You meet the partner of your dreams, and the sparks fly! One thing leads to another, and before you know it, you are both head over heels for each other, in love, and in a relationship.
Sounds idyllic, right? But can you really build a relationship on chemistry (aka sparks) or do you need compatibility?
If you have one, do you need the other too? Or is relationship compatibility enough, and is your chemistry enough?
I often discuss these things with my clients as I guide them on their relationship journey. Here’s what I’ve found.
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What Is Relationship Chemistry?
The bright spark against the night sky.
Relationship chemistry is that spark. When you and a partner get each other, you feel a deep attraction to each other, and you want to be together all the time. That chemistry leads to physical attraction and causes feelings of affection to grow. Chemistry is both lust and love, all rolled into passion.
It’s really a case of boy-meets-girl or fourth-of-July sparks hitting the ceiling when you and your partner have great chemistry.
What Is Relationship Compatibility?
A warm glowing candle that lights the whole night.
On the other side of the relationship equation, we find another vital aspect of a successful relationship—relationship compatibility. When you and your partner are compatible with each other, you have multiple shared interests that give you common ground.
More than just having similar interests, you and your partner are compatible when you understand each other due to deeper insights that come from having similar areas of overlapping experiences. Those experiences build the foundation of love.
Compatibility also refers to when you have similar values, priorities, and goals in life. It’s about being aligned in the same direction as your partner, making you excellent team mates.
Relationship Compatibility Signs: When the Initial Spark Becomes a Glow
What starts as relationship chemistry can sometimes fade and be replaced by compatibility. As you and your partner get to know more about each other, you can discover more similarities and shared interests that draw you together.
These compatibilities often have signs that indicate you and your partner have found points to match up with each other.
Match and Mingle Personalities
It’s said that opposites attract, but this may not always be true for personalities. You and your partner may not have the same personalities, and that’s okay too. Personality compatibility is about how well your personalities complement each other.
Perhaps you are very outgoing and high-energy and your partner is more reserved and low energy, but if you both share and mingle equally, it can still work well as a compatibility factor. In fact, if you and your partner were both high-energy social butterflies, it could lead to issues of trust and infidelity.
Respect for Individuality
You know you and your partner are compatible when you respect each other’s individuality. Incompatible partners try to change each other, hoping to make the other person more to their liking.
In a mature relationship, you accept that you don’t have to like every single thing about your partner, but as long as they will respect the same in you, it can lead to a great compatibility. Remember that difference is the spice of life.
Similarities for Cohesion
Let’s face it, being with someone who has nothing in common with you can also be an exercise in futility and frustration. While you can’t (and wouldn’t want to) be with someone who is identical to you, there has to be some overlap and similarity. These similarities are the patches of glue that hold you and your partner together.
Shape those patches into rules that will defend and protect your relationship.
Compatibility also means you and your partner have similar things that keep you occupied. These things create the foundation for a relationship based on friendship and feeling safe with what’s familiar.
You Recycle Each Other’s Past
Compatibility is about knowing that you both have a past, and instead of denying that past, you use it as the bricks to build a new home together.
Relationships aren’t actually between only you and your partner, as experiences with previous partners and life tend to also become a silent participant in your relationship (as does your experiences).
You know you and your partner are compatible if you can embrace that you each have a unique past and that the events of that past can add to your relationship (even the painful ones). Relationship compatibility is about really seeing someone and all of who they are without judgment and recrimination. It’s about accepting them and knowing they will accept you.
When you and your partner share knowledge, it creates an equal and leveled playing field that you shape your relationship on each day. Having similar knowledge bases make for the best ingredients to bake a successful relationship.
So, if your partner is self-aware, you should have a similar self-awareness to ensure you can meet each other equally. Or, if you have been growing in self-awareness, your partner should be open to the fact that you’re not quite on the same field of knowledge yet but that you are getting there (and they are part of that journey).
Money, Beauty, Power, and Social Standing
Real compatibility also includes your shared financial standing, physical beauty and strength, and your power or abilities. Your social standing also factors into the equation, as your compatibility will suffer if you don’t have the same level of standing in your community and families.
Your views on these factors will also determine compatibility and the relationship’s strength and endurance in times to come. When you and your partner have different views on money, the use of power, and the importance of beauty, it can damage your chances at being compatible.
Which Is Better: Compatibility or Chemistry?
Now you know what compatibility and chemistry are, it’s important to determine which will help your relationship last more than the other and why.
While chemistry is great for a tumble in the sheets or instant attraction, it’s compatibility that will carry you to a “happily ever after.” Here’s why:
Pros and Cons of Compatibility Over Chemistry
When you build a relationship based on compatibility and not chemistry, there are several pros.
Of course, a relationship with compatibility only can also end up being a disaster. Here’s how (cons):
Pros and Cons of Chemistry Over Compatibility
Likewise, a relationship that’s only based on chemistry may have a few cons, but it can also have a couple of pros that may help your connection last. Here are the pros:
Some of the cons include:
One or the Other—Should You Have Compatibility or Chemistry?
Many of my clients ask whether they should avoid relationships with strong chemistry, and whether these are just “flash in a pan” relationships that won’t stand the test of time. There’s no easy answer to this, and I always advise that it’s best to foster both chemistry and compatibility in a relationship.
While chemistry may light a fire, it’s compatibility that will keep your love glowing for years to come. Having only a soft glow and no spark isn’t healthy either.
A successful relationship needs buckets of compatibility and a healthy serving of chemistry, much like baking powder helps a cake rise. With a small measure of chemistry, you can raise a successful relationship that will last more than a few slices worth of pleasure.
You can even find a compatible partner with enough passion to fuel your interest online. Read our guide on finding a soulmate with online dating.