One of the things that’s puzzled me over the past few years of dating is how to explain the different maturity levels in single adults. This is especially difficult online since you haven’t met the potential partner in person.
Most people tend to assume that age is a good indicator of how mature a person is, but I think that’s bullshit. A 30 year old woman with a two year old daughter and an ex-husband has a lot more life experience (maturity) than a 30 year old that just got out of college and has never been in a serious relationship. The two have totally different experience levels, expectations, and are in different places in their lives. But you can’t tell that if you just look at their ages.
So, here is my epic theory of the maturity level in adults. It’s based on Newton’s third law. That’s science people! That shows how freaking serious I am; this is my Awesome, Epic, Newton-based theory, that should totally revolutionize the dynamics of adult socialization. I even made some badass, epic graphs. Fuck, yeah.
AWESOME, EPIC THEORY OF ADULT MATURITY
Alright, we’re going to say that maturity has a linear growth until you hit 30 years old. The whole time we go through school, moving out, getting along in the adult world, working, socializing, dating, and learning how to be an adult we are gaining experience and maturity. But once you hit 30 years old there really isn’t anything else we have to learn, we just start coasting through life. We settle, we stop progressing, and our maturity levels out. Without some sort of outside force, without something forcing us to “grow”, our maturity stagnates at that level.
Newton’s First Law: an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.
So, what outside forces might force a person to continue to grow? What will kick-start emotional, mental, and physical growth?
One factor that affects maturity is having a kid. Having a kid forces a parent to completely re-evaluate and re-prioritize their entire life. They have to learn to put themselves second and the kid first. And then, as the kid grows and matures the parent has to continually learn and adapt to their child’s needs. The longer they’ve been a parent, the older the kid, the more kids, the more mature the parent.
Another factor is the long term relationship (LTR). For the sake of this post we’re going to say that a LTR is a minimum of two years long and living together. A long term relationship forces us out of our single comfort zone, you have to adapt to an “adult” relationship. These relationships challenge us, force us to learn and grow in new ways. You learn to make compromises, support each other, and develop with another person. That experience brings up your maturity level, the longer the relationship the larger the opportunity to mature.
In addition, we’re going to bump up a woman’s maturity level by 2. I’ve found that women are generally more mature than men, right ladies? That, and this is my Awesome, Epic theory and I feel like it.
So, here’s where it get’s fun. Let’s play with some numbers.
Dude A is on a dating site. He’s 30 years old, no kids, no long term relationships.
30 (age up to 30) + 0 (years of longest LTR) + 0 (Kid’s age) = 30
He’s checking out Chick B. Chick B is 30, a 7 year old daughter, and a five year LTR.
32 (age + 2, up to 32) + 5 (LTR) + 7 (Kid’s age) = 44
Maybe Dude A and Chick B will hit it off, it’s always a possibility, but she has a much higher maturity level than him even though they’re the same age.
Dude B is 35, a 7 year old kid, and a 10 year LTR.
30 + 10 + 7 = 47
Chick B is 30, a 5 year old kid, and a 13 year LTR.
32 (age + 2) + 13 + 5 = 50
Despite the 5 year age gap, Dude B and Chick B are actually pretty close on the maturity scale.
Dude C is 45, no kids, and a 10 year LTR.
30 + 10 + 0 = 40
Chick C is 34, two kids (4 and 8), and a 12 year LTR.
32 (+2) + 12 + 12 (4+8) = 56
Despite the face that Dude C is 11 years older and has had a 10 year LTR, Chick C is far more mature because of her experience with the two kids. He might be too immature, despite the 11 years, to have a good relationship with Chick C.
This is an evolving theory, I’m sure there are some factors that I haven’t figured in yet. Feel free to chip in your ideas, we can crowd source a social theory.
And the next time you’re on a dating site, maybe you should do some math rather than estimating maturity level by age.