Do you believe in the idea of soul mates? Have you ever thought that in this world full of 7 billion people, there was someone out there made perfectly just for you, someone you’re destined to be with?
A soulmate is someone with whom you have an instant connection with the moment you meet them; someone who understands you in every way and every level no one else ever could. And if that sounds too good to be true, psychology is here to tell you that it probably is. Because if years and years of research on healthy, long-lasting relationships have taught us anything, it’s that soulmates are created, not born.
A relationship doesn’t need to be perfect to be healthy. All it needs to be is a safe space for two people who value one another, are emotionally open to one another, and make each other happy. And that kind of love doesn’t just happen overnight – it takes a lot of patience, dedication, respect, trust, honesty, and support to make it happen. But at the same time, there are also certain things you just have to have in order to make a relationship work, like attraction, chemistry, romance, friendship, and of course, compatibility.
Studies show that a couple’s compatibility is directly related to the quality of their relationship, so the more compatible you and your partner are, the happier you’re likely to be (Huston & Houts, 1998). So it’s important that you take the time to evaluate your relationship and ask yourself honestly if you think your partner is really the one for you. Otherwise, you risk holding each other back by staying in an unhappy, unfulfilling relationship.
With that said, here are 8 important warning signs that you and your partner may not be right for each other:
1. You can’t be honest with them.
Whether it’s how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking, or what your opinion on something is, you feel like you just can’t be honest with your partner sometimes. You feel like you can’t speak your mind because it might upset them. And you’re worried they might not understand or might even judge you for your thoughts and emotions, so you’d rather hide it from them instead. But keeping secrets and having difficulty communicating with your significant other shows that there is a lack of trust and respect in your relationship (Domingue & Mollen, 2009).
2. You’re constantly on and off again.
Have you and your partner ever broken up, only to get back together some time later? Do you rarely stay broken up or together for too long before you do it all all over again? Being in such an on-again, off-again relationship can not only be emotionally draining, but it can also quickly turn toxic if you’re not careful (Hocutt, 2018). Because this kind of instability shows that you lack the maturity or compatibility to make a relationship work. And though you might think it’s a good thing for you and your partner to always find your way back to one another, it could also mean that the two of you are stuck in a dysfunctional pattern of unhealthy behaviors you just can’t seem to shake.
3. You don’t have any shared interests.
The only thing you and your boyfriend/girlfriend have in common is that you love each other — and that’s it! You don’t have any mutual hobbies; you don’t have the same taste in anything; you have opposing views and opinions; and you have wildly different personalities. And even though opposites do attract sometimes, most of them don’t stay together for very long because, as many psychological studies have shown us, every couple needs to have at least some shared interests in order to maintain a strong and well-balanced relationship (Berhera & Rangaiah, 2017). Otherwise, you’ll most likely just end up doing your own thing, arguing a lot, and eventually drifting apart because there’s nothing more than your feelings and attraction to bind you to one another.
4. You run in different social circles.
Similar to our last point, having mutual friends and befriending your partner’s loved ones is also an important part in making your relationship work. So if you don’t run in the same social circles — and neither of you is even willing to try — then it’s most likely not going to last. Why? Because it’s like you and your partner are living two separate lives, and your relationship doesn’t get to be a part of their world. Not only that, not being able to be friends or even get along with the people your significant other cares about shows that you are just too incompatible with each other (Rosner & Hermes, 2006).
5. You want different things.
Have you ever heard the expression “met the right person at the wrong time”? Well, just like with chemistry and compatibility, timing is another especially crucial ingredient in any successful romantic relationship (Rhule-Louie & McMahon, 2007). Because the truth is, no matter how much you love someone or how badly you want to be with them, it just isn’t going to work if you’re both at different points in your lives and unable to meet in the middle. Maybe you’re young and still looking for excitement in your life, while they’re ready to commit and settle down. Whatever the case may be, if you’re in a relationship with someone who wants different things from you, then you’re only living with them on borrowed time.
6. Your relationship is not a priority.
Sure, you love your partner and you enjoy being with them. Sure, you like spending time with them and find them charming, funny, or interesting to talk to. You don’t mind going on dates and seeing them a lot, and you certainly don’t mind being their significant other. But there comes a certain time when your relationship is going to be put on a test, when you’ll need to prove just how much your partner means to you and how far you’re willing to go to keep them in your life.
Can you honestly say that you would be willing to drop everything and come running when they need you? Are you willing to stand by them through times of struggle and difficulty? Or do you only want to be with them when it’s simple, easy, and convenient for you? If neither of you is willing to make your relationship a priority, then that’s as clear a sign as any that you two just aren’t right for each other.
7. You don’t satisfy each other’s needs.
Do you know what your partner’s love language is? Or their communication style? What about their attachment style? You see, ideally in every relationship there should be a mutual satisfaction of emotional needs. Whether it’s affection, attention, intimacy, space, encouragement, or praise, you need to be able to give your partner what they need to feel like they’re being emotionally fulfilled by you and your relationship – and vice versa (Shaver & Brennan, 2012)! But if you and your partner just can’t seem to agree on how to express your love for one another – say, they want to spend more time with you but you need a lot of space, or they want you to be more romantic but you’d rather show them you care through gestures instead of words – then it means that you are simply just not meant for one another.
8. You have a lot of doubts.
Finally, if you’ve had a lot of doubts about your relationship from the very start, then that’s definitely not nothing. Though you could always chalk it up to a fear of getting hurt or anxiety about the future, having a lot of doubts about your significant other could mean that you subconsciously fear that you are pursuing a romantic relationship with the wrong person. And you should never underestimate just how powerfully accurate your intuition can be.
So, do you relate to any of the signs we’ve mentioned here? Have you ever had any serious doubts about your partner being the right person for you? While no relationship is perfect, it’s important to realize the difference between one that’s worth fighting for and one that’s just not right for you. Because at the end of the day, no amount of effort or sacrifice can ever make you right for someone you’re just not meant to be with.
If you’d like to learn more about this topic, you can read our other articles “8 Behaviors That Ruin Relationships”, “8 Things People Want From A Relationship”, “6 Differences Between Healthy and Unhealthy Love,” and “8 Reasons to Break Up With Your Partner.”
- 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.
- Domingue, R., & Mollen, D. (2009). Attachment and conflict communication in adult romantic relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 26(5), 678-696.
- Hocutt, M. A. (2018). Relationship dissolution model: antecedents of relationship commitment and the likelihood of dissolving a relationship. International Journal of service industry management.
- Behera, S., & Rangaiah, B. (2017). Relationship between emotional maturity, self-esteem, and relationship-satisfaction: a study on adolescent relationship dynamics. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 34(11); 109-121.
- Rosner, S., & Hermes, P. (2006). The Self-sabotage Cycle: Why We Repeat Behaviors that Create Hardships and Ruin Relationships. Greenwood Publishing Group.
- Shaver, P. R., & Brennan, K. A. (2012). Attachment styles and the” Big Five” personality traits: Their connections with each other and with romantic relationship outcomes. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 18(5), 536-545.
- Rhule-Louie, D. M., & McMahon, R. J. (2007). Problem behavior and romantic relationships: Assortative mating, behavior contagion, and desistance. Clinical child and family psychology review, 10(1), 53-100.