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Is your partner emotionally mature?

Sometimes we are attracted to the wrong partner in our lives, and we end up in a cycle of unhappiness, unable to get out. Why is this happening?


John Bowlby was the first one to discover that: „all humans share the primitive instinct that familiarity means safety “. This means, that if we grew up with caregivers who couldn’t and didn’t satisfy our emotional needs (of love, attention, empathy, safe boundaries, praise, safety) we might feel subconsciously drawn to partners who are treating us similarly.


Later, Young and Klosko developed the theory that the people we find most charismatic are subconsciously triggering us to fall back into old, negative family patterns, activating old wounds that we carry with us, such as the fear of abandonment or rejection, of emotional deprivation, the belief that we are flawed or worthless, the belief that we are inadequate compared to others, the belief that other’s needs are superior to ours, and so on.


Unless we are aware and take care of our emotional wounds, we might experience them again and again in our romantic relationship.

Working on your past is equally important as working on your present.


For me, the important question at this moment is: how to recognize an emotionally mature partner?

How do I know that the partner I have is the one who has the potential, together with me, to create a good, strong, healthy relationship?


So when I found the checklist in Lindsay Gibson’s book: „Adult Children of emotionally immature parents “, I thought it was worth sharing because to me it offers a kind of vision of the right partner. I don’t believe in the perfect partner, but I believe in the partner who can offer many of the things below or who is open to change. If it is a partner, parent, or friend, we want to be around emotionally mature people.


Emotionally mature people are:


⁃    Reliable and supportive. Support is one of the main things we want in our relationship so having a partner who can offer support is very important. Support can mean the ability to see different perspectives than our own, to solve problems with us- not for us, to maintain a cool head even in moments of emotional turmoil, and to manage to not take everything personally.


⁃    Respectful. They respect your boundaries and individuality. They allow you to be who you are and are not trying to impose what you should feel or think. They rather offer constructive feedback instead of criticism and depreciation. They will tell you how they feel about what you did, but they don’t pretend to know you better than you know yourself.


⁃    Reciprocal. They are fair and reciprocal which means they are not taking advantage of you, nor do they like the feeling of being used. Maybe sometimes they give more, but overall, there is a sense of fair give and take, of balancing both your needs.


⁃   Flexible to change and to compromise. If there is a change of plans, emotionally mature partners will not take it as a personal rejection, they might experience disappointment but will manage to not hold it against you. They accept change and disappointments as being part of life and same time, they are open to compromise. They understand that your well-being will positively influence their well-being, too.


⁃   Able to manage difficult emotions, especially anger. They don’t withdraw love or give you the silent treatment to show their anger. Instead, they healthily express their emotions and work towards solving the problem that created the conflict. They can apologize for their behavior when it is the case and expect the other person to take responsibility and engage in changing the negative behavior. They know how to self-soothe and calm themselves down, and they avoid getting into destructive escalations.


⁃    Trustworthy and they value truth and integrity. Emotionally mature persons are genuine, and they give you a feeling of safety, the feeling that you can rely on them.


⁃    Reflect on their actions and try to change negative behaviors. They are willing to hear your feedback and work on it, and they are open to going into difficult conversations with you, if this is for the good of the relationship, because they are comfortable connecting emotionally through deep conversations.


While the list is not exhaustive, it gives us a sense of normality and hope that there are aspects of the relationship that might not be ideal but have the potential to change.

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Apr 10
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great article, always a pleasure reading your articles!

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