Everyone wants to be with someone they think is good, right?
Well, OK, maybe not everyone.
There are certainly people out there who love badass types. And some people don’t exactly want a partner who’s a pillar of virtue when they don’t feel like they’re all that good themselves.
But for the most part, we’re looking for people we think are good and who we can respect.
But does being good make a person a perfect partner for you?
At least, that’s certainly not the only criterion that matters when you’re choosing a partner to be with. Just because they’re a good person doesn’t mean they’ll be talented, interesting, sexy, fun, alluring, or any of the other adjectives in the boxes you want to tick.
While they might be a great person, that doesn’t mean they’re a great match.
So, to help you consider where you are with your relationship, here are five signs your partner is a good person but they’re not right for you
1) They respect you, but you don’t really respect them.
Maybe I shouldn’t have started off with one of the harshest points on my list. But this is supposed to help you figure out if you should really be with your partner or not, so I guess we have to get right into it and pull no punches.
It’s crucially important that your partner is respectful.
This is an integral part of what anyone would consider a good person. You might see this as respect for traditions and elders, for the law and structure of society, or for interpersonal respect like treating others with courtesy.
In your relationship, this translates to your partner listening to you, valuing you, sharing responsibilities and decisions with you, and more.
But respect doesn’t always go both ways.
Your partner might treat you with respect, but you don’t really return the favor, and this shows something important.
Maybe you think they’re unintelligent, lazy, boring, or a failure or that they’ve let themself go and are no longer attractive to you. Whatever it is, this shows that while they might be a good person, they’re not the person you should be together with.
If you don’t respect them, how will you ever be happy in a relationship with them?
2) You like them, but you’re not attracted to them.
You may really like the person you’re in a relationship with right now.
No, I mean I like my partner, not yours!
But there’s a big difference between liking someone and having romantic feelings about them.
I mean, I like my partner, but I also like my sister, my friend Naveed, and my dog quite a bit, too. I only want to be in a relationship with one of them, though, and it ain’t the dog.
Why do you like them?
They’re probably kind and caring, trustworthy, and generally a very good person in your estimation. They may also be a whole lot of fun and make your life a much brighter, happier place.
So what’s the problem? This all sounds great!
Honestly, for some people, there’s no problem. If you both like each other and really appreciate each other, who’s to say that you need to have romantic feelings and sexual attraction in your relationship, too?
Well, you are.
If that’s all the two of you need to be happy together, no problem at all. But if you want something more than that, like a deep romantic love and a fair bit of lust thrown into the mix, then liking them simply won’t be enough.
Can those feelings develop later?
Yes, theoretically. It’s not impossible.
But normally, things go the other way – attraction comes first, and then true appreciation either follows or doesn’t.
3) They’re kind, but their kindness hurts you both.
Have you ever heard of killing someone with kindness?
That’s when you respond to negativity with such positivity and benevolence that you snuff it out.
Well, that’s not what we’re talking about here – instead, it’s almost the opposite.
Instead of kindness conquering negativity, it can sometimes invite negativity into your life.
Here’s what I mean.
Being kind and caring is a great character trait and one that we all look for in a partner, right? But what goes along with that benevolence?
Sure, it means that your partner will be nice to you and everyone else, but this might actually create a problem.
For one thing, psychologists have found a link between this benevolent behavior (in the workplace, at least) and increased exhaustion, depression, and stress. What’s going on there?
The usual issue is that people like this try hard to be kind, helpful, and giving to others but at a cost to themselves. They lose time and energy doing things to benefit others, and this can often make them fall behind in their own work as well as their relationships.
When this happens, it can take a toll on their happiness and that of their partners.
So even though your partner’s a good person, they may be inadvertently hurting their own chances of happiness with you.
4) They’re trustworthy, but you don’t trust them.
Does your partner say what they’re going to do and then follow through?
Is this behavior consistent?
If they do and they’ve never let you down yet, that’s probably because they’re a good person who’s worthy of your trust.
And that’s great to know because so many relationships end in heartbreak because of a breach of trust that one partner can’t forgive.
But another reason many relationships end is because one partner can’t find themself able to trust the other fully, even though that person truly deserves their trust.
Is this happening with you and your partner?
No matter how many times they show you that they’re trustworthy and dependable, do you still have that voice in the back of your head telling you that you can’t trust them?
If you do, then there’s a real issue here.
It could be that you have some serious trust issues to overcome and that you wouldn’t be able to trust anyone.
But there’s also the chance that it’s just something about them. Really, it could be that they remind you of an ex who cheated on you or even have characteristics similar to someone who seriously betrayed your trust when you were young.
Unfortunately, there may actually be no getting over these triggering issues with this partner, no matter how much of a good person they are.
5) Your moral identities clash.
What is a moral identity?
In this era of identity politics, it should be no surprise that some psychologists have re-framed morality in terms of personal identity.
This is how they explain it.
We all have morals. These are the things that we believe are right and wrong, good and bad.
Our morals are shaped by our communities and group affiliations, our families and upbringings, and even our personal experience.
But moral identity is something different. It’s the extent to which you are a person who follows your own moral code. In other words, do you do things even though you believe they are bad?
Many people engage in actions that they themselves believe are immoral but give them other advantages. For example, they may choose to cheat others or accumulate wealth through means that cause harm to others.
In these cases, they can still be considered people with morals, but they often disregard them or choose to put other things first, like money, power, influence, etc.
So your partner may be a highly moral person who would almost never break their own moral code – a goody-two-shoes, some might say. You might find that your morality is more flexible.
If your moral identities clash, you can constantly feel like you’re being criticized by your partner or viewed as immoral, and that’s never going to make you happy in your relationship.
To be comfortable in a relationship, you have to be comfortable with yourself. The fact is that your partner’s goodness may actually make you uncomfortable, and if they’re never going to get bad, this issue will probably never resolve itself.
What can you do if your partner isn’t right for you?
We’ve just looked at five serious signs your partner is a good person, but they’re not right for you.
So, what do you do if you recognize one or many of these signs in your relationship?
I think you already know the answer.
It’s time to be real with yourself and fair to your partner by talking about these feelings clearly. Communication might shake something loose, and you might realize that you’re wrong about them.
But if not, you’re unfortunately in for a tough decision.
Can you change and salvage this relationship, or is it time to let that bird fly free so that you can start over and try to find new partners who will be better matches for both of you?