I expect you’re now seeing your past romance in a more realistic way. And by the time you’ve read this article, you should have an even greater understanding of it, and of how it compared to the sort of relationship that is likely to last.

Often, in our grief, we tell ourselves over and over again that we have lost the love of our life, and that the relationship was perfect.

But how great was it really?

I have long believed that many relationships that go wrong were never right in the first place.

In other words, many people’s romances don’t offer genuine and authentic love, don’t help them, don’t sustain them, aren’t any fun, are short on companionship, and absolutely hopeless sexually.

But you’re different aren’t you? Yours was fine.

Or, was it?

Seeing it as it really was can help you get over it.

So in this article I’m going to share with you an inventory I devised some time ago, which consists of 25 indicators of a good and compatible relationship.

Many individuals would claim to have happy relationships that don’t embrace all of the points listed below. But if you find that your past romance was pretty deficient in most of them, then you might concede that things weren’t that great after all, and that maybe you were allowing yourself to be short-changed.

The Good-Relationship Inventory

In a happy and compatible relationship, adults:

• love each other

• respect each other

• are courteous to each other

• are generally about as physically attractive as one another (this doesn’t apply if one of you is very rich and/or powerful!)

• can talk about their feelings together

• laugh at the same things

• share similar political views

• have the same sort of body-clock – i.e. both like getting up early, or both like staying up late

• have similar sex drives

• respect each other’s religious or moral beliefs

• are of similar intelligence

• have broadly similar ages (age difference less than 10 years)

• agree on whether or not to have children

• make an effort to get on with each other’s friends and families

• join in each other’s interests, or encourage each other to pursue activities that make them happy, even if they do these alone.

• allow each other time and space to be alone, or to see personal friends.

• take care of each other – especially when one partner is pregnant, ill, tired, or stressed.

• hold similar views on how clean and tidy their home should be

• have similar views on celebrating birthdays/anniversaries

• enjoy the same sorts of holidays

• share similar views on issues like global warming, world debt, and giving to charity

• have similar attitudes to health, keeping fit and how much to drink or smoke

• enjoy the same sort of music, films and TV – or at least make an effort to accommodate differences of opinion

• believe they are equals in the relationship

Now, you may say: ‘Well, if I’d had all these things in common with my partner, we’d have been clones of each other not just lovers!’ This isn’t true, actually. Plenty of good relationships are compatible in all of these ways.

I agree that there are many happy relationships that thrive with fewer than these 25 indicators in place, but when couples share less than 15 of these, their relationship is frequently ‘bumpy’ to say the least.

Sometimes, of course, individuals do have most of the points in common in the early stages. These are relationships that start by being fine, but in which one or other of the partners eventually develops differently, or outgrows it.

hearts photo

If this applies to you, then do accept that you once had a lot going for you both, but also accept that that time has gone.

In addition, try to take on board that there’s no reason why you should not find love and compatibility again.

But for readers who can see that they were incompatible from the outset – but who hung on in there despite many differences and deficiencies – it is important to acknowledge that you were in a pretty impoverished relationship.

Weep for the end of your romance, by all means, but weep for the reality of it. Don’t waste your time on falsehoods.


Naturally, you’re going to feel very sad – especially if this is the first time you’ve really accepted that your romantic partnership wasn’t up to much. But this acceptance should galvanise you into developing more self-belief and self-regard. And it should also encourage you to the view that you will never put up with such a disastrous situation ever again.

Often it’s only by facing up to the inadequacies in a previous relationship that we can make sure we get a better one next time.