We all have personal goals that we want to achieve for ourselves and we all have goals that we share with our partner and family.
As we evolve, so do our values and goals.
As one lifestyle coach referred to as Coach Carly puts it: “Our priorities often change as we hit different milestones in life.”
For example, maybe at the start of your relationship, you valued freedom, but now you know that you would feel more fulfilled with a sense of security.
Maybe the idea of variety was exciting at first but now you crave certainty.
Perhaps you started your relationship with a focus on financial growth, but now you feel like you need to contribute your resources and time to a cause that’s important to you.
“None of these things are good or bad, or eighth or wrong,” says Coach Carly. “But if you’re in a relationship where your goals and values are totally different, it might be time to take stock of where you’re at and reassess things.”
Here are ten signs your goals no longer align with your partner’s—and it could very well be time to move on.
1) You’re worlds apart when it comes to commitment
This is probably the fastest way to find out if the two of you are on the same wavelength, says Bustle writer Kristin Magaldi.
“If you are in it for the long haul and your partner is in the here-and-now taking things one day at a time, then you have a problem on your hands,” she says.
At some point, you’ll both have to talk about what you both want from the relationship.
“If those things don’t match up, it’s not easy to come back from that,” says Magaldi. “Knowing your partner might want more or less commitment than you puts you on two separate pages on an issue that can’t be ignored for long.”
2) Your priorities are also alien to each other
Our priorities can shift and change as our lives do.
If your priority has gone from being a career-oriented person who is climbing the corporate ladder to someone who wants to leave the rat race and start a family, but your partner has no plans even remotely close to becoming a parent, well then you both may be on entirely different courses.
Another scenario could be if your career is going to take you to another country for a long-term period. Your partner may not be on board with going because they have other priorities such as taking care of an ailing parent.
“Having conflicting priorities is a common reason why relationships fail,” says Barbara Field from VeryWellMind.
“If you find that someone you’re dating or someone you’ve been with for a while has vastly different relationship desires or life goals than you do, your relationship may begin to fall apart.”
3) Your conversations never come to a compromise
Say your spouse wants to move where their job is placing them, but you want to stay in your city because it’s close to your family, it may be very hard to come to a compromise that keeps the relationship intact.
The more the two of you talk about the situation, the more you both double down on your own perspective.
This is what you would call an impasse.
“An impasse is a feeling of being trapped and emotionally attached to a perspective that doesn’t allow us to step into another stage of life,” says life coach Sophia Calheiros.
“When we’re stuck on something, we’re oftentimes judging the situation and ourselves, attached to a particular emotion that we just can’t seem to get over.”
4) You have different spending habits
It could be that one of you is saving as much as they can to buy a house while the other is something of a spendaholic.
The first thing they do after they pay the bills is go shopping for things they could do without.
Financial incompatibility is when you have different philosophies about spending, saving, and investing your money, says Sharon Epperson of CNBC.
Friction over spending and financial goals can lead some to “commit so-called financial infidelity,” she says. This is hiding purchases from their partner.
“Even if there is no financial cheating, money issues can still cause a strain in relationships, arguments, or even divorce.”
Epperson says that one in five couples identifies money as their greatest relationship challenge.
5) You aren’t intellectually in sync
Many couples who have mismatched personalities can still be happy—especially if you’re both growing together over time.
“People can be attracted to one another but be on a different level intellectually,” says licensed therapist team Regain.
“In such circumstances, a person can be with someone who treats them well but still feel out of place. Or they may feel as if their relationship is lacking something.”
Intellectual compatibility affects various areas of a relationship: emotionally, socially, physically, [and] spiritually.
“As the relationship develops, certain aspects come to life when combining the personalities of each partner. It influences how partners stimulate each other intellectually and their chemistry.”
So if you start to see more and more that you have less and less in common intellectually with your partner, that could be a problem that won’t be “solved” over time.
6) You aren’t inspired by any of the same interests
You don’t have to have all the same interests in order to be compatible, but if you aren’t even remotely interested in your partner’s passions, then this can be an issue.
They might feel resentful that you don’t care about what they love to do.
For example, if they love to paint in their spare time and have a goal of showing their work in a gallery one day, but you see their hobby as something that just takes up space in the spare bedroom, then this can make them feel unsupported—and unloved.
“All else considered, couples that have similar interests to a similar degree tend to have healthier relationships,” says therapist Stephen J. Betchen.
“These partners show interest in one another, think alike, share passion, enjoy similar adventures, and in the end, bond,” he says.
7) You both have different goals when it comes to downtime
If your partner makes time to go golfing once or twice a week but doesn’t seem to be interested in date night every Saturday or doing something else with just the two of you—other than staying home and watching TV, of course—then this can be a problem.
“As the relationship continues to move forward, the couple begins to spend more time together. This change in time takes away from other areas in life, and soon the priorities of the person begin to be more apparent,” says Patrick Schultz from Milwaukee Counselor.
“If you both have different priorities you can begin to become frustrated and angry and have those arguments about how someone is spending their time,” he says.
If these things aren’t addressed, then arguments will be inevitable.
“Resentments can also come out if this as you may feel like you are not as important to your partner as their priorities might be.”
8) Your values aren’t aligned anymore
You don’t have to agree on everything, but having the same values is the very foundation of a solid relationship.
We have to bring to the table the values we desire in our significant other. This of course includes things like trust, loyalty, and reliability but it also includes other things that are important to you.
9) You can’t help wanting them to change
If you find yourself wishing that your partner was more open and easier to talk to for instance, but they tend to be on the quiet and reserved side, this will only become more of an issue as time goes on.
Your partner’s nature is probably part and parcel of their personality. Sure, they might slowly open up more here and there over time, but that still may not be enough for you.
Trying to change them will only lead to more disconnection and resentment.
Your goals for the dynamic of the relationship may not be realized with this person, and it’s important to be introspective about what you truly want.
Maybe being with this person has made you see that you need someone who wears their heart on their sleeve or that you don’t have to constantly guess what they’re thinking.
You may have found their introversion endearing in the beginning, but now it’s making you more and more frustrated with time.
Communicating this to them might only result in: “This is how I am. You knew this when you met me.”
10) The future looks different to both of you
Relationship writer Taylor Bennett gives the follow scenario:
You and your partner are on your usual morning walk, but on a whim you decide to take a different route. One that leads you to a beautiful gray brick house with a huge front yard.
“Wow, what an incredible house,” you say. “Who knows, maybe one day we’ll move out of our apartment and live there,” you say.
Your partner: “No way. There is no way I’d ever buy a house here. We’ll be much happier on the West Coast.”
You always saw yourself starting a family in your hometown, complete with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins—in other words, your tribe.
Moments like this can be turning points in relationships. You can either be okay with what your partner would prefer or convince them to come around to your idea. But the reality is you might completely clash and not come to some sort of compromise.
If it’s the latter, then you may not ever be on the same page.
Having different goals in relationships raises the question:
Why does love so often start out great, only to become something that ends up disillusioning us?
And what’s the solution to not being aligned with your partner on the things that are important to you?
The answer is contained in the relationship you have with yourself.
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