Relationships can be tricky, can’t they? In its early days, we feel a lot of intense emotions. Butterflies in the stomach. Euphoria. A love that consumes all your thoughts.
Is that a guarantee, though, that you’ll be in a relationship for keeps?
Unfortunately, no. It’s simply the first stage of romantic love, and those high and heady feelings will taper off.
Whether your relationship will last or not depends on how mature your relationship gets to be after that.
How do you know then if you’re finally in a mature relationship? Here are nine signs:
1) You’ve figured out how to communicate effectively
First up is communication. It sounds so simple, yet it can be one of the most challenging aspects of a relationship.
But once you’ve nailed it, everything else seems to fall into place. What exactly does that look like?
For one, you can be vulnerable because neither of you judge – you simply listen and create a safe space for each other.
And if there’s ever an issue, you tackle it respectfully, like the mature, responsible adults you are.
You’ve learned how to embrace your differences, so when you do have differing views or opinions, you can express them calmly. You either find common ground or agree to disagree, and then move on.
Not only that, but you’re also way past those fun-not-so-fun days of playing mind games. No more little tricks like waiting hours to reply to a text, playing hard to get, or trying to decipher cryptic messages.
In a mature relationship, there’s no room for games. You both say what you mean and mean what you say.
Whether it’s discussing something as simple as dinner plans or as complex as future life goals, you’re on the same page.
2) You don’t avoid conflict
In fact, you embrace it!
You know why? Because as I mentioned earlier, you’ve finally figured out how to communicate effectively.
In contrast, couples who aren’t in a mature relationship yet handle conflict differently. They may keep their mouths shut and sweep issues under the rug. They may agree even when they disagree.
They may even allow the other person to disrespect their boundaries. All for the sake of keeping the peace.
But in a mature relationship, it’s quite the opposite. Mature couples know the damage conflict avoidance can wreak on their relationship, so they embrace conflict and see it as a way to improve.
3) You’re comfortable being yourself
Remember the early days of dating when you’d put on your best behavior? When you’d carefully choose each word and hide your quirks?
In a mature relationship, that façade melts away. You can be your goofy, quirky, authentic self without fearing judgment.
This was actually the turning point for me in my own relationship. When I started feeling like my then-boyfriend-now-husband was someone I could be real with, it was a sign that our relationship had become a serious one.
I knew that I could be my weirdest self and he’d still love me.
4) You make plans together
How else do you know your relationship is now a serious and mature one? You talk about the future together.
I’m not talking about just dinner plans or next weekend’s date. It’s more about the big-stuff kind of future. Things like:
- Where you see yourselves in five years
- Your career goals
- Possibly buying a home together
- Starting a family
Conversations like this show how you’re no longer just merely living in the present and enjoying the flow of the relationship day by day.
You’re starting to build a shared vision and lay down the foundations for something that’s meant to last.
In a mature relationship, these conversations are an opportunity to ensure that your values and goals align. You find common ground, make compromises, and decide on a path that honors both of you.
And obviously, it’s a sign of commitment. You can’t get any more mature than that!
5) You support each other’s dreams
Speaking of goals, how does your partner react when you tell them about yours? Do they cheer you on? Or do they brush it off as something unimportant?
Or worse, do they see your dreams as a threat to your relationship?
My friend Emma’s relationship is the perfect example of this. She’s studying to be a doctor, but the guy she’s dating – Kit – is incredibly possessive and controlling of her time.
They are deeply in love, yet he insists she spend all her time with him.
After a few months like this, she started feeling suffocated and unsupported. She didn’t understand how he could say he loves her, yet deny her her personal time and be resentful of how hard she studies.
That’s a clear sign that their relationship isn’t mature yet.
In a mature relationship, instant gratification takes a backseat. There’s a sense of teamwork – your success is their success, too.
So, they’re there to celebrate your victories and comfort you during setbacks. They may even help you strategize and find ways to overcome obstacles.
6) You trust each other completely
Another thing I’ve noticed in couples in a mature relationship is this: they have implicit trust in each other.
That means they don’t:
- Sneak into their partner’s phones to check up on their online activity
- Frequently ask about their partner’s whereabouts
- Control each other’s friendships
- Make major decisions without consulting each other
- Use manipulative tactics like guilt tripping, lying, or emotional games to get what they want
- Talk about each other negatively to other people
7) You want what’s best for each other – even if it doesn’t include you
In a world where love is often romanticized as two people losing themselves in each other, this aspect of mature love is both refreshing and profound.
It’s about two complete people loving each other enough to want the other to thrive and respecting their individuality.
For example, maybe your partner gets a chance to travel for work, or wants to pursue a hobby on their own.
Instead of holding them back out of fear or jealousy, you cheer them on.
It’s a sign that you trust in your connection and believe in them wholeheartedly, knowing that their personal success only adds to the richness of your relationship.
8) You both have realistic expectations
In the honeymoon phase of a relationship, it’s easy to see everything through rose-colored glasses. Everything is perfect, and your partner can do no wrong.
While this is a beautiful and often exciting stage, it’s not necessarily reflective of a mature relationship.
As time goes on and the infatuation fades, what sets mature couples apart is the ability to have realistic expectations.
They understand that their partner is human, with their own flaws, quirks, and imperfections. They recognize that not every day will be a fairytale, and that’s okay.
In other words, there’s none of that idealization that goes on in a fresh and still immature relationship. Minor annoyances or differences aren’t deal-breakers.
9) You find it easy to be alone
This one might sound strange and counterintuitive, but it actually makes sense.
Think about it – how do couples behave when they’re in a brand-new relationship? Or in a codependent one?
They feel like they can’t survive on their own, right? Like every minute without their partner is excruciatingly long.
That’s a stark contrast from how we are when we’re in a mature relationship.
You see, being in one means we’ve already worked on cultivating trust and respect. We already know that our partner is steadfast and that our love is strong and stable enough to withstand time and distance apart.
So, there’s a sense of security that makes it easy for us to be alone.
Couples in a mature relationship go beyond the superficial and find strength in understanding, trust, and genuine love. At the core, they have their partner’s happiness and the health of the relationship as a priority.
These qualities form the foundation of a connection that’s way deeper than that butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling.
It might not be as exciting and might even sound unbearably boring, but trust me, being in a mature relationship is deeply satisfying and rewarding.
If these signs resonate with your relationship, you’ve found something truly enriching. And if you’re not quite there yet, that’s okay. There’s no time like the present to examine your relationship and see how you can take it to the next level.