At What Age Does A Man Fully Emotionally Mature?
By: Corrina Horne
Updated October 14, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn
The stereotype of an immature man is not a new one. The media stereotype is that men are afraid of commitment, enjoy crass jokes, and see family and children as a nuisance. They also demonstrate some form of narcissism and they treat their friends better than anyone else in their life. Although these stereotypes are not new to anyone, they definitely do not represent every single man on the planet. Unfortunately, many men fall within this camp, which can be frustrating for the people around them. Is there a particular age at which men grow emotionally mature?
What Is Emotional Maturity?
Emotional maturity and standard maturity are not necessarily the same, and both contain some amount of ambiguity by nature; the word "mature" means either at the most developed stage of a process or the peak of physical growth. Colloquially, however, maturity does not typically refer to the physical; instead, the term "mature" usually refers to a person's mental state. Someone who is mature behaves in a way that is considered appropriately adult. They can take care of themselves and care about others. They are both socially aware and self-aware.
Emotional maturity contains all of these aspects as well. It also includes the addition of being able to function in an effective, healthy way concerning your emotions. This means being able to express emotions accurately and appropriately, possessing some amount of self-control, and being able to think of others despite strong emotions. Functioning in strong, healthy relationships involves being attuned to your own emotions and the emotions of others which is the essence of emotional maturity.
At What Age Do Men Mature?
According to a study conducted in the United Kingdom, men do not become emotionally mature until the age of 43. This is not a scientific evaluation of maturity because that is largely dependent on social constructs. The study relied on surveys to determine what men and women considered mature, how they felt about their maturity, and whether or not they believed the opposite gender was mature at a certain age. The results of this study concluded that men are not considered mature until approximately 43 years of age. Some of the immature traits listed were laughing at gaseous emissions, showing off, relying too much on their mothers, and eating fast food in the early morning.
Emotional Maturity In Practice
Some mental health professionals do not uphold the notion of age-based maturity. They assert that maturity has more to do with your background, values, and even biology than years alone. How you mature, and the things you consider mature will vary based on the way you were raised, your neurological development, and your cultural framework. Some cultures value autonomy more than emotional depth, and maturity will be marked by the ability to take care of oneself. Other cultures value emotional depth, and dependence is not seen as a pitfall, but a lack of emotional intelligence.
Emotional maturity is not a simple matter of checking off boxes. There are some traits that can effectively demonstrate the presence of emotional maturity. These traits usually focus on a person's ability to perceive, understand, and handle emotions, both in themselves and others. The ability to understand that emotions are important but that they should not rule you is one of the simplest ways to demonstrate emotional maturity. Standing still in the face of someone else's riotous emotions can also indicate emotional maturity.
Where Do Women Fall?
The same study determined that men mature at 43 found that women typically matured at or around 32 years of age. This could account for some of the difficulty often associated with romantic relationships between men and women; if women reach emotional maturity a full eleven years before their male counterparts, cultivating a strong emotional relationship may prove difficult. The difference in emotional maturity could also contribute to the common conception that women are ready for children earlier than men. Parenting requires emotional maturity. Emotional maturity means being able to notice, understand, and care for your emotional state, while remaining aware and considerate of the emotional states of others.
Some of this may be due to societal conditioning. Women might become emotionally mature younger, because they experience more pressure and greater resources in developing this skill. Men are often culturally excluded from the necessity of developing this trait.
Barriers To Emotional Maturity
Ideally, men and women would reach emotional maturity as they reach physical maturity. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Emotional maturity is affected by many different factors, and they are largely unpredictable and uncontrollable. Many men and women find themselves with a marked lack of emotional maturity, despite working hard to develop it. The most common reason for a lack of emotional maturity is the presence of trauma.
Trauma is a complex and many-layered condition and can be caused by a myriad of things. For some, trauma begins in childhood, when they are ignored or undervalued by an emotionally absent parent. For others, trauma is sparked by teenage bullying. Emotional trauma can occur in adulthood as well, when you are betrayed by someone you trusted. No two cases of trauma are the same and emotional immaturity can take on many faces as a result.
Arguably the best way to learn emotional maturity is to see it modeled. Children look to their parents when trying to figure out how to interact with other people. If your parents did not display consistent measures of emotional maturity, you might find it difficult to exemplify it yourself. Learning how to essentially re-parent yourself, and repair some of the damage done through childhood modeling can help create emotional maturity, and improve your relationships.
When Do Men Emotionally Mature?
