It can be difficult to identify emotional immaturity, especially when a relationship is just getting started. It tends to truly be exposed a few months after you have started dating someone new. Emotional immaturity is traditionally thought of as an adult behaving in an immature and childish manner, despite physical age. However, someone who is emotionally immature will also struggle to communicate effectively and process emotions so they may appear aloof or selfish. The other emotions that often appear for the emotionally immature are things like accusing, jealousy, and snooping which can destroy trust between partners and end a relationship. There are some signs of emotional immaturity that we can be on the lookout for in a relationship. If they arise, then it may be time to look for someone new as this is not a healthy relationship.
Those who are emotionally immature tend to be bad at apologizing. They often change things around to make you feel bad for having a normal reaction or voicing a differing opinion. This can happen over minor things like asking them to help around the house or pitch in for rent and they become offended and pout. Deep down, the emotionally immature partner knows they are wrong, but they choose to deny it, even to themselves. They will focus on what you say, how it is said, or what you did to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions. This keeps them from having to apologize and is called blame-shifting.
Passive Aggressive Communication
One of the core traits of the emotionally immature is passive aggressive communication. This can come out in many ways like agreeing to go to some event and then cancelling on the day with an excuse like being tired. While sometimes cancelling for an emergency or actual illness is legit, this is being passive aggressive. When you tell them, you were expected at the event, they may expect you to be empathetic without taking responsibility for their part. Passive aggressive communication is when someone tries to be assertive in their communication and the emotionally immature resorts to passive aggressiveness. This can cause a relationship to end up confusing, dysfunctional, and destructive over time.
Words as Weapons
Partners who are emotionally immature may struggle with emotional regulation and due to this, use words to hurt. As humans, we are hardwired to feel emotional and physical pain which is why words can hurt. This is also why people use them intentionally to cause pain. For the emotionally mature, words are tools of healthy communication, not weapons.
Controlling Disguised as a Joke
Those who are emotionally immature are also often controlling in that they feel they have a right to know more than they actually do. This does not necessarily mean they openly demand you share everything, but may disguise it as a joke that is really a power play for information and control. This could come as asking for pictures or proof and then following it with just kidding, but it is obvious there is no joke in the request.
While feeling jealousy on occasion does not necessarily make you immature, a consistent feeling of jealousy that is intense is a sign of emotional immaturity. Look for examples of this like a coworker waving or saying hi and your partner launching into 20 questions about the person, possibly even accusing you of cheating. Even if they do not know the person, this is an over the top reaction.
Need to Be the Center of the Universe
Those who are emotionally immature want to be their partner’s top priority at all times. While having your partner as a priority is not bad and healthy in a relationship, being the only focus is a sign of immaturity. Those who are extremely immature may want you to stay with them instead of ever going out with family, friends, or going to work.
No one is perfect and we will all behave in an emotionally immature manner from time to time. We all have some insecurities and will display childish behaviors on occasion. However, if we do not acknowledge them or work to stop them, they can quickly doom a relationship. This starts with avoiding passive aggressive communication, taking responsibility for your mistakes instead of shifting the blame, and avoiding using words in a hurtful manner.