In the early days of dating, it can be easy to miss red flags and other signs you and your partner might not be compatible. And really, that's 100 percent understandable. When you're busy going on dates, having your first kiss, and enjoying the thrill of it all, you might not feel like talking about your goals, values, or where you see yourselves in five years.
But if you'd like to create a long-term relationship with a partner who truly gets you, then it may help to take a small step back from it all, and really see things for what they are. If you notice incompatibilities, or a lack of desire to compromise, chat with your partner about it.
"Your partner may tell you honestly that they don’t think they will be able to change," Dr. Christine Carpenter, a psychologist and dating coach, tells Bustle. "In that case, it’s good to know sooner than later. If your significant other decides to try to address the concern but over time, nothing seems to be changing, it may just be that the relationship isn’t a good fit."
Keep in mind, though, that no relationship will ever be "perfect," and you may even want to make a few compromises yourself. But you should still trust your gut and act accordingly, if you truly don't think you'll be compatible long-term. Here are a few problems you might notice early on, according to experts.
1. You're Arguing About Core Beliefs
If you're in the early days of dating, and you happen to notice that you don't share them same basic core values or beliefs — and it's causing heated arguments — it's not likely you'll magically see eye-to-eye.
"Values are an extremely important part of being compatible, in the short-term, and long," psychotherapist Jennifer L. Silvershein, LCSW, tells Bustle. "We are guided by our values and large issues arise when partners do not have many shared values. The disagreements may be small at first [...] but similar patterns can grow into larger issues." And that may not be worth it.
2. You Already Feel Bored
If you've only been going out for a few months and are already feeling bored, take note. "This is the classic 'good on paper' scenario," Dr. Carpenter says. "There isn’t anything overtly wrong about your partner or the match but you just don’t feel excited about it."
Of course, there could be another explanation, such as nerves or a fear of opening up, that's making you feel disconnected. So you might want to stick it out for a little longer, to see if those issues are to blame. And yet, as Dr. Carpetner says, "if there isn’t a spark early on, it probably won’t show up later."
3. They're Not Respecting Your Boundaries
"When one person clearly states a need or preference and is ignored or minimized, this is a big red flag," Dr. Carpenter says. It might be a sign your partner just isn't very respectful, which is a problem that has the potential to get worse.
4. You Already Find Their Habits Annoying
"If you find their habits annoying and not really [endearing] early on, it's probably not going to get any better and it may get worse," therapist Katie Leikam, LCSW, DCC, tells Bustle. "These can grow into deeper annoyances and into dislike."
For compatible couples, quirks and habits that were once endearing may become slightly annoying, as the years go by. But for incompatible couples, they become just another thing to dislike about each other. As Leikam says, "When the newness wears off, you will probably enjoy them even less."
5. You're Changing Yourself For Them
"A more subtle dynamic that can point to incompatibility, is if you find yourself modifying your typical behaviors for no readily identifiable reason," Dr. Carpenter says. Maybe you're holding back during conversations, or downplaying your personality.
If you notice that you're feeling the need to act differently, check in with yourself and try to figure out why. It may be that you don't think you'd be compatible, if you were to truly be yourself. And that's not a ruse you'll want to maintain.
6. You're Not Speaking The Same Language
As far as the five Love Languages go, it's fine if you and your partner aren't on the exact same page. If you can recognize that you have different ways of showing and receiving love, and make an effort to make up the difference for each other, it doesn't have to be a dealbreaker.
You might, however, decide that it creates too much of a rift. And that's perfectly OK. "People generally express love the way they want to receive love," relationship expert Kevin Darné, author of My Cat Won't Bark, tells Bustle. "If you're not feeling loved it doesn't bode well long-term."
7. You're Struggling To Imagine A Future
While you may not have had a super heavy conversation about the future, or nailed down any big plans, listen to your intuition if you suspect your partner isn't on the same page, in terms of your main goals.
If they don't want to get married and you do, or if they want kids and you don't, it may be wise to accept you're incompatible — even if you're currently having a great time together.
"There is no amount of 'work' or 'communication' that can overcome being with someone who simply does not want what you want," Darné says. "Compatibility trumps compromise." So if it seems early on like you don't want the same things — and you feel incompatible as a result — it may be a sign to move on and find someone who will be a better fit.