ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Emotional Maturity

Updated on November 5, 2008

I was fifteen when I heard my mom call someone a boy and the other person a man. For a while, before I turned twenty I thought that it was because the one had no money, house nor car and the other, well, had his own enterprise, which translates to money. But now at twenty-two I know that she'd meant something entirely different from what my teenage brain had assumed.

She'd meant that the other could accept reality as it was, could deal with losses and regrets, could solve his problems promptly, was adaptable and capable of change, could take responsibility for his finances, maintain his integrity in the face of temptations, compromises, and conflict and most of all could feel good about himself and enjoy his relationships. In a nutshell she meant he was emotionally mature.

Maturity is the ability to stick with a project or a situation until it is finished. It is the capacity to face unpleasantness, frustration, discomfort and defeat without complaint or collapse. It is the ability to make a decision and stand by it.

Maturity is the ability to live up to the responsibilities of a love relationship, and this means being dependable. It is the ability to harness your abilities and your energies and to do more than is expected in your relationship.


We grow from babies to adults passing through various stages of maturity. We are expected to undergo physical, cognitive, emotional and relationship maturity. But when our bodies age and our muscle mass and body shape define itself, does our emotions follow suit? If there is a balance between your physical age, IQ, social maturity and emotional maturity, then you've really grown up.

How old you are emotionally shows through various loop holes:

  1. Egocentricism: Emotionally immature individuals are self centred and selfish. They have little regard for others and are preoccupied with their own ideas and feelings. They deeply believe that they are somehow special therefore demand constant attention, respect and sympathy. For these individuals love is a need yet they have difficulty showing and accepting love. They demand affection and love but avoid any sign of weakness. Emotionally mature individuals understand that love is sharing hence they foster a sense of security which allows vulnerability and strength by expressing love and accepting expressions of love.
  2. unco trolled emotions: immaturity expresses itself in temper tantrums, prolonged pouts and rapidly changing moods. Emotionally immature individuals get frustrated easily and over-react to perceived criticism. They are unwilling to forgive and are prone to jealousy pangs while their emotionally mature counterparts use their emotions as energy sources. They understand perfectly the process of energy transmutation. When frustrated they set goals and seek solutions.
  3. Gratification: children and childish adults often want everything now, and avoid enduring any thing they do not like. They know little of personal responsibility and often rely on other people for care and protection. Their behaviour is superficial, thoughtless and impulsive. Their loyalty lasts only as long as a relationship seems useful and their management of finances is chaotic. If you are mature, you can delay your gratification and desires, and you can maintain your self control.
  4. Dependent: Indecision is a sign of immaturity. Emotionally immature adults are indesicive, impulsive, easily influenced and avoid responsibilities for their actions and deficiencies. They are sensitive to criticism, but insensitive others' feelings and stay in unpleasant relationships to avoid change. On the other hand, emotional maturity produces independence, empathy, compassion and co-operation with others.
  5. Attitude: immature individuals have a hard time with integrity. They avoid and deny money and relationship problems which demand integrity and seek to pass the blame. Some are willing to give, but not take; others willing to take but not give. They avoid reality and attack prople when frustrated. They also do not learn from experience while their opposites see life as a learning experience, accepts responsibility, learns from feedback, looks for opportunities and moves on. Emotionally mature individuals understand that giving helps enhance the quality of life of beloved people, they ask for help when they need one and accept help from others.

Emotional maturity is a requirement for starting and maintaining relationships. It is a prerequisite for long term happiness. Emotional immaturity is associated with entanglements, transferences and unsatisfying shallow relationships.


A relationship has to be healthy for both parties to be happy. The characteristics for healthy relationships include co-operation, humor, quick conflict resolution, intimacy and caring, honoring, giving and receiving, equality, honesty, assertiveness, healthy boundaries, accommodation of change, community and extended family contact, space for privacy, balance between work and play, stabilizing and energizing qualities. These characteristics are possessed by only the emotionally mature.

