In all their beauty and fairytale charm, relationships enrich our lives by making us feel happier and stronger, while boosting our self-confidence. But whether we’re newly coupled-up or celebrating a milestone anniversary, incompatibility can arise and wash away our rose-colored glasses.
Even if you've been in a relationship for a long time, the possibility remains it may not be the right one for you. Perhaps you dove into it after being caught up in a moment of contentment — or maybe you were young and learning about yourself. Admitting a relationship isn’t working for you shouldn’t bring shame.
If you feel doubtful about your less-than-perfect union and that voice of reason constantly asks, “Is being in this relationship good for me?” — you’re investing time in the wrong partner.
Following Versus Leading
Love is a lot like dancing through life with someone. Both people take turns leading, while the other follows. But when a relationship isn’t ideal, it feels a lot like you’re dancing on your own while the other sits to take a breather. Are you making decisions together? Who is in control? Sure, we each have our strengths in a relationship, but your partner shouldn’t be making all the decisions all the time — or worse, acting like they're a parent to you.
If there's a constant battle between your desire to go out and your partner wanting to stay in to play video games, you may need to reevaluate. Compatibility is the key ingredient for a happy and peaceful union. Of course, opposites attract, but if you and your partner have major differences you're unable to compromise on, it makes the dynamic problematic and can weaken a relationship’s bond.
Lack of Trust
Has your partner lied to you in the past? If you have doubts on your partner, or if you believe they’re acting sneaky or shady, listen to your gut. We can only love someone we trust -- love is built on trust -- think “You jump, I jump Jack!” It's the glue to gaps and transformations, and relationships that aren’t anchored in trust don’t last long.
Playing a Part
The worst relationships are the ones where we wear masks. At home, we show one face to our partner; the other is for keeping up appearances -- portraying the quintessential life to family, friends, and social circles. If you feel you have to change yourself, watch what you say, how you act, or even make elaborate attempts to impress others, that’s a sign of relationship discomfort. Your partner should love you as is and support you for being you. Don't compromise your true self.
Whether emotional or physical, cheating should be considered a red flag. Not only has trust been broken, but as the enduring axiom suggests, people don’t change; at least, they rarely do. Resistance is part of the human condition. When you’re truly in love, you're unlikely to stray -- of course, things happen in a relationship, but a good partner will continue to respect you throughout it.
While a relationship shouldn’t be all about sex, when sexual needs are not met in a relationship, it can signal dysfunction. Numerous therapists and psychologists believe a sexual connection rooted in compatibility is essential for a long-lasting relationship. No chemistry means no spark. If you’re just roommates with intimacy once every blue moon, consider moving on.
Avoiding Difficult Conversations
Can you be together despite different religions? What about politics? Sexual appetites? Difficult conversations can’t be swept under the rug for long. If you find yourselves avoiding talking about certain topics, ask why. As time goes on, these types of conversations are necessary to have.
The same goes for cheating -- if you recently discovered a partner’s infidelity, confront it head-on. Melissa Risso, LMFT of Risso Counseling, says many couples try to brush infidelity away but this action ultimately leads to resentment, anger, hurt and several unhealthy relationship qualities that don’t provide reason to remain together.