couple_using-mobile_phones_in_bedLove may move mountains and always win, but love doesn’t trump compatibility.

Of all the lessons I’ve learned in love, the hardest and perhaps most important was this: loving someone doesn’t equal being compatible.

In one long term relationship, I ignored signs of our incompatibility early on. She was broody and cynical, making my joy and optimism feel silly.

She wanted to see beautiful places from the comforts of a vehicle and I wanted to be climbing around in the dirt in the middle of it. In the end, all the signs pointed to the inevitable – a breakup.

I couldn’t help but wonder; what would it be like if I paid attention to signs of incompatibility earlier rather than waiting 4 years to deal with it? Here are 5 signs you’re not compatible with.

1. Frustration exceeds joy

Whenever emotions bend toward the negative more often than toward the positive one of two things is happening – either you’re at a normal bump in the road, one that is an opportunity to navigate and grow together, or the stress of the relationship outweighs the benefits. How do we know the difference? In my experience, it’s all about patterns over time. If you’re unable to repair breaks or there is a constant undercurrent of negative emotions, it’s just not meant to be.

2. Depth is limited

In one relationship we had so much in common that it didn’t make sense why we argued all.the.time. We both loved working out, drinking wine, and laughing at stupid funny movies. While having things in common is important, shared interests are not the glue that holds people together. What you really want to know is: how do we navigate our differences, particularly when there is conflict? Ex and I were great on the surface, but we just didn’t have the depth together to move through life as a team.

3. One person is in the centre

One of the biggest relationship red flags is when we become someone else in order to make the relationship work. Love is not having to play small to keep the peace or to support someone else’s goals. Real love is about being a team, where it’s mutually beneficial for both people to thrive.

4. You rarely understand each other

I recall a relationship that when we first started dating, I listened to her share a story about her ex and a pivotal conflict they had. I asked her what her role was in the fight and she stared at me blankly. Needless to say, a situation almost identical to this one arose in our relationship and I remember thinking, “Oh yeah, she didn’t get it with her ex and she’s not going to understand it with me either.”

5. You can’t be yourself

Without question, every single time I have been in a relationship where I was constantly criticized for being me, I knew we weren’t right together. Love isn’t controlled. Love isn’t my way or the highway. Love makes our lives bigger, not smaller. When we are truly loved and in a compatible relationship, it brings out the best in us.

Once we identify that we’re not compatible, how do we know when we are compatible? Healthy relationships are built on pillars that are like anchors to keep us grounded: trust, commitment, loyalty, vulnerability, respect, and passion. True compatibility is tied to these foundational pillars above all else.