11 Signs of “Relationship Immaturity” You Need To Weed Out To Attract A Great Partner

Stephen Hussey

(Photo: Terrell Woods)

The worst break-ups occur when you’re in love with the guy, but you also know he’s not going to be good for you in ten years time.

You might love him like crazy…but he never comes through for you when times are tough.

You might feel unbelievable romantic chemistry…but he always thinks about his own problems and doesn’t know how to work as a team.

You might have perfectly synchronized tastes in movies, books, and sexual positions….but he has no sense of the importance of family, and never makes an effort to understand what you need emotionally.

Guys also face these dilemmas. He can be totally in love with you, but if he also forsees a future of drama, petty fights, and a life of being endlessly criticized and misunderstood, he’ll eventually snap and decide to leave, even if in his gut he really doesn’t want to.

And it’s all because we all suffer from minor cases of “Relationship Immaturity”.

11 Signs You or Your Partner Are Suffering From “Relationship Immaturity”

Often we don’t realise our thinking is immature.

If we’re not careful, our immature behaviours can unconsciously grow around us like weeds, which is why we have to keep track of them and pull them out regularly so that they don’t overshadow the precious flower struggling to bloom underneath.

It takes a while for us to adjust our expectations and ‘grow up’ internally to realise when we’re acting self-centered, spoilt, or like a pouty teenager who has a skewed view about what things ought to be like in the real world.

Here are some signs to watch out for (in either a guy or yourself) that indicate an immature approach to relationships:

{*} You are uninterested in your partner’s problems – The first sign of maturity for children is realizing that other people have minds and getting over their inherent selfishness. The same is true of relationships.

If you can’t feel like you care or want to listen and help someone else with their problems, please spare your future partner and don’t be in a relationship until you do.

{*} Being unable to tell the difference between having a disagreement and having a fight – If the two of you can’t disagree without it slipping into name-calling, emotional tantrums, and being moody for 24 hours afterwards, you’ve got a long miserable road ahead.

If you argue a lot, start making a note of which one of you always let’s disagreements get out of hand. Particular signs are nasty insults, or those moments when someone turns a minor disagreement into an tirade against your entire character and personality. Also, watch out for anyone who gets too emotional or angry at the mildest signs of incompatibility.

And if you can’t even discuss ice cream flavours without it turning ugly, run like hell.

{*} Making the relationship competitive i.e. whose needs are more important than the others – If someone is constantly trying to tip the balance in favour of their needs (i.e. her career, her emotions, his need for attention), then one partner will constantly feel a sense of resentment and bitterness. No-one wants to be little more than a sidekick you happen to have sex with.

{*} An inability to balance ‘romance’ and ‘realism’ – Too much romance, and you both live in denial when bad things happen that need to be worked out. Too much realism, and you can lose the fun and care-free abandon that makes falling in love so special. You need a healthy balance of both. Too much of either fundamentally misunderstands what relationships should be about.

{*} Hiding who you really are – Anyone who is not willing to share private feelings, express real affection, or be vulnerable probably shouldn’t be sharing a bed with someone else for the rest of their lives either. Being afraid to open up or “introverted” is a child’s excuse that has no place beyond the age of 21.

{*} Being unable to forgive – For anything other than cheating, physical abuse, or him rummaging through your underwear drawer, forgive him quickly once the matter has been resolved (hell, forgive him for the underwear one too if he only does it once).

Now, of course, I’m not saying that all other problems are easily solved. Far from it. It can be hours or days or longer to discuss a particular problem like adults and understand each other’s point of view. So go ahead: have the fight or the ‘big, long conversation’. But once it’s over, IT’s OVER.

Move on fast and have raunchy make-up sex soon. And don’t keep grudges for past fights.

{*} Keeping score – Don’t ruin a selfless act of generosity by keeping track of precisely how many times you do it, or who spent money on whom. Anyone who does this is not thinking like a team.

