9 Subtle Signs You & Your Partner May Have Met At The Wrong Time
Even if you love your partner and have a great relationship, if you meet at the wrong time, you might experience several ongoing issues that — when you look at it all from an outside perspective — can indicate you're not on the same page. This might include disputes over how to spend your time, what your goals are for the future, and how to make it all work.
While no relationship is ever easy, if you constantly face these challenges, it may be worth it to take a closer look. "You have to be honest with yourself and the situation," Mackenzie Riel, relationship expert with TooTimid, tells Bustle. "Ask yourself: can we grow together as a couple? Do we have a future together? Do they make me happy more often than upset? You have to be the one to assess and navigate the readiness of the relationship if you see it going in a negative direction."
It's possible the relationship could work out, if you both decide to give each other room to grow, while also committing to keeping things healthy. But you may also need to take a step back, focus on yourself for a while, and be open to whatever happens in the future. Here, a few subtle signs you met your partner at the wrong time, according to experts.
1. You Have Big Arguments Early On
If you only just met, and are already fighting like cats and dogs, bad timing might be to blame, as well as a lack of shared goals.
You may find that you get annoyed with each other easily, Riel says, and turn small arguments into big blowups. Or that, no matter how hard you try, you just can't see eye-to-eye.
To sort it all out, it can help to give each other space. If the relationship is meant to be, and you're otherwise compatible, there's a chance it'll all work out in the future once you've figured out what you both want.
2. Your Plans Quickly Fizzle Out
If you two met at the wrong time, you may be excited enough to make grand plans for the future, but don't quite have the substance to actually follow through.
"Early signs are when people over-promise, over-commit, and under deliver," Aleasa Word, an emotional intelligence coach, tells Bustle. "Time is usually a big issue."
If you're not in the right place to actually reach your goals as a couple — possibly due to your jobs, financial situations, the distance between you, etc. — it might feel like a constant uphill battle.
3. You're Constantly Weighing Other Options
"Perhaps you’re so young when you meet that you’re not ready to settle down yet," psychotherapist Dr. Jennifer Howard, tells Bustle. And as a result, you're constantly wondering "what if?"
"You notice your eyes looking at other possible partners," Dr. Howard says. "[Or] maybe you feel more focused on certain life choices that might make you less available to them, [...] like job opportunities that they can’t be part of at the time."
If it seems like the relationship is preventing you from reaching certain goals, listen to your gut. It's OK to be honest about that, and focus on yourself.
4. Your Energy Levels Don't Match Up
If you two aren't on the same wavelength, you'll likely approach the relationship with different amounts of energy. And as a result, you might argue about how to structure your life, Dr. Howard says, how to spend your time, or how much you're willing to change for each other. It can all be a sign the timing is off, and that you want different things.
5. You're Both Going Through Big Changes
It's always possible to go to school, and have a relationship, or care about a job, while in a relationship. But if your life is in flux, and you're still figuring out who you are, it can make dating difficult.
"Maybe one of you just recently got a new job that requires a lot of traveling, while the other [...] just graduated with their masters and is drowning in debt and student loans," Riel says. "You may be rushing into something with a person who is just not on the same page as you."
Of course, you can support each other and make compromises. But sometimes, big differences like these mean a relationship just doesn't work out.
6. You Have Different Ideas Of A "Good Time"
It's fine if you don't share all the same hobbies and interests. But if your lifestyles are drastically different, consider it a red flag.
"Does your partner want to go to the bar or club every other night while you would rather just stay in and watch Netflix? [...] Even if you both are compatible in many ways, being at different phases in your life can create major conflict in a relationship," psychotherapist Kristin Anderson, tells Bustle.
If your relationship is otherwise great, you may be able to strike a compromise, and support each other's lifestyles. If the differences are starting to cause bigger problems, however, you may want to step back and think about what you really want.
7. They Still Talk About Their Ex
While it's fine to talk about an ex, sometimes people are a little too heartbroken to move forward with a relationship. So if your partner seems hung up on an ex, "this is a clear sign they need more time to grieve and heal from that relationship," relationship expert Marlena Cole, tells Bustle.
You can give them time and space to sort it out. But it may be healthier for you to be with someone who's emotionally ready to date, if that's what you'd like to do.
8. You Don't Talk About The Future
"If there is a lot of chemistry and connection, but deep down one or both of you know that the timing might be off, then there can be a tendency to avoid talking about real plans for the future," therapist Erin Nicole McGinnis, LMFT, tells Bustle. "When you are on the same path and have the same life goals, these topics usually come up within a month or so of dating."
If it's been a few months, and yet you still have no idea what the future might hold, you can bring it up to your partner. But if they aren't willing to talk about anything concrete, trust your gut, and make sure you focus on what's best for you.
9. Your Partner Is Hot & Cold
While you may really enjoy each other's company, if it seems like your partner is unpredictable in terms of their interest levels, don't let it slide. "If they seem all in one minute and then cold and indifferent the next, it could be a sign that they are not ready to really be there for another person," McGinnis says.
There are several reasons why they might not be ready, but it's more important to focus on what you need to be happy. "This kind of on-again-off-again relationship can be confusing and painful for both partners," McGinnis says. "If this is happening, it's best to work toward consistency or move on."
You may find that things work themselves out, or that your paths cross again in the future. But if not, there was likely a large issues going on — such as a lack of compatibility — that no amount of good timing could fix.