How do you find out if you and your partner are truly compatible? Or if you haven’t yet found your perfect partner, work out who they are before you meet them?
Relationship compatibility may not sound very sexy as a subject, but it is the key principle that determines whether your relationship will be a lifetime of love and laughter or destructive disaster.
Why is relationship compatibility so important?
Because the lack of it causes the break up of relationships. A few relationships break up because of violence or abuse, but the majority end because fundamentally the couple were just not compatible.
The majority of people that end up in marriage or relationship counselling are trying to patch up relationships where they are just not compatible. You could learn some great new communication skills but frankly it’s like applying chocolate icing to a cake made of sawdust.
Why is being compatible necessary?
There are several key areas of compatibility that I’ll outline later on. The easiest way to illustrate why it’s necessary is to give you some examples.
The most obvious level of compatibility exists at the physical level. You know how it goes when you fancy someone. It grabs you at a gut level and gives you a tingle of excitement the first time you see them. A rush of chemicals flood your body and you feel attracted to them. Physical attraction or compatibility is often the starter for a potential relationship. If it doesn’t exist then the two of you will probably just pass each other by without a second glance.
So that’s ‘sexual chemistry’. The next component of compatibility is ‘best friend’. This is a little less obvious but more important later on in a relationship. One place where your chances of remaining best friends can be seen is in the area of what you value in life. I’ll exaggerate this example to make it easier to appreciate.
Let’s say you value adventure. You love nothing more than exploring new, challenging areas of rarely visited parts of the planet. The partner you’ve hitched up with has one of his highest values as routine. He loves to have a routine – for work, for play, for sex!
After you’re both over the initial romantic phase of your relationship you will have a major issue. One of you wants to go off exploring the world, one of you wants to do the same old things over and over again. The best that can happen here is a compromise which is going to disturb both of you as your partner is effectively preventing you from doing one of the things that you love most in life. You’re also preventing him from fulfilling his value. Neither of you is wrong, you’re just not compatible in this area of your life.
Now imagine a couple with not just one incompatible factor, but many. Stack all these mismatches together and the two people together are constantly being frustrated by each other. Frustration often leads to anger, a desire to seek revenge, to hurt each other, so pretty soon your new found soul mate turns into your cell mate. We have a 52% divorce rate in some of our major countries, these feelings are too painful to bear in the long term for most of us. Frankly, why would you?
Of course there are many reasons for a divorce – affairs, inability to communicate civilly anymore, ‘we just grew apart’, etc. But many of these reasons can be traced back to a lack of compatibility right at the beginning of the relationship.
The bottom line? The more compatible you are with your partner the more you will ‘naturally’ get on together. If you have just the right blend of compatible factors between the two of you, then you have a relationship of fun and love for life.
How do you know if you’re compatible?
You need to be compatible on three levels, namely:
- Physical chemistry
- Best friends
- ‘Business of a relationship’
Waiting to find a partner that’s 100% compatible in all of these areas with you is a little overly optimistic. What you’re looking for is a high level of compatibility in the areas that matter most to you.
The only way you can know if you’re compatible with someone is to know what areas of compatibility matter most to you. Once you’ve established that, it soon becomes very obvious whether the partner you’re considering having a relationship with meets your needs for a long term, happy relationship or not.
What happens if you don’t know you’re compatible?
The 52% divorce rate happens. For you personally, it’s probably years of finding potential partners, being together for months, perhaps years, before realizing you’re not ‘right’ (read ‘compatible’) for each other and having yet another painful break up.
Would you ever hop into a car with no idea where you were going? Worse, would you attempt to do it blind fold? The approach most people use around dating is very similar, just crashing into people and hoping it’s going to work out OK between the two of them. Every once in a while that may well work out but it’s hardly surprising that so many people get hurt in the process.
Does this approach sound familiar to you? Have you been using it more or less in your relationships up until now?
You really must know what you’re looking for in a partner and be willing to keep your eyes open. Especially if you fancy the pants off them and are all too eager to close your eyes and pucker up!
Alex Wise: Alex is the publisher of Loveawake dating site, which launched in July 2009 and has been providing original free dating services and relationship advices, tips, articles, reviews, and videos to readers ever since.