10 Must-Know Signs Of Relationship Compatibility
When you're in a new relationship, everything about the person you are seeing seems perfect.
You put your best foot forward, and so do they.
Finally, you've found your soul mate — someone who meets all of your criteria for the perfect man or woman.
But as the bloom fades from the new romance, you realize that some of your criteria boxes haven't been checked. Your perfect partner has pulled a bait and switch or maybe never had the desirable qualities to begin with.
According to University of Maryland professor, Ty Tashiro, 88 percent of people believe soul mates are real. However, this fairy tale view of romance negatively impacts the likelihood that couples will stay together in the long term.
“All this wishing has led to a case of wanting everything and getting nothing,” says Tashiro his book, The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love.
Though 90 percent of people will get hitched in their lifetimes, only three in ten stay together — factoring in a 50 percent divorce and separation rate.
People want everything in a partner and are therefore more likely to end up with nada.
However, Tashiro offers a more positive directive for dating hopefuls seeking to find somebody to love: don't lose hope — lose the idealism.
Take a closer look at yourself, where you are, what your needs are, and what real compatibility means.
Bitten by the love bug but wondering if Mr. or Ms. Right might not be right for you?
These 10 signs of relationship compatibility can help you figure it out:
1. What's Your EQ?
Do you have a sense of your emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) and the amount of EQ you're looking for in someone else?
You often fixate on what you need in someone else versus what you need in yourself to find your person.
Emotional intelligence refers to more than your ability to get all googly eyed with someone. Do you feel in control of yourself? How grounded in your empathy, self-control, self-motivation and social competence are you? Do you think you're a good listener and communicate clearly and rationally, even when you feel defensive?
Think of E.I. as being emotionally in check, combining both heart and head in the quest for love and in your daily interactions. Practice now in your daily interactions, and try to repeat in your own words what someone else says to you about how they feel. That's active listening.
2. Do You Have a Handle on Your Stuff?
When you fall in love, your “stuff” still moves with you between relationships. Some people call this personal baggage which includes your past wounds, hang-ups, habits, and patterns.
Revisit your wounds from childhood and past relationships. Old emotional scars can still rear their painful heads when you least expect them to, even when you think you've moved on.
As you get to know someone new, you don't want to be triggered by something innocuous your new lover says or does because you haven't addressed this baggage.
Acknowledge the issues you tend to carry from relationship to relationship. A major step in getting a handle on your stuff is being aware of it.
But also work on developing a growth mindset by recognizing patterns and behaviors you have that negatively impact your well-being and the quality of your relationships.
Of course this self-awareness and growth mindset goes both ways for compatibility.
Your partner should also be aware of their own stuff and actively take steps toward dealing with it as well. It only takes one emotionally toxic person in a relationship to sabotage your connection.
A couple who are more grounded and stable can be there for each other and quickly address emotional triggers before they undermine the relationship.
3. You Pay Attention to Each Other's Love Languages
Marriage counselor and author Dr. Gary Chapman wrote the book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
These love languages are the five ways we tend to express and experience love, and they include physical touch, acts of service, quality time, receiving gifts and words of affirmation.
How do you need to be supported and cherished? What about your partner?
Being compatible doesn't require that you both have the same love language, but rather that you are both willing to offer your partner the kind of love he or she desires.
You are both deeply curious about what makes the other feel safe, secure, respected, and adored.
It also means that you both are proactive in communicating what your love language is and the specific ways you prefer to receive this love.
4. Rethinking Life Values
What you think is important and necessary when you're 10 or 21 will be far different when you're 30 and 41.
What are your guiding principles? What are your essential life values?
For a relationship to be compatible, you and your partner should share many, if not most, of your personal and relationship values.
If you don't know your own core values or your partner's, it's essential to define them so you don't discover down the road that you and your partner don't see eye to eye on some critical things.
Do you and your partner place a high value on family and want to have several children? Are you both on the same page regarding child-rearing philosophies?
Do you share the same religious or spiritual beliefs, and do you think this is necessary for a committed relationship?
Do you prioritize experiences and adventure over spending on material things? Does your partner feel the same?
What about the values you need in a partnership — like mutual respect, quality time together, and equal division of labor?
Do you support, respect, and admire each other's work and the value you both place on what you do?
When you're in the infatuation stage of a relationship, you're not focused on whether or not the two of you share the same values. But you can save yourself a lot of heartache by figuring this out early on.
Be sure you don't pretend to change your values to match your partner's because you want things to work out so badly. Eventually this will cause resentment and friction in your relationship.
5. Don't Knock Chemistry
At some point, you'll meet a significant other that appears to check all the boxes.
They're attractive, funny, respectful, listen to you, and share your values — but something is off.
The butterflies you're supposed to feel when you're around them aren't fluttering, even though this person checks all the boxes. Really, Mother Nature!?
Read Related: 10 Steps to Fix a Broken Relationship
Don't knock chemistry because it matters. According to biotechnology company Instant Chemistry, your genes determine 40 percent of physical attraction toward a partner. They believe there are three measures of compatibility: biocompatibility, neurocompatibility, and psychological compatibility
Your biological programming makes you feel that instant spark when they brush by you, or your eyes meet across the room.
