As qtd. in Kristine Fellizar’s article for Bustle
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.
Other more subtle incompatibilities, she says, are seen in each person’s values. For instance, someone who cares about honesty is unlikely to be happy with someone who’s constantly lying. Or someone who has a social justice mindset will probably not be happy with someone who’s super materialistic, unless they also have an altruistic side.
“In my view, the most important things for longer-term success are that both people want similar things in life, they have similar top values, and they’re able to commit to the relationship at the same level,” Kiersz says. But if two people with incompatible qualities aren’t willing to learn the communication skills necessary to make sure things work for both of them, experts say there’s a good chance the relationship won’t work.
So here are 15 incompatible qualities matchmakers say aren’t likely to lead to relationship success.
Different ideas surrounding money. Numerous studies and surveys have found finances can be a major source of relationship stress. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that extreme savers in a relationship with extreme spenders will have a hard time working out in the long run.
“While a balance of these elements can be good, if someone enjoys spending money on nice dinners, vacations, nice homes, etc. and the other aims to save money on everything, the relationship won’t work because it comes down to incompatible values and incompatible sources of joy,” Michela Hattabaugh, a Chicago-based matchmaker with Three Day Rule tells Bustle.
According to Hattabaugh, couples with these two incompatible qualities may be constantly disagreeing since money is one of the top sources of arguments between couples. “No matter how money is spent, one person is always going to feel that they didn’t get what they wanted and be unhappy,” she says.
“It’s not so much about whether the chemistry is there, though that’s the first checkpoint,” she says. “But the value each person assigns to sex as part of a relationship seems to be the defining ‘Will it last?’ factor.” If you’re someone who values experimenting in bed or just doing it frequently during the week, it can be frustrating if your partner’s hardly ever in the mood. And while neither partner should ever expect the other to do something they’re not comfortable with, discussing mismatched expectations regarding sex can help you deal with them head on, or decide if it’s a dealbreaker.
Different ways of relaxing. If two people have completely different relaxation styles, it will be very challenging to make a relationship work. Accoridng to Caitlin Bergstein, a Boston-based matchmaker with Three Day Rule, how someone relaxes or re-energizes, especially during the weekend, dictates how people live their lives.
“Based on how someone likes to spend their weekend, I mentally put people into two different categories: ‘activities person’ or ‘homebody,'” she tells Bustle. An “activities person” is someone who likes to spend their free time out and about, exploring or doing new things. The “homebody” prefers to spend their weekends in, watching TV or binge watching a new Netflix series.
If one person likes being out, while the other likes staying in, Bergstein says this can make it highly unlikely that a relationship will be successful. “While it can seem appealing at first, as the relationship goes on, the homebody will become frustrated that their partner always has to be on the go and can never just relax,” she says. “Meanwhile, the activities person will become irritated with their partner for being ‘lazy’ and not ever wanting to leave the couch.” There can be room to compromise, but if one party still isn’t satisfied, it may be time to call it quits.
Different eating habits. This can extend to physical activity as well. For instance, if one partner enjoys working out and eating healthy and the other partner isn’t as interested in this lifestyle, it can be incredibly frustrating for both parties. “While you and your partner don’t have to be at the same level of fitness, share the same interests (maybe you like running marathons and they prefer to lift weights), or eat the exact same way, it’s important to at least have some commonalities when it comes to your health and lifestyle,” Bergstein says. Unless a common ground is found, the activities you both prioritize may not match up.
Different outlooks. It can be really irritating and draining to date a pessimist if you’re a total optimist or vice versa. As Bergstein says, “How you and your partner view life should be similar because it will dictate how you manage tough situations that arise in your life and relationship.”
Different levels of intelligence. Similar levels of intelligence can dictate whether a relationship will work out or not, Bergstein says. According to her, intelligence can mean a general curiosity or interest in learning to better oneself, education or a college degree(s), or emotional intelligence. If you are on completely opposite sides of the spectrum, the relationship likely won’t work.
“From a general curiosity standpoint, if one partner is motivated by knowledge and actively seeks out opportunities to learn new skills, and their partner is perfectly content with where they are in life and what they know, it can be very hard to relate to each other,” she says. Differences in emotional intelligence can also leave partners struggling to understand or even communicate with each other, and unless communication strategies are developed to help bridge this gap, it may not work out.
Different ways of expressing emotions. “The chance of a relationship enduring between an emotive person and an apathetic person is slim,” Rémy Boyd, Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify tells Bustle. “The emotively inclined person will eventually feel uncared for and the apathetically inclined partner will feel burdened by their partners’ need for emotional support.” Like other incompatibilities on this list, sooner or later, resentment will creep in from both sides and can lead to a breakup.
Different expectations of time spent together. But companionship is obviously a big part of relationships, Boyd says, and some people need to spend more time together than others. According to Boyd, people have different needs and expectations surrounding time spent with their partner in a relationship. Those who prefer more alone time typically need their me-time to help miss their partner, whereas those who want to spend more time with their partner do not feel connection without it. “If boundaries are not established early in the relationship, there is little chance for success,” Boyd says.
Different ideas of self-improvement. If one partner is constantly moving and looking to improve themselves, while the other is perfectly content with the way things are, it can make being in a relationship pretty difficult because you have two different approaches to life.
“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,” Cora Boyd, Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify tells Bustle. “Every person falls on a different place on 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.”
Different perspectives on religion. “Religious differences are one of the very few things that can be insurmountable in a relationship from the beginning,” Bergstein says. “In fact, when I speak to people who practice religion, they typically tell me that, while they have nothing against any other religions, it’s a dealbreaker and non-starter to date someone who doesn’t practice their religion.” At the end of the day, everything boils down to similarities and differences in cultural experiences, value systems, and typical upbringing, as well as current lifestyle choices. If one partner isn’t willing to learn and adapt, then it can be really difficult to make it last long-term.
Different opinions on having kids. “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,” Sophy Singer, Professinal Matchmaker at Tawkify tells Bustle. Wanting kids is one of them. “If you have a deep, ingrained desire to have a family of your own, it’s a mistake to think this is something that will go away in your mind or heart,” she says. “Do not assume you can change your partner’s mind over time — especially if they clearly stated children are a no-go.”
Different argument styles. How you fight with your partner can make all the difference between whether your relationship becomes stronger or not. “I think that communication style, particularly when it comes to fighting is important to consider,” Inayah Vanessa, Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify tells Bustle. “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, yell, scream, or even throw things, when they’re upset. Some can stay in control of their emotions and prefer to rationally discuss a problem, while others just shut down and take off altogether. “A wildly passionate person may see a reserved person as cold, while a calm person may see an emotionally excitable one as reckless,” Vanessa says. “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.” If you can find strategies to argue fairly that work for the both of you, this doesn’t have to cause a major divide. But if arguing never seems to be productive, it may not be meant to last.
Too similar of personalities. If you and your partner love all the same things to the point that you’re practically the same person in two different bodies, that could be a problem.
“Having everything in common is too much of a good thing,” Kimia Mansoor, Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify tells Bustle. “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.” It’s all about balance.
If you and your partner have any of the sets of incompatible qualities above, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed to fail. If you’re willing to work together, communicate, and truly understand how each other works, there is hope for things to work long-term.