Compatibility comes up repeatedly.
Compatibility in Relationship
How do you know if you are compatible (enough) with someone to continue dating?
Let’s say you reached the first 6 weeks or so and you are debating making it more long term. This is the window of opportunity. Do the soul searching and relationship searching now rather than ignoring things right now.
Gottman talks about deal breakers and how that is usually how we determine whether we stay or go.
There are many people we could work out with, but if someone is doing something that is a deal breaker for you, you exclude them from the pool of potential partners. It is similar to having a pool of applicants for a job. You interview many applicants. If no one meets the criteria, you search anew, otherwise, you choose from what is the best fit. You are intentional about it, have a system or a strategic approach or you wing it- your choice. You might want to think that through, though.
What are your deal breakers?
List them and hold true to them. Don’t move them or adjust them at all, because, by definition they are deal breakers. Don’t forget that they can be cumulative as well.
They have to make sense to you, not the other person.
Get to know and love yourself better than you do right now and watch what happens with your intuition. It will “feel right” to people who know themselves well. You will not accept subpar behavior from someone because you are better off single.
Some people do the Enneagram, 5 languages of love book or the myers-briggs. All those help you understand yourself and your motivation. They are a springboard, not the answer. They stimulate more questions and dialogue.
That can help if both people are interested in knowing themselves and being able to share their “owner’s manual” with a potential match.
Consider what you do for fun in the winter and in the summer.
Does that match your partner in a way that is complementary?
Can you each learn from one another or do you hold your differences in contempt and judge one another?
That is huge with compatibility.
How well do you communicate? If you are constantly bickering, is it based on communication which can be learned or is it based on power plays and trust or is it stylistic or is it based on your core values?
Each one of those needs a different response.
Be honest with yourself and them. Is one of you direct and the other indirect (very common)?
If so, learn the other person’s style and make necessary adjustments both ways and both people.
IF you disagree on basic core values, things that will not change and that should not be compromised, (like different political parties, for many people) it is possible that you will not get through that without excellent communication skills. Even with excellent communication, there are areas of ourselves that we do not compromise. We can communicate about them, not change our core.
You are likely going to repeat the same gridlocked conversations if you each care about it strongly. Gottman talks about the difference between a gridlock and a perpetual problem. The perpetual problem, by definition, will not go away. It can be talked about with the proper skills. Gridlock means it cannot be talked about in a healthy manner.
We want to move out of gridlock and sometimes the best we can do is not resolution, but agree to disagree. There are things that you cannot agree to disagree about and those are called “deal breakers.”
If one of you is power playing, it will warp the overall system of communication. Go see a counselor to see if they can help level the playing field and get both parties to a better, more effective level of communication.
Sometimes one person is more interested in processing information, feelings and sharing deeply from within, able to be vulnerable and intimate. If the other person doesn’t match at all, think of the long term consequences of that.
Are you talking about future plans, not committing but at least knowing about 5-10 years from now some ideas.
Things change all the time but if one of you is a definite, is the other willing to accommodate? Are you able to negotiate the changes in a way that works for you? When you disagree, are you able to do conflict in a way that works for both of you? As long as you match one another, that is the goal.
Does your humor match? IF you enjoy sarcasm, does your partner? Do you like puns or hate them and try to make them stop? Are you a Monty Python fan and your partner doesn’t get the jokes or doesn’t think they are funny? Those things matter later on. Pay attention.
Do you match one another’s intensity of spirituality or religiosity? Don’t necessarily have to be the same religion but if one of you is devout, the other person being atheist might not work for you.
Do you have feelings about people who have feelings? IF you consistently tell them they are wrong for feeling intensely… IF you are going to be on them for not having feelings and they remind you that they were this way when you met them…
How about someone who does not trust themselves to make a decision. Where would you like to go to dinner? I don’t know, where do you want to go? Trusting yourself and your decisions is a big deal to some people.
Are you a sex drive match? IF one of you is really interested in being sexually active on a regular basis and the other person does not have it as a priority, that tends to go poorly after awhile. Can you both easily talk about sexuality and preferences? Are your styles and preferences compatible? Would you be willing to do the sexual style inventory in the book Hot Monogamy? I have written three workbooks on sacred sexuality. These workbooks help couples talk about it and experiment in ways that respect each other and the power of creating/making love.
Money, attitudes about money, how to spend and save and how much to make and what place does it have in your life- big conversations and potentially dealbreakers for people. There are interesting codes and “tells” that people use. Imagine someone talking incessantly about their travels and they are signaling that they only go to the best places, the best countries, the best restaurants and hotels, the best airlines, then say they don’t really focus on money much. Ummm
Or the person who says that each person can make the amount of money they want by just adjusting some choices, as if there is no system, just individual choice. That says a ton about their relationship with money and power.
Imagine someone telling you how you should do your money within a few dates… -to be continued-