Emotionally immature people usually make these 5 relationship mistakes

Emotional immaturity is at the root of many relationship problems and outright failures. 

I would know. 

While I didn’t know it then, my lack of experience caused me to make countless relationship mistakes as a younger man. 

I also failed to notice it in some of my partners and, as a result, dealt with it incorrectly. 

Though I have learned a lot through experience, self-reflection, and resources like this site, I am still progressing. Emotional maturity is a journey for us all, not a destination. 

That being said…

Knowing these 5 mistakes can help you to avoid some of the problems I and many others have encountered because of emotional immaturity. 

1) Blowing things out of proportion 

Have you ever been in a relationship where little things seemed to turn into huge issues?

Emotionally immature people tend to make mountains out of molehills.

This is so common that the American Psychological Association includes it in its definition of emotional immaturity: 

“a tendency to express emotions without restraint or disproportionately to the situation.” 

In other words, minor issues can be overdramatized. This can be hard to understand for people who are more emotionally balanced. 

Often this comes in the form of the next mistake. 

2) Being overly defensive

One of the most obvious signs of an emotionally immature partner is their desire to defend themselves and their views. 

Defensive behavior can take many forms, including verbal aggression, avoidance, and gaslighting (see point 5). 

In one of my first relationships, I used avoidance as a coping mechanism. 

Like many young men and women, I wasn’t confident in myself, and facing criticism from someone close to me was difficult. 

So I avoided it. 

Of course, this doesn’t work in the long run, and it all came crashing down. Much pain could have been avoided if I had been confident enough to take on criticism maturely. 

No matter what form it takes, highly defensive behavior could indicate that you are dealing with an emotionally immature partner

Or if you recognize a trait in yourself, it might be a sign that you have some growing to do. Don’t worry; we all do. 

In their desire to defend themselves and justify their behavior, emotionally immature people often resort to the next tactic. 

3) Lying when things go wrong

According to Psychology Today, one of the most common reasons people lie is to avoid feeling shame. 

If you have noticed this trait in your partner, it’s important to remember that it could stem from insecurity and immaturity rather than a desire to hurt you or the relationship. 

Unfortunately, lies are not always easy to identify, so this behavior can go unnoticed for some time. 

This is especially true because emotionally mature people tend to trust their partners and don’t actively look for lies. 

Some won’t lie outright; however, they make the next mistake. 

This is one that I have been guilty of…

4) Being self-centered & emotionally-detached

midlife crisis husband wants divorce 1 Emotionally immature people usually make these 5 relationship mistakes

Emotionally immature often only think about themselves. 

They fail to consider their partner’s feelings or circumstances at all. 

Looking back, I have been guilty of this in previous relationships. I didn’t recognize it then, but I now realize it was a defense mechanism. 

I had been hurt in a previous relationship in which I had put much energy into pleasing my partner. 

When that ended, I subconsciously went to the other extreme by putting my needs first in every situation. In short, I never allowed myself to be vulnerable because of my fear of intimacy.

While I might have been described as heartless or just a jerk (and I was), the sad truth is that I was insecure

As you might imagine, this creates a myriad of relationship issues…

For me, it was a dramatic public breakup. At the time, I didn’t care. I blocked it out.  It wasn’t until months later that it really hit me. 

We live and learn…but if possible, it would be better to avoid this mistake in the first place. 

That being said, taming insecurity can be tricky, especially if your partner has a habit of the next and final behavior.

5) Gaslighting 

As we noted in a previous post, gaslighting relationships are those in which your partner—a friend, a co-worker, or even a spouse—manipulates you into believing that you cause their problems and issues.

It is another behavior typical in emotionally immature people and one that, in my experience, can quickly destabilize an otherwise good relationship. 

While not wholly blameless, I was not the one guilty of this. Instead, it was a girlfriend I had some time ago. 

Having lived close to each other and developing a solid relationship for over a year, there came a time when life got in the way, and we had to live in different areas of the country.

So, naturally, we decided to do the long-distance thing. 

It worked well for a while, but I was the source of all of her problems before long. I even began to believe this, but looking back, I know better. 

Anyway, you may have guessed it…

The relationship we had both worked hard on fell apart in a matter of months. 

In retrospect, we were both going through a lot of changes at the time, which caused us stress. 

The source of her problems and stress wasn’t me but her fear of not being in control

It might have worked out better if I had been more mature and woken up to this. 

The bottom line 

Everyone is on their own path. Emotional maturity is undoubtedly on a spectrum rather than a black-and-white issue. 

In retrospect, I can say that I have had emotionally immature partners, and in many cases, I was very emotionally immature too. 

I am still maturing and learning. You probably are too. 

I hope this article has given you some food for thought and potentially alerted you to the mistakes you or your partner may be making. 

Suppose you feel that your partner is emotionally immature and making some or all of the mistakes above. In that case, it’s important to remember that we are all developing and that it can take time for people to mature. 

On the other hand, if you recognize these mistakes in your behavior, don’t be too hard on yourself. Realizing you are making them is the first step to becoming a better partner

Picture of Mal James

Mal James

Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business. As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys. In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

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