You’ve probably seen this term tossed around hundreds of times by now in the dating world, but what does it really mean for a couple be compatible or incompatible?
Whether you’re dating around, in a relationship, or going through a breakup, the concept of compatibility must constantly be ringing in your mind. Many different tests exist that can aid in your journey to choosing a partner: Myers-Briggs, your love language or basic compatibility tests. While I am an advocate of slimming down your dating pool by picking and choosing personality types (I am a big fan of the opposites attract concept), I don’t believe they can make or break relationships. Perhaps there is a correlation between the different personality types and successful relationships, but correlation doesn’t equal causation. Personality types might be an influencing factor when it comes to compatibility, but it will certainly not be the determining component of whether a couple is compatible or not.
So what does compatibility really mean? The actual definition is much simpler than you think and it doesn’t have anything to do with personality types, matching values, or even love.
In terms of relationships, compatibility means the ability to be truly happy with one another.
Now your first thought might be: since we’re talking about relationships, why has the topic of love not come up yet? The reason is that compatibility has nothing to do with love. Couples that are completely in love with each other break up all the time because they simply can’t exist happily together. On the other hand, some couples lack that fiery passion of being in love, but compatibility still keeps them together. You might have heard several times by now that “love isn’t enough.” Yes, it’s true that love isn’t enough, but you know what is enough? Happiness, and that’s what compatibility is — the ability to be truly happy with another being.
There is a catch in this definition, though, and it’s this: true happiness. A relationship may seem compatible at first, which is pretty inevitable considering that many romantic gestures stimulate the release of oxytocin and dopamine. However, we can simply consider that sexual compatibility is, in other words, short-term compatibility. For a couple to be truly compatible, they must be able to happily coexist with one another, meaning they’re completely happy and content with the idea of being with each other throughout their lives.
One of the most common breakup lines is “we’re just incompatible.” If you’ve done any research at all about this, you’ll know that this line is simply a mask to cover up a deeper problem. Ironically, the deeper problems turns out to be just as vague; since compatibility is defined as the ability to be truly happy with one another, when a couple breaks up due to incompatibility, it means they broke up because one or both individuals do not see themselves able to happily coexist with one another in the long run.
Next time you’re trying to figure out whether your date or your partner is compatible with you, leave all the statistical mumbo jumbo and science out of it and ask yourself these two things:
Am I truly happy with this person?
Do I think I will be able to happily coexist with this person as time goes on?
If true happiness exists within a relationship, everything else will fall into place.