Ever rocked up to a first date and thought, “geez, I hope we’re not compatible”?
Said no one in the history of dating.
Relationship compatibility is what we’re ALL searching for, right?
You want to want to rip each other’s clothes off and then be able to nerd out on a Star Wars marathon the morning after. You want someone who loves to travel and explore new places as much as you do, but not be somewhere so remote that you can’t get a Wi-Fi signal. And you want to know that while you head off to work for the day, he’s not getting ready to pull a bank heist in the city.
This is what relationship compatibility is all about, ladies. Just because the spark is there, it doesn’t mean you’re compatible. And If you’re not compatible, you may as well call it quits right now because the uncomfortable truth is, it just won’t work in the long run. I mean, for how long can you pretend to be into playing video games, eating pop tarts, and living with his parents in the basement of the house he grew up in and has never left?
What is compatibility in a relationship?
Ever taken a relationship compatibility test? A lot of the time, they’re based on astrology star signs. If you’re a Cancer woman dating a Scorpio man, here’s what your relationship will look like, and this is what you need to be wary of…
…I hate to break it to you, but it’s all baloney. There’s absolutely ZERO science to back astrology (but it can still be fun to look into).
Relationship compatibility becomes more apparent the more time you spend with someone. When you first meet someone, you really have no idea who they are apart from being a handsome stranger who rocks a plain white tee and drinks an oat milk chai latte every day. This profile will start to fill itself out as you go on more dates. Okay, so he has a gorgeous husky named Molly and lives just three blocks away from you on that fancy street, and, OMG, he was on Season 2 of The Bachelor—score!
As time goes on, one of two things will happen. You’ll realize:
- How similar you are
- OR how different you are (like, not on the same page, not even in the same book or the same library different).
If you are different, it doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t compatible. Opposites can and do attract (more on that later). However, compatibility means that even if you have different personalities, you still align with certain things that are fundamental to making a relationship work.
Let me be clear: no one guy out there will be perfect for you and compliment you in every way. That would be wonderful, but it’s not realistic. Therefore, if you’re on a date with a man who’s meeting your love vision (Little Love Step #2) and ticking all the boxes, don’t automatically call it quits when he tells you his favorite way to unwind is by kicking back with a Cosmopolitan and a jigsaw puzzle. Give him a chance. There are worse things than that (no, I can’t think of any right now).
Areas of Compatibility
If you’re focused on channeling the majority of your energy into growing your business right now, while he wants to take a vacation every month and spend all his free time vegging out on the sofa watching reality TV, that’s a MAJOR clash of priorities.
One of the signs of compatibility in relationships is having similar priorities and hoping to grow in a similar direction.
Are you a neat freak that owns a mini hoover so that you can clean your regular-sized hoover? If he’s happy with a week of dishes piling up in the sink, the bin overflowing with trash, and wearing the same underwear for a week, there may be friction ahead.
You don’t have to have all the same preferences, but it helps if you’re similar on things like punctuality, housework, diet, etc.
Let’s say you are an atheist scientist dating a devout Christian who attends church religiously every Sunday morning without fail. Although it would be nice to think that people with wildly different beliefs can coexist peacefully in a relationship, it may be tricky in the long run.
Beliefs don’t have to be religious. This extends to beliefs around what happens after we die, whether there are other planets and life forms out there, and who you’re voting for in the next election (if you’re voting at all).
Finally, relationship compatibility centers on shared values. Your values primarily inform your priorities, preferences, and beliefs and determine the actions you take in your life.
For example, your values might include kindness, loyalty, and stability. If you value those things and meet a guy who values freedom and adventure above all else, it doesn’t matter how smokin’ hot he is; he’s probably going to fail to meet your needs.
Does this mean opposites don’t attract?
According to a 2019 study, finding a person who is “nice” matters most when dating—so no more yelling PASS on the nice guy, okay ladies? Nice is much better than an Ambercrombie model who looks at the huge bubbling bowl of mac & cheese the waiter has just brought over for you and says, “you’re not gonna eat all that, are you?”
In the 1950s, a sociologist conducted a study to determine whether opposites attract in a relationship. He found that it’s not so much opposites that attract but rather traits that are complimentary. For example, when the ice machine on your fridge shoots out all the ice without you asking it to, one of you BLOWS up and loses their sh*t, while the other is chilled and rational and stays cool like a cucumber. You need that calm person in the relationship to diffuse the madness when there’s way too much ice all over the kitchen floor. So, in theory, this could be a match made in heaven.
FYI: Chemistry is different from compatibility!
Chemistry is usually what people look for when they first meet someone new. It’s the physical attraction, the sexual tension, the “you’re so dreamy I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, what you did, as long as you love meeeee”. The problem is, it’s common for people to be blind-sighted by that initial chemistry and miss MAJOR red flags, like when he told you he cheated on his ex and that he isn’t looking for a relationship right now.
