Signs You and Your Partner Might Not Be Compatible

Gabrielle Applebury
couple talking to each other

Wondering about your compatibility with your partner is completely normal, especially if you're considering becoming more serious with them. There are a few major topics that are important to address when it comes to relationship compatibility.

Figuring Out What Your Needs Are

Before you evaluate if you and your partner are the best match for each other, it's important to better understand what your needs are in the relationship. To do so, think about what you want to get out of the relationship, what your ideal relationship looks like, and what relationship deal breakers you have.

Differing Communication Styles

Having compatible communication styles is critical in a healthy relationship. Ideally you and your partner can comfortably share your needs and handle conflicts in calm, rational ways that increase your level of intimacy and trust with each other. If you aren't compatible, you may notice:

  • Experiencing similar conflicts often without resolution
  • Unable to meet each other's needs despite talking about them
  • Both feeling unheard
  • Trying couple's counseling without noticing a significant change in the quality of the relationship

Future Plan Discrepancies

If you and your partner plan on staying together long term, it's important that your future plans can co-exist in a way that satisfies both of you. If one or both partners are unhappy, or unwilling to compromise when it comes to future plans, you may be incompatible. This type of incompatibility may look like:

  • Disagreeing on whether to get married, have children, or how many children to have
  • Unable to resolve where you want to live or settle down together
  • Disagreeing about the importance of travelling
  • Unable to decide which partner will work or stay home or if both partners will work
  • Arguments about what you want retirement to be like

Uneven Levels of Compassion

Having similar levels of compassion is a crucial factor in a relationship. If one partner has high levels of compassion, while the other partner has super low, chances are the relationship will not work out. Although you don't have to have the same level of compassion with each other, it should be close enough that both of you understand each other's needs and can be supportive of each other. In incompatible relationships the level of compassion can manifest in ways such as:

  • Unable to read or understand each other's emotional needs
  • One or both partners may feel emotionally misunderstood and put up walls with his/her partner
  • One or both partners may feel rejected on a fairly often basis
Young man supporting his girlfriend

Lack of Trust

Trust can make or break a relationship. If you don't completely trust your partner or they don't trust you, the foundation of your entire relationship starts off on shaky grounds. Without trust a relationship can't flourish and a whole slew of problems can emerge. If your levels of trust are incompatible it may look like:

  • Worrying or checking on each other because of mistrust
  • Not giving or getting an honest answer for fear of response or reaction
  • Withholding information from each other or lying
  • Fearing partner rejection often

Incompatible Religious Beliefs

Although not necessarily a deal breaker, religious beliefs can lead to compatibility issues if one or both partners have beliefs that impact their relationship satisfaction. This can include:

  • One partner wants the other partner to convert in order to move forward with marriage
  • One partner will not commit to marriage because of religious differences
  • One or both partners begin arguments about their beliefs which decrease both partners' relationship satisfaction
  • Family issues arise because of religious arguments which impacts both partners' overall happiness

Handling Money Differently

When casually dating, money issues don't tend to arise, but when the relationship becomes more serious it's important to take a look at whether your spending and saving styles work well together. Incompatible monetary styles include:

  • One partner is a big saver, while the other tends to spend
  • One partner does not want to merge funds after marriage or commitment and the other partner does
  • One partner is focused on retirement savings and the other is not
  • One partner is in debt and the other is worried about combining funds

Opposite Work/Life Balance Ideologies

It's crucial for a couple to have similar work/life balance ideologies so both partners feel happy with the amount of time spent together. If work/life balance ideologies are not compatible it may look like:

  • One partner ranking work priorities over the relationship which can make the other partner feel unloved, unwanted and unimportant
  • One partner focusing on in-the-moment fun while the other prioritizes working and saving money
  • One partner cancelling with their partner often because of a demanding job
  • Experiencing weekly arguments about time spent together and/or one partner's work priorities vs. relationship priorities

Examining Your Compatibility

If you notice a few signs that you and your partner may not be compatible, there's no need to worry. As long as both of you are fully committed to making the relationship work, there is a good chance that you can resolve or compromise on the issues that are coming up for both of you.

How to Work Out Differences

The best way to resolve issues is to talk about them respectfully so you both feel heard and understood. If you are finding it challenging to talk through, you can speak with a couple's counselor and target the specific problems you two are facing.

Compromise Is Key

If you both have fundamentally different ideas and are both unwilling to compromise, you are most likely not the best match. The best thing you can both do is be true to what you want and need out of relationship, and be honest about it. This way you can decide if you are the best fit for each other or if your issues are relationship deal breakers.

Evaluating Your Relationship

Even though you and your partner may disagree on certain major plans or beliefs, it doesn't mean that you can't make it work. The most important aspect of compatibility is whether you both feel completely satisfied and both your needs are fully met in the relationship.

Signs You and Your Partner Might Not Be Compatible