{*} Not bringing up things when they’re a problem – You don’t need to share every tiny insignificant flicker of emotion, in fact, that can be downright draining.

But if something is bugging you for more than a week or two, have a conversation about it. You’ll feel a hundred pounds lighter and can at least make him aware of your grievances, instead of suffering in silence. Generally speaking, the more you share in a relationship, the more you’re able to solve. Someone who never brings up problems will be a struggle to deal with ten years from now when they never tell you what’s going on in their heads.

{*} Thinking that ‘being in love’ means you don’t have to impress each other – Being in love means being comfortable, but that doesn’t get you off the hook. If you’re not trying to impress each other still, the relationship will stagnate quickly. Anyone who thinks that after falling in love they don’t have to prove themselves anymore is living in a fairy tale.

{*} When he prioritizes his need for attention over your need for support – If you lose your job and parents in the same week, and all he can do is ask why you’re not paying him as many compliments as you were last month, congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of a 190-pound baby (only this one isn’t very cute and probably needs a few years of counseling to understand human beings).

{*} An Inability to balance work and life – Ah, my old friend, the ‘too busy’ excuse.

This used to be one of my go-to immature excuses for not contributing to relationships.

Look, it’s fine to have to get your head down and work for a week or so, and any good partner will understand that. But if either you or your partner constantly resenting spending time on a relationship, and see your partner as a leech on your time in between your career and other fascinating hobbies, give up the ghost and realise that you’re not ready or willing for proper commitment.

No shame in it, but he honest with yourself and fair with your partner.

{*} Unwillingness to tolerate difference – I truly believe that one of the routes to a happy relationships is a mature acceptance that the keys to your partner’s happiness/love/satisfaction are not the same as your own.

In this case, yes, I am bending the Golden Rule somewhat, whose dictum of course, states: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

In the case of relationships, we have to get a bit more sophisticated.

What turns you on doesn’t turn your partner on. What makes you feel special and loved doesn’t make him feel loved. What he needs is not exactly the same as you need. 

If you want to live your life with someone and make them happy, learn what makes them happy and DO IT REGULARLY. Don’t just love them, do whatever it takes to make them feel loved. Anything less is not up to the standard of a soul-mate.

Like weeds, these nasty signs of relationship immaturity will always sprout up if you and your partner aren’t committed to the two essential qualities of GROWTH and TEAMWORK (Matt and I wrote about this in the Get The Guy book, where we argued that both are crucial for a couple to solve problems together in relationships).

If you feel like you have these traits yourself, know that it’s ok to not be 100% perfect, but also know that the longer you indulge these traits the less likely it is that a guy is going to see you as “The One” who he can feel truly fulfilled with.

On the flip side, if you notice a guy has at least three of these behaviours, as painful as it might be, it’s probably time to put your long-term emotional stability first and break it off before you live a life of frustration and regret later on.

Yes, he might have a heart of gold deep down inside.

But it doesn’t matter how beautiful the flower is underneath if the weeds make it impossible to find.

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28 Replies to “11 Signs of “Relationship Immaturity” You Need To Weed Out To Attract A Great Partner”

  • Thank you for a great article.

    “Thinking that being in love means you don’t have to impress each other”. That is it! I am afraid that weed is there to stay in relationships. In my experience, this kind of behavior can’t be changed. It should come naturally to someone to keep it fresh. You can’t change people’s ways no matter how much you tell them. I do get the guy every time, no problem. I have everything that a guy could ask for. And, I have been told this by a couple of guys before. The problem is that they always get lazy after a while. They start acting like an old couple married for 40 years. I need excitement, creativity, exploration. I don’t mean going to bars and night clubs. I mean growing as a couple. I need creativity. But hardly anyone has this mentality. Even when they try it fades away in no time, because it doesn’t come naturally. It is a temporary effort. I don’t mean he should keep doing new things like an eager beaver, but I can’t stand a guy who wants to just “maintain” it. They get comfortable. If it is not in someone’s nature, you can’t change it. I end up leaving and the guy gets heartbroken. The ironic thing is that they get heartbroken because they know they won’t meet someone like me again. Chances are low to none. People are so selfish even when they “supposedly” love someone. They love having someone exciting. It makes them feel good. At this point, I need a pre-relationship to see if I wanna have a relationship with the guy. Because if he doesn’t have the qualities I am looking for, a relationship is a waste of time. It is a big commitment. It is so hard to find someone who is willing to keep it fresh as much as I do. And to me, that is the single most important thing to have in a relationship.

