Regardless of age, all relationships have their ups and downs, and unique obstacles to overcome. But there are a variety of factors that separate a genuinely mature relationship from an immature one, and at first, they can be difficult to detect, let alone sustain. Here are 9 ways to know if your relationship is mature enough to withstand the test of time:
1. You communicate like adults.
Before the age of emails and texting, people had to work their differences out face-to-face. If you and your partner settle disputes by angrily texting each other or leaving passive-aggressive social media messages, it might be time to rethink how you’re communicating, and whether it’s helping or hurting the relationship. Couples in mature relationships sit down and talk when there’s an issue, using a calm, clear dialogue. They firmly state their needs and concerns and listen to their partner’s side of things.
2. You don’t doubt the relationship.
Couples in mature relationships are confident in their partner’s loyalty and commitment and don’t fret about the future. The trust is mutual, and both feel secure in what they are forging. Immature relationships thrive on drama fed by fears and mistrust, whereas a healthy relationship is powered by honesty and respect.
3. Your partner makes you feel good about yourself.
We all have insecurities, whether it’s our looks or talents or capacity for success. A mature partner builds you up and gives you that boost of confidence to keep going. They make you feel like they chose you for all the right reasons, and never fail to remind you of them when you’re feeling low. Immature relationships often consist of one (or both) partners frequently putting the other down, either out of carelessness or feeling threatened by their partner’s qualities and achievements.
4. You both work on your individual goals.
There’s nothing better than building a dream together, but mature relationships also benefit from each partner continuing to pursue their own interests and goals. If you and your partner are putting all your efforts into each other, with no time set aside to nurture your individual selves, the relationship will eventually feel empty and uninspiring.
5. You give each other space.
There’s nothing wrong with needing some time to yourself, and mature couples understand this. Sometimes you just want a day alone or solo getaway, and a supportive partner will instinctively understand that this doesn’t mean you’re looking to stray or get up to anything suspicious. Personal time is necessary to work on inner goals and outer projects, which keeps you bringing the best of yourself to the relationship.
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6. You don’t set deadlines.
A healthy relationship doesn’t move along a timeline but is allowed to unfold in its own time. If you find yourself setting deadlines for moving in together, getting married, etc, you may want to ask yourself why you feel pressured to do so? A mature couple trusts that everything will happen when it’s meant to happen, and neither partner will rush into anything for the sake of assurance.
7. You don’t judge each other.
Everyone has baggage, either from past relationships or traumas, and experiences that shape the adults we become. A mature partner will understand this, and not hold your past against you or worse, use prior mistakes as leverage in an argument. They will encourage you to keep improving and focus on the present.
8. You think before reacting.
Therapist and educator Kosjenka Muk writes “Our brains constantly scan our environments and compare our present experiences with our memories from the past. When something triggers our past memories, our brains check those memories for additional information, such as possible consequences and possible responses. If there are unresolved or intense emotions related to those memories, they also will be triggered.” When you feel an intense reaction to something your partner does, do you take a moment to ask yourself if that response is fairly warranted, or has nothing to do with your partner, but something else entirely?
9. You express your gratitude.
Mature relationships need reinforcement like anything else. Telling your partner how much they mean to you and how grateful you are for everything they do goes a long way to keep the good vibes going.
There’s no doubt about it, relationships require constant effort and energy. But there’s a big difference in how you expend it. Lauren Martin of Elite Daily writes, “Mature couples don’t “fall in love,” they step into it. Love isn’t something you fall for; it’s something you rise for.”