Unlike the fast and hard love of our youth, mature love seems slow and unexciting. But it’s not. It’s the kind of love that knows what it wants and leads to relationships or ends in breakups, but at the very least, it’s decisive. Cherlyn Chong, a breakup recovery and dating expert, defines mature love as “a slow, gradual warm glow within you when you think of the other person. It’s a love that’s kind, understanding and stable, not explosive and obsessive”. It’ll eventually include your collective experiences which will serve as the bedrock for your relationship.
Do you think your current relationship is a mature love? Here are some telltale signs it is.
It feels easy and comforting.
“It’s easy from the start and easy years later. Both people are emotionally stable, and from that, are able to cultivate genuine respect and trust for one another. The comfort lasts much longer than passion,” says Chong. This is why a mature couple is more likely to outlast an immature couple. Passion can fade over time, but that deep connection and comfort will not.
You still have your space.
Without the obsession and jealousy that often plague younger relationships, mature love gives people their space. Chong says, “there is room to grow, and mature love doesn’t block, criticize or dampen that progress. It only encourages people to become their very best.” Nobody feels threatened by being their own person.
You have similar life goals.
Immature lovers may not share common goals, beliefs and values. Resonant life paths are often indicative of deeper life values, explains licensed clinical professional counselor and relationship therapist, Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin.
You’ve been able to overcome obstacles.
“It’s great when you feel good, but when the going gets tough and you have an argument or hurdle to climb, can you get through it successfully and still remain together?” asks relationship therapist Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin. In immature relationships, it may be tougher to get through the hard times together. An essential component of mature relationships is the ability to work through tough conversations.
There is balance.
“In a mature relationship there is a healthy balance between the relationship and other factors in one’s life. In this type of relationship, a person will care to meet their own needs as much as they want to meet their partner’s needs,” says licensed relationship counselor, Charese Josie. “The love/relationship focuses on meeting each other’s goals, needs, and responsibilities as they nurture the relationship.”
Arguments are healthy.
This means both parties are open to having hard discussions without name-calling, slamming doors, hanging up the phone. There are definitely no break-up to make-up situations, says Josie. “Mature love wants to continue the relationship without risk of losing it permanently.”
There is respect.
“This is deeper than someone being nice or romantic periodically. Mature love entails a respect that covers all levels of an adult relationship and is consistent. This includes respecting your partner’s career goals, your partner’s relationship with their children, caring and embracing your partner’s hobbies and self-care activities and supporting your partner’s other relationships that add value to their life,” says Josie.
Does not leave you guessing.
Josie says, “One knows exactly how the relationship is defined and the goals of the relationship. This type of relationship has open and clear communication and the behavior supports the discussion.” There are no games.
You’re open and honest with each other.
If you and your partner have an open line of communication, you’re more likely to avoid the pitfalls that could foil a relationship,” says Ann Feister, a relationship expert. “Open and honest communication is the single most important factor in relationships. Being honest doesn’t just mean not lying, it means telling your partner how you are feeling.” You no longer have to suppress your feelings, in any circumstance.
You’re patient with each other.
“A partner who understands that you’re not perfect but doesn’t hold it against you is a sign that you’re in a mature love relationship. As all humans do, we will stumble in life. A partner who is there to pick you up when you fall is the kind of partner you will want to hold onto,” says Feister.
You build each other up.
A sign of a mature love is one that aims to help both parties become their highest selves. “Being able to put aside one’s own ambitions to focus on your partner is a huge sign of commitment and compassion. People who can put themselves and their interests second when needed are partners who are participating in a mature love bond,” says Feister.
It’s like the experts say, there’s a lot to like about a mature love. There are many signs you’ve found it, but awareness and mutual respect are the dead giveaways. So when you’ve found those, it’s a connection you want to hold onto.