A lot of people spend most of their lives looking for “The One.” But what happens when you actually do find them? How will you know if they’re the person you should spend the rest of your life with? Or whether or not you’re making the right choice, entering into a relationship with them?
While compatibility is no guarantee of longevity, studies show that it is directly related to the quality and satisfaction of our relationships (Crawford, Houts, Huston, & George, 2002). Simply put, the more compatible you and your partner are, the happier you’re likely to be with them.
Everybody has their own ideas about what qualities and traits their dream partner should have, but rarely do we ever find someone who’s a perfect match. Instead, we learn to compromise where we can and grow to love people in spite of their flaws and imperfections. However, it can be hard to differentiate normal differences from incompatibility.
So if you’re wondering about whether or not you and your significant other are incompatible, here are 7 telltale signs that you simply aren’t right for each other:
1. You Don’t Get Each Other
Right from the get go, this is can tell you a lot about how good of a match you and your partner make. If you have a hard time understanding how they’re feeling, what they’re thinking, or what they need, then they might not be the one for you. You should be with someone you can be in sync with; someone who can read the look on your face, discern the tone of your voice, and comprehend what you try to tell them. Otherwise, it will lead to a lot of miscommunication and misunderstandings in your relationship.
2. You’re Too Different
While it’s true that opposites do attract, every good couple should share at least a few similarities with their partner. You don’t have to like all the same music or movies that they do, or share the same hobbies as them. In fact, it can even be refreshing to be in a relationship with someone so radically different from yourself. Sadly, though, the excitement won’t last forever. Once it wears off, you’ll be left with someone who doesn’t share the same humor, interests, values, ideals, or principles as you do, making it difficult to relate to one another in any meaningful way (Huston & Houts, 1998).
3. You Try to Change Each Other
The hallmark of any strong, healthy relationship is having a partner who makes you want to change for the better. But that’s exactly it – you have to be the one who wants to change. Even if your partner seems annoyed or unsatisfied with the person you are right now, you shouldn’t have to change yourself so much for their sake. Whether it’s the way you dress, the way you speak, the things you do, or the people you spend time with, only you have the right to decide who you want to be. If you feel like you’re not comfortable enough to be yourself around your significant other, then that’s a definite red flag.
4. You Argue a Lot
It’s perfectly fine to disagree with your partner about something from time to time, especially if it’s over something that’s important to the two of you. What’s not fine, on the other hand, is constantly arguing with them over even the most insignificant of things. What’s worse is fighting dirty – shouting, name calling, humiliating each other, and holding grudges. Being in a relationship with a partner who brings out the ugliest side of you is never good.
5. You Avoid Your Problems
On the other hand, while fighting all the time is obviously not ideal, it’s still not good for a couple to never fight about anything. You need to be honest and communicate openly with one another about what’s wrong. You can’t just keep pretending as if everything’s okay when it’s not, or go on blindly agreeing with whatever the other person wants. Conflict can be good if you know how to take it constructively, because it can lead to personal growth and deeper understanding (Houts, Robins, & Houston, 1996).
6. You Run in Different Circles
Do you and your significant other always go out alone on dates? Do you never spend any time with their friends? Have you never been introduced to their family yet?If you answered yes to any of these, this could be a potential problem. It’s important that you spend time with your partner’s loved ones and get to know them better. After all, studies show that couples who make the effort to be close with the other important people in their partner’s lives have longer and happier relationships (Wilson & Cousins,2003).
7. You’re Not Attracted to Them
Lastly but most importantly, even when everything seems perfect on paper, if you don’t have any romance or chemistry, it’s simply not going to work because you’re just going to end up feeling more attracted to other people than your partner. Robert Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of Love even states that although intimacy and commitment are present, without passion, the love you share will only be platonic, like the love shared between your friends and family (Sterneberg, 1986).
In the end, there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. Everyone has doubts or fights with the person they love sometimes. It takes time, effort, and dedication to make a relationship work, but what’s important is that you find someone you’re willing to struggle for and who you know is going to be worth it all in the end. Learning to know who you’re compatible and incompatible with can save you a lot of heartbreak, so take the time to evaluate your relationship with these key points in mind and honestly ask yourself if you think your partner is really the one for you.
- Crawford, D. W., Houts, R. M., Huston, T. L., & George, L. J. (2002). Compatibility, leisure, and satisfaction in marital relationships. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64(2), 433-449.
- Huston, T. L., & Houts, R. M. (1998). The psychological infrastructure of courtship and marriage: The role of personality and compatibility in romantic relationships. The developmental course of marital dysfunction, 114-151.
- Houts, R. M., Robins, E., & Huston, T. L. (1996). Compatibility and the development of premarital relationships. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 7-20.
- Wilson, G., & Cousins, J. (2003). Partner similarity and relationship satisfaction: Development of a compatibility quotient. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 18(2), 161-170.
- Sternberg, R. J. (1986). A triangular theory of love. Psychological review, 93(2), 119.