Human beings have been trying to analyze and assess romantic relationships for thousands of years, although we haven’t always put it in writing.
Each person is immensely complex, even if it may not seem that way on the surface. When two people enter into an ongoing relationship, those complexities are often at odds with one another.
It’s becoming more common for young people to express that they or their partner are not able to maintain a mature relationship.
It’s not just a question of upbringing and past romantic experiences; it also has a lot to do with each person’s individual fears, insecurities, and habits.
There’s no formula for a perfect relationship, but there are steps you can take to be more thoughtful in your relationships and more responsive to the needs of your partner.
Below, you’ll find several suggestions for how to be more mature in a relationship. Ask yourself whether you would be able to commit yourself to these habits and practices.
At the very least, exploring ways to improve and act with maturity is a sign of progress and personal development.
Manage Your Frustration
People tend to have more extreme reactions to personal situations. For example, if someone criticizes your work, it may be easier to respond calmly and professionally.
But if someone criticizes something about your personality or something you see as being a significant part of who you are, you may have the urge to become immediately upset or even angry.
When we’re angry, we rarely do things that we’ll be proud of later.
Relationships are extremely personal, and therefore problems within a relationship can be a source of anger and frustration.
So how can we deal with difficult situations more calmly and rationally? Let’s take a look at some basic techniques.
Utilize Relaxation Techniques
If you find yourself in an argument with your significant other and you’re becoming frustrated, then it may be time to slow down and remove yourself from the situation.
Your frustration isn’t inherently wrong or an invalid response to the situation. It may well be an appropriate response. But acting on those reflex feelings can cause many different problems.
If you’ve reached a point where you can no longer have a rational conversation, let your partner know that you need to step away and calm down.
Take deep breaths or go for a short walk. These simple actions will give you a chance to better process any negative feelings.
Or maybe you’d prefer to utilize a hobby that helps you express your feelings. This could be writing in a journal or playing an instrument, for example.
Examine Your Sources of Frustration
Once the dust has settled, it’s important to ask yourself what exactly about the situation made you feel such a negative response.
Getting to the root cause of your frustrations can take time, and you shouldn’t expect it to happen overnight.
You may even want to explore therapy options as speaking with a professional can help clarify why you react a certain way to certain information.
Make Sure to Communicate Often and Effectively
Communication is absolutely essential to a successful and fulfilling relationship. For many of us, that’s probably not new information, but it can be easy to forget, especially in the heat of the moment.
Make an effort to express your feelings with your partner. Moreso than anyone else in your life, you should be able to speak with your partner about what you’re experiencing.
Just ask yourself this question: what don’t you tell your partner? Why not? Are you worried that the information would make them care about you less? Are there secrets you simply don’t want your partner to discover?
You don’t necessarily have to tell your partner everything, but when it comes to your relationship, there shouldn’t be any secrets. Even little white lies or the subtle act of withholding information can cause larger problems down the road.
Don’t Just Talk, Listen
For as much as you need to tell your partner how you’re feeling, you also need to listen to your partner.
Do your best to put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself how you would feel in their situation. It’s a simple technique that many of us learn as children, but it remains an effective strategy.
If you don’t understand your partner’s needs, then you most likely won’t be able to help them satisfy those needs.
Accept Minor Imperfections and Mistakes
Think back to middle school and your first crush. Chances are you had a very specific perception of the other person, one that focused on their best qualities.
After all, that’s how attraction works: we set our sights on what we like the most about the other person, often sweeping potential problems under the rug.
Later on in life, we discover that everyone has their own imperfections and bad habits. You have your own set of imperfections as well.
If you want to maintain a long-term romantic relationship, then it’s important to learn to accept these minor imperfections in yourself and your partner.
When a minor imperfection becomes a serious issue, then acceptance is not a successful strategy, which we’ll discuss in the next section.
Define Your Dealbreakers
Everyone should have their own set of dealbreakers for any given relationship. There are just certain things that just aren’t acceptable and shouldn’t be tolerated.
Everyone’s dealbreakers will be different, but as a general rule of thumb, if your partner is harming you in any way or putting your physical or mental health in jeopardy, then you should not continue the relationship.
Instead of assuming that your partner already knows what is a dealbreaker and what isn’t, you should make your boundaries clear to your partner from the early stages of a relationship.
If you find that your partner becomes angry or unreasonable when you make basic requests of them, then you should seek outside help.
Being mature in a loving relationship takes practice, and you shouldn’t expect yourself to improve immediately.
Both you and your partner will continue to make mistakes. It takes real maturity to respond to these mistakes with poise, reason, and love.