13 Subtle Signs Your Partner Is Emotionally Immature

Communication and trust are the cornerstones of a successful relationship. Mutual understanding comes from sharing thoughts and honest communication. If your partner is emotionally immature, trying to have a conversation with them can be draining. An emotionally immature person gets angry and disappointed easily and fails to control themselves. They often vent their anger on their partner, and this may create rifts in the relationship. Such a person avoids serious conversations and is unaware of their partner’s needs. In this post, we discuss signs of an emotionally immature person and how to deal with them.

In This Article

13 Signs Your Partner Is Emotionally Immature

  1. Struggles to share or talk about their feelings: An emotionally immature partner may often not share feelings or talk about them. They may find it overwhelming to comprehend emotional experiences. Therefore, they may avoid or pretend to ignore when you bring up serious topics of conversation. 
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You may feel disconnected from such a person because you don’t know what is going on in their mind. They shut you out because they cannot process their own feelings, and so you find them aloof.
  1. Cannot talk about future: An emotionally immature partner finds it difficult to plan or talk about their future with you. They may seem unable to commit to even the smallest of things and prefer to live in the present. Even if they see a future with you, they may find it difficult to share or communicate with you about their long-term plans. 
  1. Makes you feel lonely: A relationship makes you feel involved and loved. However, with an emotionally immature partner, you may feel that there is a lack of emotional intimacy. You feel disconnected as you are not able to form a bond with them at a deeper level. 
  1. Pulls away during difficult or stressful times: When your partner is emotionally unavailable, they may not be able to support you during your difficult times. You may want your partner to be your rock, but they may distance themselves using excuses. This may make you assume that they are unreliable or unsympathetic when in truth they are not.
Partner is emotionally unavailable

Image: IStock

  1. Keeps everything superficial: If you feel your partner holds back even after you have been together for long, then it may be a sign that they are incapable of strengthening or cementing the relationship. It could also suggest that they do not feel emotionally “safe”. They may not feel comfortable when it comes to intimacy, including connecting, opening up, or sharing.
  1. Does not take accountability: A mature adult takes responsibility, acknowledges their mistakes, and makes amends. However, an immature person refuses to take responsibility and instead plays the blame game when things get difficult. They may ignore your opinions and resort to unfair measures such as blaming, lying, or making you feel guilty.
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An emotionally immature person dislikes being held accountable even for their own mistakes. They are quick to point fingers and blame others, and believe they can never be at fault.
  1. Gets defensive: In a healthy relationship, both partners feel comfortable in offering constructive criticism and are open towards working on the issues together. On the contrary, an immature person can become overly defensive or gets upset when you bring up even the smallest of things.
Getting upset or overly defensive

Image: IStock

  1. Shows selfish behavior: Partners look after each other and share responsibilities. They put “we” before “me.” An emotionally immature partner, on the other hand, may show selfish behavior and make everything about themselves. 
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An emotionally immature person is unable to adjust or compromise. They find it difficult to come to an amicable solution and want to have their way anyhow.
  1. Holds grudges: When you encounter a roadblock, you work with your partner to overcome it. However, an emotionally immature partner may hold grudges and squabble over petty issues, often resulting in discontent. 
  1. Makes no effort to contribute: Do you feel that you are the one making all the efforts in the relationship? If your partner is emotionally immature, the love and relationship may feel unfulfilling and one-sided. Your partner may not do anything without you constantly asking them to do it, making you feel guilty.

    Not interested in a relationship

    Image: IStock

  1. Shows a lack of commitment: People who are emotionally immature are often unable to commit. They cannot continue with relationships and have a history of ending up with a series of short-term relationships. 
  1. Lacks compassion: An immature partner cannot show compassion or empathize with their partner during an emotional meltdown. You may feel like your partner is unappreciative and unsupportive.
  1. Shows emotional outbursts: People who are emotionally immature may not be able to control their impulses and may explode with rage on the smallest of things. They may not be mindful of the words and use unkind or abusive words. They may not be good at handling conflicts.

    Emotionally immature partner having outbursts

    Image: IStock

How Do You Deal With An Emotionally Immature Partner?

If you feel your partner is emotionally immature, then you may try the following tips to make your relationship stronger.

  1. Make an appointment: Ask your partner when a good time to talk would be and then at the time that they suggest, have your meeting using as much “I” statements as possible. For instance, talk about how you would like to work more as a team, asking what you could do to make it easier for them to participate. Try not to label them or accuse them as emotionally unavailable, which can make your partner defensive.
  1. Realize that your partner has their own story: Realize that for some reason, your partner does not feel “safe”. This is usually due to their past failed relationships or even childhood caregivers having been overly critical, shaming, or blaming. Try to have compassion for the little boy or girl that your partner has inside of them and work to act from that place of consciousness.
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Try to find a brief history of their background by talking to their friends or family members. Be discreet about it. Once you understand what has caused them to become the way they are, it might be slightly easier to deal with their aloofness.
  1. Develop emotional maturity: Share appreciations. Use words of appreciation or encouragement when your partner does something for you. Let your partner know how it feels good to be connected. 
  1. Ignore tantrums: Your partner may throw a fit when things do not go their way. Avoid paying attention to their tantrums or threats. Importantly, stop treating them like a baby. Be confident and firm.

