Have you ever wished that you could just know whether you and your partner are right for each other without having to spend (and sometimes waste) time finding out?
We all want to find our perfect match and live happily ever after, but what if the two of you are quite different in many ways?
For instance, my husband loves strawberry ice-cream, and I prefer chocolate. He loves action movies while I prefer drama. He hates exercise, and I love it. Are we destined for failure? Sometimes it feels that way.
All relationships are going to have problems from time to time. Some of those issues are serious, and others are just a fact of life. How do you know the difference between healthy issues and unhealthy issues?
If you have recently found yourself questioning whether your partner is really your soulmate, here are a few signs that the two of you may actually be incompatible.
1. The Future Looks Different
If your partner wants the white picket fence with kids running around in the backyard while you envision a life in the busy city, there may be long-term issues with your relationship. If you want marriage and your partner wants something more casual, your relationship may be over already without you even realizing it. There are certain aspects of your future that the two of you must align on if you want to stay happily together. You should agree on marriage, children, and a home base where you will settle. Other things such as vacations, hobbies, and preferred pets can probably be worked out.
When you close your eyes and picture what your future looks like, does it align with what your partner sees?
Incompatible goals in a relationship can be a sign of problems that cannot be overcome. It will ultimately come down to whether you can find a middle ground that you can both be happy with in the long run. If you do decide to compromise, make sure you are both completely behind it. Otherwise, there could be a blame game waiting for you in your future, and that will not end well.
2. You’re Both Stubborn
Relationships can work with one stubborn person. However, when there are two stubborn people in a relationship, the outlook isn’t as good. Stubborn people tend to hold their ground no matter what – these are the people who do not apologize or admit they are wrong. Can you imagine what would happen when there is a disagreement between two stubborn people? You would both hold your ground and probably end up ending things just because you each refuse to admit any wrongdoing. (Not to mention that regular bickering is also a sign of incompatibility as we’ll discuss in just a minute.)
If you want to change your stubborn ways, start small. Think before you speak, and always put yourself in your partner’s shoes to see his or her viewpoint. Realize that sometimes you are going to be wrong, no matter how much you disagree. Also remember that sometimes it is easier to just agree to disagree instead of making every little thing into a big deal.
3. You’re not on the Same Intellectual Level
If you are a Harvard grad with three different degrees and your partner is a high school dropout, it might not work out as you’d hope. In the beginning, you may be able to overlook the differences and still have fun. Sometimes, in the initial stages of a relationship, you are blinded by love. However, after the initial honeymoon phase is over, there will probably be some big differences between the two of you that might prove difficult to overcome. The way you think is bound to be different based on the amount of education you each have had. Your professional lives will likely differ substantially, too.
There are exceptions to this rule so don’t immediately give up on a healthy relationship just because you are more or less educated than your partner. As long as you can engage in thoughtful and meaningful conversation and enjoy doing similar things, you will probably be able to make it work. Recognize the difference and make a decision based on what feels right for you.
Has communication failed? You don’t have a lot to say to each other anymore. You text instead of talk on the phone or sit down face-to-face. The two of you have fallen into a routine that looks more like a ninety-year-old couple. Does this sound familiar? While some communication breakdown is normal and expected, too much of it can be fatal for your relationship.
Let me explain. If you are no longer communicating well with your partner, your relationship is in a rut. If you want to get out of that rut, you’ll need to find new interests or challenges together. If you stay in a boring routine too long, your relationship will go stale and it will be difficult to salvage. Try to introduce a variety of different activities that the two of you can do together. Turn off all digital distractions and talk to each other! If your partner isn’t interested in making these changes, it is a sign that your relationship is not going to work out after all.
5. The Love Just Isn’t There Anymore
Does your heart beat a little faster when you see your mate? It probably used to, but over time it has faded a bit or gone away completely. The magic is gone. Sometimes people stay with partners whom they no longer love because it is comfortable. Change is tough, so they would rather just stick it out. The problem comes years later when their unhappiness is too much to live with. Those people end up resentful and miserable.
If you feel like the spark is gone in your relationship, try reconnecting again. Go on a date. Hold hands. Pretend that you just met. Do something different to mix it up. Try to remember the reasons you first fell in love. If it still doesn’t work, it might be time to reevaluate your relationship and move on.
6. Your Partner Spends More Time with Friends
If your partner is channeling more energy and time into someone or something other than you, it is a possible sign that they have lost interest in your relationship. There must be a time investment from both sides. If your partner isn’t making the time for you and regularly chooses friends or hobbies over you, your relationship may be doomed.
If you want to fix your relationship, you must have your partner set aside time for you frequently (preferably every day). Having a plan when you first try to resolve your issues shows that you are committed to working things out. If your partner isn’t interested, hit the road now. You are worth more.
7. Bicker, Bicker, Bicker
Arguing and bickering are things that all couples do. There is no way around it. The two of you are going to disagree from time to time, and sometimes that is ok. Some amount of arguing is considered healthy (although you shouldn’t consider arguments part of the desired communication mentioned above).
If the arguing ever turns abusive, it is time to make a quick exit. But if you are just bickering and want to stop, try calling a truce and see if you can hold it for a week. If the arguing is difficult to stop, you can always try couple’s therapy.
No matter how bad things get in your relationship, it can be difficult to realize when to call it quits. All relationships require hard work, lots of energy, and time. Sometimes, however, there are strong telltale signs that you and your partner are incompatible. When you recognize those signs, you can choose to end the relationship now instead of investing even more of your precious time trying to remain in a dead end relationship.
Melissa Ricker is a nuclear engineer and a professional freelance writer specializing in career growth, technical writing and online entrepreneurship. She writes a blog, Engineered Motherhood, for working mothers who need help balancing career growth and time management.