Infantiles – as such characters are sometimes called – can hold high positions, drive good cars, but they will be childishly touchy, impulsive and unreliable. How to save yourself from the lifelong position of a mother for such a partner? Psychologist Anna Manolo talks about five signs of an emotionally mature man.
The first thing that distinguishes an adult is the ability to take responsibility for his life, family, his own actions and words. A child can break a cup, ruin the wallpaper and never make up for it. The kid still cannot plan actions and predict the results of his actions. An adult must be held accountable for canceled dates, vacation promises, hurtful words, or absence of work for several months.
Give your partner adequate feedback – no need to play along with a childish position. Talk openly about the moments in which he did not live up to expectations and did not fulfill the agreements. Use I-messages, do not attack the interlocutor. An infantile will have a defensive response through attack (“It’s your own fault”), denial (“I don’t owe anything”) and gaslighting – an attempt to make you doubt the authenticity of your feelings (“You are always turned on by small things, you are just unnecessarily quick-tempered! “). An adult will admit mistakes, take responsibility for the consequences of his actions and will solve problems with you.
Separation plays a key role in taking responsibility: separation from parents makes a person feel that someone else will not solve his problems, no one will insure and come running to help. So take a closer look at your partner’s relationship with his mother and father: is there an unhealthy attachment or excessive emotional support?
Our culture has developed an image of a strong man who contains his emotions or even does not experience them at all. The hero does not cry when it hurts, and does not show his vulnerability. But Freud was right in his thinking: “Unfortunately, repressed emotions do not die. They were made to shut up. And they continue to influence a person from within.”
The infantile will play the hero, and therefore it is very easy to confuse him with a mature man. He will show you his strengths and hide his weaknesses, but this is manipulation and a reason to be wary. If you always have an impeccable, successful and strong man in front of you – this is an image that has no more relation to reality than a wooden horse has to real riding.
It’s okay to admit to failures, bad moods, or mistakes—no one is perfect. However, it can be difficult for men to show their real self to a woman. The problem is that we ourselves sometimes push them to such behavior with the conviction that somewhere there lives a hero who is perfect in every way. The problem is accurately described by Oscar Wilde in An Ideal Husband: “A man can love a woman even if she is inferior to him, even if she is tarnished, dishonored, dishonest. But for women, love is worship; and if there is no admiration, there is no love.”
Take away the worship of the ideal and create a safe space where a man can present his imperfections without guilt or humiliation. However, beware of the other extreme: if a guy cries a lot and inclines you to solve his problems, then you have an infantile comrade who needs a second mother, and not a romantic partner.
Adults should have developed emotional intelligence
The concept of emotional intelligence (EQ) is relatively new, but interest in it has been constantly growing in recent decades. The measure of intelligence (IQ) we are accustomed to has turned out to have a low correlation with achievement in life, in contrast to how well we can recognize our own and others’ emotions and interact with them.
A mature man knows how to cope with his feelings and adequately respond to yours. He has resistance to stressful situations and will not hit your favorite service on the floor if you have not prepared dinner. It is worth being alert if the partner is offended and withdraws into himself for days or weeks, is quick-tempered, overly jealous, or cannot start work because of his mood. The difference between an Adult and a Child is the ability to act with the best result for oneself and others, regardless of the passions seething inside.
Willpower and motivation
Daniel Goleman, who has made a significant contribution to the study of emotional intelligence, believes that there is a close relationship between emotional maturity and willpower and the ability to engage in self-motivation.
An emotionally mature man is not inclined to commit impulsive and rash acts. He will not walk on the last money, fit into dubious adventures of friends without checking all the information, and will be able to resist temptations that interfere with his true intentions.
A mature man does not operate with momentary desires: he knows how to go to distant goals in order to obtain great benefits in the future. He also perfectly motivates himself on his own, without expecting a kick from the outside: he goes to work not from the position of a victim, but for the sake of his values. He deals with routine matters not under duress, but with an understanding of the importance of small steps on the way to large-scale projects.
In their study, scientists (Sarrionandia, Mikolajczak, 2020) showed the relationship of emotional intelligence with biological and behavioral indicators: the higher the emotional intelligence, the healthier the person, and the lower the dependence on drugs, alcohol, gambling and shopping. Emotionally intelligent people have a higher quality of life, eat healthier, and exercise more. It is worth taking a closer look at men in gyms, and not in bars and nightclubs – it is easier to meet a mature and stable partner there.
Mature men are able to enter into full-fledged intimacy. American-Canadian psychologist Mary Ainsworth is known as the originator of attachment theory, which explained the influence of early experiences on our adult relationships.
Mary identified three attachment styles: secure, avoidant, and anxious. The first is the ideal option, but the other two are much more common in life. If a man constantly calls you, distracts you from work, does not believe, looks for every minute confirmation of love, is jealous of colleagues, and even checks the phone, then he has an anxious type of attachment. It is as if a demanding, capricious child lives inside him, who is unnecessarily worried when his partner is at least two meters away.
The avoidant type will play hide and seek and try to run away as the relationship progresses. It can become repulsive, provoking you to break the alliance first. A secure type of attachment can be considered mature – without pairwise avoidance, with respect for the partner’s personal boundaries and interest in his life.
Meeting a man with all of these qualities is not easy, but it is worth remembering that the desire to grow and develop together is paramount. If a man is ready to listen to you and work together on intimacy in a couple, then a strong relationship becomes possible, even if the man is infantile in some moments.
However, you will have to grow anyway: after all, only two mature partners can create a full-fledged relationship. And childhood is a wonderful time, but, as Alla Pugacheva sang, “from now on we have no way to go there.”