    Ignoring tantrums

    Image: Shutterstock

  1. Opt for couple’s therapy: If your best efforts do not yield any positive outcome, try couple’s therapy. These sessions can help you develop a sense of connection and emotional intimacy. However, you may have to try your best to convince your partner to attend the sessions. Let them know that you want to be the best partner you can be for them and invite them to join the journey with you towards that goal.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What causes emotional immaturity?

Insecure attachments during childhood, early age trauma, untreated addiction or mental health issues, and reduced deep introspection may manifest as emotional immaturity.

2. At what age does a man emotionally mature?

The age of attaining emotional maturation may vary from one person to another. Scientific research says that the brain continues to undergo maturational changes till 25 to 30 years, which may coincide with the average age of attaining emotional maturity (1).

3. Can an emotionally immature man change?

Yes, if an emotionally immature man becomes aware of his behavior, works on improving himself, and is open to change, he can grow and become more emotionally mature. However, this transformation requires him to put effort, reflect on his actions, and be dedicated to personal growth.

4. Is emotional immaturity a learned behavior?

Emotional immaturity can be affected by how we were raised, the things we’ve been through, and what we’ve learned. However, it’s not just about what we’ve learned, because our own nature and how we grow personally also contribute to our emotional development.

5. Can adults learn how to be emotionally mature?

Yes, grown-ups can learn and become emotionally mature by thinking about themselves, getting help from therapy, learning new things, and using healthy ways to handle emotions and communicate. It takes time and effort, and being open to growing and changing throughout life.

6. Can emotional immaturity be a deal-breaker in a relationship?

If someone is emotionally immature in a relationship, it can cause problems like not being able to talk well, not giving enough emotional support, and making it hard to have a good and satisfying relationship. It’s important for both people to be emotionally compatible and able to meet each other’s needs.

7. How can I protect myself emotionally while being in a relationship with an emotionally immature partner?

To take care of your emotions in a relationship with an emotionally immature partner, set limits for what is acceptable, take care of yourself, talk to people you trust for help, and think about going to therapy together or by yourself to learn ways to handle any difficulties that come up.

8. Is it possible to have a healthy relationship with an emotionally immature partner?

Having a good relationship with a partner who is emotionally immature is hard but not impossible. It means talking openly, understanding each other, being patient, setting limits, and both people trying to grow and handle their emotions better.

9. How do I know if I am being emotionally manipulated by my partner’s immaturity?

If you often feel like your feelings don’t matter, controlled, or tricked by your partner, and they make you feel guilty or confused, it might be because they’re emotionally manipulating you due to their immaturity. Listen to your gut, talk to people you trust for help, and think about getting professional help to understand better and find ways to handle the situation.

10. Can past traumas contribute to emotional immaturity in a partner?

Yes, if someone has experienced difficult things in the past, it can make them emotionally immature in a relationship. They might struggle with controlling their feelings, forming strong connections, and acting maturely. But by getting help and talking about their past with a therapist or supportive people, they can learn and grow emotionally.

11. How can I know when it’s time to end a relationship with an emotionally immature partner?

If your partner’s actions consistently make you feel bad, affect your happiness, and they don’t show any signs of changing even after talking about it, it might be time to end the relationship. Trust your feelings, take care of yourself emotionally, and get advice from people you trust or professionals to help you make the right choice.

A happy relationship is built on emotional maturity and availability. However, if your partner is emotionally immature, communicating with them will be tough; they will ignore you through difficult and stressful moments, you will feel lonely, and so on. Such a partner will also become defensive, display a lack of commitment and compassion, act selfishly, and retain grudges. But if you choose to be together, attempt to work as a team to overcome obstacles and develop emotional intimacy with them. You may also seek advice from professionals.

Infographic: Things To Consider While Dealing With An Emotionally Immature Partner

Dealing with an emotionally immature partner requires a lot of patience and understanding. But you must not let them continue their behavior out of pity because it will jeopardize your relationship. So to help you understand how firm you should be in your stand, here are the dos and don’ts of dealing with an emotionally immature partner.

dos and don’ts while dealing with an emotionally immature partner (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • An emotionally immature partner can make a relationship stressful and draining.
  • They tend to react to small things or hold grudges.
  • They may not be serious about the relationship or pull away from commitment.
  • Try to understand where they are coming from or seek professional help.

Are you worried your partner is emotionally immature? Watch this video to learn the 10 shocking signs and find out if your partner is emotionally immature.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Suzanne O’Rourke et al.; (2020); The development of cognitive and emotional maturity in adolescents and its relevance in judicial contexts.
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