Dating is hard. I have a lot of friends looking for a relationship, seriously dating, dating for fun and even getting married. There are so many things that contribute to relationship success, and it's almost impossible to figure out the right formula for the perfect couple.
I have watched as my friends are left heartbroken when they're hopeful for a relationship, then nothing comes of it. Or they're in a serious relationship then end up breaking up in a dramatic, crying mess. It's not fun.
Before you give up dating altogether though, there are a few things you should know. If you just can't figure out why your relationships aren't working, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Ph.D. from Psychology Today has the answers:
1. You have different ambitions
Your relationship will suffer if one of you is highly driven and the other isn't. If you're constantly working, coming up with new ideas and figuring out how you can progress in life while your significant other sits on the couch and watches TV all day, neither of you can be truly happy.
You'll look at your partner as a lazy freeloader, and they'll look at you as an uptight perfectionist. There's a happy medium, and balance is key. Chamorro-Premuzic notes that two people can have totally different careers and aspirations, but they should be somewhat equal in ambition.
2. Differences in openness
Chamorro-Premuzic refers to openness as having an open mind. People with open minds tend to thrive on new experiences, new foods, learning new culture and gaining knowledge. They often love travelling and learning about the world.
On the other hand, those who have "low openness" are a little more reserved. They're set in their ways, and they don't like taking risks. This results in both parties losing interest fairly quickly.
3. Emotional intelligence differences
This one is tough because everyone has their emotional issues. However, if you consider yourself an emotionally stable person, you're more likely to attract emotionally unstable people - and that can be detrimental to your happiness.
People who are less emotionally stable look for stability in a partner, and they are often drawn to stable people because they have a calming effect. If you can be that person for someone, that's great. There are many cases where this works if it's a minor difference, but it's often bad for relationships if there's too big of an emotional difference between partners.
4. Extraversion vs. introversion
Again, this type of relationship can totally work if the difference is minor. However, couples who are on completely different pages when it comes to this tend to break up because they're not socially compatible.
If you're an introvert, you hate going to parties and you could stay in every Friday night and read your book; you wouldn't be happy with someone who wants to go out and party with your friends every single night. These two extremes can't make each other happy when it comes to social situations.
5. Differences in altruism
Altruism is basically the innate desire to help others and practice empathy. We all have a little bit of that, but some people are more selfish than others, and that's OK. However, if you're the type of person who lives for giving blood, helping the poor and donating money to charities, someone who has no interest in that might seem selfish and insensitive.
This can cause serious problems in relationships. On the other hand, the more selfish partner might be bothered by all the time you spend giving yourself to others. There are both types of people in the world, and it's not a bad thing if you identify more with one or the other. But if you're on opposite ends of the spectrum, your relationship has a higher chance of failure.
The best part about these five points is that you can see them in a person from an early stage. You can usually tell fairly quickly whether or not someone is willing to spend their Friday night donating blood, and you can tell by someone's Instagram account how open they are (most of the time).
Because you can see these behaviors so early, you can make educated decisions on whether or not to pursue the relationship. Knowing at an early stage will help you avoid a lot of heartbreak, and you can be on your way to finding your true soul mate.