However, in a compatible relationship, the chemistry might not be there at the start. This is why I often tell my clients to still go out with someone who is nice but not necessarily their physical “type.” Because you might be super compatible with that guy and become more attracted to him because of how compatible you are. Plus, chemistry can fade in and out over time, but a healthy relationship will always have compatibility.
Why is relationship compatibility important?
The short of it is, if you are in a relationship with someone you’re not compatible with, you won’t be happy. Yet, this doesn’t stop many of us from selecting the worst possible person for us and trying to convince ourselves that it’s a good match. DAMMIT, IT’S WORKING, OKAY?!
We do this because of something that happened in our childhood, or because we’re looking for something that feels comfortable and familiar or someone who fills in all of our gaps. At first, it will feel good, but eventually, it will not feel so good. The very traits that you were drawn in by will begin to repel you. For example, someone who initially comes across as charismatic might soon seem narcissistic.
So, if you want to avoid choosing the wrong partner for the wrong reasons, it shouldn’t be a search to fill in a void that you feel within. You are already whole. You’re not a tiny wedge of cheddar that you find in the supermarket; you’re that whole beautiful wheel of cheese that nobody sees apart from the cheddar factory minions. This is why Little Love Step #1 is all about building your self-worth and recognizing that you are a complete person on your own already. Once you embrace this, you will instinctively choose a partner who challenges you to be your best self and helps you grow.
How do you attract a relationship with compatibility?
First and foremost, choose someone who you enjoy spending time with. You might need to step out of your comfort zone and the type of guys you usually make a beeline for. A lot of the time in my Love Accelerator Program, women realize they’ve been unknowingly limiting their choices and not going into dating with an open mind.
ADAM, they say, I just don’t understand why I can’t find a handsome man with a rugged beard and washboard abs, who is at least 6.2ft tall and starts his day by surfing for an hour in the ocean then puts on a dapper tailored suit and goes to work in the city and enjoys country music and knitting sweaters just as much as I do… is that really too much to ask for??
Yes, Susan, yes it is.
Create your love vision (Little Love Step #2), but don’t be so specific that you rule out a potentially great match.
Is it possible to improve compatibility in a relationship?
Think about it this way—how likely is it that your priorities, preferences, and values will dramatically change over the next year, five years, or ten years? Most people’s core values and how they want to live their lives won’t change that much over time. Of course, some of us grow more than others, and we adopt new values and belief systems that support this growth. But even then, a lot of your values will remain the same. This is why it’s not realistic to expect a man to change his views and goals to better suit yours. You can have an open and honest discussion about what you both want, and it will quickly become apparent whether your relationship is viable for the future or not.
16 signs you have compatibility in your relationship
1. You’ve got chemistry
Sex isn’t everything, but it is something. Physical attractiveness and intimacy are important. You should want to hold hands and smooch and hug and, at times, jump each other’s bones. There should be a spark there, even if it’s small. And remember, that spark might not be there on a first date, but it can happen later.
2. You align on the big things
If you know you want to get married and you’ve got a Pinterest board filled with wedding inspo like cute candle favors and white rose-laden archways and the most breathtaking strapless gown that looks like something straight out of Cinderella, dating a guy who spits on marriage and says it’s for people who want to settle down into a slow death and sap all the romance out of life is probably not the best choice. There are only so many things that the best sex you’ve ever had can make up for. This is not one of them.
3. You know you love each other
How do you know if your relationship is compatible? When you know your partner loves you, he knows you love him. There’s no wondering, second-guessing, or doubting it. You just know. This is one of the signs of a secure, healthy relationship.
4. Relationship compatibility signs: your lifestyles are similar
If you both like to party the entire weekend, drink way too many shots, and recreate The Hangover every time you go out, fantastic. But if one of you enjoys that, while the other wants to spend their free time curled up on the sofa with a good book and a hot cup of camomile tea, you’ve got a problem.
5. You share common interests
Maybe you both love watching basketball and can think of nothing better than saving to splurge on courtside seats for the year. But wait. It’s 1989 (prime MJ time), and you find out that one of you supports the Bulls, while the other is a Knicks fan, and at that moment, your heart drops, and you know it’s OVER. Just kidding. Well, maybe. I guess it depends on how seriously you take your b-ball.
But the point is, it’s good to have common interests like cooking together, enjoying the same kinds of movies, or being adrenaline junkies that go and jump out of airplanes for fun.
6. You geographically live near each other
The long-distance thing can work, but only if there’s a clear end soon to that distance. Relationships are challenging enough, and throwing in having to fly three hours just to grab coffee with someone presents a whole new dynamic of challenge.
