There are studies that show that people are attracted to the emotional make up of their parents. It’s suggested you can’t differ the love you once received from your parents with the love you are receiving from your partner. Compatibility and chemistry are concepts left out by the majority of dating and relationship advice, partly because these are issues that can’t be optimized, scripted or changed.
You and I are influenced by psychological biases as human beings. We’re all cognitive misers. The psychological system of man does not naturally measure in absolute scientific units, it relies on perception. Our environment influences our decisions in our relationships. Some of these biases may against you. For example, in the mis-reaction tendency, a wonderful woman with terrible parents may marry a man who would be judged satisfactory only in comparison to her parents.
There’s a popular quote that goes: “When I’m not near the girl I love, I love the girl I’m near”.
Chemistry is defined by a high degree of sexual and emotional attraction. It happens on a subtle level and felt immediately by both parties equally.
Chemistry is the warm fuzzy feelings you feel when you’re around her. It is when you can’t get enough of him or her. They monopolize thoughts day and night. You find yourself irrationally organizing your scheudle around him or her. You find yourself wanting to share with him or her about your daily events. The whispering of sweet nothings, the constant need to be with and see one another.
This may lead to a roller coaster relationship, where you’re hitting new lows and chasing new highs every couple of weeks.
There’s research suggesting high levels of chemistry may come from opposite yet complimentary traits. Introverts usually have a high chemistry with extroverts. People who are orderly and organized may work best with people who are spontaneous and unorganized. Someone who is laid back with a wider perspective works best with someone who keeps a tight schedule and routine.
When there’s a lack of chemistry, there’s a lack of emotional intensity. There’s basically a lack of mutual attraction. There’s no spark and no desire to jump on each other. There’s no long stares in each other eyes, there’s no rationalizing she’s an angel that descended from the heavens to save you from this lifetime of emptiness.
You and I spend our time painting ourselves as social chameleons, attempting to make the best pitch to just about any human being with a pair of boobs, hoping that she accepts the pitch, without questioning if she’s the right client for us.
Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister of Singapore and a revered politician, stated that he doesn’t believe in love at first sight. He also defied the Asian traditional of marrying a girl who is smarter or more successful than he is. He married his academic competitor, who topped his cohort, beating him to second place when he was studying in Raffles College.
What Mr Lee was gunning for was the filter of compatibility.
Compatibility is an intellectual construct on how well your lifestyle and worldviews fit together. You can have high levels of chemistry with someone, but poor compatibility. That’s when your lifestyles and values differ. In the long run, the relationship is most likely going to fall apart. Compatibility is key to long term relationships.
This is the law school professor dating a stripper. This is the rock singer in a band dating a hardcore Christian girl who goes to church every Sunday morning while he’s recovering from a hangover from the previous night’s gig.
Some questions to ask yourself are:
- What do you want in a partner?
- What are the feelings you expect to feel when you’re with her, how does she perceive the world?
- Her goals in life and what she expects out of it?
Compatibility be demonstrated in the form of life situation. You can have the best conversational skillsets in the world, however, at any one point of time there is going to be a large pool of partners that aren’t going to be attracted to you. Then there’s going to be a pool of partners that are attracted to you, who aren’t going to end with you because of their current life situation.
Compatibility and chemistry don’t always occur together, if not, rarely.
Navigating Compatibility and Chemistry
High compatibility but lack of chemistry is akin to dating someone who looks good on paper but is dry and boring. Having compatibility without chemistry is akin to ticking the boxes on someone’s dating resume saying that she’s the one because of X, Y, Z. When you’re together it feels like you’re pursuing her because it makes ‘sense’, as opposed something you look forward to. Sadly, this sort of arrangement happens a lot.
Compatibility is a also prerequisite I look for in a long term, committed relationship. I mean, my mental health is at stake here right?
Chemistry without compatibility on the other hand, usually leads to roller coaster relationships that entails a lot of drama. It’s the person you know is bad for you but can’t stop seeing. These relationships often begin quickly and passionately. You suddenly see yourself rationalizing away the fact that she has a track record of drugs. This when your friends stare, give you the same repeated advice, but you choose to continually go against their point of view. After all, love conquers all right?
You can’t have one without another. You need both chemistry and compaibility for a fulfilling, passionate long term relationship.
Ultimately, you shouldn’t choose to be with someone in the long run just because the sex, emotions are amazing, you should choose someone because you have similar life values and worldviews. You also shouldn’t cut yourself short by being with somebody just because she or he looks great on paper.
Ayn Rand said love is the expression of one’s values. It’s the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another.
Throughout the years, I find myself compatible with women who are curious, intelligent and patient. I’m not bragging here or anything. I’m pretty disorganized, impulsive, unstructured and my academic record isn’t exactly stellar. Their opposites qualities of being structured, detail oriented and structured compliments mine. That’s because I can be quite blunt and forthright. Some times I say things that I don’t mean and I debate just of debating. For Eg: I like making fun of overweight life coaches and pick up artists that take themselves too seriously. If she’s too caught up with me spouting unintended stuff instead of laughing about it, then needless to say we’re not going to get along.
I find myself seeking out longer term relationships with women who are working in fields that are making a contribution in some sort meaningful way. They are doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and social workers. They also aren’t limited to the medical or scientific fields. She could be running a business to better the agriculture system of a third world country and I’ll find myself admiring her ambition.
I can’t date women whose main concerns are taking a hundred selfies a day and overly concerned about how she looks like on social media, it’s akin to social torture. Oh, have I mentioned the gold diggers?
Geher, Glenn. “Perceived and Actual Characteristics of Parents and Partners: A Test of a Freudian Model of Mate Selection,” Current Psychology (Fall, 2000), vol. 19, no.3, 194-214.
Markey, P.M.; Markey, C. N. (2007). “Romantic ideals, romantic obtainment, and relationship experiences: The complementarity of interpersonal traits among romantic partners” (PDF). Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. 24 (4): 517–533.