We all know that a relationship requires a combination of time, energy, identity, attachment, finances, extended family and other social relationships. These investments are assets of the relationship. The more you invest into a relationship the greater your chances of profiting and finding happiness. If you've experienced the ill of losing an asset then you'd understand the cost of risking a relationship breakdown after you've put in your all. Now, if you want to chose the right partner who'd complement you you need to deal with yourself first; start with your own emotional maturity. Being emotionally mature enables you to heal toxic emotional bonds and accept yourself as you are. Self-acceptance lets you express your emotions. If you avoid your emotions you may become overly reserved, dissociated or robot-like. If you on the other hand avoid expressing your emotions when you feel it you may falsify your relationships. Push your partner away from you, undermine your health and delay personal development. There is still yet another danger in expressing your emotions wrongly.

When you become emotionally mature you will find your relationship blossoming because in the place of the ‘I want it now' attitude is the capacity to face unpleasantness, frustration, discomfort and defeat without complaint or collapse. Instead of the mindless possessiveness maturity permits you and your partner the freedom to pursue your individual interests and friends without restriction. This allowed level of separateness brings lovers closer together. It acts as a bond not a wedge. Partners get to bring their uniqueness into the relationship.

Childish adults detest responsibilities. Maturity is the ability to live up to the responsibilities of a love relationship. It means being dependable; keeping your word; coming through in the clutches and not breaking promises.

Maturity, in general, is many things. Maturity in a love relationship is everything! Need I say more? With maturity partners know that by working together, the state of unconditional love will present itself and mature with time in the relationship. They understand that a strong relationship doesn't just happen; that there would be sweet and sour moments yet still being able to enjoy the instant gratification that comes with the romance of the moment while knowing the best is yet to be and being patient while your love grows.

One thing I love about mature couples is their knack for side-stepping resentment and focusing on the good. Plus their capacity to accept, forgive and understand each other's differences. Emotional maturity is an essential part of a relationship.



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Maria 5 years ago

      For those asking how to mature if you don't know how, it is very simple.


      For those who say they know they are selfish. Stop being selfish!

      If you don't know how to learn, learn from the internet, books (read the literature classics where the main character goes through a character arc: an epiphany and thus maturity) or learn from others around you, and see how they act and why they act that way. ASK.

      If you're not maturing it is not because "no one is helping you". You're not maturing because you're not helping yourself. You only mature when YOU want to. Not because others teach or "help" you to.

    • profile image

      Tanya 5 years ago

      Oh-em-gee! My sole purpose for reading this was to understand the actions of my girlfriend who is emotionally immature. This has truly been enlightening info for me as i've been feeling like giving up. Its good to know that theres a reason for it. Ev-ry-thing u stated is dead on. Its like an open wound that's been covered up & therefore unable to receive the proper healing because she hides what she doesn't fully understand & doesn't posess the proper tools/knowledge to do so. Thanks a bunch. We have plenty work to do. Woooow.

    • profile image

      Heather 5 years ago

      I really enjoyed this post! One comment concerning the phrase: "One thing I love about mature couples is their knack for side-stepping resentment and focusing on the good." I think mature couples solve problems/conflicts effectively, therefore they don't have the resentment and can focus on the good. Focusing on the good doesn't mean avoiding addressing problems. The article didn't say that, but I just wanted to add it because I "focus on the good" has been used in my life by people who want to avoid resolving conflicts.

    • profile image

      Alfred 5 years ago

      If u are emotionally immature or have a personality disorder, this are the steps to take: 1)find out the source of your problem; most emotional disorder may be trace back to childhood. maybe we were nt shown any love as a kid. maybe someone or even our parent redicules & destroyed our mind. just think & research u wil discover the root. 2)Take a vantage position; in your mind, compare now with then & you will discover some improvement. it may be spiritual, educational or financial improvement. affirm to yourself that you are totally different from what they made u to become & conclude that you have to take creat your own identity for yourself. 3)Get a motivator; write down your fault & also how you intend to be. get someone close to you who really share your grief to assist in molding you. the person must be emotionally mature. 4)Bear in mind that it takes years to become immature & it will take years to become mature. your motivator have a part to play here. emm try & feed back that is what psychologist do.

    • profile image

      dee 5 years ago

      This is great. thanks for posting. after reading this iam more certain that a lot of my behaviour in the different aspects of my life are very immature. its shocking. i asked myself how am i supposed to alter my habit of so much incorrect patterns of thinking after so long. There is so much buried that its taken me 25 years to finally realize some big issues that stop me from growing, maturing and being happy. I prayed that i can alter my behaviour by putting abit of effort into whatever i can one day at a time. as long as i stay focused and keep in mind that shift is really wanted and needed within me. perhaps this shall be my purpose in life...