One study indicated that men reached emotional maturity around the age of 43, another found that 40 seemed to be the magic number, and still others have not found a definitive link between emotional maturity and age. In each of these cases, emotional maturity contained within it the ability to function well socially and romantically, and the ability to function with some amount of emotional depth. Emotional maturity leaves a lot of room for interpretation, and the understanding of emotional maturity and all that it entails may vary from person to person and culture to culture.
Emotional maturity can be stilted by the presence of pain, trauma, or unfulfilled needs. Fortunately, these issues can often be worked through and resolved to develop healthier behaviors and habits to facilitate emotional maturity. Some issues can be resolved on your own, through improved lifestyle habits, regularly engaging with others, and creating boundaries and routines for yourself. Others are a bit more complex, overwhelming, or painful, and require the help of a mental health professional. Struggling with maturity might be a common issue, but overcoming objections and obstacles are less common. Enlisting the help of others (whether that means family and friends, or a therapist) can be the most effective way to gain maturity and improve immature behaviors and habits.
Maturity is far more than a simple checklist or a state that you achieve as an adult. Maturity involves knowing yourself, understanding yourself, and having some idea of how best to interact with other people. Emotional maturity might not be taught in a class, but it is a pivotal aspect of succeeding in all types of relationships, ranging from familial ties to workplace relationships, as relationships all require you to know yourself and regulate yourself well enough to carry on daily (or yearly) interactions without constantly being set off, upset, or offended.
Emotional maturity is required to navigate most relationships effectively, and a distinct lack of emotional immaturity often means either unfulfilling relationships or unsuccessful ones. What might be a nuisance in your early twenties can become a significant roadblock as you reach your late twenties, thirties, and beyond. In childhood, emotional immaturity is to be expected as children grow. However, social needs and expectations increase significantly in how complex and varied they are, requiring you to develop some amount of know-how to cultivate friendship, romantic relationships, and functional working relationships. While emotional immaturity might typically extend to the age of 43 in males, it does not have to. Being a mature man is very much so something that is shown through actions.
Signs of Emotional Maturity.
As important as emotional maturity is, it is a necessary trait men and women must exhibit to be able to have a quality relationship with others. Having a short attention span during sensitive conversations could show that there is a lack of emotional maturity. Emotional immaturity exhibited in the form of attention span would mean there is a need to work on their maturity failings. From the study, it is revealed that some men don’t mature until age 43, the natural ego of men would mean they react to issues instead of staying silent during an argument. Mature men would rather stay silent and analyze the issue before logically reacting. In other words, mature men, and mature people in general, know when to take some time to cool off and think.
Here are some of the signs of emotional maturity in men;
- Composure: mature men exhibit the sign of composure irrespective of the circumstances they face. Composure is the reason men are able to tolerate the feelings of discomfort during tough times as they make provision to sort out the challenge. When problems arise, mature men don’t bulk under the weight of the problem but instead sit back and analyze issues as they map out ways to find solutions. The reason men sometimes fail to endure and sail the tide of challenges is a lack of emotional maturity in the guise of composure.
- Integrity: When men don’t exhibit integrity, it could mean they are emotionally immature. Being honest and staying on the side of truth no matter how inconvenient is a sign of emotional maturity.
- Taking things to heart. Sometimes in the midst of friends and acquaintances, practical jokes are bandied around and while sometimes they may seem insulting, they are what they are – jokes. Men involved in playing practical jokes should be ready to see things as they are and take them with a pinch of salt. Communication sometimes may be bridged and misunderstanding may occur. However, even if rude words are used during banters, emotionally matured men would not take things to heart in these instances. Mature man or emotionally intelligent, and often, immature man is also emotionally available because they know the true importance of being there for a loved one.
- One of the signs of maturity is admitting and accepting your fault when you are wrong. As the study commissioned, it shows that men don’t mature until they’re 43, while this is key, it is important to be accountable and refuse blaming others. Accepting wrongs means maturity is present and they see this as an opportunity to grow. Societal expectations can cause men to feel as though they can’t express their faults or feelings. Someone who has put the effort into overcoming this makes a better partner regardless of how many years after women men tend to mature or the average age at which women and men tend to mature.
- Accepting that you are not the only man in the room and varying opinions also matter and considered is a sign of emotional maturity in men. Men don’t mature until they’re 43. At that age, emotional maturity can be said to be present in men. However, one of the signs of emotional maturity means they accept other opinions. While the study shows that women mature at age 32, a couple may be presented with the decision to come up with simple meals for the home. Simple meals such as waffles could become an issue if both partners remain undecided. The man may opt for eating fast food while the woman prefers to cook simple meals in the house. While eating fast food may not necessarily be a bad thing, the inability to come to a consensus may be signs of emotional immaturity especially if it is not handled properly.
