Chemistry is such a powerful force that many couples confuse it with compatibility. While chemistry can be a glue that binds couples together early on in a relationship, it can fade over time if partners don’t share core values and maintain mutual respect.
That said, it’s possible to have both chemistry and compatibility with someone. Chemistry can be defined as a complex emotional or psychological interaction between two people. It can cause a couple to feel passionate and attracted to one another.
On the other hand, compatibility can be described as having an authentic connection with a partner who you admire. You like and respect who they are and how they carry themselves through the world.
In the beginning of a relationship, we tend to present our best selves and only see the best in our partners. But that honeymoon stage always ends and disillusionment can set in.
A supportive partner helps you navigate the unpredictable, ever changing aspects of life as your vulnerabilities are exposed and you disagree. This type of partnership can only be achieved if you have compatibility with someone. Chemistry can help you weather the storms of life but compatibility enables you to set goals and find shared meaning in your relationship.
Are you wondering if you are wasting your time in a relationship that may not be the best fit for you over the long run? Here are eight signs that can help you decide if your relationship is worth pursuing.
8 signs compatibility outweighs chemistry in your relationship:
1. You feel comfortable with each other and it’s easy to get close. In other words, you feel that you can be yourself with your partner and don’t have to put up a facade, or work hard to impress him or her.
2. You have real affection and passion for each other. This is where sexual chemistry comes in and it should go hand and hand with affection. You have fun together a good deal of the time and tend to laugh at the same jokes.
3. You feel there’s real mutual respect. You accept and respect each other for who you are. In Is He Mr. Right? , Mira Kirshenbaum explains that if you don’t have respect for your partner, it will eat away at chemistry until you have nothing left.
4. You admire your partner for who he or she is as a person. If you can’t admire how someone lives their life, let alone admire them, it’s hard to keep any relationship going.
5. You share similar concerns about the world and your values are in sync. You are comfortable talking freely about your passions and support each other’s interests. For instance, you may not share the exact same views about how to stop world hunger, but you’re on the same page.
6. Your partner accepts you for who you are, doesn’t try to change you, and validates your perspective. Life is messy and changeable at times and it’s natural to go through ups and downs. A partner who truly cares about you attempts to boost your self-esteem even when you aren’t at your best. He or she makes space for your thoughts and views and doesn’t make you feel badly for being in a bad mood or having a tough day.
7. You share a strong desire to learn and grow with your partner. In other words, to use your experiences to help you grow together and individually.
8. You have similar lifestyle choices and a shared vision for the life you want to create together. You talk about your future and make plans. Don’t waste your time on someone who doesn’t include you in his or her future plans with a sense of excitement. Author Howard J. Markman Ph.D. writes: “Couples can choose to protect their relationship by setting aside time to enjoy each other, renewing their sense of closeness and togetherness.”
Foster Admiration and Friendship with Your Partner
There is recent evidence that happy, lasting relationships rely on a lot more than a marriage certificate and that the secret ingredient is friendship. Look for qualities you admire in your partner and remind yourself of these admirable qualities regularly.
According to Erin Brodwin, “People in a relationship who saw their significant other as their best friend and either lived with that person or married them were happier than couples who saw their best friend as someone outside of the relationship.”
When it comes to matters of the heart, where admiration and respect are found, love will be sustained. But where these things are absent, love will die. Finding a partner who likes and respects you as much as you do him or her will give you the best chance of finding lasting love.
Follow Terry on Facebook, Twitter, and movingpastdivorce.com. Terry’s book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parent’s Breakup and Enjoy a Happy Relationship was published by Sourcebooks.