In adulthood, psychological maturity is generally defined as the ability to wisely and appropriately manage developmental responsibilities in mental, emotional, behavioral, and social arenas.There are other forms of maturity such as physical maturity, developmental stage maturity, and career maturity. Although it’s important to be aware of all forms of maturity in adult romantic relationships, it’s especially important to pay attention to psychological maturity.
The different types of maturity are often interwoven and easy to confuse with each other, and this can complicate relationships. For example, you might see an adult who is physically mature and assume that this person is also psychologically mature–only to find that the individual acts more like a child than an adult. You might also come across someone who is terrifically mature in the career arena yet find him terribly immature when it comes to relationships. It’s also common to be excited by a partner’s wild or uninhibited side yet ultimately find that there’s an accompanying irresponsibility that is hard to take.
When it comes to developmental stage maturity (e.g., the time when a person is ready to commit or settle down), differences in this area can create substantial challenges when important priorities and goals simply don’t line up. In my most recent book, Date Smart, I highlight the importance of finding a partner who is well-matched on core levels, and this includes the critical area of maturity.