Sure, a lot of times opposites attract – in a big way! The push and pull of differences can create friction, heat and a whole lot of excitement in many relationships. Some of these connections last – and many don’t. But for the most part, when it comes to finding a long-term mate, the more you have in common, the less likely there is to be conflict.
Ah, but as humans, many of us find this really boring! Even still, no relationship is a cake walk. It won’t be smooth sailing all the way, no matter how similar you are – so you might as well go for the fire.
However, part of finding and keeping a mate is accepting and getting past differences, and working on change when necessary. It’s what you do share that will come to your rescue in challenging times. And that’s why it’s important to identify common ground in every love connection.
It’s the age old questions of “how compatible are we?” Or: “what should I be looking for?” There are probably hundreds of answers to these questions, so we’ve narrowed it down to the top five main compatibility “musts” in a mate.
How do you and your partner match up when it comes to socializing? Do you like to be with and meet new people? Do you talk to every person you possibly can at a party? Does spending time socializing energize you? It’s fine if someone doesn’t have quite the same passion for socializing as their partner, but if the difference is extreme – if one person needs to stay home to rest and regroup, while the other needs to go out or invite friends over multiple times a week to get their groove on – conflict may arise. You and your partner needn’t do everything together, but for optimum happiness, it’s best to pick a partner who has similar social desires.
Of course, without sexual chemistry most couples would never get together in the first place! This initial attraction is the easy part, and the nuts and bolts of making it work in bed for the long run is a much more complex matter. It’s good to gauge your compatibility in this arena by getting answers to these questions: Are you matched in terms of your preferences and expectations? For instance, are you more dominant or submissive, expressive or inhibited, experimental or conservative? Is there a balance? How much foreplay do you like to give and receive? Is there a shared commitment to monogamy, or is an open relationship acceptable? The answers will be different for everyone! But these can be some of the biggest deal-breakers in a relationship.
If you’re planning on being with someone long-term, you’ll want to know what their approach to money management is. To avoid unpleasant surprises, talk about it before taking any legally binding steps. How does each of you feel about credit? What’s more important: spending or saving? Will you pool your money together, or operate separately? Do both parties expect to earn an income? If not, is one willing to – and capable of – supporting the other?
Spiritual compatibility encompasses values, beliefs and behaviors. Whether or not you are a deeply spiritual or religious person, compatibility (or absolute acceptance and discussion of differences) in this area should be addressed, because it could affect the long-term development of a relationship. Is a shared religion and faith an important qualification in a mate? Can you talk openly to each other about spiritual topics? Does your partner have an accepting, warm response regarding your religious traditions? Do you feel like you can support each other on your respective spiritual paths?
Habits and habitats
Thankfully, this is the area of compatibility that is often easiest to work through, but it can also be the source of much conflict. Is your partner up all night, while you’re the “early to bed, early to rise” type? Things to consider include
1) Your level of organization, and tolerance for clutter.
2) Your living space preferences (big or small, style, décor).
3) Hobbies and pastimes.
4) Preferences for sports and exercise.
5) Vacationing versus staying at home.
6) Are cultural events, art, music and dancing valuable to you both?
7) What level of academic, political or religious involvement in the community is desirable to each of you?
8) What obligations to family, relatives or friends is required? But statistically, behind even money and the question of whether to have children, the biggest deal breaker in a relationship is:
9) Where do you see your life unfolding (in the city, suburbs or a rural area)?
In real life, liking “tomato” versus “tomahto” may not be reason enough to call the whole thing off. Some differences really don’t matter that much. The ideal state exists when there is a healthy combination of similarities and differences, of give and take… with large doses of love and respect.
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