You’ve locked eyes with a gorgeous man across the room. He strikes up a conversation, and your connection feels electric. You want him and he wants you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re meant to be. If you’re looking for a long-term relationship with someone who shares a similar lifestyle and value system, you’re going to have to determine compatibility beyond chemistry.
The stronger the attraction, the better the relationship will be, right? Wrong. I’ve fallen into this delusion more times than I can count on my fingers and toes. You meet someone, sparks are flying, and you’re daydreaming about the wedding. You think that because you have chemistry that’s off the charts, a lovely relationship is going to magically follow suit. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple by a long shot.
Amazing sex doesn’t equal an amazing relationship. Hollywood has shaped our understanding of love into an unattainable ideal. We’re taught to believe that perfect couples have mind-blowing sex all the time. There are many ways to define “best sex ever.” Do you mean wild, kinky, loving, communicative, or intimate sex? Because every partner is going to be different, and finding “The One” will virtually never mean that you find a human who fulfills every single one of your needs and fantasies.
Chemistry isn’t the deciding factor in figuring out if you can make things work. There’s the myth that attraction is the foundation of a successful relationship. If you have a spark, you think that the rest may not be easy, but it’s workable. Hate to break it to you, but that really hot guy or gal you’re swooning over may turn out to be a basket case.
Sparks don’t have to be fireworks to be real. Similarly, there’s a misconception that if sparks aren’t flying right from the start, the person isn’t the one. This is another way that Hollywood has upset what reality looks like. Often, finding someone we’re compatible with and have chemistry with doesn’t look like the fairy tales. Instead, it looks like falling in love with a friend or developing something real over time.
Attraction doesn’t count for everything but it’s still important. You have to be careful. If you’re not at all attracted to someone, there’s a slim chance this will change. I’ve gone on dates with people because they’re super nice or cool, hoping that attraction would follow. It didn’t. On some level, you do need the initial attraction to have long-term chemistry.
You can’t change their mind about what they’re looking for in a relationship. Chemistry is sort of out of our control. It’s something that just happens. Compatibility, on the other hand, is much more about what both partners are willing to do and what they want. If you start dating a guy who tells you from the start he isn’t looking for commitment, believe him. Don’t fall prey to the idea that your love can change his wants and needs.
You’re not only compatible with a certain type of person. You have in your mind that you only like guys who are about 5’10” with beards. Or perhaps you think that you only like sensitive women. Whatever your flavor, it’s okay that certain people entice you. This becomes problematic, though, when you think you know who’s best for you based on pretty trivial attributes. I’m not saying don’t have standards or preferences — I’m just saying that love can be found in the most unsuspecting matches. Keep an open mind.
Shared interests definitely don’t determine compatibility. When you were a teenager, did you ever have a crush on someone because you both loved Blink 182? Okay, maybe that was just me. But we can all still fall into traps like that: “We met at the bar and were both drinking the same IPA!” Even more substantial interests, like meeting at a convention for work or a hobby, don’t necessarily mean that you two are made for each other. Some of the happiest couples I’ve met seemingly come from two different worlds.
You don’t have to choose between a hot partner or a nice partner. I’ve even seen this myth taken a step further with a Venn diagram saying “hot, nice, emotionally available… choose two.” This is BS! I promise you that there are potential partners who are both hot and nice. I know it’s hard to believe — I have a hard time remembering it myself, but I’m both hot and nice, so more people like me have to exist, right?
A relationship isn’t all magic. You meet someone and you have that instant connection. Perhaps you jump right into bed with them and then you two start dating. You may be smacked upside the head by the reality that a relationship takes much more to work than lust-filled magic. Sure, the spark is part of the fun, but there’s a whole lot more that needs to go into making a lasting relationship work.
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