Mature adult relationships are founded on good communication and trust. When these factors are in place, both partners feel supported by and committed to the relationship. If you want to help your relationship mature, work on building a healthy bond, developing positive communication habits, and improving trust between you and your partner. It may also help to get insight into your past habits to solve common relationship problems.
Method 1 Method 1 of 4:Cultivating a Healthy Bond Download Article
Allow your partner to live their truth. A mature relationship is free of judgments and unrealistic expectations, so you’ll have to stop trying to change your partner. Committing means letting go of the idea that you are right and your partner is wrong. It’s rarely either—you’re just different. Show maturity by accepting and respecting those differences.
- Give yourselves permission to keep being individuals because you’ll only resent your partner if you give up your own opinions, interests, and goals for the relationship.
- For instance, don’t work so hard to convince your partner to like your favorite types of music or food. The fact that you both have varying tastes keeps the relationship interesting and vibrant.
Explore the overlap in your core values. While it’s okay to disagree about small things, like how to launder darks, the two of you will be happier if you are on the same page about the big things. Your personal values—honesty, family, charity—should be similar or at least complementary.
- Sit down and have a conversation about the important topics to come to an agreement. Mature partners know where their significant others stand on important issues like major career goals, whether you want to get married, whether you want kids, and where you want to live.
- You may not exactly agree, but you should be knowledgeable about your partner’s values. If you do disagree about your partner’s stance on major issues, like politics and religion, ask yourself if you can agree to disagree, or if this is a dealbreaker for you.
Define commitment for yourselves. Commitment in modern relationships means different things to different couples. Do you and your partner plan to be mutually exclusive in the relationship or are you okay with a more open, fluid relationship?
- Have a conversation with your partner about what each of you wants in terms of long-term commitment.
- Others, such as friends and family, may not agree with your definition of commitment, but all that matters is that the two of you agree.
Keep the flame alive. Mature relationships don’t keep themselves going. They stay satisfying and happy because both partners have shared interests, they still “date” one another, and they make the relationship and intimacy a priority.
- Put effort into your relationship by spending quality time with your partner doing things you both enjoy.
- Schedule a weekly date night to engage in shared hobbies, relax together, have sex, or merely have an undisturbed one-on-one conversation.
Method 2 Method 2 of 4:Becoming a Good Communicator Download Article
Make conversation a part of your day. Build better communication with your partner by finding multiple opportunities to interact and make small talk throughout the day. Share your goals for the day over breakfast with a prompt like, “So what’s on your agenda today?” Talk at dinner by taking turns sharing peaks and pits of the day.
- If your partner offers short answers during small talk, tease out more detail with clarifying questions. You might ask, “What happened that made your day tough today, hun?” when your partner describes having a “tough” day.
- Make small talk more engaging by sharing things you’re each excited about, such as an upcoming music festival or a special desert your partner prepared.
Be an active listener. Immature relationships often consist of nonexistent communication patterns, which slowly destroy the connection. Mature partners must strive to keep the lines of communication open by giving and receiving. Listening is an especially big issue for many couples, so be sure to freshen up your listening skills.
- When your partner speaks, give them your undivided attention. Listen to understand rather than listening to reply. Let them finish completely before saying anything. To cut down on misunderstandings, restate or paraphrase (“It sounds like you’re saying…”) what you heard to be sure it’s what they meant.
- If your partner feels that you actually hear them out, they will be more likely to be attentive when you are talking, too.
Say what you mean, tactfully. Don’t beat around the bush or expect your partner to mind-read. If you want to voice an opinion or ask for a need to be met, speak up. However, do so tactfully without attacking your partner in the process. “I” or “we” statements can help you do this.
- For example, if you feel like your partner is not practicing adequate listening, make a request using an “I” statement. Say something like, “I don’t feel like you’re paying attention to me. Can you please put down your phone when I’m talking? I’d really appreciate that.”
Stay above the belt in disagreements. Mature relationships involve partners who fight fair. No matter how angry you get, strive to keep your voice level and save the insults. Adding negativity to an already stressful situation only heightens the tension and makes it harder to reach a solution.
- If you become overly angry, pause, take a break, and breathe deeply. Come back to the discussion when you have collected yourself and are ready to communicate properly.
- To signal that a break is needed, you might ask, “Can we take 15?”
