If You Can’t Agree On These 11 Things, Your Partner Isn't Your Soulmate
If you're looking to see if your relationship has staying power, take a second to evaluate your shared values, which experts say might be the key to answering, "Is my partner my soulmate?". Are you and your partner pretty much on the same page when it comes to your beliefs, and where you see yourselves going in life? Or are you constantly arguing and trying to convince each other to change? If you can't ever seem to agree on certain foundational things in your relationship, experts say there's a good chance your partner isn't "The One."
That's not to say, however, that in order to have a long-lasting, loving connection with your partner, you have see eye-to-eye 100 percent of the time. "It is always OK and healthy to have disagreements in a relationship — disagreeing is not a concern but rather the way we disagree that determines the health of the relationship," Kelsey Latimer, PhD, CEDS-S, assistant director at Center for Discovery, tells Bustle. "If we are open to hearing the other person, staying away from bringing up the past, and not labeling the person in the disagreement, then disagreeing can be a sign of health in a relationship and separation between the two people."
But, when it comes to sticking together long-term and cultivating a healthy relationship you will likely want to agree on certain core values. "At the base of the relationship, the most important things to agree on are values and beliefs about life," Latimer says. "It is hard for a relationship to survive differences in these areas." Here are a few things experts say long-term couples should agree on, if they want a healthy, "soulmate" type of relationship.
1. Basic Core Values
Your "core values" are basically what you think of as right and wrong, as well as how you'd like to live your life. And finding a partner who generally feels the same way can make for an easier and happier relationship.
"Having synchronicity and complementary (not necessarily exactly the same) beliefs in these areas is key for long-term success of a relationship," says Latimer. "We might be excited by the novelty of someone who is very different to us and these relationships might be fun for the short-term, but if they have differences in core values, the relationship is unlikely to survive for long."
While pretty much everything can be worked on and improved, it's important to keep an eye out for mismatched core beliefs in your early days of dating. If you spot something major that you just can't agree on, it may be a good idea to go your separate ways.
2. What Constitutes An Affair
Since everyone defines cheating differently, it'll be important to find a partner who values the same relationship "rules" as you do. "Is it OK to text members of the opposite sex? What about going to dinner with an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend? Having clear lines about what is cheating is necessary for relationship success," licensed marriage and family therapist Dana Koonce tells Bustle.
So have a conversation, as soon as you feel comfortable, about what an affair might look like in your relationship. Does your partner tend to agree? If you're both on the same page, and hold the same values as to what fidelity should look like, then you'll likely have a healthy relationship.
3. How To Handle Yourselves During An Argument
Arguments and disagreements will come up over the course of your relationship, so you'll want to be with someone who argues in a fair, healthy way. As Keren Eldad, a relationship expert and founder of Date with Enthusiasm says, you should both be able to fight without name calling or "going below the belt."
"The principle for soulmate love is that no argument is for naught," she says. "You argue towards a solution, or towards finding a win-win." Healthy argument styles can be learned and practiced, but take note of your partner's inability to learn or change their ways. If they tend to fight dirty, they might not be the person for you.
4. Where You'd Like To Live
Deciding where to live is more about supporting each other, than it is about picking the "perfect" city or town. For example, let's say your partner was offered a really cool job in a city you never imagined yourself living in. "If this person is your soulmate, then being with them will trump the dislike of the city, and you will find yourself eager to go," says Eldad. And, the same should be true for your partner, if you were the one offered the job.
A big move that benefits your partner won't feel like an unfair compromise if the person is your soulmate, Eldad says. It'll feel like something you're happy to do.
So take note of any hesitations you have when it comes to bending for your partner. You should both be willing to meet each other half way, and find compromises when it comes to the big things in life. If you truly don't want to, the relationship may not be meant to be.
5. Whether Or Not You'll Have Children
In the best case scenario, you and your partner will be on the same page when it comes to whether or not you'd like to have kids. If you're with your soulmate, you'll probably see eye-to-eye right off the bat.