7. You have the same moral code
If one of you thinks it’s okay to use a self-checkout at the grocery store and play a game where you try and bag as many things as you can without paying for them, while the other one thinks this is plain stealing, then your moral codes are different. This will lead to discomfort, and perhaps one of you calling the cops.
8. Your relationship is honest
If you’re a very open and honest woman and find yourself wanting to share more secrets with your partner as you grow closer, dating a man who will NEVER tell you where he’s going or what he’s doing, or who he’s meeting will quickly make you suspicious. Either he’s a secret double agent undercover, he’s doing something he knows you won’t approve of, or he doesn’t feel a strong enough connection to open up to you.
9. What does compatibility mean in a relationship? You don’t want to change them
“He is my PERFECT man, if only he would just…”
Finish that sentence.
If it’s “put the toilet seat down,” you can probably learn to live with that. I’m not saying you should have to, though, but men seem to have this weird mind fog regarding toilet seats…
But if it’s “support me in my career,” that’s a big deal and should not be ignored.
If there’s something big that you want to change about him (or vice versa), you’re not compatible.
10. You argue (with respect)
What makes someone compatible? The ability to argue with love and respect, even when you’re fuming. Because arguing is essential and part of a healthy relationship. You should both be able to actively listen to each other, take feedback on board, and work to resolve your issues together. This helps you recognize that you are on the SAME team and helps to deepen your bond and build trust.
11. You’re on the same page with finances
Money is the biggest cause of arguments in relationships. If your dad ever yelled, “MONEY DOESN’T GROW ON TREES!” or “DO YOU THINK I’M MADE OF MONEY?!” You can say with some certainty that you learned some toxic lessons around money. This can lead to us doing crazy things with money. We spend it all before it’s even entered our bank account. We scrimp and save every penny and deny ourselves any pleasure. Or we see money as evil or the root of all problems, and so on.
Imagine if you’re a total scrooge with money while your partner spends money like it’s going out of style. If you can’t align on money, you will fight because of it.
12. You help each other grow
If a relationship is not growing, then it’s dying. And if you want your relationship to grow, you have to actively help each other grow and support one another during this growth. Whether you’re going for a promotion at work, or he’s learning how to code in his spare time, or you’re seeing a therapist together to work on issues you’re struggling with. Couples that heal each other grow are compatible in the long run.
13. You see this person in your future
I’m not saying you have to go on a first date and think, yep, this is the one for me. Shall I share my wedding Pinterest board with him now? But if you can’t see yourself with this guy for the long haul, and you can’t picture a future, it’s probably because there is no future.
14. You can be yourself with them
Nothing says relationship compatibility quite like feeling comfortable around each other. If you feel able to be yourself, say what’s on your mind and not worry about being judged, this is an excellent sign that your relationship can work.
Like when you feel secure enough to tell him, “I own every album that One Direction has ever made,” without him ending things right there.
15. You (try to) love each other’s families & friends
Look, I’m not going to pretend like it’s easy to get on with your SOs friends and family. You chose them; you didn’t choose the 20 or so other people who come along with them. But while you don’t have to like each other’s loved ones, you must try to. A relationship isn’t compatible in the long run if you cannot stand each other’s nearest and dearest—you can’t hide from them forever. Seriously, I’ve tried.
16. You both invest in your relationship
And finally, relationship compatibility is about making a conscious effort and going the extra mile to show each other that you care. Whether it’s picking up his favorite candy bar from the store or him just picking up all his dirty pairs of socks off the floor after you’ve asked him to do it for the fourth time… No. That doesn’t count. He has to do better than that. Maybe a sweet kiss at the end of the night, or surprising you with a home-cooked meal when you get home from work after a long day.
A final word
If you struggle to find compatibility in your relationships, have you considered working with a dating coach? You might discover some patterns or blocks that keep you drawing in emotionally unavailable, commitment-phobes. Once you know what’s holding you back, you can attract a healthy, loving relationship that aligns with who you are and where you want to grow.
Doesn’t that sound better than wasting your time with Mr. Incompatible, who explicitly told you he hates kids even though he knows you’ve got two of them at home?
If you take away just one thing from this article, let it be this: quit looking for Mr. Perfect—you know, the guy with the surfboard and suitcase from earlier? He does not exist. But make sure you like the guy a lot and vibe with him enough to want to spend your life with him.
No one is going to be exactly what you want them to be. But if you’re compatible in all of these ways, that’s #relationshipgoals right there.
Have you ever realized you were in an incompatible relationship? What was the biggest sign? Tell me all below!
PS. If you’re ready to start making men pursue you for love, then join me on this free webinar to discover the 3 steps to building emotional attraction – Register here to get started (it’s 100% free).