Instant Chemistry also reports that those who connect on this level go on to experience more fulfilling sex lives, higher fertility, and better personal satisfaction in their relationships.
Don't dismiss chemistry or the lack thereof immediately when looking at relationship compatibility.
By all means, give your date a second try — they may be super nervous, and that reflects their actions and behavior, too. Still not feeling the spark? It may be time to move on.
6. Word Choices Matter
While a picture paints a thousand words, the words you say on a daily basis impact your compatibility in a relationship.
Your primary function words indicate compatibility when similar to your date's rate and way of usage.
Psychologist James Pennebaker discovered that couples in a speed-dating context who used the similar function words, or filler words, in their language styles were likelier to still date three months later.
Most people don't pay attention to function words as they fade into the background of conversation, but these filler words inform the substance of the conversation and underlying reactions and feelings.
Interestingly, just because dates may use similar language, it doesn't mean they share similar personalities.
Pennebaker found that the participants may have very different personalities, but when genuinely interested in the person, language shifts subtly to similar style usage.
Watching and waiting for particular filler word choices will be difficult since it's subtle. Friends may be more likely to note a shift in how you speak about someone and what filler words you do and don't use.
If you catch yourself speaking more slowly than usual around your significant other, like they tend to do, you may share their language style because you're basically inhabited by a butterfly colony at this point. Just give in to it.
7. Body Language Matters
Besides sharing similar language styles, do you share similar body language when together?
Put down the magazines with the “how to tell if they're totally into you” quizzes, and check out the science.
Helen Fischer, a Rutgers University anthropologist, says you know within one second if you're attracted to someone or not.
It begins with noticing if your romantic interest uses available body language or not. Are they smiling, with uncrossed legs and arms? Do they gaze upward at you and their surroundings?
Humans note biological cues of healthy fertility, too, when sensing attractiveness. Men stand up straight with squared shoulders, with their feet a little wider than shoulders, as they display their hands.
Women keep their hair down, tilt their heads to expose pheromones and reveal their hands, particularly the soft skin along their wrists.
Science reveals weird telltale details about human attraction. Who knew hands were a “you're it” factor?
Your body starts the courtship process in that initial second. Your pheromones heighten, and blood rushes to your lips and cheeks to indicate arousal. You lean in and tilt your head in conversation to show engagement.
The body removes barriers between you two, such as uncrossing a leg or placing a purse on the other side of the table. Check your body language around your romantic interest, and if it matches, compatibility increases.
8. Their Voice Makes You All Hot and Bothered
You get the shivers and shakes when they whisper in your ear, and those darned butterflies flutter up a storm in your gut when you talk on the phone.
Heck — you don't even like talking on the phone, but you do it just to hear their voice. Yeah, you've got it bad.
Your body knows who and what it's attracted to from the beginning.
Wise up and pay attention to how their voice makes you physically react. Research reveals that women feel drawn to men with deep voices, and men feel pulled to women with breathier voices.
Interestingly, men speak in a higher pitch and women speak in a lower pitch when chatting with their love interest on the phone.
Your tone may shift due to subtle biological changes, or these may not apply to you. Trust your body because it knows what it feels.
9. Your Ducks Line Up
Do you have your ducks in a row or feel quackers trying to get your career, family and financial life straight while balancing your love life? What about your love interest?
Life is complicated, and nothing goes well all the time. However, you should both feel comfortable with where you are and how you're doing in life.
Are you both financially stable? Do you have personal and professional goals? Do you both have a solid network of family and friends?
Talk with one another about where you see your lives heading and the plans you have to make your dreams a reality. One person shouldn't have to carry the load of initiative or responsibility in a relationship.
If you are button-up on moving toward a successful life, but your romantic interest is floundering, this may be a red flag.
10. Ability to Be Vulnerable and Responsive
Researchers reveal that greater self-disclosure levels (being vulnerable) predict higher passionate love ratings, especially when couples initially build passion or rebuild it.
Higher levels of responsiveness (conveying understanding, validation, and caring) between partners also precede greater levels of relationship satisfaction and passionate love.
Women tend to self-disclose in relationships more easily, so when men self-disclose, levels of passionate love are enhanced.
Read Related: Vulnerability: The Secret To Close Relationships
Do you two self-disclose freely with each other? Do you validate one another and show compassion and empathy?
Try to spend quality time together in situations that provoke responsiveness and self-disclosure, such as camping in a remote location or taking long walks.
No two people can be perfectly compatible, but the more you have in common related to the important aspects of your relationship, the more likely it is that your connection will be strong, healthy, and happy.
Leave the ideals at the back door, and in the romantic fog of new love, try to lift your head out of the clouds long enough to assess whether or not the two of you are truly a good match.
Do you respond to one another's love languages, share similar values, have a growth mindset, enjoy great chemistry, and behave authentically and responsively to each other?
If so, you may have found that soul mate after all.
Even after that initial infatuation fades, being compatible in these areas will strengthen your relationship, allowing it to endure over time.