What It Really Means If You & Your Partner Don’t Get Angry About The Same Things


Most people don’t care if their partners share their style or music taste, but many want partners who share their values. After all, our values dictate how we act in every situation. So, people with incompatible values are prone to rubbing each other the wrong way.

A relationship can only work between two people with conflicting values if they both feel free to hold and express those values, Divorce and Women’s Empowerment Coach Heather Debreceni tells Bustle. However, this can get tricky. People often end up feeling like they can’t express their conflicting values without getting into an argument, so they suppress them. This can make you feel like you’re losing yourself in the relationship.

Another thing to think about is which values are most important to you, Tristan Coopersmith, licensed psychotherapist and founder of LifeLab, tells Bustle. For example, maybe you’d prefer your significant other be punctual, but you could date a chronically late person if they’re also passionate about social justice. You may be able to compromise on some values but not others.

Here are some signs you and your partner don’t really see eye to eye on the things held nearest and dearest to your hearts.

You Spend Money Differently

Different spending habits reflect different priorities, says Coopersmith. After all, what you’re willing to spend money on is literally what you value (which probably also explains why women are so underpaid, but that’s another story). If you spend a lot of money on therapy, for example, and your partner wouldn’t consider spending any at all, you may not agree about the importance of mental health. Or, if they spend money on fancy clothes and you don’t care at all what you wear, you might find them materialistic.

Their Choices Don’t Make Sense To You
Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Confusion or frustration at your partner’s choices indicates a lack of compatibility, says Coopersmith. You don’t always have to agree, but you should at least be able to relate to each other. If watching your partner make decisions feels sort of like observing an alien species on another planet, there may be too many differences between you.

You Don’t Get Angry About The Same Things

You can tell a lot about a person based on what they get mad about, says Coopersmith. For example, if one if you is mad about hate speech and the other is mad about people trying to censor it, that’s a pretty big disagreement. Strong emotions in general can provide a glimpse into someone’s values.

You Spend Your Time Differently

Like how you spend money, how you spend time reveals your priorities, says Coopersmith. For example, if you spend all your free time doing extra work and your partner spends theirs watching YouTube videos, you may get frustrated by their lack of ambition, and they may feel like you prioritize work to their detriment.

You Have Trouble Agreeing On What To Do Together

Disagreements about how to spend a Friday night can reflect disagreements in values, life coach Zakiyya Rosebelle tells Bustle. For example, if someone wants to go out drinking while the other wants to spend time with their family, these people may have different ideas about what’s important.

You Disagree On Politics

People often choose a political affiliation based on their values. Studies have found, for example, that liberals value empirical data more and conservatives value purity more. Politically mixed relationships do happen, but there’s a reason only about 10 percent of marriages are mixed-party.

Their Actions Give You A Sinking Feeling

Often, our intuitions are the best judges of people, says Debreceni. If something your partner says makes your hair stand on end or gives you a sinking feeling in your stomach, there’s a chance it goes against your values — which means their values might also go against yours. “It can be easy to explain away that feeling that something is off,” says Debreceni. “We tell ourselves that we are just being too sensitive or that maybe we misunderstood our partner’s response. The first thing you can do when you notice the misalignment is to acknowledge that your feelings are valid and that whether you are being sensitive or not, you are entitled to feel that way.”

If you notice any of these signs, Debreceni suggests talking to your partner about the words or actions of theirs that go against your values. In the best case scenario, they weren’t thinking and agree that what they did was wrong, or they’re at least willing to make a change to make you comfortable. However, Debreceni adds, “if their response creates the same uncomfortable feeling inside you as their behavior does, that’s a sign that things are also wrong in your relationship.”