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Signs of Emotional Immaturity in a Relationship

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I love writing about relatable, insightful articles that helps people understand relationship dynamics and how to get the love they want.


Emotional immaturity is the lack of depth and understanding of one’s own emotions and the inability to handle situations without escalating them. Someone emotionally immature finds it difficult to accept accountability for their actions no matter what. They also find it hard to effectively communicate or process their emotions and can often appear selfish or childish.

Although for a long time, people often make the mistake of judging a person’s maturity based on their chronological age but over time, it has been revealed that age doesn’t reflect emotional maturity. Which is why, if you continue to believe that people should ‘act their age’, you would continually be surprised to find out that they don’t. This implies that, age is not a guarantee of maturity. Which is why we see a lot of people aging (physically) but not growing (emotionally).

It is vital to know that emotional immaturity is a burden to any relationship. So, emotional maturity is needed at any level of relationship. However, a lot of people lack this important emotional growth which can cause a strain in any relationship if it is not addressed or dealt with.

Picture this: you are out on a date with your partner at a fancy restaurant. The atmosphere looks good and everything seems perfect and peaceful. But when you try to talk to them about something terrible they had done to you and how it made you feel. They throw a tantrum or even get angry leaving you alone at the restaurant to go home all by yourself.
Finally, you find your way home and you call to apologise, only to have them shut you down again- leaving you feeling even more embarrassed and frustrated.

Of course, everybody has acted in an emotional immature way before and we’ve all had our moments of childishness. These antics can end up taking a toll on relationships, especially if it is done consistently with no willingness to acknowledge them or work on them.

If you are still not sure you get the full picture of what emotional immaturity looks like, below are ten signs of emotional immaturity to look out for in a partner (or even in yourself).

1. Everything is about them

People that are emotionally immature often think that the world revolves around them and they don’t need to change. In fact, they have a hard time understanding that the world doesn’t revolve around them. They always feel the need to be the center of attraction. Even at inappropriate times. In short, their mindset, is ‘it's all about me.’ This mindset often times come across as them being narcist. The narcissistic approach to life is, ‘me, myself and I’. To them no one counts and if they don’t get their way, they may result to pouting or bullying in order to do so. Initially, this narcissistic tendency may look like strength. While in reality it only reflects a serious weakness: which is their inability to see beyond the self.

2. They make you feel bad for feeling bad

An emotionally immature partner would make you feel bad for feeling bad. They like to guilt trip or gaslight you at any opportunity they get. For instance, if you complain that you didn’t like the way they yelled at you last time , they’ll respond with ‘well, you shouldn’t have gotten me angry in the first place.’ or crack a condescending joke like, ‘don’t be such a baby.’ Some cases, they get angry and don’t respond to you at all.

So, if you are in a relationship and you wonder why your partner treats you in a terrible way every time you communicate to them that they have hurt your feelings, it’s not because they aren’t good people or trying to be a jerk. It’s because they are emotionally immature and they need some emotional growing to get to.


3. They show emotional outburst

In a perfect world, an emotionally matured person would pause, resist the impulse to shoot out hurtful words or actions. They calm themselves. They then think through the problem, seeking more information and analyzing options. However, unemotionally immature individuals live in their own world. They are unable to control their impulses and are prone to emotional outburst. They experience emotional escalations.

They often cry, get mad. They strike out impulsively when they feel hurt or mad. They speak carelessly, take impulsive actions and make impulsive decisions without pausing to think about the potential consequences. Also, instead of listening to their partners viewpoints, they impulsively interrupt them. They basically engage in things and actions that an emotionally matured person seldom do.


4. They are unwilling to go deep

One of the signs of emotional immaturity is the unwillingness to be vulnerable. An emotional immature person can’t handle being real, open and honest in a relationship. For instance, an emotionally immature partner will avoid or delay tough conversations mainly because they find them too overwhelming to deal with. They would rather deal with something else than deal with it. Even when they are faced with any deep talk they would skim the surface of topics without revealing much and won’t connect with you on a deeper level. Some of the diversion tactics that they use include: laughing instead of opening up, saying they are tired or stressed to talk, constantly postponing your discussion to a later date that never seems to arrive.

