Luv Doc: The Old Dude
The word “immature” is both overused and ineffective
Dear Luv Doc,
When we get in a fight, my girlfriend always says I'm immature, and usually she says it when she is throwing a tantrum herself. When I ask her what she means by "immature," she says I need to grow up. That is no help. How can I be more mature? Maybe if you can tell me I'll know what she means.
You would think that at some point after you turn 40 and start bearing a striking resemblance to your old man when you catch your reflection in the mirror in the morning, somehow your mind would magically mature as well. Having more than a few decades of rings on my tree trunk, I can now state unequivocally that this notion is hopelessly naive – emotionally, at least. On a very fundamental level, we're all just frightened children. Yes, I'm talking to you, Chuck Norris. You can't kickbox your way out of crippling emotional insecurity.
I have had octogenarians tell me that, in their minds, they are still an 18-year-old ... or a 21-year-old ... or whatever hallmark age they conjure up. I believe them. I feel it myself. Acutely. In the words of Hamlet, "O that this too, too solid flesh would melt" – ideally into something less wrinkled that better reflects the youthful person staring out from behind these cataracted, rheumy eyes. Better yet, in the words of the less wordy and un-Nobel'd Dylan (Thomas), "Old age should burn and rave at close of day/ Rage, rage against the dying of the light." Pro tip: It's hard to effectively show rage over the age of 80. People mistake it for spunk, which is adorable, but not very ragey.
Well, enough of my geriatric raving. Let's get back to your girlfriend and her obsession with your immaturity. In my opinion, the word "immature" is both overused and ineffective, but not everyone possesses the vocabulary or elocution of a Dylan. My guess is that what she is trying to say is that you are engaging in behaviors that make her feel unsafe. For instance: You might be blowing a lot of money on Jet Skis (which are awesome) or expensive restaurants (also generally awesome) or internet gambling (what a rush!). You might flirt with women a lot, or drive extremely recklessly – exhilarating, too, but dangerous. Dude, nobody wants to shack up with a soon-to-be fresh corpse.
Somehow, in her mind, as a potentially suitable mate you're a bit dicey. Maybe you don't deal well with your emotions. That's also scary in someone with whom she might be considering a long(er)-term relationship. Or maybe you are a terrible communicator. Maybe your emotional vocabulary sucks. And lastly, perhaps, like me, you're just not that hairy. You're smooth and sleek like an otter. I doubt that is the case, but we should leave no stone unturned, should we? I recommend you do some self-reflection about how your behavior might be interpreted as dangerous to your relationship. If you acknowledge her fears specifically, maybe she'll see you as the old dude she feels safe banging.