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Lt. Dad's Fireside Chat Series: Good vs. Right Partners

lieutenant_dad's picture

Welcome back everyone. Take a seat next to the cozy fireplace. Grab a glass of wine, some popcorn, and a marshmallow to toast. Today we're going to cover good versus right partners.

When we think about the "perfect" partner, we tend to be very vague in our descriptions. We want them attractive, smart, driven, employed, good in bed, etc. We scour the earth looking for our lobster to join claws with, and when we find one - OH, it's MAGICAL!

Except, sometimes, we don't ever look past the vagueries. We don't ask ourselves what we really NEED or WANT out of a partner. Sure, after a bad break up, we might decide that dating a DJ again is a bad idea, or that we really DON'T want kids, or that living in Arizona permanently would be a damned nightmare.

While these things are important, they stop us from really figuring out what we need to be compatible, and how to properly weigh those needs against the rest of our desires. For example, I thought DH and I had great communication before COVID. But now that we're stuck with each other 24/7? We have found the cracks in our communication and have realized just how hard it is for us to change our communication styles to make our points and to listen. Good news is that we've recognized the issue and worked through this, but it has left me wondering, what if we couldn't work through it?

There comes a point in a relationship where the details have to be just as compatible as the "big stuff". But, it's hard to find a mate who matches at the level of how you articulate thoughts (e.g. need time to think or speaking off the cuff) and physically manage finances (e.g. spreadsheets versus checkbook) and interact with family (e.g. talk about everything versus an annual trip) and watch a show (e.g. talking through it or binge watching) and decompress on a daily basis (e.g. total silence or blaring music), etc. 

So what do we do?

Many times, we attach ourselves to the "good ones" and assume "good" means "right". They're attractive, financially stable, own a home, like to travel, but...




Folks, finding a "good" one doesn't mean you have found the "right" one. We've all heard that "love isn't enough", but neither is someone who has all the qualities of a good mate.

I have dated both men and women who I'd give a 5 out of 5 stars...for someone else. They're excellent people, but for a variety of reasons, they are not my lobster. Often, I discovered this within a few dates. Some, though, I kept around for much longer, and one time nearly destroyed my career in order to follow them on an adventure that was so anathema to who I was, and am, that I would have been MISERABLE even if it has worked out.

Good people, the lot of them. But - OH. Not my kind of right.

So, if you're just dating right now and are finding that it's tougher than it should be and that you're not finding happiness, but you don't want to lose someone who is "good" and think you're just "wrong", perhaps consider that maybe this person is GOOD, but they aren't RIGHT.

Not every relationship will end because of toxicity and drama. Sometimes, relationships to good people end because you just aren't compatible. That's 100% okay, and 100% of the reason why we date. We're trying to figure out if good = right. If it doesn't, please give yourself permission to end the relationship and not feel guilty over letting a "good one go".

Well my darlings, that's all the time we have for today. I hope the snacks and treats were tasty. 


CLove's picture

To everything. When I met my DH I wasnt sure he was the right one.

A year or so into our friendhsip, I noticed that hen we would spend time together, sometimes we didnt need to talk. I just felt so relaxed. it felt RIGHT.

Then I started realizing that while we didnt go to glamorous places and expensive dinners, that even just going to the corner store was nice with him, and felt right. I felt content that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, with the person I was supposed to be with. 

Now, he is a really GOOD guy. But when I was younger I had a "list", and lets just say that he checks very few of those boxes. How can someone so wrong be so right???? Syrupy song lyrics but they fit...

Thanks LD. Biggrin

halo1998's picture

We enjoyed each other's company.  DH gets my geeky humor and for the first time I was not afraid to be myself, good and bad.  DH makes me laugh on a daily basis and I make him laugh.  

I never really had a list but I would say DH is a good yin to my yang.  We compliment each other.


The VI looked good on, sucessfull, etc. seemed like the right one.  Boy wrong, so very wrong.  I knew it wasn't "right" but yet I persisted since everything "appeared" to be right.  

advice.only2's picture

And for the love of all this is holy don't have a baby with them when you are already feeling "trapped" or "worried" about the relationship.

tog redux's picture

I'd include - if they have kids make sure you are comfortable with how they parent (really investigate, spend time with them, watch how he deals with misbehavior and how he runs his home) and how they deal with their ex BEFORE you get married or move in.

So many people seem to think their partner is a "good parent" because he has his kid over for every visitation and likes to have fun with the kids. Then they move in and find out the kids have free rein all the time and he's just a "Fun Dad".

lieutenant_dad's picture

This is so important.

I think we, as a society, do a disservice to future SPs by pushing the narrative "don't be too involved with your partner while they have their children". I can totally understand that in a newer relationship, but if you're ready to move in together or get married, you need to get a good, bad, and ugly look at their parenting.

I would go so far as to ENCOURAGE GFs/BFs to stay with their partner for large chunks of their parenting time, including overnight, IF they are at the stage of their relationship that they're considering consolidating to one home. It's easy to keep kids loving and cute for a few hours. But, a full week? A long weekend? The facade cracks, and those cracks need to be seen and discussed BEFORE taking the plunge.

Gimlet's picture

Excellent post, L_D.

For example, I thought DH and I had great communication before COVID. But now that we're stuck with each other 24/7? We have found the cracks in our communication and have realized just how hard it is for us to change our communication styles to make our points and to listen. Good news is that we've recognized the issue and worked through this, but it has left me wondering, what if we couldn't work through it?

I can relate to this.  Ours has been brought on by the YSS situation and realizing how differently we look at family and parenting and finding a way to talk through that.  It's hard work but I think it's worth it.

lieutenant_dad's picture


Evil3's picture

DH was the first man I could be totally comfortable with and with whom I could be myself. He was someone who I enjoyed being with as much as possible even if it was a trip to the grocery store to buy toilet paper and a toothbrush.

The_Upgrade's picture

Very spot on. My last ex was a good guy but not the right one for me. We split amicably and now are friendly acquaintances. Sometimes I do bring him up to DH to prove the point that not all exes are batshit crazy and still out to get you years later. 

ESMOD's picture

This is so true... and I would also add that sometimes there are circumstances that make a "good person" a poor choice for a partner.

That may include the fact that they have kids.  I see several posts on here where people talk about their great spouse.. but they don't like their kids.. maybe never wanted them..or are resentful that their "joint" kid isn't the first and only that their partner will have. Sometimes it may be a toxic ex that cannot be marginalized or a child with a mental health issue etc...

I always say that not everyone is perfect.. but that you just have to find the "right" imperfections to match with you.  My husband is uber generous in nature.. this benefits me greatly.. but he also is generous with others.. sometimes it's irritating to have to join him in turning ourselves inside out when his older daughter and her husband/kids are coming over for a rare visit to our place.. but he is like that for me too.. and I get him 97% of the time.. lol.  so I grin and bear the smaller aggravation..haha.

But, there certainly were good people in my past that just were not a good fit for me... it's tough to walk away from that but in the end.. we only have one life.. we should not settle for something that is not compatible for us.

lieutenant_dad's picture

I think you did a great job tying my post back to stepparenting. This is excellent!