if your partner won’t even acknowledge what they did wrong.
But here’s a secret emotionally mature people know – anger, pain, disappointment, all that negativity…it keeps them bogged down and unable to move forward.
So they choose to let go. They’d rather keep themselves mentally and emotionally healthy than hold on to a grudge.
8) Getting stuck in the past
Just as grudges are a kind of emotional baggage we carry around, so is the past.
We all have a history that affects how we handle our current relationships, whether we’re aware of it or not.
But emotionally mature people don’t let their past dictate what they have right now. If they’ve been hurt in the past, they learn from it and use it to grow and evolve.
Are you letting your past sabotage your present? Here are some ways to overcome that:
- Reflect on your past relationships. Analyze the patterns, behaviors, and factors that led to their failure. Think about what you’ve learned from your past experiences and see how they can help you be a better partner this time around.
- Address and heal emotional wounds. Seek therapy or support groups if you need more help with healing from past hurts.
- Set realistic expectations. No relationship is perfect, and you have to accept that you both will disappoint each other from time to time.
- Communicate! Remember when I said that communication is the foundation for a healthy relationship? Be open and honest with your partner about your fears or insecurities.
- Focus on the present. Go on building a strong connection with your partner. Look forward to making new memories!
The key here is to be mindful of your thought patterns and reactions. When you use the past as a learning opportunity, you step into your current relationship with a fresh perspective!
9) Holding unrealistic expectations
One of the things on the list of to-do things above is setting realistic expectations. You see, if you want to be an emotionally mature person, you have to let go of unrealistic expectations.
The problem with unrealistic standards is this – not only are they unattainable, but you’re also just setting yourself up for disappointment. You’ll feel dissatisfied every time your partner “fails” to reach those standards.
For example, you might be expecting your partner to know what you want for your birthday. If they don’t give you a big surprise party and plan a quiet dinner instead, you’re bound to feel hurt.
But do you see what the problem here is? Your partner can’t read your mind! Not only that, but it stops you from appreciating what they actually do for you.
And that’s a shame. They could be the right person for you, but your unrealistic standards are preventing you from seeing that.
10) Trying to change their partner
This one’s connected to my point above.
Look, we all go into relationships knowing what we want from our partners. That’s completely understandable.
But it’s equally important that we don’t try to change our partner. That’s something emotionally mature people avoid.
Because if there’s one thing they understand, it’s this – trying to change your partner is pointless, disrespectful, and damaging. Not just to the relationship, but to the person.
Try to see it from your partner’s POV. If someone insists you be this way or that, how does it feel? It feels like you aren’t enough, right? Like there’s something inherently wrong and unacceptable in you.
Again, this boils down to unrealistic expectations. A healthy relationship can only happen if both of you accept and love each other for who you are, warts and all.