9 signs of incompatibility in a relationship, according to psychology

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Should I stay or should I go – a phrase that’s probably gone through everyone’s head at some point when it comes to a relationship they’re in!

You might have just started dating or you might’ve been dating for a long time. Either way, you’re wondering just how compatible the two of you really are.

This is a hard realization to come to. I know, I’ve been there! But it’s something you need to know sooner rather than later.

Things change and people change. And sometimes, someone just isn’t right for you, no matter how well you get along.

If the two of you are incompatible, there are classic signs, according to psychology. Starting with the following 9:

1) They make you anxious

First up, your partner shouldn’t make you anxious. This is something I should have learned way sooner in relationships!

If you have an anxious attachment style, certain people (also known as avoidants) are going to trigger your anxieties to no end.

Unless you’ve found a rare, good egg, they aren’t going to want to work with you on giving you the reassurance you need…

Having butterflies when you speak to them on the phone, worrying about what they’re going to think about you when you send that text, and getting anxious about whether they still like you isn’t a sign of compatibility.

If anything, it’s a sign of incompatibility!

2) You don’t enjoy each other’s company

It might sound crazy to have this on the list, but it really does need to be here!

I can’t tell you the number of friends I have who complain about their partner like they hate them. They can’t stand being at home with them. Any excuse to get out of the house or not invite their partner, they’re down for it.

On double dates, they don’t want to talk to each other the whole night. When they do, it’s only to throw criticisms at each other. And not in a jokey way…

I’ll even admit to doing this myself in a relationship once! Just before it ended, I intentionally made plans most Saturdays so we could have some time apart.

When you reach this point, it’s a sad truth that you’re no longer compatible. Your relationship has run its course, and it’s probably time to let things go.

3) You have no shared interests

Having different interests is a good thing in a relationship. It’s good to have something that’s your own and that you can enjoy without your partner. That way, you get to have your own time and talk about it with them later.

But experts also say it’s important to have shared interests, too. Otherwise, you might find it hard to connect or bond over the little things. You might even find it hard to have genuine quality time together.

I was in a relationship once where we didn’t have any of the same interests – not one! Even though we got along fine and we did things the other person liked, it put a strain on things long-term.

We both knew we were humoring the other when we did things the other person liked. And it just made the quality time we spent together that little bit less enjoyable…

Looking back, this was a pretty clear sign of our incompatibility. I just wish I’d noticed it sooner!

4) You’re heading down different paths in life

When I first started dating an ex, we wanted the same things. A few years down the line, our views completely changed.

I wanted to get another cat, go for Sunday morning walks, look after my health, and start planning for a family soon. He wanted to work longer hours, go to the pub most nights, and drink until the early hours every weekend.

Basically, we started heading down two very different paths in life.

When two people start heading down different paths like this, it can be hard to find some common ground. And it’s probably one of the biggest signs you’re no longer compatible.

5) You have drastically different worldviews

Ever heard the saying, “Opposites attract”? Well, experts say this isn’t quite true.

It’s perfectly normal to have different opinions and views in a relationship. And you don’t have to break up just because you don’t agree on some things.

However, it is important to be on the same page about most things. Otherwise, your relationship probably isn’t going to last that long.

Say you have different political views. It might be difficult, but you can probably make things work.

But say you have different ideas on how you want to raise your kids. Or what religion you want to follow. Or what country you want to live in. These views are harder to work through. They might even be impossible.

And of course, if you’re constantly arguing about your different views on the world, it can make you both feel misunderstood. Which isn’t a sign that you’re compatible…

6) You want different things

Years ago, I read a book about dating. It talked about a woman who had 21 questions to ask on a first date. As you can imagine, it included things like their views on kids, marriage, living together, and even sexual preferences.

At first, I thought this was insane. Until I entered the world of dating and realized it was actually pretty smart!

Why? Because you have to want the same things in a relationship if things are going to work out.

If you want kids someday and they don’t, you aren’t compatible. The same rule applies if you want to get married one day and they don’t – and anything else major like this.

Unless you’re both willing to (happily!) sacrifice certain things, the relationship probably won’t last. At some point, these differences are going to break you apart.

7) You don’t feel happy when they’re happy

Jealousy has its charms, but it also has its downfalls. I stand by the fact that a little bit of jealousy is good in a relationship.

I kind of love it when my partner gets a tiny bit jealous, and he likes it when I do, too. It shows that we both deeply care and love each other. But too much jealousy and you’re in trouble!

You’ll know if your relationship has too much jealousy if you find yourself getting jealous of their life, rather than their relations. Let me explain.

If you get jealous about your boyfriend talking about where they took an ex, this can be considered pretty normal. But if you get jealous of them when they get a promotion, have a night out with their friends, or visit their family, this isn’t so good.

Why? Because it means you get jealous over their happiness – and that you don’t like it when they’re happy and you aren’t!

Whereas if you were compatible, just seeing them smile can put you in a good mood. Let alone seeing how happy a round of golf or time with their family has made them…

8) You don’t share or understand each other’s love languages

Everyone has different love languages. And just because you have different ways of showing and accepting love, that doesn’t mean you’re incompatible.

What makes you incompatible is if you don’t understand the other person’s love language or try to make the relationship work around them.

Say your love language is physical touch. You like sitting close to them on the sofa when you’re watching a movie. You enjoy spooning in bed at night. And you love nothing more than holding their hand when you’re out and about!

But your partner likes their own space. They don’t want you touching them all the time. They prefer to show their love by making you hot drinks, putting the blanket over you, or fixing your car when it goes wrong (i.e., they have “acts of service” as their love language).

If you’re compatible, you’ll both understand that you enjoy different things. So you’ll let them do things for you sometimes. And you’ll understand that if they don’t want to sit near you sometimes, it doesn’t mean that they don’t love you.

Likewise, they’ll understand that you touching them is your way of showing love. It isn’t just something you do to annoy or bother them…

If you don’t understand these things and can’t work past them, you probably aren’t very compatible.

9) You can’t talk to them about the “deep stuff”

The most important thing in a relationship is feeling loved, accepted, and seen for who you are. The only way to achieve this is through good, healthy, honest, and open communication.

Your partner should make you feel safe: safe to open up to them, safe to talk about your insecurities, safe to discuss your interests, and safe to be 100% yourself.

If you don’t feel this way with your partner – or if they don’t feel this way about you – this isn’t good news. And psychology says you might not be compatible!

Final thoughts

Facing the truth about your relationship or situationship is never easy. Trust me, I know! I clung on to a relationship where we weren’t compatible for way too long.

It’s especially hard if you’ve been together for a long time and you’ve only just noticed that you’ve grown apart.

Either way, if you recognize any of these signs in your relationship, it probably isn’t making you very happy. And maybe you already know that…

So it might be time to work on your issues together, or find what’s really meant for you out there…

Amy Reed

Amy Reed is a content writer from London working with international brands. As an empath, she loves sharing her life insights to help others. When she’s not writing, she enjoys a simple life of reading, gardening, and making a fuss over her two cats.

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