If your partner argues over little things, gets defensive, or refuses to compromise — among other traits that leave you feeling frustrated and confused — it very well may mean they are emotionally immature.
"Emotional immaturity can reflect a lack of depth and understanding about one’s own emotions, an inability to communicate and process things related to the relationship, as well as lack of empathy and ability to understand your partner’s emotional experiences," Samantha Burns, a couples counselor and dating coach, tells Bustle.
It's tempting to dismiss bad relationship habits like these as "quirky” or vaguely annoying, but the truth is they take a serious toll on your relationship. "Oftentimes these partners have a 'me' factor over a 'we' factor, so they can come off as selfish or unable to take your feelings into account,” Burns says. “When there’s conflict, an emotionally immature partner may blow up or blame rather than be able to process how their actions contribute to the issue. It may also be difficult to have a calm, effective communication when talking about anything of substance."
Since everyone matures at their own pace, you may choose to be understanding and attempt to help your partner see how their actions impact not only themselves, but you and your relationship. If you want to stick together, it may help to model emotional maturity for them by expressing positive feelings, as well as pointing out the moments when they’re effectively connecting.
“You can also suggest going to couples therapy,” Burns says, “where a professional can ask questions and help guide you in developing more emotional intimacy together." But it’s also OK if you decide enough is enough and choose to move on instead. Here are 17 signs of emotional immaturity to look out for in a partner.