    All the best

    1. Btw, I said “…they know they won’t meet someone like me again.” I should have worded it better. I didn’t mean to sound cocky. People don’t want to let go of someone who does all the creativity while they sit back and enjoy the ride. That is what I meant. We don’t come across with exciting people all the time. Of course everyone’s understanding of excitement is different. To me, the excitement is learning and experiencing new things. That is ultimately one of the reasons I am following Hussey blog. Not because I can’t get the guy but because I always want to improve myself. Anyways, thank you very much for reading my long comment. =) xxxx

      1. Hi Kiraz,

        I think you can’t ultimately change who a guy is, but I do think many more guys are interested in still growing as a couple than you suggest. Especially nice guys, who tend to get highly underrated in general ;)

        There are ways to get a guy to change certain habits if you create the right amount of emotional leverage (i.e. if he thinks he might lose you, or if he is dedicated to pleasing you and *wants* to do things that make you happy), but if he doesn’t already have a personal standard set for himself then you’re always going to have a struggle on your hands. I think your “pre-relationship” idea is great – usually I find you can tell someone’s standards in the first month if you pay attention to their lifestyle and beliefs and the way they live day-to-day; those are the things I’m always looking out for on early dates (i.e. is she disciplined in how she spends her time, does she have an independent life and goals that matter to her, is she passionate about something that really drives her in the long-term etc.).

        Thanks for commenting!

        Stephen x

        1. Stephen, thank you for your reply. “…does she have an independent life and goals that matter to her, is she passionate about something that really drives her in the long-term.” I will keep these questions in mind. The answers to these questions matter to people who want more out of a relationship than just simple togetherness.
          Best xxx

          1. Hi Stephen,

            Thank you for the article. I LOVE reading these every week. You truly have a gift, and I must admit some items on your list definitely hit home!

            Quick question for you: In your response to KIRAZ, you said, “Especially nice guys, who tend to get highly underrated in general ;)” – (I also assume you are somewhat referring to yourself as one of those “nice guys” but could be reading the winky face wrong), I believe, if I’m not mistaken, you have used the term “nice guys” as positive in other article responses as well. My curiosity stems from the fact that I thought Matt fiercely disapproved of “nice guys” – as he has stated before in one of his videos? I may be taking things too literally, but I also get easily confused with the continual use of that term in a positive light. Just want to be clear on the stance of “nice guys” because I am still struggling with Matt’s viewpoints on the subject. :)

            Thank you in advance for any clarity you provide on the matter!

  • Wonderful. I do, however, see that there are so many personality types that you guys touch on, that I think are important to address, though I know that you can’t and don’t recommend you do, but do need attention nonetheless; such as: borderline personality disorder and autism spectrum disorder.
    I have a roommate with borderline personality disorder, and to be frank, it is somewhat a form of immaturity, though, stemming from trauma and abuse. They often seek out, subconsciously, to create chaos in any given relationship, because of their feel of closeness scares them and they very well lack the “mature” life experience to know how to address an issue without using aggressive force, or manipulation.
    I believe a label, such as borderline personality disorder, with the known traits, can help someone to address them. Like I mentioned the autism spectrum, polar opposite, almost (though I guess one could be on the autism spectrum have borderline personality disorder); those on the spectrum will likely have hyper focus and be the type of woman who obsesses over a guy, but very well, neurologically is more challenged to get over him, than one NOT on the spectrum. Somehow KNOWING that she is neurologically inclined to focus on one dude and it may not be for healthy reasons, could help her to address it better.
    So, in a way, autism spectrum disorder and borderline personality disorder could very well be what you are describing and what is often addressed in many videos, without using such labels. I just wanted to bring attention to that, so that those who may relate to those disorders could see that address it; yet I do believe that ‘life coaching’ is under appreciated and is just as valuable in our society as psychologist, as frankly, very few psychologist address how a person’s chosen behavior and actions effect their well being, and just focus on labeling and defining one’s psychological pitfalls. Hope comes from knowing that you’re ‘pitfalls’ are actually very often strengths in disguise and those with said disorders often contribute more to society than those without any of these issues (we wouldn’t have half the technology we do without them…)

