Are you single and looking for a partner? Do your searches only produce ‘dead-end’ relationships? Do you long to have a partner not only to share your life with, but also have a fulfilling sex life with? Do you hide behind sex, thinking this is what love is made of? This article may be for you.

 Many people are in the never-ending search for love. If they are lucky they may end up with short-lived sexual liaisons that sometimes leave them hurting or feeling unworthy of love. Others stay in loveless relationships just because sex is enjoyable when it happens. And others, the majority, confuse sex for love and so end up in relationships that take them nowhere.

Each one of us deserves to be loved, and believe it or not, there is a lover, a real lover, for each one of us, out there. But you have to look in the right places and do the right things to recognize love when you see it. And most importantly, don’t confuse sex for love. Just because someone wants to take you to bed does not mean they are in love with you.

You have heard of ‘one-night stands?’ Sometimes they can last months or even years.
We have talked about a compatibility list in this column previously and it is time now to ask you to put it in your handbag or wallet so that it goes with you everywhere you go. With this list, you already know what you are looking for, or are close to it, so you will not be casting your net wide hoping to catch any fish that swims along.

A compatibility list reminds you of the qualities you are looking for in a potential partner and also keeps your own qualities and values in check, so read it often and keep adding qualities when you think of them. Many relationships come through friends, family and networks, so share your list with people you trust, as they may be able to help you identify and connect with the person you are looking for.

A compatibility list should act like a magnet, attracting that special person into your life. The list helps you avoid “dead-end” relationships by reminding you of what your really want. It also helps you become as wonderful a person as the one you seek by reminding you of the qualities you admire.

You will look for those qualities in a partner that you want to develop in yourself. Your list describes not only your ideal partner but also your ideal picture of yourself. So you can use the list as a reminder of the qualities you want to work on developing in yourself.

You should become the kind of person you want to attract in your life. Don’t expect someone to want to be with you if you are not living or displaying the same qualities you expect him or her to have.

Once you meet someone who you think might be the “right one” for you, you can get a good idea of what kind of person he is by talking to him about the things on your list. You don’t have to fish out the list as this may scare him, but have them memorized in your head so you can discuss them without referring to the piece of paper. If you know yourself, indeed you should know these qualities fairly well because they are a mirror of yourself.

For instance, if you want someone who is very affectionate, romantic, loves to work on helping relationships grow, is introspective and open to new ideas, and is not sexually inhibited, then bring these subjects up when you are on a date.

It is important to use your first few dates to know each other and the most honest way of doing this is expressing what you would like in the other person, and also being as open as possible about yourself so he or she can also get to know you.

Use the first few dates to ask vital questions. Ask his or her philosophy about love and relationships; ask what went wrong in his past relationships, and most importantly, what he or she is looking for in this relationship.

Most couples don’t talk about these things until they are already involved, and by then the attraction is too strong and it is too late to be as objective about compatibility as they should be. They are turned on to one another, but they are not compatible.

This is why you should avoid sex until you know each other fairly well and have that strong feeling that this person fits in with the person you are looking for.

You could meet someone and know right from the beginning that you are not compatible but because of the attraction you feel ignore the little voice and go ahead with a sexual relationship, only for it to turn out into a disaster later.

Some people enter into relationships because they are lonely or depressed or intrigued against their better judgment and weeks, months or years later realise the major differences they overlooked at the beginning were responsible for the break up.

The pain that comes with a relationship break- up could be avoided if they had been honest with themselves right at the start and this is where your compatibility is such an essential tool.

But remember you are not looking for perfection in having a compatibility list. You are looking for someone who already is becoming the person you want to be with, someone who is interested in growing in that direction.

For example, if you meet someone who does not know how to talk about feelings, it does not mean he is not right for you if talking about feelings is on your list. You should find out if he is interested in learning to talk about his feelings, if he is open to becoming that kind of a person.

If being good in bed is on your list and you meet a virgin, it does not mean that they will not be good in bed when you become sexually involved. This is a quality he or she will develop with time.

If you meet someone who does not have a compatibility list and you think its important that you both use it to evaluate each other, it is a good idea to ask him to make one and to sit together and talk about both lists. Usually a compatibility test is a good way to get to know someone.

It should be the first test of whether a relationship will last and not sex. Sex can be very good even with a stranger or someone who just wants gratification for the night. If this is not what you are looking for, don’t be tempted to test your love with sex.
Should you break up if you are incompatible?

If you are in a troubled relationship and have gone over your compatibility list and found evidence that you and your partner are not very compatible, you have two choices: You can try to change your partner or yourself to fit the other’s picture or you could end the relationship, freeing yourself and your partner to find people more suitable for each other.

There are very few couples that can make their relationship work without basic compatibility. They may spend years struggling to stay together, but they never achieve the harmony and happiness that a truly compatible relationship should provide. If your partner is not what you want, then you aren’t what he or she wants either. Compatibility is a two-way street.

If you end a relationship due to incompatibility, don’t let your partner walk away feeling like a victim because you were perfect for him yet you are leaving him. Sit down with your partner and have him make a list of all the qualities you are missing that he seeks. Support him in recognising that you are not all that he wants, either.

Each of us deserves to spend our lives with someone who thinks we are the most wonderful person in the world. There is someone out there who is the ideal partner for every one of us. Freeing your partner to find someone who will truly love and accept him just the way he is, is an act of love.

Staying with someone because you don’t want to hurt him is not an act of love. It takes tremendous selflessness and honesty to let go of a partner when you know you can’t love him the way he deserves to be loved. This is truly loving someone; releasing him to find a partner who will give him the love and acceptance you cannot.

Published in July 2014