We know what it’s like to have great chemistry — but what about relationship compatibility between two people?
Relationship compatibility is about how well you suit or complement each other based on external factors and personality traits.
According to psychologist Dr. Lisa Firestone, “What you can look for when hoping to find relationship compatibility is someone who is open to trying new things, to hearing feedback and to evolving themselves.”
“If you look for just one person to meet all your needs, you’re setting yourself up for disaster,” she adds.
Here are 7 most important things to look out for when it comes to relationship compatibility.
1. Core values & worldview
Growing up, we’ve developed our own core values and beliefs, such as religious beliefs, political views, your take on current affairs and people in general.
This shapes the way we perceive the world around us and how we behave and treat others.
Having shared values and a similar outlook on life means there will be more things you can agree on, and this will allow for opportunities to form a deeper connection with your partner.
For instance, many Christians exclusively date other Christians, and the same goes for other religions like Islam and Buddhism.
On the other hand, if you’re an atheist who can’t fathom the existence of a God, it’s not going to be easy being together with someone who believes strongly in one.
Or, if you’re skeptical about marriage, the topic is bound to cause friction at some point with a partner who loves the idea of a grand wedding and a formally recognised union.
Romantic comedies and TV shows have long perpetuated the idea that “opposites attract” despite the lack of scientific evidence against it, but according to a study by researchers at Wellesley College and the University of Kansas, people feel more drawn to those with similar attitudes.
“We’re arguing that selecting similar others as relationship partners is extremely common—so common and so widespread on so many dimensions that it could be described as a psychological default,” explains Assistant Professor of Psychology Angela Bahns, the co-author of the research.
TL;DR: Shared values and a similar worldview = better relationship compatibility.
2. Lifestyle & interests
Your daily routine, habits and interests matter. Think about your major lifestyle choices and what you’re passionate about – how does this align with your partner’s?
A full-time MMA boxer would probably not be compatible with a fashion designer who hates all sports.
That being said, there is nothing wrong with having differences, as long as they can complement each other and aren’t a constant source of unhappiness in the relationship.
You can even introduce each other to different activities, which can make for fun date ideas.
The goal is not to mold yourself to fit someone else’s lifestyle, but to see how you can use smaller differences to your advantage.
Are you an introvert or extrovert? Are you open to trying new things or a creature of habit?
A recent study published in Psychological Science observed how people behave online, and it was revealed that people with similar personalities were more likely to be friends — and those with the highest levels of similarities tended to be romantic partners.
However, differences in personality traits can also be a good thing in terms of complementing one another. For example, someone open to new experiences can encourage the other person to be more adventurous.
Nevertheless, if too many core traits are polar opposites, you could often end up in disagreements, which may cause unhappiness in a relationship.
4. Intellectual compatibility
Intellectual compatibility is a huge factor in the long-term success of your relationship (or eventually, marital happiness).
If you constantly find yourself thinking of your partner as inferior or superior to you in terms of intelligence, that’s a red flag.
Imagine always feeling dumber and smaller than your partner, or them not getting your jokes and references for the rest of your life.
Being intellectually compatible means both of you find your conversations interesting — you stimulate each other mentally and value each other’s opinions.
5. Emotional compatibility
Having mentally stimulating conversations is one thing, but being emotionally compatible is another.
Emotional compatibility in a relationship is about how well two people can get along based on the way they process their emotions and feelings.
Ever noticed couples who “just seem to ‘glow’ with happiness” and “laugh at the same time, finish or contribute to each other’s stories”? According to clinical psychotherapist and relationship expert Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, these are the couples with high emotional compatibility.
Emotional compatibility also plays a strong role in the way conflict is handled in the relationship.
Are you comfortable with the way your partner deals with their emotions? If he or she cries easily, does it annoy you? And can your partner accept the way you deal with your own emotions?
This will determine how well you both navigate through times of stress, inevitable arguments and rough patches.
6. Physical & Sexual compatibility
Contrary to what most hopeless romantics say, looks and size do matter.
We all have personal preferences, and although we have to acknowledge that no one is perfect, there are some things that just don’t work for us.
A study by eharmony revealed that 1 in 5 UK adults in relationships admit they’re sexually incompatible with their other half.
Are the both of you aligned on what you want in terms of physical intimacy? Most people are hesitant to talk about sex, but an open communication about your sex life with your partner can make intimate moments more enjoyable and prevent future misunderstandings in the bedroom.
However, if physical incompatibilities constantly bother either one of you and this puts a strain on the relationship, you may want to consider seeking professional help.
Have a personal story to share about relationship compatibility?
Having high compatibility definitely increases the chances of a successful long-term relationship, but there are other factors to watch out for such as chemistry and the right timing.
Always take into account all factors to better understand your relationship with a potential partner.
Write to us to share your own story on relationship compatibility!