“To be, or not to be”: Not only a question of being but more so, is this fitting or unsuitable for me? Compatibility is a generally misunderstood concept that ultimately determines whether a relationship is going to last or not. To gauge your level of compatibility in your current relationship, answer the questions below which, in a nutshell, leads you to the answers you hold within yourself:
- Do you long for your partner when you’re apart?
- Does your partner create a safe space for you to show your vulnerable side?
- Are you comfortable telling him/her your deepest secrets without fear of judgement?
- Do you and your partner have the same core values?
All familiar questions that have crossed our minds either in a new relationship or, an advanced relationship which may have shown a lack in fundamental compatibilities. Basic aspects of a loving, happy bond we all seek to nurture with our partner yet often overlook and, sometimes find it just too difficult to put in place. Here’s the twist, you may have been able to answer “yes!” to each question, but (and there is always a but!) can your partner do the same? So, what does it mean to be compatible? In an interview on the Mel Robbins show, Spirit, a Relationship Therapist explained compatibility: It represents the way in which two individuals fit, and work together if they enjoy each other’s company. In essence, compatibility is about the long-term potential of two people. It’s the natural rhythm you experience with your partner, feeling comfortable and at ease with them, and having the same core values. Both partners’ wants and needs are met, and fulfilled in the relationship. It does not necessarily mean that you are the “perfect match” or carbon copies of each other. It’s more a reciprocal energy. Some couples have to work hard at being compatible and finding that common effortless fit, whilst for other couples it flows naturally. Why is compatibility necessary in a relationship? It’s simple. Although the early days of a new bond may be bliss, couples do fall back into reality eventually. Back into the day-to-day life we lead as individuals which has its own challenges. Doing what makes us tick. Living our core values and belief systems. You may want to try to push who you are in essence aside to stay happy with a partner not suited for you but for how long will you be able to stay untrue to yourself? Resentment will eventually rear its ugly head and you will become unhappy. Therefore, compatibility should be considered as part of the foundation of a relationship as it contributes to both parties’ combined happiness. Continuous disagreements about opposing views which include, but are not limited to, money, lifestyle, values, or interests that do not align contribute greatly to not being able to maintain a healthy and valued relationship. It’s important to know that this does not mean that you and your better half can’t have different opinions on certain subjects, but your core values need to match. In some scenarios, it happens that one partner feels they are compatible with the other, but the other partner doesn’t feel the same. This is referred to as “one-way-compatibility”. Let me create a picture. Imagine a square and a circle. One party is the square and the other is the circle. Now, imagine the circle inside the square. The circle fits easily into the square, even leaving some room (which you will find is not good so, read on). The circle touches all sides of the square. The circle experiences feelings of “you complete me”, it feels good, you are able to fulfil me. Yet the square has edges and empty parts that are not touched leaving needs unmet. The square starts questioning the relationship and the value their partner (the circle) adds to their life. This is based on needs not being met and becoming unsatisfied, and unfulfilled in the bond. Do you see how important it is to determine your compatibility? Not only for the sake of your own happiness but that of your relationship. Trying to change a circle to fit in a square and vice versa is not possible. Then why try to change yourself and/or your partner to force a fit when there are fundamental differences? Right, now you want to know “How do I know if the “love of my life” and I am truly compatible… ?” According to Spirit, intimacy could be referred to as “Into-me-see”. Partners allowing each other to see into the other’s deepest, most vulnerable parts. Ask yourself:
- How well do I know my partner?
- Do I know their core values, and what makes them tick?
- Do I understand the driving force of their actions?
If you answered yes to the above follow with your own introspection:
- Do his/her core values line up with mine?
- Do we have shared interests that we love and are passionate about?
- Do we have deep, meaningful conversations?
- Do our spiritual beliefs line up?
- Are we outspoken people or, are we stoic?
- Are we sexually adventurous?
