Love is complex. You can be in the most loving relationship but feel alone. Hence, to use good and bad to define love is not right. Those words are too narrow.
Perhaps, mature and immature might be better words. A mature relationship looks like a meeting of two souls. Both happen to cross the same paths, headed in the same direction, and see each other. Neither of you needs to change or hide or pretend. You both walk together side by side.
- You do not put each other on a pedestal.
In the early stages, many are prone to romanticizing their partners. You may think they are wonderful. Qualities that you find the most attractive are physical or connected to their personality. Since you see them through rose-tinted lenses, it is easy to believe that your partner is perfect. They are so perfect that you forget they are human. But, this means you have yet to know who they are.
Romanticizing one’s partner is a necessary precursor to falling in love. But, it does not help to build a mature relationship. When you are in a mature relationship, you have both come to love the humanness of each other.
- You balance each other out.
In recognizing each other’s humanity, you have learned to see and talk as equals. No one is just a cheerleader. You are both teammates on the team called “us.” You both work towards the same goal.
You support each other. But, sometimes supporting each other also means calling each other out. Now, this does not mean that you can undermine your partner or bully them. You offer constructive criticism, hoping you’ve communicated clearly–almost like a heads up about something that may not be working.
Remember, you are teammates. Also, offering critic does not mean a lack of support. You can be supportive while offering criticism–as long as the criticism is constructive.
- You respect each other.
Many of us have the misconception that a good relationship entails being around each other all the time. If not physically, then via message, social media, or phone conversations.
While this is normal during the first early phases of your relationship, people in a mature relationship understand that you do not need to be around each other all of the time. You both respect each other. That respect also translates to each other’s personal space and time.
Learn how to manage your time. You are allowed to have personal time or pursue dreams and ambitions, but you also need to invest time in a relationship so that your partner does not feel like they are carrying everything themselves.
It is the same with personal space. There is nothing wrong with being affectionate. If that is your love language, go for it. But, in a mature relationship, you understand and respect your partner’s wishes. If they need space, you won’t take it as an offense.
- You are yourself.
In a mature relationship, you both do not need to pretend the be people you are not. At this point, both of you accept each other and won’t try to change each other. For example, you don’t need to add the compulsory kissy emojis and hearts at the end of a text to reassure your partner of your love for them. By now, both of you will trust each, and know each to the point where extra ornaments are not necessary.
This is the best part of a relationship. It’s not sexy or fun, but it’s freeing because you have both let your guard down and shown your guts to each other, and stuck around. You don’t need to try too hard anymore because they already love you for who you are.
- Being in a relationship will not feel hard.
Jumping off of the previous point, you’re relationship won’t feel difficult. Mainly, because you won’t feel the need to pretend. But, a mature relationship will not feel difficult because you will want to make the effort and spend the time.
Many of us believe that being in a relationship is difficult. In a way, it is but not in the way we all think it is.
Movies and media make us believe that keeping our partners interested is what makes a relationship difficult. While that is a legitimate fear, I believe that a relationship is difficult is because people change. However, the key to overcoming change is by communicating with each other.
But, change is not what makes a relationship difficult. It is being resistant to it and wanting things to stay the same or thinking that they have to. That is when a relationship faces difficulties because you both have stopped communicating and trusting each other.
Maintaining a relationship is work, but it should be work you want to do. You are in love, for crying out loud. That’s what love means– doing things because you want to and not because you feel like you have to. In loving someone, working to maintain a relationship won’t feel like work.
- Your arguments are on-topic and productive.
Another sign of mature love is how you argue. In a mature relationship, you are not dragging in past baggage or hurts. You are not shouting at each other and pressing each other’s buttons. Your arguments may sound more mature than most political debates because you both respect each other. Hence, you both will listen to each other’s perspectives and understand each other’s arguing styles.
For example, if you know your partner shuts down during an argument, you will adjust your argument style so that the argument does not turn into a verbal fight. For those in a mature relationship, an argument is a productive exchange of differing ideas.
- You talk about everything.
Effectively communicating with your partner is the best part of being in a mature relationship–talking. When you are in a mature relationship, you talk to your partner about everything. You talk to each other about everything from current events to even poop. Why? Because when you are in a mature relationship, you feel accepted, understood, and loved. You know that nothing you say sounds stupid, silly, or boring to your partner because they want to talk to you. It’s that amazing! You don’t need to filter yourself or appear as something more than what you are.
Many of us have experiences with immature love. Regardless if it was a good or bad experience, I don’t think that matters. Immature relationships don’t last very long and leave a vague scent of unfulfillment. While there is no distinction of whether the love you experienced in a relationship is good or not, you can tell if it is immature or not.
I am not an expert on love nor have I been in many relationships to consider myself knowledgable. But, I know that being and giving mature love takes time.
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