Something that most people don’t understand in their 20s and others don’t learn ever is that love and compatibility are not the same thing.
There are so many people getting heartbroken when the person with whom it seems every star aligns turns out to be not who they thought they were. It’s because they’re basing love on expectation, or worse, attraction.
Most people can’t tell the difference between someone being attractive and someone actually being right for them, but it doesn’t matter, because the quality of the relationship will reveal itself in time. It always does. It must.
The person who says they’re wild about you but won’t commit? You aren’t compatible. The person you only get along with from a distance? You aren’t compatible. The person you can’t stand to be around for more than a day or two without a break? You aren’t compatible. The person you are having endless doubts about? You aren’t compatible. The person who doesn’t want what you want for the long term? You aren’t compatible. The person who makes you feel worse about yourself, not better? You aren’t compatible. The person who keeps you in their orbit but doesn’t ever go all the way in? You aren’t compatible. The person who you can’t let your guard down around? You aren’t compatible. The person whose presence makes you uncomfortable? You aren’t compatible.
The person who is anything less than your best friend and your lover? You aren’t compatible.
I know it is hard to hear, and most people probably won’t be willing to until they’ve gotten their heart broken a few times and then meet the person they really need to be with.
You don’t understand compatibility until you have it. Love is easy to describe. Compatibility isn’t. Love is a feeling you can’t miss. Compatibility is a kind of flow that you won’t notice until you try.
There are so many people out there making long-term commitments around snap judgments and assumptions about another person. And the thing is that until you’ve been around them without interruption for a significant amount of time, unless you’ve seen them on vacation and at a funeral, unless they’ve seen you behaving the exact same way you would if you were alone, you won’t really know.
There is no way to predict compatibility. You just have to try. That’s the whole point of dating. Not to find someone who seems perfect, but to try until you find someone who really is.
So this is the honest truth: you can love a lot of people in your life. You can be attracted to a lot more. But finding someone with whom you are also deeply and completely compatible, the person who is your best friend and who feels like family – that’s your soulmate.
It’s not something you can see from the outside. It’s not something you can predict from the onset. It is something that reveals itself over time. Yes, people can change, but they usually don’t alter who they fundamentally are.
Your forever person should make everything better. They should accelerate everything you hope to do. They will not keep you waiting, questioning or wishing for something else. They will not make you uncomfortable, insecure or worried. </h2.
Compatibility is the foundation that keeps you together while the spark comes and goes. It’s what the Buddhists are talking about when they say you’ll feel “no anxiety or agitation” when you meet your soulmate, or what Louis de Bernières described when he said that love is a temporary madness, and that once it subsides, you have to see “whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.”
It is not a rush in your chest, it is not the fulfillment of every trait you imagined in your partner. It is not hope. It is not a lightheaded fervor. It does not require the decoding of signs or signals. It is not a maybe, it is a knowing – and nothing less.