We’ve all heard men say that a woman is too mature for them, but do they mean in age or mentality? Surprisingly, some men will openly admit to dating younger women because for some, mature means older in age. Mature even has a negative connotation most of the time. Some people opt for the statement “mature woman” when they don’t want to use the word old.  Men also have a tendency to use their preferences and prejudices to weaponize them against women to make them feel less than, but also use the word to put people down for not having fun or not doing immature things. 

In Men to Boys: The Making of Modern Immaturity by Gary Cross, he spoke to men in their late twenties or early thirties to illustrate this point about maturity. He spoke to a 29-year-old man named Steve who said, “Honestly, I associate maturity with not having any fun. People use maturity like you’re not going out and partying on a Saturday night.” Many men like Steve still live with their parents and see maturity as completely negative and the end of having fun in their life.

These preferences are usually a way to establish superiority over women and exclude them, having power by saying “I choose you”. These preferences can exclude bigger women, unattractive (in their opinion), old, young, their hair color, skinny women, tall women, and short women. It is also a way for some men to make themselves feel better about the fact that they are not particularly popular with women. It can make them feel better if they reject a woman before they can be rejected. Having these preferences is usually a sign of immaturity and if you’re ever curious about the maturity of the man you’re interacting with, ask what he thinks the word means. They’ll either say that mature refers to someone who does not act like a child and is at a place in life where they have emotional or mental intelligence or they will say that mature refers to an older person. For some men, this is the opposite of what they want because, for them, maturity can remind them of older women. A part of immaturity and preferences can include needing a romantic partner to be their age or younger since older often means unattractive to them. It’s safe to say most women do not want to date men who think that their age makes them less valuable. 

You can prove if the men you know are like Steve by asking the maturity question. Women can definitely use this question in the dating process or just to find good friends. It’d be smart to know how they view maturity because it could lead to bigger problems in whatever kind of relationships you have. If maturity is bad for them, being responsible or growing up in any aspect will cause problems between you. None of us can help but grow up, and most wouldn’t want to interact with people that find fault in you wanting to be responsible. It’s important to have people in your life that see value in growth, responsibility, progress, and pursuing life goals. It would be difficult to have a good, supportive relationship with anyone if you’re pursuing goals in your job, personal improvement, or financial success is seen as boring or “too mature” for them. 

I asked my 20-year-old guy friends what they thought mature meant and their answers were about the same. They said that maturity meant having their lives together financially, emotionally, and mentally and not acting childish. One said that maturity can even mean being a little boring, but not to a point where he wouldn’t want to be mature. My father, a 61-year-old man, said maturity is handling your responsibilities no matter what and understanding the reality of life. Knowing that maturity is not a negative concept is a part of maturity itself, I determined that my friends and father are mature and while I can’t replace my father, I will keep my friends in my life not only for their supportive nature but for their ability to grow up when necessary while supporting me in my growth. 

Mature men usually act drastically different from immature men, so there might not be any need to ask the question. Some signs of mature men are that they don’t create an idealized image of women in their minds. If a woman being herself and showing her faults turns a man off, then he is most likely immature. Mature men also don’t let women’s thoughts and feelings keep them from treating women fairly, even if their personal opinions don’t align, don’t despair when faced with challenges, they aren’t afraid to make difficult choices, and don’t let their ego get the best of them. So for the most part, the best way to tell if a man is mature is by how he interacts and thinks of women in his life. Does he harass them with his preferences? Only respect women if he is dating them? Does he refuse to move out of his parent’s house because he thinks he doesn’t need to grow up yet? So when you go out with men or make friends with them, ask them hard questions. Ask them what they think mature means or what their preferences are and how they deal with them. 

If maturity is important to your relationships, you have to make a determination if this particular man is mature enough for you by navigating the conversation to understand him more. Listening to the way he speaks about people and his plans for his life is always a big indication. If you prefer men to be the opposite of Steve, meaning men who believe they shouldn’t move out of their parent’s house until they’re 30, then asking them if they’re out on their own yet would be a good question to ask in those first meetings.

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