You and Your Partner Aren't Actually Compatible
by: E.B. Johnson
Are you and your partner really compatible? Or are you forcing something that just isn’t meant to be? Wanting something to work doesn’t guarantee that it will. Do you want the same things from your careers? Do you both want children, or a life lived on the road? What about commitment levels? Do you both see relationships as a balance of effort and passion? These are answers we must define if we want to build stable partnerships. When these things don’t match up, though, we have to have the courage to be honest with ourselves.
Why you're not actually compatible.
Are things feeling off? No matter how hard you and your partner try to make it work, do you keep running into conflict and divides that seem too big to overcome? These are early signs you may not be compatible. Still not convinced? Dig deeper? These are some of compatibility issues that are the most difficult to overcome as a couple.
In different places
We all view our relationships differently, and all relationships have a different and delicate balance of give-and-take. For some of us, we crave the act of settling down and settling into a life that is quiet and family focused. Meanwhile, some of us take our relationships a little less seriously. Commitment is fleeting and settling down a far thought. Do you see your relationships more seriously than your partner does? If you’re not on the same page here, you may not be compatible.
The commitment and effort aspects aside, some of us still see our partnerships as exhibiting very specific ideals or features. For example, to some of us a serious relationship might mean one partner at home with the family and another partner working full-time outside of the home. Someone else might see a successful relationship as a blend of two peopleputting in effort outside of the home, rather than within it. Relationships look different to all of us, but the people within them should have the same understanding and expectations.
Divergent family needs
Having children. It’s one of the biggest questions we are asked by others, and it’s (usually) one of the biggest questions we ask ourselves. It’s also a major point of issue which should be repeatedly hashed out by partners before making a serious commitment. If you want children, and they don’t — it’s not going to work out. You aren’t compatible. Expecting the other person to change their minds, or assuming you can “convince” them is selfish and a waste of everyone’s time.
It’s okay to want a partner who provides for you. It’s okay to want a partner who is home every night, and who is free to spend the weekend with you. We all have expectations within our relationships and that’s okay, as long as our partners are aware of them and happy to meet them. Not every partner is up to that challenge, however, and not every partner will want to engage in that level of commitment or effort. If you and your partner need and expect completely different things from one another, it can hint at compatibility issues that run deep.
Family over partnership
Building a life with another person is tantamount to building a family of your own. At some point, you’re going to have to make the decision to put your own family above that family of your past. This includes taking your partner's side (when it’s right) and fighting their corner when there’s conflict or division. If you always choose your family over your partner, then it’s a sign that the two of you may not quite be on the same page.
Too often we overlook the importance of sexual compatibility when it comes to our relationships. This is a foundational part of most romantic relationships, and cracks in this foundation can spell serious long-term issues. When the sex is horrible, it can cause breaks in communication and even an erosion of intimacy. Do you both need and want entirely different things in the bedroom? It’s not healthy to force something which just doesn’t work.
Who are you and your partner when you are together? Do you lift one another up? Push one another to be better than you were? Or is there always conflict and simmering rivers of resentment running just below the surface? If you’re becoming worse versions of yourselves, then it’s a big red flag and a sign of compatibility issues to come. Amping one another up, egging one another on, and running one another down is not a part of a stable, healthy relationship.
What you have to do next.
You can’t force an incompatible relationship to work. Even if you stay, the two of you will end up miserable and removed from those things that bring you joy and honest fulfillment. You have to take action now, in the name of happiness and in the name of authenticity and love. You both deservehappy futures with the partners that make your heart sing.
1. Be honest with yourself
You’ll have to confront reality with your partner at some point, but you first need to confront yourself. Accepting that the person you care for isn’t “the one” isn’t always easy, and it can take time for us to process. You need to pinpoint where your emotions are at, and you also need to pinpoint the specifics on your differences and why they can or can’t be overcome.
Before sitting your partner down, sit yourself down and dig through the emotional muck that’s been building up. Look at your differences with a brutally honest eye and empower yourself to accept reality for what it is. Let go of any shame or guilt you feel. There’s no right or wrong to this. It just is.
Journalling, meditation, and counseling are all great ways to work through this process. Choose the path that’s most comfortable to you and commit to it. Journal for 10–15 minutes every morning and allow yourself to channel how you’re feeling through stream-of-consciousness writing. If you want to meditate, start your day off with 15–20 minutes of clearing your mind and letting your thoughts and feelings come to you organically as they are.
2. Communicate the right way
After you’ve taken enough time to get explicitly clear about how you’re feeling and how you want to proceed, you can sit down with your partner and have an honest conversation. This is something you should tread carefully with, though, and something that should be a mutual experience. You both need room to speak and understand, so that you can come up with resolutions that allow you both to move on in peace.
Write down a list of the points you want to make and then find a safe and comfortable time to talk to your partner. Reassure yourself that what you’re doing is right, then open up to them when you’re in a space where you won’t be disturbed by others. Tell them what you’re thinking, and why you feel the way you do. Express your reservations, but keep it civil and respectful.
As always, avoid using any blaming language. Differences don’t have to be shortcomings. They’re just pieces that don’t fit the plan we’re building.Once you’ve expressed yourself, leave room for them to do the same. Understand that this conversation will be hard, and it will be uncomfortable in places too. Your partner may not see things the way that you do, but that doesn’t make your reality any less real. Take your time and break the conversation up if you need to.
3. Stop chasing false things
The ending of a relationship is a natural thing, and it’s something we all go through in this life. A lot of us see these endings as a “waste of time” or as a poor reflection of our own ability to lead our lives. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. Breakups and breakdowns are learning opportunities, and those always benefit us in the long run by teaching us more about ourselves…especially those things that don’t suit us.
Make a commitment to yourself — a promise. Promise yourself that you’ll never settle for things that you don’t want. That you will stop chasing false things and the people who don’t fit the picture of a future you know is authentically yours. Stop silencing your subconscious and listen to it loud and clear.
You know when a relationship is wrong. You know when a person can’t give you what you need, and you know when you also don’t have what it takes to make them feel loved. Be honest with yourself. Be committed to yourself. Have enough respect for yourself and your partner — as human beings — to be the bigger person. Protect your wellbeing and their happiness. Never allow yourself to chase false things again and promise to live in reality.
Putting it all together…
Falling for someone new is exciting, but what’s being done when you’re not really compatible? There are some mountains that are too high to be climbed, and some differences that just cannot be overcome — no matter how much we love one another. From differing expectations in family, to the roles we’ll assume within our partner, when it’s just not meant to be we have to be honest and take confident action.
Deep dive into reality and accept yourself, your partner, and your relationship for what it is. You can’t move forward or have an efficient conversation with your partner until you, yourself, know what direction you’re heading in. Once you’re clear on your own feelings and how you want to proceed, you can sit your partner down and have an honest talk with them. Be open and be clear. Don’t blame them, but leave plenty of room (and time for them to express themselves). Allow yourselves to separate slowly and lean back into your personal space and identity again. Not every ending has to be the calamity some of us know it to be. Reach out to friends and loved ones and allow them to take you by the hand and lead you back to a more realistic image of self, and life, and love. Make a commitment to yourself, though, and promise never to allow yourself to settle for less than you want again.
- P. K. Gupta and M. Madan, "Relationship compatibility determination for ever-lasting intense Romantic Love in human relationships through perceptual computing," 2015 International Conference on Soft Computing Techniques and Implementations (ICSCTI), 2015, pp. 28-33, doi: 10.1109/ICSCTI.2015.7489599.