10 ways emotionally immature people sabotage their relationships

There are all sorts of reasons why a relationship can go wrong. 

Sadly, many of them are self-imposed by one or both partners. 

Here are the top ways that emotionally immature individuals wreck their own relationships. 

1) Overthinking

Overthinking is often counterproductive. 

In fact, it’s hard to think of any area of life where overthinking will do you any good. 

In relationships it can sink them faster than the Titanic. 

Emotionally immature people are especially vulnerable to overthinking because they tend to be very reactive. 

They have an experience, conflict or confusion and they think about it. 

Then they think about why they thought about it, or approach the issue from a different angle. 

Then they go back to the beginning. Before they realize it, their partner is feeling they are acting weird and the relationship is already in big trouble. 

2) Craving validation

Emotionally immature people look outward for validation and often expect it from the person they’re dating. 

The result is that they come across as seeking validation and being emotionally needy. 

This is unattractive and tends to push others away. 

Even the type of partner who is attracted is invariably suffering from some type of codependency themselves.

The problem is that craving validation is a hole that can’t be filled. 

The more somebody tries the more they just want to “double check” again…and again…that they’re really needed, loved and wanted…

Until they’re not needed or wanted anymore. 

3) Possessiveness

Emotionally immature people tend to be prone to possessiveness. 

This is the idea that somebody else is their “property” or that they have the right to tell their partner what to do or how to do it. 

There’s certainly a place for suggestions and dialog, or even strong warnings and dealbreakers in every relationship:

For example, “if you keep using drugs I can’t be with you.”

But possessiveness is something else, and it leaves the other person no room to breathe. 

If somebody isn’t OK to be on their own and let a partner have their freedom and trust them to stay faithful, then that person isn’t ready to be in a relationship.

4) Clinginess 

Clinginess is the cousin of possessiveness, and validation-seeking. 

For an emotionally immature person this is a big danger, and it’s not always out of insecurity or anything harmful. 

Clinginess can be the natural result of liking somebody a lot!

It makes sense:

If you’re falling in love with somebody then you want to spend as much time around them as possible. 

The problem is that too much of a good thing can turn bad!

Let the good times roll, absolutely, but emotionally fragile folks need to also learn to give their partner some space. 

5) Jealousy

Jealousy is closely related to this need for validation and fear of losing someone that manifests in possessiveness. 

The truth is that sometimes a bit of jealousy is inevitable. 

Especially those with some self-esteem vulnerabilities may feel unsure if their girlfriend or boyfriend is chatting a lot with other people. 

They may want validation that she really likes them more…

Or reassurance that he’s not turned on by that one friend from work…

The problem with jealousy is similar to the need for validation. The more the jealousy grows and somebody tries to satiate its appetite to know and be reassured, the more it feeds the cycle of envy

They don’t call it the green monster for nothing! 

6) Social media fixation 

This may be controversial to say, but it’s true:

Social media addiction and fixation is a strong sign of emotional immaturity. 

Emotionally immature people tend to be bigtime social media addicts and they feel the need to post every moment of the relationship. 

Any mood or thought they have is only real to them if they can put it on the ‘gram or tweet about it, or make a weird lip sync TikTok video. 

This need for online validation is annoying, and it tends to sink relationships. 

Even if it doesn’t, it leads to very cringe relationships where two people are basically living out an online relationship on social media without any real connection or communication between the two of them. 

7) Labeling too early

Emotionally immature people also have a habit of trying to define relationships too early.

This generally arises out of an insecurity and that search for validation that I’ve emphasized. 

They want to know for sure if somebody is their “boyfriend” or how serious things are getting with a girl they’ve been seeing. 

So they bring up the subject. Then they bring it up again. 

Then they cause the other person to feel pressured and lose interest

I’ve done it myself, so I should know.

8) Reading too much into fights

If and when arguments come up, they’re clearly going to ruffle some feathers

But emotionally immature and fragile people have an especially hard time letting them go and moving on.

The result is that they tend to rehash and bring up fights over and over again or “make sure” everything is OK. 

This is fine once or twice. 

But reading into the disagreements too much amps up the relationship anxiety and often leads to it becoming more stress than the other person wants. 

Nobody likes fighting, but it’s not always necessary to look too deeply into what they mean or analyze them over and over. 

9) Taking bad advice 

Emotionally immature people find it hard to listen to their gut instinct

For this reason they are very susceptible to advice, whether or not it’s good. 

The results can be disastrous:

Somebody who’s jealous of them or just plain uninformed may give terrible relationship advice and this emotionally undeveloped man or woman listens to the poor advice!

There are certainly times and places when relationship advice is needed, even when it’s not what we want to hear.

But being able to be influenced easily in whatever direction advice comes is very risky.

Breakups often result… 

10) Avoidance 

Fights and relationships issues come up no matter what. 

Emotionally undeveloped people may try giving the cold shoulder when times get hard. 

This is basically the opposite of the clingy and possessive approach but it can be just as damaging if not more. 

When somebody emotionally detaches during moments of tension or pain it tends to leave their partner feeling cast into the wind:

Scared, sad and confused. 

Emotionally immature people sometimes shut down right at the moment when they need to be engaging and talking things through. 

Sad but true.

Upgrading relationship maturity 

The truth is that often emotional maturity only grows through trial and error. 

Most of us have to learn the extremely hard way. 

But if possible, take a look at the list above and try your best to remain conscious of how these actions and behaviors have the potential to sabotage even the most beautiful relationships

Not every relationship is meant to be, but it is possible to grow in our emotional maturity and become more conscious in empowering ways. 

Paul Brian

Paul Brian

Paul R. Brian is a freelance journalist and writer who has reported from around the world, focusing on religion, culture and geopolitics. Follow him on www.twitter.com/paulrbrian and visit his website at www.paulrbrian.com

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