Monday, April 14, 2008

Being Compatible

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. So that means you can also be attracted to someone more similar to yourself.

As humans, many of us find this really boring! Even still, no relationship is a walk in the park and 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 means 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. That's why it's important to identify common ground in every love connection.

It's the age old question of "How compatible are we?" Or, "what should I be looking for?" There are probably hundreds of answers to these questions, so here it's narrowed 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 and if one person needs to stay home to rest and recoup constantly, 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! By sexual it means early desires and later physical interaction. This initial attraction is the easy part but the nuts and bolts of making it work in bed for the long run is a much more complex affair. It's good to gauge your compatibility in this area by getting answers to certain 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 they can be the biggest deal breakers in a relationship.

If you're planning on being with someone long term, 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 and, if not, is one willing and capable of supporting the other? Do you love the person enough that money is not an issue between yourselves even if one lacks or has lesser of it?

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 as it could affect the long term development of a relationship. Is a shared religion and faith an important qualification for a mate? Can you talk openly to each other about spiritual topics? Does your partner have an accepting and warm response? Do you feel like you can support each other on a spiritual path? Is your partner willing to change for you?

Thankfully, this is the area of compatibility that is often easiest to work through, but can also be the source of much conflict. Is your partner up all night while you're early to bed and early to rise? Things to consider include;
1) Your level of organization.
2) Your living space preferences? (big or small, style, decor).
3) Hobbies and pastimes.
4) Preferences for sports and exercise.
5) Vacationing or staying at home.
6) Are cultural events, art, music and dancing valued?
7) What level of political or religious involvement in the community is desired?
8) What obligations to family, relatives or friends is required?
9) Where do you see your life unfolding? (in the city, suburbs or country?).
10) Is charity and volunteer work part of your life?

A friend of mine, Anne Curtis, who is a celebrity and star in the Philippines was just chatting with me yesterday. She's always so bubbly and friendly but people don't get to see past her celeb status. Question is, does she even have the time to think about all the points highlighted above? Maybe the most important compatibility in her case would be the "spiritual" one. A religious bond perhaps that makes sense of the world she lives in and whoever she's in a relationship with. So count your blessings that you have more going for yourself.

Bar advice. The odds of you being compatible with someone is far greater than my friend Anne. However, my advice to all and someone like Anne is, never give up the belief you'll find the "one."

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