- A break is different than giving the silent treatment, though. Don’t try to use breaks to avoid conflict. Once you’ve cooled off, you need to return to the issue and discuss it with your partner.
Method 3 Method 3 of 4:Building Trust Download Article
Do what you say you will. When you don’t keep your word in your relationship, your partner starts to doubt you and your commitment. Seemingly minor broken promises slowly eat away at trust and bring insecurity into the relationship. Aim to be reliable—only make promises you can keep.
- For example, if you promised your partner you would spend time together over the weekend, don’t flake at the last minute to hang with your friend. Keeping your word shows that you prioritize the relationship and makes you appear worthy of trust.
- If you are running late to a commitment or if you cannot make it, call as soon as you can to let your partner know what is happening and apologize.
Set and respect each other’s boundaries. As your relationship progresses, you and your partner should feel more comfortable communicating your personal boundaries. After boundaries have been communicated, do your best to uphold and respect them. Doing so builds trust.
- For example, if your partner expresses a boundary that you not go through her cellphone, don’t. Give your partner privacy.
- If either partner refuses to respect boundaries, you will have trouble developing a mature relationship. Try talking to a couples therapist to work on boundary violations.
Rely on your partner for help. Trust deepens when you and your partner are able to show that you are there for one another. You can build trust for your partner (and vice versa) by asking them for favors. If they come through and hold up their end of the bargain, you are more likely to trust them when you need assistance in the future.
- For example, you ask your partner to pick you up from work when your car is with the mechanic. If they come on time, they will seem more dependable.
- Asking for help can also build intimacy, sense you are showing that you trust the person enough to do something for you.
Admit when you’re wrong and be forgiving. Failing to own up to your mistakes jeopardizes trust, as does holding wrongdoing over your partner’s head. Although it may seem counterintuitive, you build trust by admitting wrongdoing and offering forgiveness.
- If you make a mistake, immediately fess up and ask for your partner’s forgiveness. Similarly, if your partner makes a mistake, be willing to forgive them and move forward. Holding grudges will bring resentment to your relationship and hinder its growth.
- In some cases, forgiveness may not come immediately and that’s okay. Some indiscretions require more time to get through. But, if you stay true to one another, you can overcome anything.
Disclose some of your secrets. Another way of building trust is making personal disclosures with a partner. If the person keeps your secret, then they prove themselves worthy of your trust.
- If you’re just starting out, make a minor disclosure. If the person maintains your confidence with a small disclosure, you can work your way to sharing deeper, more intimate secrets.
Method 4 Method 4 of 4:Solving Relationship Problems Download Article
Examine old patterns. Do your past relationships follow a certain pattern? Review them closely and look for common threads. Most people’s past relationships follow a certain cadence—you meet, fall in love, and fall out of love. However, the details of where and how you met, what made you fall in love and subsequently out of love can give you important insight.
- Take a look at your past relationships and look for recurring themes. You might even create a table with “Met,” “Fell in Love,” and “Out of Love” and describe what happened during each phase.
- For instance, if you fell in love with a past partner because they “rescued” you from depression, it makes sense that you might not have felt the same level of attachment with the person once the depression lifted. Perhaps after your mood improved, you began to notice not-so-great traits about your ex.
Own your destructive habits. The hard part about revisiting old relationships is having to take responsibility for the role you played in them ending. Reflect on your most recent romantic relationships and think about how they came to an end.
- What caused your past relationships to end? What could you have done better?
- You might find that each time your partner wants to commit, you cheat on them because you are secretly afraid of commitment. Take ownership for whatever role you played in the relationship’s end.
Set concrete relationship goals. Once you have identified the common patterns that occur in your relationships and the roles you play, set action-oriented goals to change these patterns.
- Let’s say, you realized that you have a tendency to run from conflict, you might set a goal to learn better conflict resolution skills to face your problems. If you have commitment issues, you might communicate this to a new partner so they can help you take measures to resist sabotaging the relationship when things get serious.
See a therapist. Changing faulty relationship patterns is challenging to do on your own. It can help to see a professional therapist who can work with you to spot and overcome negative relationship habits so that you can have the healthy, mature relationship you desire.
- If you are already in a romantic relationship, you might choose to bring your partner along to some of the therapy sessions, so you can learn techniques for addressing both your bad relationship habits.
- If your partner is not willing to seek help or work on serious communication issues, be cautious about staying in the relationship. Improvement can’t come from just one person.