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Is emotional immaturity tolerable?


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#1 BabyRed

Posted 23 May 2020 - 04:17 PM

I'm interested to see what other people believe or do if they are much more emotionally mature than their partner.

The emotional immaturity I am referring to is the struggle to regulate emotions, stressed by conflict, inability to fight fair, nasty language when angry/distressed, sensitive and defensive.

I have tolerated it because generally it has only reared its ugly head when we fight.

I know that these skills can take years to learn, especially for some men who don't get the practice that women traditionally do, so I'm assuming there are other people out there in my shoes?

Would love to hear thoughts.

#2 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 23 May 2020 - 04:57 PM

Does he see it as an issue for your relationship?

I've had struggles with my partner over these issues but he's diagnosed with ASD and bipolar so it's not surprising.  We have pretty much reached a point where this behaviour doesn't happen any more.

TBH though I don't think this is a male/female thing, there are a lot of women who struggle with this as well.

#3 Kallie88

Posted 23 May 2020 - 05:10 PM

I think it depends on a few things. Are they aware of it? Are they willing to work on and improve it? Do they expect their partner to do the work for them or will they actually do it themselves? Can they take responsibility when they get it wrong?

I wouldn't tolerate someone that thought there was nothing wrong with the sort of behavior you've described and/or blamed me not liking it on me, or said i caused it etc. I grew up with a step dad that was like that so i just couldn't handle living around it again.

My dh is emotionally immature in that he doesn't understand emotions very well (eg. He thinks he has 2 emotions: happy and angry, because he just lumps everything he feels into those two categories) and he had trouble understanding how other people feel. But he is aware of this and does what he can to compensate and be a supportive partner. He's never yelled at me in anger in the 13 years i've known him (nor i him) so we're both fairly reserved in that way anyway.

#4 Zippypeaks

Posted 23 May 2020 - 05:11 PM

I’m a female who struggles with this. It’s taken a very patient partner and a few therapy sessions to work on communication strategies before it all hits the fan. I think if your partner is keen to work on their behaviour then help them work on it too. Otherwise, I’m not so sure it’s something I’d be keen to live with, personally.

#5 Treasure Island

Posted 23 May 2020 - 05:13 PM

My parents are in their 70s and still have these problems (both of them). Yes it's fun watching them fight and being the subject of their anger :sigh: some people never grow out of it.

#6 MooGuru

Posted 23 May 2020 - 05:16 PM

Um it's tolerable but with the benefit of hindsight will tolerable be good enough?

#7 kimasa

Posted 23 May 2020 - 06:07 PM

I think it's tolerable if it's something the person has acknowledged and is actively trying to work on.

Otherwise, no.

#8 MooGuru

Posted 23 May 2020 - 06:25 PM

Kimasa you said moreso what I was thinking with my navel gazing post lol

#9 Dadto2

Posted 23 May 2020 - 06:28 PM

 BabyRed, on 23 May 2020 - 04:17 PM, said:

The emotional immaturity I am referring to is the struggle to regulate emotions, stressed by conflict, inability to fight fair, nasty language when angry/distressed, sensitive and defensive.


You need to be able to have healthy arguments. Not fighting fair, nasty language etc just causes long lasting bitterness and resentment. You avoid disagreements, irrespective of how trivial, because you know that conflict is on the horizon and that conflict is with someone that is unreasonable, irrational and emotionally immature. And as you continually shy aware from conflict, that will create significant resentment. There's no way I could or would put up with that, sh*t would get old real quick.

Edited by Dadto2, 23 May 2020 - 06:32 PM.


#10 iwanttosleepin

Posted 23 May 2020 - 06:30 PM

I have 2 staff members like this.  Both in their late 50s.  So I don’t think it’ll improve for them.
It’s not acceptable to me and one of them is actually getting sacked this week.  The other is going onto performance management. I’m not sure what they are like outside of work.

#11 SplashingRainbows

Posted 23 May 2020 - 06:37 PM

It wouldn’t be tolerable to me.

#12 Dadto2

Posted 23 May 2020 - 06:39 PM

I find when arguing with people like this, the phrase "no you are" is an invaluable retort that will normally settle most arguments.

#13 JustBeige

Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:17 PM

No, it wasnt for me and the main factor in me not fighting for my marriage. Add zero self awareness and narcissistic/ passive aggressive/white male privilege
It just wasnt going to get better. You cant get 'better ' if you dont even acknowledge that your own behaviour is a main part of the problem

#14 too tired to care

Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:18 PM

 Dadto2, on 23 May 2020 - 06:39 PM, said:

I find when arguing with people like this, the phrase "no you are" is an invaluable retort that will normally settle most arguments.

That is actually an immature response, and it does not settle anything. Although it is understandable.
it is better to state- we are not communicating well right now so I am leaving the room, etc until you can discuss this without name calling, etc.

#15 foxbread

Posted 23 May 2020 - 09:39 PM

Depends. Do they have any insight and desire to do better (even if, in the moment, they regularly fail)?

For example, I think people can have trouble controlling their emotions when the other person is able to run around in circles arguing their point better than them. But if they can reach some self awareness of that, and make an effort, it's not necessarily a lost cause. And sometimes people have particular sore points that make them particularly defensive. That's kind of understandable, even if not easy to work with.

Anyway, I'd also just say that emotional maturity is not only about being able to remain in control in an argument, there's more to it than that. They might have some emotional depth and strength in another area. Identifying those could help them bring them across to how they argue.


#16 MadMarchMasterchef

Posted 23 May 2020 - 10:24 PM

I think how much you stress out about things is different to the other ones. Its personality and life experience.  Im a stress head, but what I have learned is coping strategies.

