If you’re looking for long-term relationship success, finding someone you’re compatible with is key. Although not entirely impossible, being in a relationship with someone who’s completely different from you in every way can make things a little more challenging. According to matchmakers, there are certain sets of incompatible qualities between partners that are much more likely to lead to relationship failure than success.
“There are some obvious ones, like not wanting the same things in life, lifestyle choices in terms of travel or location, and relationship style (i.e. monogamous versus polyamorous),” Melody Kiersz, Professional Matchmaker at digital matchmaking service, Tawkify, tells Bustle…
Bustle reached out to pick our brains on the most perilous romance deal-breakers — you know, those insurmountable relationship road blockers that leave a trail of broken hearts in their wake! From misaligned life goals to spiritual leaning, our matchmakers spilled.
Don’t miss Bustle’s The 15 Incompatible Qualities That End Relationships, According To Matchmakers. Want more? Dive deeper with the Heartalytics version (expanded matchmaker responses found here). Date on!
Matchmaker and Heartalytics columnist, Rémy Boyd:
Emotive vs. Apathetic — The chance of a relationship enduring between an emotive person and an apathetic person is not impossible, but slim. The emotively inclined person will eventually feel uncared for and the apathetically inclined partner will feel burdened. Sooner or later resentment will creep in from both sides and cause a breakup.
Clinger vs. Loner — ‘Clinging vines’ get a bad rap! Companionship is obviously a big part of relationships, but everyone falls somewhere within the range of the clinger/loner scale.
Partnerships between people on either end of the range are doomed!
Loners need ‘me time,’ it’s essential. Loners also want to miss their partners, which makes time together more meaningful. Whereas, clingers are energized by ‘us time,’ and do not feel connected without lots of it. If boundaries are not established early in the relationship, there is little chance for success.
Matchmaker & Relationship Writer, Cora Boyd, says it’s all about:
Level of self-actualization
We all want to improve ourselves, to be better this year than we were in the last. Self-actualization, a psychological term used to refer to fulfilling one’s full potential, exists on a spectrum.
The uber-driven-let-me-try-all-the-new-self-development-techniques Tim Ferrises of the world are on one end, and the I’m-pretty-content-with-where-I-am-let-me-kick-back-and-eat-some-honey Winnie the Poohs are on the other.
One approach to life is not inherently better than the other, but through my work as a matchmaker I have found that aligning the degree to which two people want to self-improve optimizes the potential for longterm compatibility.
Every person falls on a different place within the spectrum of self-actualization, and personal development is just that — a personal journey. But if two people are too incongruous in terms of their their desire to self improve, the future of the relationship is tenuous.
They could have the most incendiary chemistry on the block, but if one person is waking up at five every morning to train for a marathon and the other is content to stay in their comfortable job in their pleasant town for the rest of their lives, it’s unlikely that the relationship will last without some sort of resentment breeding.
Matchmaker Sophy Singer:
Through work with many different clients (all with varying sets of match preferences), I have picked up on certain indicators a relationship will not make it for the long-haul.
The Church/Temple/Mosque/Synagogue Regular vs. The Hardcore Atheist.
It’s nearly impossible to ‘agree to disagree’ on fundamental belief systems. It’s even harder to achieve if kiddos are part of the plan. In that vein…
A two-seater convertible vs. the minivan
One person wants a family and loves kids, while the other says, “Not for me.” If you have a deep, ingrained desire to have a family of your own, it’s a mistake to think that desire will go away in your mind or heart. Do not assume you can change your partner’s mind over time — especially if he/she has clearly stated children are a no-go.
Social butterfly vs. Stay-at-home Sally
I agree with Rémy on this point. There’s a rom-com about this topic called I Love You, Man. At first it may not seem like a major issue, but over time, the disparity between two people’s ability and desire to have close relationships with others, does take its toll. It can create a lot of pressure on one person to provide the other person’s “everything” socially. This scenario easily breeds codependence and resentment.
Matchmaker Kimia Mansoor:
Too many compatible qualities!
Having everything in common is too much of a good thing.
Many people think that having shared interests means you’ve found your soulmate. Some dating apps even use mutually liked pages as a way of connecting people. When you have everything in common with your partner, you’ll find yourself without any time apart and without anything to contribute to one another’s lives. A balance of common and separate interests is ideal, as having some separateness from your partner is essential to building a long-lasting bond.
Tasmanian Devil vs. Eeyore
Have you ever examined your fighting patterns with your partner? Are you always left feeling the same way? When one partner copes with relationship stress by becoming outwardly angry or aggressive and the other partner copes by turning inward and feeling deeply saddened, it’s time to seek professional help or break-up. Sometimes relationships don’t start like this, but tension grows as issues get pushed under the rug. Situations like this can drain all of your energy and also have the potential to turn abusive.