Surprise!! Intimacy is not only of a sexual nature. It exists beyond a wonderful sex life! Below are 5 different types of areas of intimacy for you to review. It is suggested that you should align to at least two areas to determine whether you are compatible:
- Recreational Intimacy: Do you love skydiving, but your partner prefers to spend time in a quiet coffee shop to recharge?
- Intellectual Intimacy: Are you able to have meaningful conversations where you are both inspired and stimulated? Are you able to talk about any topic, or do you or your partner feel that some topics and/or views and how they are brought across are too intense?
- Spiritual Intimacy: It’s important to note that this differs from religion. Do you share a mutual view, or concept of the world, of a creator, of how we exist as a society? Do you nurture each other in this area, or do you shrink and belittle each other’s beliefs?
- Emotional Intimacy: Do you both love physical touch or, is one party someone who would rather listen than be touched?
- Sexual Intimacy: Do you know what turns your partner on? Do you have the same views about sexual exploration and how far you would go to keep the spark alive?
Once you have answered the 5-part intimacy section, below are further trigger points for consideration. Do you miss your partner when you are apart? This is indicative of emotional intimacy and confirms that you have a bond with your partner. Should you be emotionally connected being apart for prolonged periods would bring about feelings of your world being out of sync, and feeling like a part of your life is missing from you. Should you experience the opposite, like not thinking about him or her, or missing him or her, it could mean that the emotional connection is lacking. Red Flag! Do you trust your partner? This is not only about trusting your partner when you are not around but, knowing that they can trust you when you are not around. In addition, apart from infidelity, ask yourself:
- Do I trust you with who I am?
- Do I trust you with my secrets?
- Have I shared with you everything that there is to know about me? And if not, why?
Feeling unsafe about sharing information openly and honestly may lead to feeling lonely in the relationship. Remember, your partner should be both your safe space and adventure. Do you have compatible lifestyles? Do you both have the same ambition and goals in life? Or, does one of you constantly pursuit money and work late whereas the other one barely has the motivation to get out of bed in the mornings? This weaves through to all areas of life. From dietary needs, religion, sociability, to ambition and having the same values and beliefs. Furthermore, do you both enjoy the occasional social with friends or does one of you need to socialize every night? If the differing sides of each area are too polar opposite, and there is no middle ground the relationship will become strained. Can you talk to your partner about anything?
- Does your partner listen to you and respect your ideas and opinions, even if they don’t always agree?
- Do they create a safe space for you to discuss anything without feeling judged?
- Do you create that same space for your partner or, are there topics that are not up for discussion whatsoever?
If your answer to the above is “no” it means there is room for resentment to grow which can become toxic. Both partners need to naturally be able to create a space of candidness and transparency where all matters can be talked over. Do you laugh together? Is your partner open to light banter or must everything always be serious? How about you? Are you open to playfulness? Or, is your partner too playful? We often tend to get too wrapped up in life that we forget that having fun and laughing together are two powerful ingredients to any relationship. It feeds the soul and strengthens the emotional connection. If one partner loves to laugh and have fun but the other is always serious and strict, the compatibility score will be low. We always need to honour who we are. Constantly changing to suit a partner’s serious-minded mood is not conducive to the longevity of a relationship. So, have you found any discrepancies, little monsters, or big red flags of incompatibility in your current relationship? Do you feel that you are stuck in a “one-way-compatible” relationship and that your partner may not be able to fulfil your needs or, vice versa? This is how you can find out… Take some time to sit with your partner and discuss the points, and questions raised. From this, you will be able to determine whether you are in agreement about how compatible you truly are. Should you find yourselves incompatible you still have a choice, work towards meeting each other halfway and be open to compromise. You are responsible for your happiness at the end of the day, not your partner. Wanting to change who you are in essence to force a “fit” means you are losing who you are for the sake of another. Should either one of you not be able to follow through on meeting the other in the middle and/or compromising it would be advisable to end the relationship instead of protracting unhappiness due to incompatibility. Should you and your partner need relationship coaching to better understand each other, please feel free to reach out to me Debbie Hartmann, Life and Relationship Coach at My Kinda Life Coaching. Please leave your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!