It’s a difficult truth that love isn’t always enough. Sometimes it’s the fact that you don’t want to live in the same place or have the same type of life as your partner, so one of you can never really be happy in the other one’s existence. Sometimes the timing is just wrong, and other times, there’s an even more fundamental problem: you can love someone without really understanding them.
There’s a good chance that if you and your partner don’t understand each other, it will manifest as arguing. Because, ultimately, you need to understand each other to make it in the long run. “If you don’t feel listened to, respected for your thoughts/opinions, even when you disagree, and comfortable speaking your mind — these are signs your relationship will not work out,” Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC, psychotherapist, relationship coach, and divorce mediator, tells Bustle. But that doesn’t mean it has to be the end of the road.
“If your relationship communication is characterized by misunderstandings driven by difficulty expressing feelings and hearing what a partner has to say — these can be worked on if both people are truly motivated to make these better.” You can work on it, but there has to be a nugget of understanding that can be expanded on. Sometimes, you’re just on different pages.
It’s not just arguing that shows you don’t understand each other — sometimes the signs are more subtle. Here are the signs that someone doesn’t understand you, even if they love you, according to experts.
1. They Don’t Pick Up On Your Emotions
On the most basic level, your partner should normally pick up on your emotions and mirror them, at least to a degree. If you’re upset, then they sense that and react accordingly. But this doesn’t always happen. “Your partner laughs when you expect them to be sad or sober just as you are,” relationship counselor and clinical sexologist Dr. Martha Tara Lee of Eros Coaching, tells Bustle. “Your partner may love you but may not understand the extent to which you feel and think about the issue in question.”
If this is the case for you, you can try communicating more, but your partner should be able to sense how you’re feeling fairly easily.
2. They Keep Asking “Why?”
If your partner seems puzzled by why you do the things you do, that’s a red flag. “We ask people ‘why’ when we don’t understand,” Lee says. Sure, it’s normal once in a while for them to be curious about your reason, but if they seem consistently confused, pay attention.
3. They Can’t Talk About Your Relationship Or Feelings
If you feel like you can’t ever get into issues regarding your feelings or your relationship, that can show that your partner doesn’t understand you. Maybe they’re just emotionally immature and don’t understand anyone’s feelings, or maybe you two are just too different. “People who are emotionally immature are stunted when it comes to talking about feelings,” Samantha Burns, couples counselor and dating coach at Love Successfully, tells Bustle. “Processing emotional experiences could be very overwhelming for [them], or tap into some sort of vulnerability or shame that causes [them] to shut down or withdraw, rather than being able to explain and process these complicated feelings.”
But if talking about things you hold dear is difficult, that’s a sign, no matter how much they love you.
4. You Feel Distance
What does your relationship look like? Sometimes, you can have all the love and fun in the world, but there’s no oomph in your connection. “Sure, [your partner] makes you die laughing or is a blast to do activities with, but when it comes to getting more intimate, [they] just can’t go there,” Burns says. “Intimacy involves opening yourself up, sharing, connecting and brings about a sense of closeness, affection, and familiarity.” If you feel a distance between you, even though in some ways you’re so in love, it may be that you’re just not clicking.
5. You Obsess Over Your Differences
Sometimes, the little things that annoy us about our partner feel larger than life — and that’s often reflective of a bigger problem. “If you find yourself focusing on your partner’s flaws and things you want to change, then they are not the right one for you,” Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle.
If you don’t feel understood, you might fixate on why they wear a hat that you hate or how they could possibly have a certain taste in food but, really, it’s about not understanding each other.
6. You’re Not Interested In The Same Things
Relationships thrive on compatibility — and that can be intellectual as well as romantic. “Intellectual compatibility is when both people are mentally stimulated by the same conversations,” relationship coach and expert, Jenna Ponaman, CPC, tells Bustle. You don’t have to have every hobby in common, but if your partner seems totally bored by the movies, books, and activities you like then there may not be enough understanding for the long term.
7. You Don’t Feel Confident With Them
If you feel like your partner doesn’t understand you or that you’re not fully compatible, relationship coach, Andi LaBrune, tells Bustle that you may end up feeling resentment, jealousy, nervousness, or a lack of confidence around them. If you don’t feel like you can be yourself and be heard, it may bet hat you’re worried about not being understood.
No matter how much you love someone, for a relationship to work you need to feel understood. If you feel like that piece is missing, try communicating more and being more open with your partner. It may be that you haven’t shared enough — or it may be that you’re just on very different pages. Either way, it’s important to find out.
Originally posted on Bustle