“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.” – Steve Jobs.
The beginning of a relationship can be a whirlwind of excitement. Glances across a crowded room, flirtatious chats, all that intimate tension. Unfortunately, many of us have had these honeymoon stage feelings and only found out later that our partner wasn’t anywhere near ready to handle a relationship.
While the relationship can be fun and casual, you’ll also want to make sure that you know the signs of when your partner is really ready to take the next step into a mature and adult relationship. Some people just don’t have the experience, while others just aren’t ready to mature yet.
But how can you identify a mature partner?
“Many women talk about dating a “mature man”. What they’re really referring to is “emotional maturity.” An emotionally mature man is a man who won’t shut you out the minute things get stressful in his life,” says author Christian Carter.
Make sure you know the signs of when your partner is ready to take that next step with you.
9 Signs Your Partner Is Ready To Handle A Relationship
1. They’re willing to show vulnerability
If your significant other is flighty, cagey and doesn’t seem to want to open up, it may be a sign that they’re just not ready for a real relationship. After all, a key component of being in a relationship is the ability and the willingness to be vulnerable with your partner. Your partner should be willing to share their feelings with you, even when those feelings are upsetting or uncomfortable.
2. They’re authentic
Your partner should act and feel like a real person. You shouldn’t have to watch them put on a show for the people around you. If your partner is authentic, it means that they’re willing to stick to their core beliefs, and don’t feel a need to fake it around other people. Your partner should be entirely comfortable with who they are. If they aren’t, how are they going to be comfortable in a relationship?
3. They’re self-sufficient
If something comes up or things don’t go their way, they’re able to handle it with grace rather than throwing a fit. You want to be sure that your partner is able to go with the flow, because life and relationships are always going to be changing when we least expect it.
“It is important that someone be able to take care of themselves emotionally and physically. If they can’t, they will never be able to provide the support they need to provide when that is called for,” says clinical psychologist and author Mark E. Sharp, Ph.D.
Having a partner who is flexible and easily able to handle change means that they’re definitely ready and mature enough to be in a relationship.
4. They’re intimate
Having a good sex life is a pretty important part of having a mature relationship. If your partner has troubles with intimacy, it may be a sign that they’re just not ready to take that step with you. And that’s okay! People move at their own pace. Your partner should always be intimate in ways that aren’t just limited to sex. They should be able to share their feelings with you, and share parts of themselves that they don’t with other people. That is an important part of intimacy.
5. They have good financial habits
The hallmark of someone who isn’t mature enough to be in a relationship is their inability to handle their finances. They should be able to pay their bills on time without accidentally overspending on things that they shouldn’t. If your partner has good financial habits and isn’t constantly running out of money on things they don’t need, it’s safe to say they’re mature enough to handle a relationship.
6. They have goals and stick with them
Having goals is good, but sometimes people just put them on a shelf and forget to actually try and achieve them. You want to make sure your partner has the ability to make goals and also follow through with them. If they want to lose a few pounds, your partner should have the control to change their diet or exercise in order to do so – instead of just saying they want to without doing anything.
7. They’re a good person
Being a good person is a culmination of many things. How do they treat strangers, service workers, their friends and their parents? What are their values? How do they feel about helping others? A lot of being a good person is knowing when to be selfless. If your partner has a hard time thinking about anyone other than themselves, then they might not be ready to think about you.
A good person is one who has “respect and kindness in his words and actions. You don’t feel belittled or less than even if he isn’t happy with you. He stands with you and has your back when you are struggling. Your priorities become important to him,” says marriage counselor and author Lesli Doares.
8. They’re self-aware
Your partner should be able to notice both their strengths and their weaknesses. You want a partner who has a balanced view of themselves. If they think too highly of themselves, they may not be able to recognize when they’re in the wrong. If they think too lowly of themselves, they may not have the self-esteem it takes to maintain a relationship. Keep an eye out for your partner’s self-awareness; it’ll be a huge indicator of when they’re ready for a relationship.
9. They respect your differences
Not only do they respect them, but they also appreciate them. Your partner should appreciate your differences, and respect you as a person enough to not try and change them. If you find that your partner can’t seem to see past your differences, it may be a sign they’re not ready to handle a relationship.
Because, “To have a great relationship, there needs to be a high level of respect on the part of both partners. Couples who are less intentional and accomplished in this area will find that their lack of respect holds their partnership down to a lower level of well-being,” say authors Linda Bloom, L.C.S.W., and Charlie Bloom, M.S.W
On the other hand, if they can accept you for who you are, then chances are they’re mature and ready.
Making sure your partner hits these checkpoints of maturity is important to knowing whether or not they’re really ready for a relationship. But at the same time, it’s important that you can say the same thing about yourself, as well! Relationships take two people to work, and you want to make sure you’re not holding your partner to a higher standard than yourself.