    1. Hi Ann,

      Thank you for the thoughtful comments. You are right, of course, that some behaviours listed can be symptoms of a personality disorder. I suppose my answer is that I write these pieces addressed to those for whom it is under their control, who (like me), occasionally indulge these habits mistakenly but are capable of consciously controlling them. Like you say though, it is certainly possible to have a healthy relationship with someone who exhibits these behaviours as part of a larger personality disorder, as long as there is an understanding that these behaviours are not within that person’s control and you are happy to accept that.

      All best,

      Stephen x

      1. Agreed.

        I do think that those who have such disorders do have hope and can benefit greatly from the articles/videos, is mostly what I am trying to convey.

        Borderline personality disorder is pretty much the most difficult one to deal with,personally, but I believe that they especially are likely to benefit from some “life coaching”. Example seems to be the best way to ‘help’ them, ignoring them is the worst, however- if you’ve done all you can do, sometimes you gotta protect yourself, especially if they are aggressive and manipulative, you HAVE to get away.
        Life is good, keep up the good work!!

  • I love all your articles, you know that. But there are some weeks where I think we need to print it off and laminate it. This is one of them! I don’t know how you possess such knowledge and wisdom. We don’t need to know. I do know we would be poorer without your words of wisdom, written in such an eloquent and beautiful way.
    Kathryn xx

  • I have a question for you.
    Do you believe in “No contact period” thing?

    I want to reconnected with a guy I was having a casual relationship with. And right now I am in the middle of “No contact period for 30days”.

    Many relationship coach talk about this period but not you.
    I always like to hear your way of thinking. So that i am curious what do you think about this.

  • I’m working on bringing things up when they’re a problem, it’s never in the moment but a few hours or days later, but I hate that squirmish feel you get.

  • Hey Stephen, great article as always!:)
    but i wonder what should i do after discovering the fact that he’s not the right guy? the guy i’m seeing right now he’s not mature I knew it even before reading this article and i had the feeling that it would lead to a pretty bad relationship if I just do nothing and let it be, it’s not like he’s a bad guy i’d still like to maintain friendship with him, but i really worry about how it’d go especially now after I read this article. I really need to convey that to him…however i’m in a position where it’s a bit hard to pull away now cuz we like each other and he’s really a sensitive guy and i definitely don’t wanna hurt him…SOO what should I do to say and send signals to him that we should be friends rather than keep investing in each other, like how do i actually do that in a good manner???


    1. There is no easy way to do this. But if you have that feeling he’s not the right guy, it’s MUCH better to express it now and let him go (it will be WAY harder 6 months down the line when you’re much closer). Just be very straight and don’t make it sound like you’re saying: “If only you change, we can be together”. Just tell him honestly that you don’t think it’s going to work and that you’d rather be friends. But after that break contact. If you keep hanging around him now you’ll be giving him false hope and leading him on. Be casual acquaintances but don’t try and be close friends until he’s completely over you (this can take a while, so be prepared to lose him from your life for some time).



  • What if I am the one who’s relationally immature? Should I just not date anyone and spare them the misery until I get my act together?