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Their unwillingness to go deep in a relationship does not allow them to communicate honestly and to clearly express their needs which can cause a strain in a relationship. Mainly because the other person feels the emotional immature partner does not trust them. And we all know how important trust is in a relationship. Long term successful relationships are built on trust. Trust requires vulnerability, which is the ability to be open, real and honest with each other about everything from your hopes and dreams to your deepest fears and insecurities. However, when you are not able to do this, it creates a gap in the relationship, which can lead to chronic resentment and loneliness if it goes on for too long.

5. They don’t own their mistakes

When things go wrong, an emotionally immature person look to blame someone. It’s always someone else. Never them. They become extremely defensive or upset over even the smallest of things or criticism. If their partner call them out on anything, they thrown a tantrum and some name calling may begin. They fight you tooth and nail on everything.

They say things like; ‘Why didn’t you remind me that your birthday was today?’ ‘The traffic was so hectic and I didn’t get to read your text.’ ‘You didn’t call to remind me of today’s dinner date.’ They basically put blame on other people or circumstances beyond their control, instead of admitting when they have messed up. They are never accountable.

Other signs of emotional immaturity includes:
6. They are irresponsible
7. They hold grudges
8. They are selfish
9. They don’t like compromise
10.They make you feel lonely

Everybody does these things listed above sometimes. But when it becomes consistent then that might be a clear sign of emotional immaturity. You might have found yourself nodding along to the signs listed above maybe because you have seen them in yourself or your partner. Don’t sweat it. All hope is not lost. Yet. Although you might feel frustrated, drained, and want to throw in the towel. The good news is, emotional immaturity is something that can be worked on. But the most important factor here is if the other person is willing to make a change. Once that is determined, half the battle is won already.

However, if there is no willingness to acknowledge them or work on them. You might want to tread carefully. If a person doesn’t recognize that a change needs to be made, then they won’t change no matter how much you beg, ask or suggest.

At this point, it is important to note, you cannot change anybody. That’s not your job. Your job is not to change others but for you to keep growing yourself.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Marissa (author) from Nigeria on October 16, 2020:

I'm glad you enjoyed it Fawaz. Thanks for reading!

Fawaz Akintunde from Lagos, Nigeria on October 16, 2020:

Thoroughly enjoyed this article. So insightful and revealing.

Marissa (author) from Nigeria on October 15, 2020:

Thank you@Victor for reading. I appreciate your kind words!

Obaro Emmanuel Victor from Nigeria on October 15, 2020:

Nice one...!

I'll say it is one of the most important things to be considered before and even while in a relationship.

Toxicity is going to be inevitable if it is prominent and that is indeed not healthy

Keep up the good work!

Marissa (author) from Nigeria on October 14, 2020:

Suffering is indeed optional. Your whole comment is another way to see emotional immaturity. Thank you for reading and leaving an in-depth word of advice for others to learn as well.

dashingscorpio from Chicago on October 14, 2020:

If someone is NOT (into you) they also display these same traits.

When someone is "in love" they are considerate, affectionate, willing to compromise, ask for and offer forgiveness, your happiness and well being are extremely important to them.

Oftentimes we mistake emotional immaturity for what is essentially being with someone who simply is not all that into us.

Believe it or not some folks are attracted to narcissistic people. For them love which comes easily has less value.

They "romanticize" conflict/drama, view jealousy/obsessive behavior as proof of love, and love {the challenge} of having to "figure out" what their mate thinks/feels about them.

They're always "looking for signs" or asking friends for insight.

Each of us (chooses) our own friends, lovers, and spouse.

Know yourself, Love yourself, Trust yourself.

If you're dating someone you believe is "emotionally immature" it's because you're probably attracted to those types of people!

No one is "stuck" with anyone! Suffering is optional.

"Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary."

- Oscar Wilde

Marissa (author) from Nigeria on October 13, 2020:

Thank you Tayo for reading and leaving a content suggestion. An article on how to deal with emotional immaturity is definitely coming up soon. As always, I appreciate you.

TAYO on October 13, 2020:

This article is great and very educative!! Compliments to the writer ♡.

Its really difficulty to date such a partner, it affects negatively the other partner who is always trying to accept and understand..thou for how long…(sad).

however we do hear you and because you make so much of sense please put out another article on ways we can better ourselves from this that you have discussed. Hope to hear from you soon

Marissa (author) from Nigeria on October 13, 2020:

Thank you Kin-kin for reading. As always, I appreciate your comment.

Kin-kin on October 13, 2020:

Wow... Thanks Marissa for sharing more light on this topic 'Emotional Immaturity'

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