7 Signs Your Partner Isn't Enough For You, Even If You Love Them
Is love ever enough to sustain a happy, healthy, and long-term relationship? The reality is, you can love someone so much, but if your partner does not make an effort, they may not be enough for you. According to psychotherapist and relationship coach, Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC, there are three elements to relationship chemistry. "For a partner to be enough, you need to have some measure of each," she says.
The three elements that make up chemistry in your relationship are physical attraction, friendship, and intellectual stimulation. For instance, if you are physically attracted to a person, but find conversation lacking or awkward, you're always going to feel like there's a piece missing. Maybe they're just too serious all the time, while you like a little more laughter. Or maybe you miss the close friendship aspect to a relationship. While you may get along just fine, you're not really in sync.
"It’s not necessary to have the same amount of all of these elements," Coleman says. "But if one part is missing, it will feel like 'something' is missing, and you will find yourself wishing you could relate to [your partner] like you did with [an ex], or couple you know."
So here are some signs that experts say your partner might not be enough for you, even if you love them.
1. You Are "Everything" To Them
Being someone's "everything" may seem romantic. But if your partner came into the relationship with a few friends and hobbies, and have integrated themselves into your life entirely, that's a pretty telling sign they might not be enough.
"They don’t have their own life," Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, relationship therapist and Founder of online relationship community, Relationup, tells Bustle. "They have adopted your friends, your interests and you seem to be the planner and initiator in the relationship. You feel as if they don’t bring a lot to the table," and as a result, you may feel frustrated, Milrad says. If you think your partner needs to be more independent in your relationship and have more outside interests, it's worth it to have a talk with them. Having space in a relationship is healthy for couples, and could help your partner with bringing more into the relationship than they had previously.
2. They Refuse To Mature
While being the picture of the perfect adult is hard for anyone, take note if your partner is acting immaturely. "It’s a red flag if they refuse to grow up and accept that they are adults with bills to pay, dinner to cook, clothes to get washed and cleaning to be done," Jennifer Harry, a dating and relationship expert, tells Bustle. Nobody really likes "adulting," but it's a necessary part of life. If you find yourself having to remind your partner do necessary things, they might not be meeting your needs. "[If you live together], having an argument every day about getting help trying to run the house is going to wear you into the ground," Harry says. And if they aren't willing to compromise with you in this respect, Harry says they may be unwilling to compromise in other areas as well. Discuss what your needs are in the relationship, and try to find a middle ground. If your partner is willing to take away some of the "adulting" burden off of you, there may be hope.
3. You're The Only One Putting In Any Effort
As we all know, relationships are hard. "They require consistent nurturing and tending to from both members of the relationship," psychotherapist, Erin K. Tierno, LCSW-R, tells Bustle. "If you are the only one doing the heavy lifting, then it might be time to consider seeking out a partner who is willing to show up for figuring out the hard stuff as a team." After all, relationships are all about caring for you, your partner, and the relationship itself. Talk with your partner if you feel like your partner isn't contributing their share in the relationship — they might not even realize they haven't been pulling their weight, and may be open to doing more.
4. You Have Different Major Life Goals
If you feel like you and your partner are moving in different directions — you want to live in different places, have different goals financially, disagree on whether to get married or have kids, for instance — then these are pretty good signs that your relationship may not be fulfilling for you, Stef Safran, matchmaker and dating expert, tells Bustle.
"You like the city. [They] like the country. [They] like to spend. You like to save. If kids are something that one party wants and the other doesn't, this is a huge red flag," she says. "You have to be realistic that people tell you things to give you information, not to have their minds changed down the line." If your partner is open to discussing and compromising on some of these major decisions, then there is still potential for things to work out. But if you can't find a solution that works for the both of you, this may be a dealbreaker.
5. The Timing Is Just Off
Let’s say you’re with someone and they aren’t ready to move to the next stage in your relationship. As Elizabeth Cobb, LCSW the founder and lead therapist of Cobb Psychotherapy, tells Bustle, "This may not be because they don’t love you but rather that the timing is off. For instance, if you're dating someone in medical school, with all the years of training and study ahead, they won’t likely be ready to settle down for a while. You may be in love but if your timeline is different it may be time to part ways for the meantime," she says. That doesn't mean things cannot work out in the future, but if timing is causing issues for you and your partner, it may be time to evaluate if what they can offer is enough for you in the present.
6. There's Doubt That Never Seems To Go Away
If you have any sort of nagging doubt about them, Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, tells Bustle, that's a sign they might not be enough for you. "Perhaps they aren’t as outgoing as you and you seek out others while they seek solace. Sometimes they don’t want children and you won’t feel complete until you have children. It can really vary," Trombetti says. "There are a number of reasons. Maybe you aren’t compatible sexually even. Morals and values can be lacking as well." So listen to your gut and see what it's telling you — it could be a sign you're not feeling fulfilled.
7. They Don't Challenge You
"I think the biggest telling sign is if your partner doesn't challenge you," matchmaker and LastFirst founder Emily Holmes Hahn tells Bustle. "Intellectually, you need someone who mentally stimulates you and who you don't get bored talking to. Physically too, you need to be challenged by a partner who you're excited to be with intimately, and who you don't just fall into a routine with."
So, what should you do if you realize that your partner might not be enough for you? It's important to take a step back and really think about whether or not you can live with whatever you feel is "missing" with your partner. You can even try communicating your needs to see if things can change.
If not, Hahn says, it's OK to leave. "There are so many people out there, you’ll be sure to find a better match," she says. "Don't stay in a relationship just because you're comfortable."
If you can work out your issues, then great. If not, it's really up to you to decide whether or not the relationship is worth being in. At the end of the day, you deserve to be in a relationship that makes you feel fulfilled and happy. Your partner deserves the same.