  • Speaking of not contributing to the relationship, other than a lack of integrity, my biggest pet peeve in men is when they look at a romantic relationship similarly to a relationship with their buddies wherein they think they’ll live their life, I’ll live my life, then when they want to have sex, I’m there willing and waiting. He might occasionally go the extra step and buy my favorite ice cream when he makes a grocery run or put some gas in my car if he drives it, but those are “extra credit” points in his mind.

    And I always wonder to myself when I see a guy behaving this way, either with me or with one of my friends, why the eff are you even here? I’m not your buddy. I’m definitely not your mom. And, I’m not a prostitute — the primary reason I have you in my life is not to have sex. I want people in my life who have my back. And I want the most important person in my life to be my partner in life, not just in sex. I want him to know what’s going on with me and to actively have my back, and not just when life goes completely sideways but in regular, day-to-day ways as well (so, I actually do appreciate the ice cream).

    I’ve read advice from a number of men reminding us ladies that men are providers and protectors, and we should let them provide and protect. And I always think, yes! I need (not want) a man who wants to protect me. I need a man who wants to provide for me — not because I can’t do it myself, but because he thinks I’m valuable enough to do that for me. And, just to be clear, providing doesn’t have to cost a penny. There are many, many free ways to protect and provide. I’ve just never met a man who wanted to protect me or provide for me in any real way. I mean, thanks for putting gas in my car after you drove it to the gym, but that’s not having my back in any real way.

    Like, do guys really not get that we need them to protect us and take care of us (not necessarily monetarily — and, also, why do guys always go straight to that)? Do they really think we’re just hoping for a guy to come along who doesn’t have our backs but is there in case we want to have sex?

    There’s probably some analogous behavior that us women-folk do that drives men crazy as well; but men rarely, if ever, say what they’re unhappy with, so I can only guess what it is. But, seriously, what are men thinking when they behave like this?

  • OMG, I just heard a reality check slap ring in my head! :D LOL I am guilty of one or two of these, and I have suspected for a while now that they need to go, but never were they put down so clearly and neatly as childish behaviour. Thank you for that Stephen, I needed that smack, and I’ll have to sit down and think about this thoroughly. :) Keep up the awesome work and have a great day! :)

  • That’s the best article I’ve ever seen on the blog. I always have this issue and I can’t break up with the guy. It’s hard for me to walk away and I end up having my heart broken.

  • May I add another sign? You are not ready to let go of the idea that there are many other options out there you do not want to miss out on…

  • This was so clear and well written. I needed to hear this because I am certainly guilty of a few of the things on this list. It’s not that I wasn’t aware of it, it’s just that I couldn’t pinpoint the exact problem and put it into words. Thanks so much Stephen for your wise words!

    How do you think someone could go about acknowledging/accepting these issues in themselves? How would they begin to fix these issues? My problem is, that even though I know what’s wrong, I haven’t a clue as to how to go about fixing it.

  • Hi i have a friend that i talk about a yr so wr work together and wr texy each other so evety time he want be friend no relationship i. Want to know why he want me be friend no relationship and he want sex how i eas be stupid for doing it

  • A good thing is to be friends with someone so you can determine if they are a good fit before you attempt to date them.

    1) being constantly on social media instead of communicating with someone
    2) not being open about feelings or being too indirect— people are not mind-readers
    3) ignoring people when they’ve said they needed help with something
    4) not being kind— kindness goes so far, yet it is overlooked in our society
    5) patience.. without patience your relationship will auto-fail
    6) hissy fits— sorry but if you can’t stand a little uncomfort sometimes in real life situations you won’t last when married or dating
    7) pickiness— too much of it is insane
    8) promptness and respect for others.

  • I think that one more really important thing is to be always greatful to your partner about everything he does for you and to never forget to say “Please” and “Thank you”. :)

  • Not sure I understand what he means when writing: “introverted” is a child’s excuse that has no place beyond the age of 21.
    Some people have been trained to not open up or punished for trying, even as children. This is not an excuse, and it is extremely difficult for both partners.

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