Matchmaker Inayah Vanessa agrees with Kimia:
Fight vs. Flight
Humans have a profound ability to make anything work if it’s important enough to them, but I think that communication style, particularly when it comes to fighting is important to consider. No one wants to think about it while they’re in the throes of pure new love bliss, but how a person handles conflict and more importantly if it jibes with your own, can make or break a relationship.
Some people tend to explode, yelling, screaming, throwing things, etc. when they’re upset. Others tend to stay in control of their emotions and prefer to rationally discuss a problem.
A wildly passionate person may see a reserved person as cold, while a calm person may see an emotionally excitable one as reckless.
Extreme differences make it difficult to get to the core of the conflict and resolve the argument without incurring a lot of strain and collateral emotional damage in the process.
Lindsay Tucker, Relationship Writer and Personal Dating Concierge:
Sexuality is a big deal in romantic relationships.
If your sexual appetites don’t match up, eventually the relationship will suffer. You’ll be dealing with resentment on both sides, and there’s a chance one or both partners may seek sex outside of the relationship.
What the Trump?!
In today’s political climate, people on opposite sides of the political spectrum don’t stand much of a chance. Many of my clients tell me right away they won’t even consider dating a Trump supporter. The current administration is so polarizing that relationship therapists are overwhelmed by the amount of Trump-related therapy sessions they’re privy to. Values are too important for most people to compromise.
Melody Kiersz, Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify:
There are some obvious ones, like not wanting the same things in life — i.e. if one person wants kids and the other doesn’t and both are absolutely sure that won’t change, success is highly unlikely because one would have to be forced to be someone they aren’t.
Same with lifestyle choices in terms of travel or location or relationship-style (monogamous vs polyamorous, for example). Other incompatibilities are in terms of values — someone who prizes honesty is unlikely to be happy with someone who is always lying, for example.
Another example of a value misalignment — someone who is committed to ‘doing good,’ with a social justice mindset will probably not be happy long term with someone who is hyper-materialistic (unless they also have an altruistic side as well).
In my view, the most important things for longer-term success are:
- The level of commitment to the relationship is equal.
- Both partners want similar things in life and share top values.
- Mutual attraction and curiosity about the other on which to build.
- Both partners are willing to learn the communication skills required to ensure healthy conflict resolution.
Caitlin D’Aprano, Matchmaker + CEO & Founder of Willpowered Woman (for the promotion and growth of healthy dating relationships):
These are compatibility questions I believe every person should consider when dating someone new.
- Do they have similar life goals?
This points to the question of whether you will work to build a life together.
- Are the every day things that are important to you, important to them?
For example employment, financial stability, kindness etc.
- Are they reliable, does what they say match what they do?
Actions always speak louder than words.
- Are they able to set boundaries and are they able to respect yours?
This points to the fundamental workings of a successful relationship.
- Can they take feedback and apologize when they make a mistake?
This points to the way disagreements will be solved in the future — all relationships have conflict, it’s how you deal with them that matters. I could go on, but I will stop there!
Meg McCabe, Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify and founder of Baby Got Back:
I agree with Sophy and Melody — different long-term goals create trouble in relationships sooner or later. If you’re seeking a relationship to eventually get married and have a family, it is in your best interest to make this clear from the start.
If your partner does not have the same goals, or is even on the fence about it, your options are to:
- Readjust your goals, or…
- Start dating again to find a partner whose goals align with yours.
Some individuals hope their partner will change their mind one day, but there’s no guarantee. Pressuring your partner to change their personal long term goals leads to frustration, stress and resentment (plus it’s not fair or realistic). Don’t do it!
Level of emotional availability
It doesn’t matter how much you and your partner click on a physical, emotional, spiritual or intellectual level.
Heck, it doesn’t even matter if the two of you are in love!
If your partner is not emotionally available, the partnership is doomed. When a person is emotionally unavailable, they’re less reliable, less committed and difficult to read. When someone shows signs of emotional unavailability, proceed with caution — you are at risk of being strung along.
Financial mismatch is not so much about income disparity, as it is about each partner’s beliefs and habits with money.
Having varied financial standards is OK, but conflict does arise when these differences are extreme. For instance, if one partner enjoys spending money on luxurious vacations and material goods and the other is savings-oriented, or even stingy, expect trouble.
Relationships that turn into a constant “dollar for dollar” or IOU game tend to draw a pretty strong line in the sand when it comes to trust and generosity.
I encourage couples to be open about their financial situations from the start, and be aware of their own personal comfort zones (and boundaries).