You think you’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, but how do you know if they’re actually the one? You could hire someone to chart your astrological signs … or you could take compatibility tests.
An article in Business Insider asked Peter Pearson, a couples therapist and co-founder of the Couples Institute, what the most important elements to a successful marriage were. His first response was chemistry.
“Chemistry is not everything, he said, “But if the chemistry is not there, that’s a tough thing to overcome. If the chemistry is more there for one person that the other, that’s tough to overcome.” It isn’t just sexual chemistry; it’s what Pearson calls social chemistry (the way you feel when you’re with the other person).
Relationship expert and author of Date Out of Your League, April Masini, says in an article on Match.com, “Chemistry is like a strong drug that attracts people to each other, even when they don’t seem like a good match.”
So, how do you find out if there’s something beyond chemistry in your relationship? More importantly, how do you discover if you’re truly compatible? Pearson suggests using a little bit of transactional analysis.
Transactional analysis (TA) is a model of people and relationships that was developed during the 1960s by Dr. Eric Berne. TA is based on two ideas: 1) that we have three parts or ego states to our personality, and 2) that these talk to each other in transactions (hence the name).
These ego states are:
- The parent: What you’ve been taught.
- The child: What you’ve felt.
- The adult: What you’ve learned.
If two people are really compatible they will connect on each level. Pearson showed Business Insider how to use those ego states when trying to figure out compatibility.
The parent: Do you have similar values and beliefs about the world?
The child: Do you have fun together? Can you be spontaneous? Do you think your partner is hot? Do you like to travel together?
The adult: Does each person think the other is bright? Are you good at solving problems together?
The more questions you ask of yourself and your significant other, and the more specific you can be, the more you’ll be able to decipher your true compatibility.
While being able to match your partner in every area is the best scenario, sometimes people get involved in relationships with people who will balance them out. One person might be the more adventurous one and the other more steady-minded and careful. “This works until someone gets tired,” Pearson said.
And according to an article in The Daily Mail, there are five ways in which compatible couples connect and show how the questions of the ego state work:
1. Commitment: Both parties are committed to each other and their relationship. This falls into the parent ego state, where both parties sharing the same level of value regarding their bond.
2. Consideration: Compatible couples never forget the importance of their relationship, and make sure to be considerate and present for their partner. In the adult ego state, this includes considering another person’s happiness before one’s own, and learning lessons from previous relationships.
3. Keeping things fresh and youthful: While a couple may age, they make sure their relationship stays youthful. As part of the child ego state, be spontaneous and open to learning new things.
4. Having sense of humor. A sense of humor can bind a couple together, help release frustration and tension, and simply be fun. Also falling int the child ego state, have fun together.
5. Being intimate with each other every day. You don’t have to have sex every day, but showing intimacy with touch or a gesture, or really listening when your partner is expressing their feelings, shows true compatibility. This is part of both the adult ego state and/or child ego state, as intimacy is something you feel but could have learned from previous relationships.
Couples who connect with each other on a variety of levels, and share many of the same personality traits and values, have a greater likelihood of going the distance in their relationship.