Mature love lasts; immature love does not unless it can be turned into mature love. When you first start a relationship, your love is immature by nature, unless you’ve already known each other for a while before taking the step into a romantic relationship. Mature love typically develops over time. However, some love never matures. If you are in a relationship and in love with someone, how do you know whether your love is mature or immature? The answer is important, because it has a great bearing on whether your relationship is likely to last, and be a healthy one.
Immature relationships are obvious by their doubts. You may be constantly wondering what your girlfriend is doing when you’re not together. Is she cheating on you? Does she really love you? Who is she talking to, texting with, or chatting with online? Does that threaten your relationship in any way? Does she have any goals or dreams that may take her full focus off of you, and if so, how can you direct her away from those? These are all questions someone experiencing immature love will ask themselves about their partner.
With immature love, you can’t get enough of your partner. You always want to be near her, and go kind of crazy when you’re apart. There is a void in your relationship, and you use sex and talking, texting, and online chatting in between sex to fill the emptiness. You are not getting totally emotionally fulfilled by your relationship, at least not yet. You do feel fulfilled when you are together, but that feeling goes away as soon as you are apart from one another. With mature love, you feel fulfilled with your relationship all the time, even when you’re not physically together.
The presence of other people in your partner’s life will threaten you with immature love, even if these are family members or friends who have known your partner since childhood. You are jealous of your partner’s time and attention. You want her all to yourself (or she wants you all to herself); anyone else is, in your opinion, a distraction your partner doesn’t need, and also potentially someone who might say bad things about you to your partner and try to undermine your relationship. With mature love, you encourage your partner to have relationships with other people (not romantic, of course), and even want her to have those relationships, because you know they are healthy for her. If the love is mature on both sides, your partner will do the same thing for you.
Further, immature relationships see one or both partners trying to make things happen on artificial timelines. Trying to force the first kiss, the first time you have sex, the first time you say “I love you,” to each other, when you believe you should become exclusive with each other, move in together, marry each other, have a child….it is all set on some artificial timeline by one or both of you, a timeline you believe, if followed, makes the relationship “real.” Mature love knows this is not necessary. Things happen in the relationship, those precious milestones, in their own time, naturally, as they’re supposed to, and it feels a lot better when things happen that way, because you are truly confident what you have with each other is real. If these things don’t happen, the relationship wasn’t right for either of you, and you’re both okay with it. When it’s right, you know it, and you are both okay with allowing the relationship to unfold on its own time.
Finally, immature relationships are judgmental. Your partner will judge you on your past and use it against you, and even hold it against you, if the relationship is immature. The things you did in your past that you’re not proud of will be brought up during arguments in an immature relationship. Your partner will also resent you for them, even if she says she loves you. Mature love understands that we’ve all done things we are not proud of in the past, and may do such things again (though hopefully not as often as we get older and gain more wisdom), and a partner with a mature love for you will help you carry those mistakes, never judge you for them, and forgive you for them, knowing she has made similar mistakes herself. A couple in mature love helps each other heal the wounds of their past. Couples in immature love taunt and hate each other for those mistakes.
First of all, mature love is not something you fall into….instead, you work your way up into it. That is why knowing each other for at least a little while is an important aspect of mature love. Once you rise up into the heights of mature love, you coast along at a comfortable level with each other.
You can recognize mature love from its lack of drama. In the beginning, when love is still immature, there is often a lot of drama, suspicion, jealousy, passionate arguments, and wild make-up sex. This is partly from not knowing each other well, and partly from the lust and excitement that come with new relationships. It is only if it lasts more than a few months (or if you break up before it can become something different) that it is an unhealthy immature love. Mature love doesn’t need drama, because you have acquired the relationship skills to avoid it. You also don’t desire the drama. Having things relaxed and comfortable is much better to you than the passionate anger that comes with immature love.
Unfortunately, some people are addicted to the drama of immature love, and are incapable of having a mature relationship. You will probably recognize this type of person pretty quickly, especially once you become ready to put that kind of thing behind you and move on to the Zen-like level of mature love.
Another hallmark of mature love is the acceptance and enjoyment of being two separate people. You revel in each other’s individuality. You are partners, each with your own personalities and dreams. You develop common dreams together based on your enjoyment of being together, not out of an obsessive need to be together, as with immature love. Immature love is characterized by its dramatic attempts by one or both of you to merge yourselves into one person. Mature love knows this is not necessary.
Mature love is comfortable, comforting, and sweet. It is also trusting. You have every confidence in your partner, and you know she has the sme confidence in you. You make each other better people, you enjoy spending time together, you encourage each other to achieve your goals and live your dreams without feeling threatened by the other one’s success. You feel honored to be loved by your partner, just as she feels humbled to be loved by you.
Mutual admiration, respect, and trust are the foundations of mature love, and when it’s real, you wouldn’t have it any other way.