Before you decide to go ahead and date that person you feel attracted to, ask yourself if your make-up, your values, your lifestyle and other essential components of a relationship will give the relationship a chance. In other words, are you compatible? Here are some of the things you need to consider.
We’ve often heard it said that opposites attract but science, dating sites and possibly common sense has continuously proved this statement wrong. In fact, researchers find that we tend to seek out people who think and act like us, sometimes even seeking our own mirror image. A 2003 study done at the National Academy of Sciences, a national advisory corporation in the US found that their respondents looked for traits that they themselves exhibited in their partners. This means that if they thought they were attractive, they sought out partners that were equally attractive. The same applied to wealth and closeness to one’s family.
While you may never find someone who is exactly like you, it is important for you and your significant other to be compatible or, in other words, to be a good match for one another for your relationship to be long lasting, happy and to generally flow smoothly. The long-term goal for any relationship is marriage. Ideally, marriage is “till death do you part” so it is important for you and your partner to have what it takes for the relationship to last and see you grow old together. The more compatible you are with your partner the more you will naturally get on together. This is possible if you have just the right blend of compatible factors between the two of you. Here are a few to consider.
Physical attraction. Not too important, you may think, as long as there is inner beauty, right? Wrong. Physical attraction is important in a relationship, as it is what draws people together in the first place. Most people are attracted to what they see first even before getting to know the person. Thus, chemistry is essential in a relationship.
Religious beliefs. Do you and your partner share the same faith? If you intend your relationship to be a long term one, this is a vital component. Our beliefs, to a large extent, form our values and attitudes towards life and when these are not shared, it may sooner or later cause a rift. Assuming your relationship leads to marriage, it will be important that you agree on how to bring up your children in this respect.
Lifestyle. Both of you should have lifestyles that are somewhat similar or at least adaptable. While a large number of women, and some men, may hope to end up with financially well-off partners, it does not happen like that a lot of times. The truth is that most people will go for people who somewhat share a similar lifestyle. This is however not to say that you should not pursue a relationship with a person who is not of your social class. If it works for you, by all means go for it.
Social life. Are you both comfortable with each other’s social lives? Is your partner okay with the fact that you like to party almost every weekend or you like to stay home most of the time? Are you comfortable with each other’s friends? Is there an activity you both enjoy? You should both be in agreement about how much time you will dedicate to your social circles and be comfortable among each other’s friends. It’s also important that you have or find an activity that you both enjoy, which will enable you to spend some quality time together.
Emotional level. Are you on the same emotional level or almost at par? A relationship with one partner who is expressive and in touch with their emotions and one who is less sensitive may be problematic. The sensitive one will constantly feel like his partner does not care while the less sensitive one may feel that her partner is too emotionally dependent or feel smothered. Thus, it is important for partners to be in sync emotionally.
These are not the only factors to consider. There are others that may come up as your relationship progresses. Neither are the mentioned factors cast in stone as certain values and behaviours can be learnt. In addition, intimacy breaks a lot of barriers that may be there at the start and two people are able to understand and accept each other despite their differences.
To get to a better understanding of each other, learn to talk frequently and candidly about everything, as communication is key in every relationship. Also learn to accommodate one another and work together to solve any issues that may come up. Equally important is laughter and striving to enjoy each other’s differences. In spite of considering what brings two people together, there is also what keeps them together. There is no proof that partners with a lot in common last a long time or have the best of relationships. Neither are ‘opposites’ known to have the most successful relationships. Also, no two people are 100 percent compatible. At the end of the day, relationships require a great deal of patience and compromise.
Published in March 2012