What Most Relationships Lack
By: Kathy
March 3, 2013

Relationships that are in turmoil lack an important ingredient.  Fortunately, what they are lacking can be developed, but it is not easy!  What do  most relationships lack?  Emotional maturity.

Let me sum up the definition of emotional maturity this way:  the ability to delay gratification of your wants, needs, desires, impulses, etc.  Let me give you some common examples of emotional Immaturity:

Interrupting:  Are you unable to resist the urge to start talking while your partner is mid-sentence to voice your own ideas, defenses, insights, or whatever?

Blaming: Do you focus all of your mental energy on what your partner is doing instead of getting in touch with your own feelings, options, boundaries, shortcomings, etc.?

No Impulse Control: Do you act right away on suspicions, perceptions, etc. as if they were fact before seeking the truth?  Do you believe your perceptions (“You don’t love me!”) over what your partner is telling you?

Instant Complaint:  Are you unable to withhold voicing your complaint against your partner until a more appropriate time?  Or  must you call your partner at work or address it in front of the kids or at a party?

Maximizing/Minimizing:  Do you describe your partner’s faults and flaws in great expansive detail? (ex: using “always” or “never” in your complaint). Or do you give plenty of explanations and excuses that rationalize your mistakes and missteps?

Reject Feedback:  If someone tells you something about yourself that isn’t quite flattering, can you look for the thread of truth in it?  Or do you reject it immediately (and maybe even attack your partner for saying it) because it sounds so bad?

Unforgiveness:  When someone apologizes to you, they make themselves open and vulnerable. Can you resist the urge to berate them while they are in that vulnerable state?

No Tolerance For Distance:  Can you give your partner space when they need it?  Or do you feel great anxiety when there is distance in the relationship?

Immediate Pain Relief:  Do you seek immediate relief by firing off angry emails, texts, or calling your partner 14 times when you are activated?  Do you change your Facebook relationship status or think you are getting divorced every time you have a fight?  Do you have to leave the premises or do you get into physical or verbal altercations when you are in pain?

Stay Guarded and Closed-off:  Do you keep yourself guarded and cut-off emotionally from your partner?  (Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is essential to being able to experience love.)

Basically, emotional maturity requires that we be able to resist the temptations and urges that strike us at different times in our relationships.  It is being able to sit in the discomfort and trust that we will be okay regardless of the outcome of the immediate situation.  Emotional maturity allows us to keep our connection with our partner through the painful period, while also being in touch with our own feelings and being able to get our needs met in a healthy way.

Do you see yourself in any of these examples?  Recognizing that you are doing it is half the battle!  Start working on delaying gratification and resisting these urges today and most likely you will slowly begin to see a positive change in your relationship!