#17 Dadto2

Posted 23 May 2020 - 10:42 PM

 too tired to care, on 23 May 2020 - 07:18 PM, said:

That is actually an immature response, and it does not settle anything. Although it is understandable.
it is better to state- we are not communicating well right now so I am leaving the room, etc until you can discuss this without name calling, etc.

It was a joke!

#18 CallMeFeral

Posted 23 May 2020 - 10:45 PM

Honestly there are too many variables.

I've been down this path, and the first step was stepping away from trying to change him, and focusing on changing me. Because really that's the only person I could change.

Over time, I had to emotionally distance myself to protect myself from his lack of regulation. I became much more self sufficient and learned to for the most part step away when he was losing the plot. It did involve to an extent treating him as I would a tantrumming child, rather than another adult. I grew a lot in terms of insight into my own reactions and how to short circuit them. The problem was, you can't really feel like a team with someone you have to to treat like a tantrumming child.

Eventually, he started to notice that I was changing and because I wasn't there for him to bounce off, I think he noticed his own behaviour a lot more. If one person is acting crazy and the other acts crazy, person 1 only remembers the other one acting crazy. Once the second one refuses to engage, they have no choice (well they have a choice, but hopefully they are self aware enough to take it) but to notice their own behaviour. So he started to be aware that there was an issue in his behaviour and he needed to change it. But he still didn't know how. He'd ask me for advice on how, but it's kind of a journey the person has to go on themselves. I practised the skill of distancing myself from the consequences of his actions, and leaving him to suffer them and (not) learn from them.

Then at some point the marriage got so distant we considered breaking up, and I had to decide whether to give up some of my protective distance to work on it or not. At that point he was also very lonely and more willing/aware able to work on it. So we're currently going to counselling. I don't know how it's going. My reactions are less under control than they were now that I am opening myself up more - vulnerability undermines control a bit. He's taking a lot more responsibility, initiates repair, communicates more and better, and has more insight into his habits around blaming others and wanting others to fill his needs without thinking about how to fill theirs. But he's still ridiculous when he gets escalated.

I don't know whether you'd call that tolerable. It's sometimes good, sometimes awful. I've grown a lot, I've learned a lot. Would I do it if I'd known all this pre kids? No, I don't think so. If I could have my time again I think I'd look for someone more emotionally mature to start with.
But am I glad I stuck around, given that we do have kids together? I don't know, remains to be seen how this counselling goes I guess. But so far I think yes, he's a good father, we're a good team, and we're both willing to learn and change. I think that last one is essential though. If he wasn't willing to learn and change... well, I think I could still have done the working on and distancing myself bit, but I think that had a natural trajectory that would not have ended with us together. It's only when he became willing to learn and change (if slowly) that it really became possible for us to come back together. But to get to that point, I had to change first, because till then he couldn't really see how much of the issue was himself, he was able to blame it all on me.

#19 IamOzgirl

Posted 23 May 2020 - 11:06 PM

This is an interesting thread.

OP not sure of the answer. But as someone whose ex would not engaged in a healthy discussion or fight if you will, I think they are just as emotionally immature as a name caller.

Refusing to even have a discussion, is very immature.

#20 redchick

Posted 24 May 2020 - 07:23 AM

Not something I would be willing to tolerate if there wasn't self awareness and improvement. But that is very easy for me to say as an outsider to your relationship - it is never that simple when you are in a relationship.

#21 Mister Mum

Posted 24 May 2020 - 07:32 AM

No wouldn't tolerate it.  Screaming and name calling would buy you a one way ticket to the kerb.

Insight or not, people who behave this way are generally unstable and are a heavy burden to their family and friends.

He need to grow up or get out.

#22 MadMarchMasterchef

Posted 24 May 2020 - 07:49 AM

 Mister Mum, on 24 May 2020 - 07:32 AM, said:

No wouldn't tolerate it.  Screaming and name calling would buy you a one way ticket to the kerb.


Yes I forgot to add that, previously.  The screaming and name calling isn't ok.   As opposed to stress reactions I think are a pretty normal human reaction we all have and we all need to learn to deal with over time.

#23 Soontobegran

Posted 24 May 2020 - 08:54 AM

I am sorry you are in this situation OP, your post was very thought provoking for me.
I don't think people can choose to be emotionally immature any more than they can choose to be emotionally mature so me saying that it is intolerable would in my mind be me being intolerant. I think our emotional maturity is a mixture of genetics and life experiences and many of those we have no control over.

I know all types of people who are emotionally immature who are simply awesome people in other ways so it is something I accept in them.

It is all about how people treat me in general that matters to me. If someone with emotional immaturity otherwise treats me well then I am fine. There are people who are emotionally mature who are otherwise intolerable due to a myriad of other reasons.

It is a loaded question to me OP but if you are being treated badly and you are not happy then there is no way you need to tolerate that.

Edited by Soontobegran, 24 May 2020 - 09:29 AM.


#24 Lunafreya

Posted 24 May 2020 - 09:07 AM

People need to want to change.

#25 Chchgirl

Posted 24 May 2020 - 09:07 AM

 Mister Mum, on 24 May 2020 - 07:32 AM, said:

No wouldn't tolerate it.  Screaming and name calling would buy you a one way ticket to the kerb.

Insight or not, people who behave this way are generally unstable and are a heavy burden to their family and friends.

He need to grow up or get out.

Same, I don't tolerate that sort of behaviour, even from family or friends but also out up with less bulldust as I get older.




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