Why we should value mature love over young love

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We love to think that relationships are defined by big sweeping romantic gestures. We love stories like Jim and Pam, where we watch two people fall madly in love. Movies and shows focus on the falling in love stages, where life is giddy and thrilling. Not only do we see this in movies, but on social media, we only see the bright and shining moments in people’s lives; we see them get engaged, get married, and have their first child.

In reality, it’s the small things that truly make a relationship grow, like bringing the person you love a cup of coffee, making a point to spend time together or leaving small notes of encouragement.

Doctor John Amadeo, relationship therapist, and author talks about the difference between young love and mature love. In order for a relationship to become stronger, a shift to mature love must happen. You could think of it as the shift from falling in love to being in love.

As a relationship grows, these displays make way for more insightful, thoughtful acts. These small and kind acts are what Dr. Amadeo would call mature love, or an evolution into a mutual trust. When both people trust each other the relationship is allowed to grow. They are more willing to share more deep and intimate versions of themselves.

Mature love is the hard, but good stuff.

It’s sharing the real version of you that your coworkers don’t know. It’s when you can tell your partner wants to share something troubling with you when they need someone to talk to and you’re the person they chose to listen. At the end of the day, practicing mature love is about trust, both giving and receiving it.

These conversations, these cups of coffee accumulate. It’s useful the think about positive interactions as a currency and the relationship as a bank. As more and more positive interactions occur, they stack up for the long run and help to heal wounds and counteract moments of negativity. Lisa A. Neff at the University of Texas conducted research on this very idea and discovered that everyday moments matter more than big extravagant moments.

That’s where the “small things” come in. All the little gifts and times you lent a helping hand, the cups of coffee made when you know your significant other needs a pick me up and being a listening ear begin to make a pool of positivity to draw from when you need it.

This is a big advantage mature love has over young love: it knows the value of the small things and knows that small acts of love have bigger impacts in the long term. It knows the value of being trustworthy. It knows how much trust can help the stability of a relationship. On top of all of that, it’s way more fun!