We all know there are differences between dating a boy vs. dating a man, and between dating a girl vs. dating a woman. But what other differences come with maturity?
One of the latest topics going viral is the difference between dating a boy vs. dating a man and its female equivalent. Usually the people reposting the articles are single people trying to suggest to the opposite sex (or perhaps just one person in particular) that dating them means you’re dating someone mature. You don’t usually see people in relationships posting them, maybe because they feel like it might be too late 😉
All kidding aside, the issue of immaturity is a big one in the realm of relationships. Something that always makes me laugh is that a lot of women I’ve talked to say the reason they don’t like some guys is because they’re too immature, and if I ask the guys the same question, they give the same answer about the girls.
So obviously how we define maturity isn’t always the same across genders when it comes to practical application.
But on the theory side of the argument, many of the boy vs. man and girl vs. woman lists have many similar aspects, just with the names changed to reflect the gender in question. Both of them aren’t players, they don’t play games, they know what they want, they are bold and upfront, and they aren’t afraid to have the tough conversations. All worthwhile points.
And I read these lists sometimes thinking that the person described in each of the articles sound too good to be true. The way they are described is completely ideal and you’ll never have any issues in your whole life.
So I thought I would take another look at these differences and perhaps suggest some that are equally true, and bring some realism to the topic.
NB. Instead of typing boy/girl and man/woman every time, I’m going to call them “adult” and “child“
#1: A child stays ignorant, but an adult takes responsibility
Children are quick to blame everyone else. Two kids are fighting in the back seat, and one punches the other in the head. What happens when you ask them why they did that?
“He started it”
Not “I shouldn’t have punched back”. Not “I shouldn’t have gotten so angry”. Not “I jumped to false conclusions and acted in frustration instead of listening”.
You get the point here.
Adults take ownership for the part they played. When two people fight, break up, or anywhere in between, remember that it takes two to tango. It’s very easy to blame your girlfriend/boyfriend/ex/parents/job, but you are the one in the driver’s seat.
It’s funny how many of us have had 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 20 relationships that went wrong, but sometimes we haven’t considered our contribution. We were at the scene of the crime every time, so maybe there’s something in us that we could own up to.
#2: A child can’t look after themselves, an adult looks after more than themselves
Ever notice how most young children expect the world to revolve around them? And for a time, it sure does. If the child cries, the parents come bursting through the door, climbing over furniture, knocking over other shoppers in the aisles to get to their upset bundle of joy.
The child is unable to deal with their problems. They can’t feed themselves, they can’t shower themselves, they can’t go to bed at night by themselves. The adult has not only looked after these things in their own life, but they are now here in a position to be able to do the same for someone else.
If you are so entangled with your own gear, what capacity do you really have to look after someone else? If all you ever see in life are your problems and your needs and your issues and rah rah rah rah rah, then there’s not as much room for 2.
#3: An adult has more baggage
Bet you weren’t expecting that one.
But as you get older, you start to go through a lot more things in life. And sometimes the people with the greatest strength and the most brilliant smile are the ones who have a lot of things they keep hidden on the inside.
You know it’s true of yourself.
And it is also true of others. So keep that in mind in your approach to different people. There’s a story behind the way someone is. Their choices and habits come from a lifetime of responding to the challenges life has thrown their way.
Everyone has their share of battle scars. If you want to date an adult, better be ready and willing to help face them when they come up.
#4: An adult is more in touch with what they need
This is a good thing and could also be perceived as a bad thing. A child isn’t really sure what they want, right? You’ve dated or know of boys or girls who stay finicky and flirtatious and non-committal, and now you’re looking for someone who is in touch with what they need in life, right?
Well, don’t be surprised when someone tells you what they need.
All of us need encouragement in different ways. We need love in our language. I’m a words person and I like to help invest in and look after lots of people. As a result, I recognize that sometimes I need someone to just speak some life into me and also to provide me support when I need it.
You expect that for yourself too, so it’s only fair to recognize that you need to be willing to help others with what they need.
Now I don’t think you should become someone’s sole pillar in life. I believe only God fits the bill there. But I do think that being with and living with someone requires you to be sensitive and accommodating to the needs of the person you are attaching yourself to.
We complain when someone isn’t sure what they want in life, but we get intimidated when they do. We really just need to pick one.
#5: A child requires 100% effort… an adult also requires 100% effort
Any relationship requires your best. If you want to switch onto autopilot and continually rely on the other person to do all the heavy lifting, they’re going to wear out. As Scripture says, how can two walk together unless they are in agreement?
We are looking for someone who is mature and moving forward to minimize our problems going forward, but a serious relationship will require your best effort, no matter the quality of the person you end up with.
#6: An adult still has a child inside of them
There is a king in every kid, and there is a kid in every king (and queen… you get it).
As much as we “put away childish things” when we grew up numerically, the reality is all of us still need those times to just have fun, to retreat into the mancave for a few hours, to go grab milkshakes at that new cafe with some girlfriends, to just have a night or two in a busy week to play around and have fun.
It’s okay for the person you’re dating to have some form of playfulness and relaxation in their life. All of us do. If you don’t want them to have that freedom, then you should surrender yours at the door also.
#7: An adult is still a child to someone
This person across from you is somebody’s baby. As one of our good ol’ Aussie boys puts it, “We’re all someone’s daughter, we’re all someone’s son” (I dare you to not complete the rest of your song in your head now)
And even though this person could now be in their adult years, they are still valuable and precious.
And all of us are God’s children. Created with intentionality. Fashioned with care. Loved and cherished deeply by God.
So this life that’s sitting across from the table from you sharing a coffee or tea with you, this person who’s spending more and more time with you, this person you wake up to in the morning, bad breath and all – recognize you have a precious gift sitting in your life. The life of another. A precious and beautiful heart. Treat with care.
What are your thoughts on maturity and immaturity in dating? What other items would you add to this list?
PS. You’re the voice