    • profile image

      LUTHO 5 years ago

      I am really trying to find myself within all of what has been said.It is really difficult to turn back the wheel if immaturity has lived within you for a long time. You just feel like you are just pretending when trying to make things right.

    • profile image

      Aw 5 years ago

      I have some experience that really showed my immaturity in a relationship. Most of these I can relate too. Getting carried away in a relationship does in fact lead to this. Thanks for posting this. I think this can really help someone who is not so sure if they are ready for a relationship or not.

    • profile image

      All grown up 6 years ago

      For those who know there immature and can't get there no matter how hard they try and are asking for help. Like the post stating their mother was selfish and her mother before her. I've experienced this. After a great deal of study and emotional and intellectual work i found i suffered from a personality disorder. Once i was able to understand that within myself i could then apply it to my family and heal the initial core wound that my parents and older siblings had left me with. I cried for months. But i kept working through it. Once the original core wound is cleaned it begins to heal correctly and your thoughts straighten out. Your emotional maturity will grow in leaps and bounds after that, and life be very stable and happy after that.

    • profile image

      emotionally retarded 7 years ago

      'Laughing' sounds like he might be emotionally mature but he certainly isn't intellectually mature.

    • profile image

      Nina 7 years ago

      I agree with Anna. It has taken me 30 years to figure out that there is something innately wrong with my brain and manifests in the "emotional immaturity" you point out with no solution. I am seeking tools to reverse my tormented brain which has destroyed all of my relationships and endeavors throughout my life. Yes, I am impulsive and quick to put myself in financial ruin. But I have a good heart. My deepest longing is to be whole and strong like my mother who is the family matriarch. I seem to be stuck on 17. I am immature and thus do not have much in common with my contemporaries...the females with whom I went to school and so admire. When I get together with them...I put on an academy award performance and play Miss Grown Up Lady. I am somewhat selfish, but it does bother me. It bothers me that my parents give me a monthly allowance, yet I take it. All I want is to reverse the damage to the part of my brain that is fixated on sophomoric behavior. Yes, I pout for prolonged periods and it takes a great deal of effort on the other person's part to get me out of it. Anyway, you have described what we already know about ourselves but offered no, I will continue to search for the light that will guide me out of this dark, dark cave. I am a little girl lost and often frightened...what will become of me.

    • profile image

      anna 7 years ago

      does a parent tell a child to 'grow up' and expect them to know how? so why do you expect an emotionally immature adult to do it? we're like children, hence the 'immature' reference! how do we see our faults if no-one is willing to point them out to us and - and here is the important part - stick with us as we learn and fail and try again until we get it right??? yes we are selfish, but can you really expect us to suddenly develop maturity just because we have now been told that we are immature and pointed out all our faults? someone taught us to be this way, and i learnt my lesson so damn well that it's taken me 30 years to realise that what i always thought was right was in fact wrong. how do i turn around and undo all that teaching and experience when i've never known any other way??? like i said, i'm selfish, and i learnt it from my mother, who learnt it from her mother and since i've only figure this out in the last few months i'm still 'immaturely' going through the anger and frustration and rage that any two year old would experience at being told no. why can't someone give us some actual assistance in changing instead of telling us to 'get over it and grow up'

    • profile image

      Laughing 7 years ago

      If you seriously can't find answers in this article then you clearly must be beyond help. It outlines the characteristics of emotionally immature people, so surely it makes sense to curb those characteristics and tendencies. If you need it spelled out: accept change gracefully, don't make everything about YOU, learn to control your emotions, learn to delay instant gratification (i.e. learn to be patient and to endure something unpleasant to reap a reward, which is like teaching a kid to finish its homework before it can go out to play) and most of all taking on responsibility. C'mon it's not that hard. Don't just grow old and annoy everyone. Grow up.

    • profile image

      blah 7 years ago

      Very interesting. Now I have something to tell my psycologist so I may get something for my money. Plus I agree with the last comment. Great analysis on these people but how do we fix this problem???

    • profile image

      test 7 years ago

      Charming. In other words, you insult a vaguely defined group of people and offer them no advice for sucking less.

    • profile image

      no 8 years ago

      this is stupid

    • Darknlovely3436 profile image

      Annie 8 years ago from NewYork

      another great, profound reading,

      a hub l can related too,

      good job.