- It is important to state that analyzing issues before reacting is a sign of emotional maturity. According to a new study in 2016 on emotional maturity among internet users, it was inferred that while both young male and female exhibit some sort of immaturity, the female gender still showed signs of being more emotionally mature than the male. While men are often known to explore risky ventures such as driving too fast just for the fun of it or playing loud music, or sometimes show immaturity by playing videogames for hours when there are more important tasks to attend to, women mature faster and exhibit signs of emotional maturity faster than men. During parties, immature men are seen attempting crazy dance moves and very risky dance moves without minding the consequences. Learning to first observe and analyzing actions and inactions are good signs of an emotionally matured man.
- The women surveyed in this new study shows women who use chatting and emailing options are more emotionally stable than the men. Men don’t mature until a certain age that is considered later than women, and emotional maturity means recognizing and accepting one’s own feelings and needs instead of bottling them up.
- He’s loyal. A mature man will be loyal and will have respect for your relationship. Instead of having ten women who don’t know about each other, he will express what he wants. Having ten women fighting over you might sound cool to an immature person, but part of maturity is expressing your needs and being loyal to your partner (or partners, if non-monogamous). Many men and women have ended relationships due to cheating in infidelity, and those things happen at all ages, but being disloyal certainly isn’t a trait of a mature man.
- He knows when not to make a joke. Some women question if men ever reach maturity, and if women believe that men tend to be immature in general, it’s likely that they have encountered several men without much tact. Even those who wouldn’t describe themselves as immature might make a tactless joke that isn’t funny. Regardless of how many years after women men tend to mature, it is important to know when not to make a joke. Studies indicate that a quarter of men think that it’s okay to make a sexual joke at work, whereas less than a quarter of women feel the same way. This is an example of one of the ways that maturity is about respect.
- He’s present. People check their phones an average of 14 times per day, so most of us are distracted from time to time, but a mature man will know when to be present. This means that a mature man will value your time. He’ll respect the plans and commitments you make, and he will treasure quality time spent together. This doesn’t mean that you won’t need time to yourselves; that’s important for everyone! What it means is that he won’t take you or your time for granted.
When Does Immaturity Matter?
In some ways, a difference in maturity doesn’t necessarily have to matter. That is, if it doesn’t bother you personally. Certain things, like playing videogames, an interest in weight lifting, buying protein shakes, making silly jokes, driving a modified car with loud exhaust, getting into a new show with jokes about farts and burps, doing wheelies stunts, driving with loud music on - whatever it is - don’t matter all that much if maturity is present in other areas. That is, unless these traits and interests are unattractive to you, in which case, you don’t need to stick around. You can’t really force someone to stop playing videogames or to like different types of media, but you also deserve to be with someone who’s compatible with you, and if it’s a mature man with different hobbies, that is valid. You deserve someone who’s not only in your age bracket, but who’s ready for what you are in terms of life and romance.
At the end of the day, what matters is your ability to make important decisions together and your happiness in the relationship. If the difference in maturity is stark in areas where it matters or shows a person’s character (think about maturity failings like driving too fast, which is dangerous, sitting there trying to beat children at games, which he shouldn’t be doing as an adult, an inability to have proper conversations about serious topics, which is essential for a couple, and so on), that’s where it’s time to confront the situation for sure. Staying silent when something’s bothering you in a relationship isn’t a good idea; it can lead to internalized frustration, which can damage the relationship far more than a frank conversation. If you have a boyfriend who can’t cook simple meals at all, has no emotional maturity, and can’t talk about important topics, he might not be the one.
Mature men will want to work together to have a healthy relationship. Mature men don’t avoid important topics altogether, treat you as though things that mean a lot to you don’t matter, make fun of you or tell you that you’re overreacting when you feel upset or disrespected, and so on. A mature man will listen when you tell him that you don’t like being treated a certain way, when a joke goes too far, or when you need to chat about something serious. mature men tend to have learned from their past mistakes. Men tend to have made plenty of immature actions and mistakes in the past, just as anyone else has, and learning from those actions is important. Learning from mistakes or past immaturities is often part of how men grow into mature men.
Whether you’ve got a mature man or one who’s on the immature side, all couples run into issues from time to time. Online counseling can help couples with a wide variety of concerns that may occur in a romantic relationship. Whether you see a provider near you or see someone through an online counseling website like ReGain, you can get the support that you need. ReGain offers both individual counseling and couples counseling. Whether you’ve ended a relationship and want to seek individual counseling or you want to see a couples therapist with your partner, the counselors at ReGain can help.