Monday, January 8, 2024

“Why Didn’t My Relationship Work Out?”: Incompatibility

We cite so many reasons for why some relationships don’t work out but they’re one reason: incompatibility also known as wanting different things. It’s nothing to do with being “good enough”. “Trying harder” won’t fix it. When we break up with someone (or we/they don’t reciprocate feelings/intentions) despite a ‘great start’, shared interests and history, attraction, chemistry, our predictions, or efforts to make things work or happen it’s because:

  1. Different Long-Term Goals: We may have liked each other but didn’t share the same long-term vision for the relationship.
  2. Incompatible Behaviour: One or both of us didn’t behave in a way that was beneficial to the relationship, making us incompatible despite our commonalities.
  3. Wrong Person: Sometimes, the simple truth is that they were not the right person for us, even if we can’t or won’t admit it. We don’t share core values where it matters so our we can’t meet our emotional needs.

Fear causes us to remain in relationships long past their sell-by-date.

If we don’t know how to leave, we don’t know how to stay.

Ignoring code amber issues (signs that we need to stop, look, listen before proceeding) and code red issues (incompatibility, major problems, and dangerous behaviour) leads to pain. We also don’t have to stay in a relationship because someone is “nice” or hasn’t “done anything wrong”. When we stay, not because we want to but because we fear being alone, we shortchange both ourselves and the other person.

If we’re not feeling it and we’ve been ignoring these feelings for some time, we’re not feeling it. If the love, care, trust and respect isn’t mutual, we have to let go. 

Core values help us figure out who’s right for us as well as who isn’t. Breaking up from wrong relationships is critical to our growth but we take it very personally when our relationships struggle/end because we invest so much. It becomes hard to let go because we’re attached to our [predicted and desired] outcome.

What if we’ve got everything we need from the painful soulmate? What can we learn from what we were prepared to settle for?

Knowing when to listen and fold protects us from waking up knee-deep in unfulfilling and toxic relationships. We can break up with more confidence and compassion. While hurt is understandable, our reluctance to truly learn and take action, invites more pain, fear and guilt. Our relationships help us to heal, grow and learn, acting as vehicles for our growth that take us to the relationship where we’re our most authentic, happiest and fulfilled.

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