But it's also a great sign if you can find a healthy compromise in a situation where you don't agree. If you don't want kids, but your partner does, you might, for example, choose to adopt later in life, or simply take on the role as cool aunt/uncle.
Either way, Eldad says "you will decide together what to do here, there won't be black and white." It's the couples that can't agree that aren't meant to be.
6. How To Spend Money
It may sound simplistic, but money does play a major role in relationships. "Not who makes what, but rather your general approach to money. Your views on it. This makes a big difference, because like it or not, a lot of our lives revolve around acquiring, spending, saving, investing, lamenting — and worrying about — money," Caleb Backe, a health and wellness coach at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle.
To go through life with a partner who has wildly different views concerning finances can cause a lot of stress — and may even lead to a breakup down the road. So your first step would be to talk about money, and what it means in your relationship. If your partner is soulmate-material, you'll likely be able to reach an agreement. But if not, it may be healthier to spare yourselves from years of fighting.
7. How You'll Spend Time With Family & Friends
While your relationship is obviously between you and your partner — and not between them and your parents, or you and their parents — it is important that you get along with the people in each other's lives, to some degree.
"If there is constant tension or fighting between your significant other and your parents, siblings, or bestie, then they are likely not your true soulmate," licensed clinical psychotherapist Erin Wiley tells Bustle. "If you have a partner that cannot at least respect those relationships, there is likely more trouble ahead."
Soulmates are always able to find a way to have each other's backs, even in tough times. And if that means having a family intervention, or going to couples therapy, they'll be willing to do it.
8. What Respect Looks Like
As with cheating, many people have different definitions when it comes to respect. But making sure you see eye-to-eye with your significant other will be key. "Soulmate relationships have a high level of respect, honesty, and appreciation," relationship counselor Michele Meiche tells Bustle.
If this doesn't seem to be the case for your relationship, or you constantly feel disrespected, having a convo about that with your partner can help. By calling attention to the ways your partner is disrespecting you, you'll be giving them a chance to change their behavior. (Just make sure that they actually do.)
9. How To Make The Relationship A Priority
Individually, you'll each have your own priorities in life, such as career goals, hobbies, etc. But if you're with your soulmate, you'll both be keen on keeping your relationship a priority, too.
"It is very difficult to be in a relationship where there are different priorities," licensed counselor Monte Drenner tells Bustle. "Soulmates will have the relationship as the priority regardless of whatever difficulties that may come to challenge that agreement. The challenges they face together that threaten the priority will actually draw them closer together."
If you find that your priorities seem unbalanced, talk with your partner as soon as you can. It's possible it's just a phase, and one that will pass in due time. But if you constantly feel like your relationship is an afterthought, you may not be in a "soulmate" situation.
10. How Much Sex Is Enough Sex
While sex isn't everything in a relationship, it can make for an unfulfilling life if you end up with someone who isn't willing to talk about intimacy. If you have incompatible sex drives, or want different types of sex, it's certainly not a deal breaker. But being unwilling to talk about it, and reach a compromise, usually is.
"Sex in a relationship is as much about communication as it is about physical activity," Joshua Klapow, PhD, Clinical Psychologist and Host of The Web, tells Bustle. "Like it or not, the path to sexual compatibility is through communication. So if you are not willing or able to communicate it means you are not willing to have a sexually compatible relationship."
11. What The Future Looks Like
It's pretty tough to have a long-lasting, healthy relationship if you and your partner can't agree on what the future will look like. Will you get married? Will you move in together? Will you have kids? Are you constantly arguing over all of these things? "Constant conflict is a major sign that you aren’t paired with a person who shares the same beliefs, morals, and goals of a relationship," therapist Dr. Saudia L. Twine, Ph.D., NCC, LLPC, LLMFT tells Bustle.
While you don't have to be identical (and hey, it would be boring if you were) you should be able to reach a compromise and/or eventually agree on a general direction for your life together. If you can't — and you've done everything you can do to meet each other halfway — this may not be the "soulmate" relationship you need.