If you're dating someone who is immature — or at least someone who has one or two immature qualities — it might lead to problems in a relationship. Sure, they may be fun and carefree. But certain immaturities can lead to difficulties in the long-run.
When that's the case, it can help to establish a few rules to ensure your relationship is mature, despite any difficulties you or your partner may have. But it's also a good idea to keep in mind that, for all the ways they might seem immature, they likely have other strengths they bring to the table.
"Oftentimes we have well-developed skills in one area, but lack in others; it’s uncommon for one partner to be strong in all areas," Dr. Jess O’Reilly, Astroglide’s resident sexologist, tells Bustle. "So it’s possible that you think your partner is immature because the ways in which they demonstrate maturity differ." That's when playing to both your strengths can come in handy. If you're good with money, for example, then you can be the money person. If your partner is amazing at doing chores on time, that can be their job. And so on.
But it's also a good idea to communicate, if one of you is falling short of expectations or letting the other down. Together, you can work on ways to balance out immature tendencies, and have the grown-ass relationship of your dreams. Here are a few easy ways to keep your relationship healthy, and make sure both your needs are being met — even if your partner is a little immature.
1Hang Out With Other Established Couples
To give your partner an idea of what a healthy, mature relationship might look like, make it a point to hang out with other happy, mature couples.
"Not only is happiness contagious, but habits and communication styles are too," Dr. O'Reilly says. "You don’t want to use your friends as a model of comparison, but it’s likely that good manners and other ways of expressing care and love will wear off on you and your partner when you spend time with other couples."
2Figure Out Healthy Ways To Argue
If your partner has some immature habits, there's a good chance they haven't learned how to argue in a healthy way. So the sooner you can establish ground rules for disagreements — and the sooner you can put those rules into practice — the better.
One way to do so is to "agree to disagree in arguments," Carla Romo, a dating and relationship coach, tells Bustle. "[Be] OK with not having to be 'right' or that the person has to agree with you." This can be tricky if one or both of you in the beginning, but it's a skill well worth working on.
3Allow Yourselves A "Time Out"
It can also help to put into practice the idea of a "timeout," when/if things get too heated during an argument. As Romo says, "It takes a lot of self-awareness to be able to take a step back and say you need a break to cool down." So it may be tricky to know when or if you or your partner needs time to cool off. And yet, Romo says doing so will allow you both time to think, instead of blurting out things you'll later regret.
4Share Your Needs Out Loud
Even though you may want your partner to read your mind and figure out exactly what you need, they probably won't be able to. This is true for most, but might be more true for parters who have immature tendencies.
So, to prevent misunderstandings and frustration, Romo says it can help to state what you need out loud, instead of tiptoeing around the issue or expecting your partner to pick up on subtle hints. Doing so will ensure that you're both on the same page — no guessing games necessary.
5Establish Boundaries & Stick To Them
All relationships need healthy boundaries. Clear boundaries will prevent your partner from walking on your needs or having unreasonable demands — even though they may do these things accidentally. By establishing rules and expectations early on, Romo says you'll be setting yourselves up for success.
6Follow Up With Them
While it certainly shouldn't be your sole responsibility to keep your partner organized, it can help to follow up with them regularly, to make sure they're aware of what needs to happen in order for your relationship to stay healthy.
"If you have an immature partner that doesn’t always follow through on their promises to do things, be mindful of when or where they drop the ball," psychic and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport tells Bustle. "Rather than get angry with them, if they can change, find a nice way to let them know how they disappointed you and gently ask them if they could do better in the future."
If you can say these things out loud, you won't feel as frustrated. And, your partner will know exactly what's expected of them.
7Start Talking About Money ASAP
If your partner isn't the most responsible when it comes to their spending habits, talking about money early on may help prevent their financial woes from causing issues.
To start chatting about it in a fair way, you might come up with ways you can be responsible with money together. "For example, couples who used to spend large amounts of money on bar tabs during their single days, may find themselves saving that money to put towards a memorable vacation with their significant other," family mediator Ivy Roberts tell Bustle.
By talking about finances regularly, and sticking to a few shared goals and rules, you'll have a better shot at developing a mature relationship — including all the ways you spend money as a couple.
8Practice Your Communication Skills
In mature relationships, "both parties are committed to developing healthy communication habits within the relationship," Roberts says. "This means talking to your partner when there is a concern, listening to your partners underlying needs and interests, [and] identifying problems and developing a plan for solving those problems together." If you can practice communication skills like these, it won't matter how "immature" your partner might seem.
9Keep Your Apartment Clean
Immaturity can often reveal itself in the form of a messy apartment if a couple lives together, where one partner lives as they please, while the other makes it their life's work to keep the place clean.
This is unfair on so many levels. And, on top of it all, messiness can often contribute to an overall feeling of immaturity in a relationship.
That's why Roberts suggests having a discussion about your apartment, and agreeing to take pride in your space. By discussing the importance of keeping your home clean — and establishing a few chores you're both responsible for — your lives will feel 100 times more put together.
10Come To An Agreement Regarding Your Social Lives
While it's important that you both have fun and maintain your personal lives outside the relationship, that doesn't necessarily mean you should both keep living as if you're single. And yet that's often what happens when one partner is a little bit on the immature side.
If your partner is staying out till all hours, for example, Roberts suggests talking about it ASAP. Figure out what works for you as a couple in terms of a party/relationship balance. Neither of you should feel stifled, but that doesn't mean your relationship should come second to a night at the bars, either.
11Check In With Each Other
If your partner seems a bit immature, it could be that they're acting that way because their needs aren't being met, and they aren't sure how to communicate that news in a healthier way.
When that's the case, monthly check-ins sure can come in handy. "Are you getting what you need in your life outside of your partner? Is your partner getting what they need? Are you looking at ways to help your partner grow as a human being and as your mate? Are you looking at the relationship itself and asking what could be better? These are questions that should be addressed regularly," clinical psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow, host of The Web Radio Show, tells Bustle.
By establishing a few rules in your relationship, and making sure you're both on the same page, you can nip immaturity in the bud, and create the grown-ass relationship you both want and deserve.