Compatibility is a term often used in terms of describing our intimate relationships – but is it really the arbiter of a successful match?
The truth is, initial compatibility in a relationship is often based on shared interests, such as you both like to party on the weekends, or you both enjoy expensive wine. This will be most evident early in the relationship, delivering a false sense of compatibility that isn’t based on reality.
What happens when the honeymoon phase is over and reality sets in? you likely won’t be spending your time living it up, and you may not be able to afford $100 bottles of wine every time you go out. Once this happens, as it inevitably will, does that mean that you’re not “meant to be”?
You might think this example is a bit extreme, but taken in that light, you can probably see that your initial perception of compatibility might be a bit overrated. Your similarities just might not hold up well over time. What then?
We all want someone we can get along with, someone with whom we can share our triumphs and our sorrows, who we can be spontaneous with, and who can help us realize our dreams as we build new ones together – all the things that matter in a coupled relationship. These are the real compatibilities, but unfortunately, they are all based on personality traits that are as intangible as a wisp of smoke.
The truth about compatibility
The truth is, there is no real way to predict what type of person is going to be that one-half of your perfect whole – at least, not based solely on their likes and dislikes – those things that, up until now, you have probably erroneously defined as compatibility.
Compatibility isn’t something you just have. It’s something that you develop, over time. It’s about being willing to work on things, to negotiate, it’s about your attitude towards those things in the relationship that the result of which is compatibility.
And what about chemistry?
We all know the feeling; that irresistible, magnetic force that pulls two people together. Chemistry can happen in a love relationship, or it could be business, but what it isn’t is some magic ingredient that can predict whether two people are going to go the distance.
Chemistry is an attractive concept. However, it is often used as a way for people to distance themselves from the need to own their true attitudes and feelings. The reality of love is quite a bit more complex. It requires you to dig deep within yourself, and it demands a willingness on both parts to see the best in each other, to get to know who the other person truly is underneath.
Chemistry is no more real than fairy dust. For some, it may even disappear once our flaws come to light. Our likes, dislikes, and attitudes may change over time, and shared experiences will help to build strong bonds, but if they aren’t anything more than superficial, they are nothing to base a relationship on.
Is compatibility important?
Studies show that there is no discernable difference in the degree of compatibility between reportedly happy and unhappy couples. The difference lies in that the unhappy couples think that compatibility is a significant factor, and believe that they are not compatible with their mates. They understand incompatibility as “we don’t get along”, whereas it’s far more layered than that.
In truth, these people share a life, activities, a house, children, and probably enjoy doing the same things (though maybe not together anymore). What they lack is the ability or willingness to see the positive aspects of their partner and what they bring to the table. Maybe there aren’t any, and certainly, every couple is different, but many psychologists agree that mutual respect and an easy, pleasant disposition is a common trait among happy couples.
Challenge yourself to be happy
Many people assume that chemistry and compatibility are the gold standard for finding their perfect match, but you will likely have an even more satisfying relationship if you can respect each other’s unique perspectives and continually learn from each other.
As an individual, you learn and grow by being challenged to think differently. Why should your relationships be any different?